Smugglers' Notch State Park

#4 in Best Things To Do in Stowe, VT
Smugglers' Notch State Park picture
Rain0975/Flickr

Key Info

6443 Mountain Road

Details

Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/Pools Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.4

scorecard

  • 4.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Smugglers' Notch State Park earned its unique name during the 19th and early 20th centuries when its towering cliffs aided illegal trade between the United States and Canada. Goods were transported through the park's narrow pass – now a toll road – which is lined with 1,000-foot cliffs.

Although the pass is certainly a highlight, recent visitors attest to the beauty of other natural sights like Sterling Pond and Bingham Fall – both great spots for a quick dip. If you'd like to camp, you can reserve a spot at one of 20 campsites online at the official Vermont State Parks website. From the campground, you can easily reach hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty.

Smugglers' Notch State Park is located less than a mile away from Stowe Mountain Resort. Public transportation is not available to and from the park, so travelers will need to drive or hail a taxi. Free (but limited) parking is available on-site.

This Vermont park is open annually from mid-May to mid-October. One-day access to the park's recreation facilities – which include hiking trails, restrooms and a picnic area – costs $4 per adult and $2 for children ages 4 to 13. Kids 3 and younger enter for free. To camp in the park, expect to stay a minimum of two nights and pay a $7 reservation fee, plus $20 per night (if pitching a tent or parking a trailer) or $29 per night (when staying in one of the park's lean-tos).

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#1 Trapp Family Lodge

As avid fans of "The Sound of Music" already know, the real von Trapp family was a musical troupe that toured the world after their escape from Salzburg, Austria, in 1938. As the family business became lucrative, the von Trapps purchased a small farmhouse in Stowe and settled down to live amid the mountains yet again. Over time, the farmhouse grew into a large resort with cross-country ski trails, mountain biking paths, tennis courts and more.

The now expansive lodge mainly serves as a ski retreat, but the property's hiking trails and horse-drawn carriage rides are equally popular. "The Sound of Music" fans and von Trapp aficionados recommend partaking in a history tour of the lodge to get an overview of the family's history.

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