Day Hike at Smugglers Notch

Day Hike at Smugglers Notch


Our family recently went to Vermont for a few days holiday. We stayed at Smuggler’s Notch Resort near Stowe, or Smugg’s as it is affectionately called. It seemed only right that we go hiking to get up into those hills for an adventure.

We had passed through ‘the notch’ going to Stowe and made a stop right at the apex where there are some great boulders to climb and small caves to slide through. The kids enjoyed that spot while I scouted the trailhead that leads up to Sterling pond.

The next morning, we headed out to hike up to Sterling Pond. We carried a backpack with water and a few snacks for 4 of us. It was around 10am when we left Smugg’s. My wife and daughter dropped us at the notch while they continued on to see the sights and shops in the area while the boys went up the mountain.

The trail up to Sterling pond is quite steep and we passed a few other people who were moving at a slower pace than our boys. The climb to the top was a good hour of high stepping and climbing on a steep slope.

Where this trail stops, there is a crossroads of trails and we went to the right. Not too far along, you can access a wide-open area that has outstanding views. Here we stopped for a break.

The best part of the whole hike was the reward for the climb. A coffee! I had packed my Bripe kit and some ground coffee. Using water from my canteen I heated up the Bripe with the torch lighter and made a fantastic shot of coffee right there on top of Sterling mountain! It is so cool to be able to make a great shot of coffee while on an adventure!

From this point, we went back down the trail to Sterling Pond (the highest elevation for a trout pond in Vermont) and crossed over to the Madonna trail and began our trek downhill. Although my knees were screaming that ‘downhill hurts’ I kept going – zig-zag style to relieve pressure from my knees. The boys handled the hike quite well and even ran down portions of the hill. It took about a half hour to walk back to Smugg’s from the base of the Sterling ski area. Our whole journey lasted about 4 hours from 10am-2pm.

I was pretty tired of walking by then but my 11-year-old wanted to go mountain biking as soon as we got back and he ran the gauntlet for an hour at least!! He must have had a Bripe or two when I wasn’t watching!