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Self-guided Hikes and Walks at Smugglers' Notch Resort

Explore the mountain trails of this spectacular region

Family hike near Smugglers' Notch Resort
Hiking in the Green Mountains near Smugglers' Notch Resort



Smugglers' Notch Resort's location in Vermont's beautiful Green Mountains offers plenty of opportunities for hiking. We have provided information below on self-guided hikes and walks on trails near the Resort. Some hiking destinations, like Sterling Pond or Moss Glen Falls, offer a breathtaking endpoint; other destinations, like Little River State Park, offer a pleasant woodland walk combined with local history.

Just click on the hike that interests you, and a full description of the hike will display, including driving directions and completion time. Please note that the Spring hiking season in Vermont generally opens on Memorial Day weekend in order to allow trails to dry out from Winter. Use prior to that time can cause erosion and trail damage, particularly on high elevation trails. Trails that are not appropriate for early Spring hiking have been so identified in their description.

On the blue tabs above you'll also find sections offering tips on hiking safety, trail etiquette and some simple stretches - all to help you get the very most from your self-guided hike or walk.

Prospect Rock
Johnson, VT
Elevation 1040'
Vertical Rise 530'
More Difficult

Description and Highlights:
This is a great beginning hike for individuals or the family. Leaving Jeffersonville and traveling on Rt. 15 East towards Johnson, look to your left, and you will see the steep cliffs of Prospect Rock. The trail itself begins with a moderate grade through the woods. As you approach the base of the cliff, the trail climbs steeply for a short distance before reaching the top and the lookout point.

Along the way take note of the extensive bird, wildflower, and wildlife habitat. Enjoy the views to the south, the Lamoille River Valley and the Sterling Range (the Resort’s mountains). This is a wonderful private picnic location on a large flat area atop these ledges in a peaceful setting.

Directions:
Leaving Smugglers’ Notch Resort, proceed north on Rt. 108 (downhill) to Rt. 15 in Jeffersonville. Take Rt. 15 East from Jeffersonville towards Johnson approximately 7 miles until you cross the Lamoille River. Immediately after the river, take a sharp left onto paved Hogback road (there is a Long Trail sign at this point). Drive .9 miles to the Ithiel Falls Camp Meeting Ground. Parking is located before the camp buildings on the left in the large gravel pull off area. From this point, walk towards the camp buildings, cross the road, and follow the Long Trail (marked by white vertical rectangular blazes on the trees and rocks) that leads into the woods. Take note of the direction from which you came as you reach the lookout and be sure to return the same way.

Driving time from Smugglers’ Notch to the trail head, approximately 15 minutes.
Trail distance - round trip, 1.5 miles.
Hiking time- round trip, approximately 1.5 hours plus time on top.

Precautions: This trail may be rather slippery when wet because of the numerous exposed roots. Caution should be exercised while on the ledges. There is no fence. Poison ivy does grow at elevations below 1,000' and may be present.
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Brewster River Gorge
Jeffersonville, VT
More Difficult

Description and Highlights:
Located on the picturesque Brewster River (which originates high on the Sterling Range, the Resort’s mountains), enjoy multiple swimming holes along the river, culminating with the most popular one at the base of the falls upstream just below the Gorge. Picnic and relax along the open riverside. Admire the abundant wildflowers on the pathway to the river crossing. The wooded area on the hillside allows for great bird viewing.

Directions:
From Smugglers’ Notch Resort, proceed north on Rt. 108 (downhill) towards Jeffersonville. Travel approximately 4 miles to Canyon Rd. (before the building with the water wheel). Make a very sharp right turn onto Canyon Road (do not cross the covered bridge). The parking area is straight ahead. There is a large sign and parking is available beside the river. Follow the path at the far end of the parking area until you come to a fork in the woods. Take the left fork (the well traveled route) to the river’s edge. At this point you will need to cross the river to view the falls. Before crossing, take a glance at the continuing path on the opposite side, which is a little upstream from where you are standing. It will be easiest to cross at the narrowest point. Once across the river, walk a short distance on the path until you see the falls. Return the same way you walked in.

Driving distance - round trip, 8 miles.
Driving time from Smugglers’ Notch to the parking area, approximately 5 minutes.
Hiking distance - round trip, 1.5 miles.
Hiking time - round trip, approximately 30 minutes.

Precautions: Water currents sometimes produce strong undertows and it may be unsafe to swim in the river. River rocks are extremely slippery, irregular shaped, and may cause you to lose your balance. Exercise caution along the river banks as there are no fences.
Poison ivy may be present.
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Bingham Falls
Stowe, VT
Easiest

Description and Highlights:
Explore the dynamic rock formations created by the forceful river currents. In the midst of this forested area you will find an abundance of wild flowers and birds to view. Relax and enjoy the cool air on a hot Summer’s day. Amble upstream for a pleasurable river walk or enjoy one of the many refreshing swimming holes located above and below the falls.

Directions:
From Smugglers’ Notch Resort, proceed south on Rt. 108 (uphill) towards Stowe. Proceeding through the Notch you will travel approximately 6 miles before reaching the two large gravel parking areas on either side of the road. The sign is located high in the trees on the left side of the road (.5 miles before the Mt. Mansfield Toll Rd.). The trail begins by the sign (take note of the map on the sign). Stay on the trail for about 5 minutes before reaching the river. You will hear the falls below you. The path also turns left, allowing you to explore upstream. To view the falls from below, turn right at the river and walk down one of the paths (the one towards the woods is generally an easier approach). The swimming holes will be visible.

Driving time from Smugglers’ Notch to the parking area, approximately 10 minutes.

Precautions:
Water currents sometimes produce strong undertows and it may be unsafe to swim in the river. River rocks are extremely slippery, irregular shaped, and may cause you to lose your balance. Exercise caution along the river banks as there are no fences. Poison ivy may be present.
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Moss Glen Falls
Stowe, VT
Vertical Rise 200'
Easiest

Description and Highlights:
Admire these majestic falls from a scenic winding path in the woods that leads to the prime viewing spot. These are the highest and most dramatic falls of the three described in the Self-Guided Hikes. This is an ideal location for the artist or photographer to capture an exceptional image of nature.

Directions:
From Smugglers’ Notch Resort, proceed south on Rt. 108 (uphill) towards Stowe. Drive to the T-intersection of Rt. 108 and Rt. 100 in the village of Stowe. Turn left on Rt. 100 for 3 miles. Turn right onto Randolph Rd. Take the next right onto Moss Glen Falls Rd. and follow it for about .5 miles to the small parking area. Parking will be straight ahead, before the bridge and the hill. The trail begins in the parking area, taking you by the river and into the woods. This well-defined trail will lead you up the hill and to the falls. It is about a 5 minute walk.

Driving time from Smugglers’ Notch to the parking area, approximately 30 minutes.
Driving distance - round trip, 33 miles.
Hiking time - round trip, 25 minutes.
Hiking distance - round trip, 1 mile.

Precautions:
Water currents sometimes produce strong undertows and it may be unsafe to swim in the river. River rocks are extremely slippery, irregular shaped, and may cause you to lose your balance. Exercise caution along the river banks as there are no fences. Poison ivy may be present.
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Nebraska Notch (Mansfield Trout Club)
Moscow, VT
Elevation 1850'
Vertical Rise 650'
More Difficult

Description and Highlights:
Explore the “other” notch with its beautiful view of Lake Mansfield and the valley below from the top of this trail. Stroll along this historic trail enjoying the lush vegetation and signs of wildlife as you slowly but steadily climb to the waterfalls. This picturesque setting allows you to marvel at nature’s beauty. Shortly, you will pass by an active beaver pond on your right after crossing a few small streams. The trail leads to Taylor Lodge (Long Trail hikers’ shelter) which is your destination. Enjoy the view from the Lodge back down the Nebraska Valley.

Directions:
Leaving Smugglers’ Notch Resort, proceed south on Rt. 108 (uphill) towards Stowe for about 10 miles. Watch for the Interstate 89 Alternate Route sign on your right (across from the Rocky Ridge Lodge). Take a sharp right onto this road (Luce Rd.) and follow it until you come to Barrows Rd. Turn left onto Barrows Rd. There will be a stop sign at the end of the road. Turn right (Moscow Rd.) and drive for about 5 miles (Moscow Rd./Nebraska Valley Rd.). You are now at the Mansfield Trout club. This is a private club, so please use the upper parking lot close to the Lake Mansfield Trail sign. From the sign, follow the blue blazed trail to your destination of Taylor Lodge. Return the same way on the blue blazed trail, and as a courtesy to the Trout Club, be careful not to walk on the road as you approach the club area.

Driving time from Smugglers’ Notch to the trail head, 30 minutes.
Hiking distance - round trip, 3.6 miles.
Hiking time - round trip, approximately 2 hours plus time on top.

Precautions:
This trail is best hiked after early Spring has passed to prevent trail damage in wet conditions. After Memorial Day weekend, there are a few places on the trail that require walking on rocks, which can be slippery when wet.
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Mt. Mansfield - East
Stowe, VT
Elevation 4393'
Vertical Rise 2793'
Experts Only

Description and Highlights:
Approach Vermont’s highest mountain peak on the east side via the Long Trail. Enjoy shaded woods and babbling brooks as you climb to the summit. Glance at the open ledges above you to see your destination. At the summit, view the many mountain ranges seen in New Hampshire, New York and into Canada, as well as the peaks and valleys of Vermont including Lake Champlain. Enjoy the rare alpine flora found along the peak.

Directions:
Leaving Smugglers’ Notch Resort, proceed south on Route 108 (uphill) through the notch for approximately 4.5 miles. Park in the designated area on the right hand side of the road. Walk along the road a few feet south to the trail head marked by a Long Trail South sign. Follow the white blazes of the Long Trail to the summit. Along the way, at 1.7 miles, Taft Lodge can be found on a short side trail to your left. Continue your ascent on the Long Trail(white blazes). At Eagle Pass you will find an intersection of trails. The Long Trail continues left and up, with the Adam’s Apple trail heading right. Follow the Long Trail up the open ledges to the summit. Return to Route 108 using the same path. Special note: In the event of inclement weather, you may want to ascend or descend via Profanity
Trail to avoid the open ledges between Eagle Pass and the summit. Profanity offers more protection from the weather. To ascend, access to Profanity Trail can be found just above Taft Lodge on the Long Trail. The trail heads left with blue blazes. To descend via Profanity Trail, follow the Long Trail a short distance south from the summit, known as the Chin. You will reach an intersection for Sunset Ridge Trail and Profanity Trail. Turn left to descend Profanity Trail, rejoining the Long Trail at Taft Lodge.

Driving time from Smugglers’ Notch Resort to trail head, 10 minutes.
Driving distance - round trip, 9 miles.
Hiking time - round trip, approximately 5 hours plus time on top.
Hiking distance - round trip, 4.6 miles.

Precautions:
This trail should not be hiked in early Spring to prevent trail damage in wet early Spring conditions. High elevation trails traditionally become accessible on Memorial Day weekend. This is a strenuous hike because of the rugged terrain and a steep ascent. Weather conditions can change quickly and drastically. Bringing a trail map is recommended. Be prepared with appropriate layers of clothing as weather can change quickly and temperatures often drop towards the top.
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Mt. Mansfield West
Underhill, VT
Elevation 4393'
Vertical Rise 2593'
Experts Only

Description and Highlights:
Approach Vermont’s highest mountain peak from its west side via the Sunset Ridge Trail. This challenging hike is well worth the views attained from the open ridge as well as the peak. An initial climb through the beautiful forest leads you to the open ridge of this trail. Once you reach the summit (the Chin), Lake Champlain, New York, New Hampshire, and Canada can be seen. Mount Mansfield is one of only a few peaks in the Green Mountains that is above tree-line. The alpine flora found here is rare.

Directions:
Leaving Smugglers’ Notch Resort, proceed north on Route 108 (downhill) to Jeffersonville. As you approach Jeffersonville, stay left at the intersection. Proceed through this stop sign and turn almost immediately left onto the Upper Valley Road (just before Smugglers’ Notch Inn). Drive approximately 4.2 miles until reaching a yield sign at the bottom of a short descent. Turn left onto the Lower Valley Road. Drive approximately 5.5 miles. Turn left at the sign for Underhill State Park. Once on the road you will see the labeled sign, Mountain Road. Drive 3 miles to the State Park. As there’s a day use fee, you will need to check in with the ranger (information and trail maps are available at the cabin). Start your hike by continuing up the road for about a mile. There will be a bulletin board and register. The Sunset Ridge Trail begins here. Follow the blue blazes of the Sunset Ridge Trail until you intersect the Long Trail (white blazes) near the summit. Turn left onto the Long Trail and follow it a short distance to the summit. Return via the same trails to Underhill State Park.

Driving time from Smugglers' Notch Resort to the trail head, 30 minutes.
Driving distance - round trip, approximately 36 miles.
Hiking time - round trip, approximately 5 hours plus time on top.
Hiking distance - round trip, 6.6 miles.

Precautions: This trail should not be hiked in early Spring due to potential trail damage in wet early Spring conditions. High elevation trails are usually accessible by Memorial Day weekend. This a strenuous hike because of the rugged terrain and steep ascent. Weather conditions can change quickly and visibility may lessen until you will only be able to see the rock cairns (piles of rocks) to guide you on the trail when above the tree-line. Bringing a trail map is recommended. Be prepared with appropriate layers of clothing as weather can change quickly and temperatures often drop towards the top.
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