Finding Seclusion in the Heart of Vermont

Painting On Peak

Tara painting the lovely view from Spruce Peak overlook.  pc: C.H. Diegel Photography

Keeping Smuggs Shining

One of the many unintended consequences from near-global lockdown and quarantine is change. While so often difficult to embrace, we have all been left with a clear understanding of where we can improve. Smugglers’ is proud to call you part of our family, and we look to keep you as safe as our other loved ones. We pledge to Keep Smuggs Shining by taking all necessary precautions pertaining to social distancing, disinfecting, and setting our guests up for success. Should you choose to join us for a vacation this summer, we suggest taking the time to immerse yourself in the beauty of Vermont’s majestic Green Mountains by taking your family hiking. 

Come for a visit!

For decades, families have flocked to Smugglers’ Notch in search of seclusion and serenity. They’ve come from far and near to escape, whether it’s from the crowds, the heat, or their faster-paced life in the city. What does the Notch provide these seekers of solitude? For starters, it provides a chance to come together as a family, out of respect and appreciation for nature. If you can’t find that amongst thousands of acres of pristine mountain forests, our friendly staff can cheerfully point you in a more suitable direction. Should you feel you’re in the right spot, however, we think you’ll love some of these gorgeous jaunts just a few steps from our Village here at Smuggs.


From easiest to most challenging:

Langlauf Trail

Enjoy this casual jaunt which starts and finishes right in our Village at Smugglers’. To find it, head out behind the Tennis Center and take a right just before the bridge to cross the No Name Brook. Langlauf winds its way through the woods behind many of Smugglers’ accommodations, maintaining close distance to the No Name Brook. Enjoy the sounds of the babbling brook while you walk this mostly flat trail. The water is typically shallow here, and it provides children with many opportunities to get their feet wet without going for a swim. Just use caution if going in the water after heavy rains please.

Moose Meander Trail

Moose Meander is a popular trail amongst Smugglers’ campers and provides a fairly direct (but not too direct) route to the Disc Golf Pro Shop and Bootleggers’ Reservoir. This narrow trail twists and turns through diverse forests and wetlands, passing massive trees and new growth alike. Wildlife sightings are fairly common on this passageway through nature, as well as the elusive disc golfer. Moose Meander maintains close proximity to many of our championship Disc Golf holes for the first two-thirds of its length. This trail is best accessed from the Tennis Center.


Brewster Gorge

Many prefer a hike with an end goal, besides simply completing a trek. If you fall into this category, then definitely head to the Brewster Gorge! Bring a picnic lunch for this beautiful location, as you won’t want to leave once you get there. There are a few options for starting points before you make it the short distance to this majestic river gorge. We recommend heading out from the Brewster Lowlands trailhead at the intersection of Canyon Road and West Farm Road in Jeffersonville. The map at the trailhead provides a clear picture of where to go from here.

Follow the winding trail through mossy woodlands until you begin to hear the sounds of rushing water. This trail will bring you out to the very top of the Brewster Gorge, where extreme caution is advised. Vertical cliffs overlooking the Gorge provide interesting views for those thrill-seekers. Follow the trail downhill to wrap around to the base of the falls for a relaxing sunny spot with many shallow options to enjoy a dip in this mountain drainage. Water shoes are recommended for those interested in venturing upstream, through passageways and hidden watery coves. As always, exercise caution and pay attention to water levels and currents.

@mollyknitkat was captured enjoying the cooler side of Brewster Gorge by @elizabethjo_portraiture:


Sterling Pond Trail

This popular trail provides a challenge for many, and rejuvenation for most. Although it is relatively short at 1.1 miles, the Sterling Pond Trail is host to numerous steep pitches up uneven, rocky terrain. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers with the Green Mountain Club, many steep sections provide rock steps to help curb erosion. Please be conscientious and stay in the beaten path to avoid further erosion from foot traffic in this sacred area.

From the Smugglers’ Notch parking area on Route 108, across from the information booth, you’ll find the trailhead with a large brown sign. Follow the trail upward, and remember, there are sections of level walking to help catch your breath. Use caution and care as many of the rocks are slippery!

Pay close attention to the trees as you go. There will be a drastic change once you hit the frost line, where the trees turn from mixed hardwoods (maples, beaches, and birches mostly) to conifers consisting of spruces and fir trees. Take a deep breath through your nose to truly immerse yourself in this pristine environment. At the “top” of this trail, you’ll come to a 3-way intersection with the Long Trail North and South. Head North to enjoy lunch near Vermont’s highest trout pond, and enjoy views of the legendary Madonna Mountain and Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. If you hike with a furry companion, keep that pup on a leash to protect the fragile alpine flora and fauna around the pond, PLEASE!

Elephant’s Head Loop (from Sterling Pond Trail)

This seldom-traveled loop provides an additional 1.4 miles to the aforementioned 1.1 mile, Sterling Pond Trail. From the top of the Sterling Pond Trail, follow the Long Trail North (white blazes) past the pond. This will bring you out at the top of Smugglers’ Sterling chairlift where you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Resort and valley below. The chairlift may start at any time, so please stay clear!

Following the white blazes, head back into the woods until you come to the Sterling Pond Shelter, a 3-sided lean-to used by the Green Mountain Club for sheltering thru-hikers on the 273 mile Long Trail. Behind the lean-to, the Elephant’s Head trail breaks off and is marked with blue blazes. Follow this old, rugged trail around Sterling Pond, past large quartz outcroppings and interesting boulders, eventually leading back to the Long Trail. From here, take a right to arrive back to the top of the Sterling Pond Trail for a complete loop, or, head left and take every chance to hike in the upward direction to find the Spruce Peak overlook. One of the finest views in Vermont. The overlook adds approximately an extra half-mile each way.

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