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Mount Mansfield State Forest: Smugglers’ Notch

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This trail system is currently PARTIALLY OPEN. See Trail Alerts tab for details.

Trail Overview

Smuggler's Notch is a narrow pass full of trail adventures.
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Trail Activity
15.5 miles, Network
Easy, Moderate, Advanced, Strenuous
Cambridge (VT), Johnson (VT), Morristown (VT), Stowe (VT)
Packed Earth/Dirt, Rock/Ledge, Boardwalk/Bog Bridging
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The famous Smugglers’ Notch is a narrow pass through the Green Mountains. Lined with 1,000-foot cliffs, the winding road is closed in winter. In the earlier days, only a footpath and trail for horses existed here.

Sterling Pond Trail (Difficult) -
Length: 1.1 miles, 1000’ Elevation Gain
Surface: Dirt and Ledge
Description: Follow the blue blazes from the East side of the Smugglers’ Notch Information Booth to a scenic pond stocked with trout. There is an additional 1.4 mile easy loop around the pond.
Long Trail North to Sterling Pond (Difficult)
Length: 3.4 miles, 1500’ Elevation Gain
Surface: Dirt and Ledge
Description: Starting in the Smugglers’ Notch Picnic Area just North of the Southern Gateway, this portion of the Long Trail crosses a recent rock slide and affords incredible views or the Notch below. Follow the white blazes to Sterling Pond. At the 2.3 mile mark there is the Elephant’s Head side trail (0.1 mile) for additional outstanding views from the top of the Elephant’s Head rock formation.
Barnes Camp Universally Accessible Boardwalk:
Length: 0.12 miles
Surface: Boardwalk
Description: The Barnes Camp Boardwalk provides great wildlife viewing opportunities and access to wetlands adjacent to the west branch of the Little River.
Barnes Camp Loop:
Length: 1.3 miles
Surface: Boardwalk and dirt
Description: The Barnes Camp boardwalk continues and loops around a wetland area and along the west branch of the Little River.


Trail Manager

Visit VT Department of Forest, Parks & Recreation online for more information or contact:

VT Dept. Forests, Parks & Recreation District 4: Barre District
5 Perry Street, Suite 20
Barre, VT 05641-4265
Phone: (802) 476-0182
View website
Green Mountain Club
4711 Waterbury-Stowe Rd.
Waterbury Center, VT 05677
Phone: (802) 244-7037
View website

Trail Tips

Leave What You Find
Avoid the introduction or transport of non-native species. Use local firewood from within 50 miles and clean, drain, and dry water equipment when moving between water bodies.

Trailhead Information

Smugglers' Notch Historic Site on Route 108: several trailheads in the vicinity.


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