Please be aware that the northern half of Vermont was affected by major flooding. Roads to trailheads may not be open for the weekend, turn around if you encounter closed roads.

Smugglers’ Notch Hiking Trails

This trail system is currently CLOSED. See Trail Alerts tab for details.
This trail system is currently CLOSED. See Trail Alerts tab for details.
Smuggler's Notch is a narrow pass full of trail adventures.
Trail Activity
Accessible Experience Hiking Snowshoeing
15.50 miles, Network
Easy, Moderate, Advanced, Strenuous
Cambridge (VT), Johnson (VT), Morristown (VT), Stowe (VT)
Packed Earth/Dirt, Rock/Ledge, Boardwalk/Bog Bridging
Permitted on leash



This is a busy trail system, especially on weekends between 9AM-4PM. Consider visiting outside of peak periods. Use Trail Finder to identify other nearby trails. If the parking lot is full when you arrive, please choose another trail. 

Learn more about high use trail systems.

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: 3.9 miles, 1500’ Elevation Gain
Surface: Dirt and Ledge
Description: Starting behind the Barnes Camp Hiker Center near the Boardwalk Trailhead, this portion of the Long Trail moderately ascends the west side of Spruce Peak where views of Mt. Mansfield can be seen through the trees. Follow the white blazes to Sterling Pond. At the 2.9 mile mark there is the Elephant’s Head side trail (0.1 mile) for 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:

Green Mountain Club

Green Mountain Club
4711 Waterbury-Stowe Rd.
Waterbury Center, VT 05677
Phone: (802) 244-7037
View website

VT Dept. Forests, Parks & Recreation District 4: Barre District

VT Dept. Forests, Parks & Recreation District 4: Barre District
5 Perry Street, Suite 20
Barre, VT 05641-4265
Phone: (802) 476-0182
View website

Trail Tips

Leave What You Find
Respect natural resources, cultural and historic items, and wildlife by looking rather than touching.
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Trailhead Information

There are several trailheads along VT-108 that access trails in Smugglers' Notch.

VT-108 is not plowed in the winter. The Barnes Camp Visitor Center parking is plowed. On the west side of the notch, parking is along the road. Please do not block traffic. 


Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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May 11, 2023
Sterling Pond Trail is posted CLOSED for mud season. Please update Trailfinder.
February 05, 2022
Long Trail North - Sterling Pond trail in the winter is for people who are fully prepared for winter hikes. Blaze frequency decreases as one approaches Elephant's Head from the South - in the winter it can be difficult to know where the trail leads (strong recommendation to use a GPS map to support staying on the trail). Beautiful views and reminders to hike safe.
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Trail Alerts


Some or all of the trails in this system are temporarily closed due to flooding.


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