Smugglers’ Notch Hiking Trails

Smuggler's Notch is a narrow pass full of trail adventures.
Trail Activity
Accessible Experience Hiking Snowshoeing
Length
15.5 miles, Network
Difficulty
Easy, Moderate, Advanced, Strenuous
Towns
Cambridge (VT), Johnson (VT), Morristown (VT), Stowe (VT)
Surface
Packed Earth/Dirt, Rock/Ledge, Boardwalk/Bog Bridging
Pets
Permitted on leash
Fees
No

Description

HIGH USE TRAIL:

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. Be considerate of your fellow trail enthusiasts - pass at safe distances, wear masks, and move on from viewpoints if others are waiting.

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:

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
Walter.Opuszynski@vermont.gov
View website

Green Mountain Club

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

Trail Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Be prepared for extreme weather. Bring rain/wind gear, warm clothing, and matches/fire starters.
Legend
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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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Trail Alerts

Facilities
Long Trail Shelters and Privies

Shelters and privies on the Long Trail system are currently open under modified use guidelines. For detailed guidelines, visit the Green Mountain Club website

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