I love love love the hiking around Stowe – it’s world famous of course, and for good reason – it’s not only fun – it’s all age level and ability level appropriate. In this blog – I’m going to focus on some of the super easy options – but just ask at the office if you want more challenge!
For the youngest and least able among us – my favorite hike has to be the boardwalk that starts opposite the parking lot to the main ski area. Head up the Mountain Road towards the Mountain – and keep your eyes peeled for a wooden building on your right just after you pass under the gondola that links the two parts of the ski resort. There’s easy parking on both the left and the right at that location. The wooden building houses a wonderful little information center – and the boardwalk starts at the northern most end of the parking lot on the same side as the wooden building. As you walk along – be sure to keep you eyes peeled for some of our local beaver families – and be sure to spot their houses.
For the more ambitious – here’s info on 4 more hikes that are well worth trying. All of these are generally considered easy – but if you aren’t totally fit – they are tough enough to be both a bit challenging – and absolutely beautiful.
1. Mill Trail Hike to Bingham Falls (This is the most famous of the easy hikes)
1 mile, 45 minutes of easy walking, 200 feet vertical change
From Mountainside, take 108 N for about 5 miles. After the Inn at the Mountain (on your left – large White buildings) – there are dirt pull-offs on both sides of the road. Park on either side, trial-head is on your right (east side of 108). End at Bingham Falls – a 40-foot cascading waterfall. Summer time there are pools to swim in, Fall/Spring its too cold, but so pretty.
2. Sterling Falls Gorge
1/2 mile, 40 minutes, 150 feet vertical change
From Mountainside, take 108 S to the village, turn left on 100 N. After 1.7 miles, turn left on Stagecoach Road. After 1.6 miles, turn left onto Sterling Valley Road (it’s dirt – don’t worry). Continue on Sterling Valley Road 1.7 miles to a covered bridge on your right. Take the gradual right to stay on Sterling Valley Road (do NOT continue up the hill, do NOT go thru the bridge). Continue another 2.8 miles then turn left. There is a small sign for Sterling Gorge Parking with an arrow to the left. Continue .2 miles to the parking lot. Trail starts at the parking lot.
3. Wiessner Woods
2.8 miles, 2 hours, 900 feet vertical change – 4 Season trail
This is one of my favorites – easy hiking, easy cross country skiing, and so so beautiful. From Mountainside, take 108 North. About a mile up, turn right onto Edson Hill Road. (There are signs for the Stowehof – and it’s really worth checking out their lobby area). Continue past the entrance to the Stowehof Inn. Take the next right and park on the left. The Wiessner family entrusted Wiessner Woods to the Stowe Land Trust to preserve its natural state. It’s amazing.
4. Cady Hill Forest
11 miles of trails, from less than an hour to many hours, 300 feet vertical change (and all of that at the beginning!)
This is also one of my absolute favorites. From Mountainside, take 108 South towards the village. Just after you pass Harvest Market and the Valero Gas Station, the Cady Hill Parking lot will be on your right. Park there. The trail starts on your right as you face the hill. The uphill you share with the mountain bikes (let them pass you – they are working so so hard and have the right of way). But the downhills are restricted – there are trails for bikes-only, others for hikers-only, and some multi-use trails (look for signage posted on trees)! How perfect is that! Great forest, fab hike – and in winter – you can snowshoe it.
If you want more hiking info – ask at the office when you arrive. They keep a long list of hikes for you to try. But these are my favorites – after of course the Stowe Recreation Path!
To get to the Stowe Rec Path – I suggest leaving Mountainside and cutting across the parking lot of the Snowdrift Motel. Turn right when you hit the paved road. As you cross the bridge – you’ll see the path snaking under the bridge. You can go left on the path to Topnotch, or go right and end up in the Village. It’s wonderful. And 4 seasons – snowshoes and cross country skis in winter, boots and flipflops in summer, fall and spring. And yes – those pools make great swimming holes!
Enjoy – have fun – and relax.
Say hi to the fox family if you see them.
Your local blogger…