Explore the most popular skiing trails in Vermont with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

on Smugglers Notch Trail

trail running
17 days ago

Loved it . It was challenging and fun.

Absolutely gorgeous winter hike! I went with a local friend who hikes this trail frequently. The trail was still very well marked aside from the very top .5 mile where it crosses some ski runs. I would say it is mostly of moderate difficulty, with only the top section being "hard". As always in winter be prepared with plenty of layers, it got quite warm in the forest on this sunny March day but at the summit we needed our heavy coats. We needed poles and wore Yak Tracks or similar traction devices the entire hike, switching to actual spikes/crampons once at the cabin as from then on the trail is solid ice.

Watch out for stray skiers and have fun!

1 month ago

Fun hike, started raining halfway through so can't say too much about the summit view but it was a great distance and elevation for a day hike challenge. There's a great spot a few miles from the base called the Path of Life Garden which is really breathtaking and I highly recommend taking time to see.

Nice trail with some terrific views, we met lots of people hiking or skiing on the trail, also three groups of ice climbers in the notch, nice relaxing day in the notch highly recommend.

Fantastic views

2 months ago

The Bruce Trail is a testament to Stowe’s rich ski history. This trail was cut in the 1930s and is still in perfect skiing condition to this day. You can skin or hike it from the bottom, or you can access it from the Four Runner Quad at Stowe Mountain Resort. You will need to coordinate a ride with someone back to the lifts if you do the latter. The whole thing took about 16 minutes to ski, including the Burt Trail. This trail is not recommended for beginners, since it will involve 3000 feet of moguls on a narrow slope. But if you have the skills necessary, it’s a descent to remember.

Great trail with amazing views! Great camping!

I was hesitant to hike this in the snow, and didn't quite make the summit due to bad timing on our part, but I'm so glad we did it. The frozen terrain would have been impossible to pass without crampons, but the hike itself is so rewarding. There's a small cemetary at the trail head parking lot you can walk through. Next time I'd like to do the full loop to the summit via Monroe and head down via the Dean/Long Trail. My review of 4 starts is only due to an incomplete hike that day.

Incredible views once you make it to the top! We hiked in the middle of December and would recommend crampons and/or walking poles. There was plenty of ice once you start climbing the ridge.


Incredible hike. Snowy, not much ice. Beautiful.

Pretty icy towards the top and above the tree line. Would have been easier with microspikes and poles. But if you’re willing to take your time and risk a few butt slides you’ll be fine. Views were incredible even with the clouds we had.

3 months ago

The trail head is poorly marked and doesn’t correspond with the coordinates in All Trails. It looked like it had promIse. Too bad.

Everybit as breathtaking as the reviews suggest. Mid november there was considerable ice on the trail, and was glad to have brought some strap on spikes. The hike itself was pleasant enough, although not as difficult as it is rated. It has a few short sections where you need to be mindfull, but no real consequences to speak of.

The days started clear but was cloud covered when we summitted, so will trya nd make it back to spend some time on the long trail when visibility is better.

Highly recommend this hike. Its a real gem.

Ascended Laura Cowles and Descended Sunset Ridge in mid-November. There was considerable snow even at lower elevations. And a fair amount of ice once you get above about 3,000’. Definitely recommend spikes at a minimum due to the trail conditions. Poles would be helpful, too.

As far as rating difficulty level, I would say this is pretty much right in the middle of moderate on a scale of easy to difficult. Much less challenging than many of the New England 4,000’ers I’ve done. But would certainly be strenuous, though definitely doable, for someone in average physical condition who isn’t accustomed to alpine hikes. I would say this is a very good introductory test for someone looking to evaluate their fitness and interest in mountain hiking as a pass time. Once you get to the top and get that payoff in the way of awe-inspiring views, you will get the bug. No doubt.

Laura Cowles, with the fresh snow cover, was beautiful from start to finish. Some beautiful and interesting rock formations, as well as some very cool ice formations at various places along the way. Portions of the trail are actually a small stream. Like, you’re walking IN the stream. At least at this time of year. Maybe it’s intermittent. I can’t say for sure. But be sure to have proper footwear.

The summit is beautiful. We were fortunate to have done this hike on a crystal clear day with the added benefit of fresh snow cover on the surrounding area. It made for gorgeous views. Could clearly see Champlain, the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains, and the Whites, all from the rock bluffs at the summit.

I wish I could give it something between the 4 and 5 star rating. It is worthy of 5 stars, for sure. It is visually interesting, mildly challenging, and quite serene. I only give it 4 stars because comparatively speaking, having done some otherworldly trails in the Whites, this one falls just a bit short for me. Again, this is strictly comparatively speaking. It doesn’t fall short of being incredible by any measure. I will absolutely do it again. And I look forward to it. Highly recommend this as a visually beautiful and satisfying day hike that is very much doable in a relatively short day, as opposed to some of the longer trails in the Whites that make for a very long, but very gratifying, day in the trail.

So in summary, do it. It’s fantastic.

Starting to get icy near the summit so be mindful. Took about 3 1/2 hours to complete at a fast pace. Very beautiful views at the summit.

We hiked up Laura Cowles trail and down Sunset. Laura was more brutal than I expected. Be prepared to stop periodically and let your heart slow down! Lots of stretches of wet rock staircases. Very windy at the top. Sunset was not difficult to get down.

Great trail! Great view!

Drove up from Cleveland for this. I am not an experienced hiker by any means, and this tested my mental and physical abilities. When I got to the top, it was all worth it. Amazing view.

Last hiked in 1990 and stayed at the youth camping area campground. Took Sunset Ridge Trail to Chin, and down Laura Cowles Trail. Took a group of teen and younger kids who enjoyed it.

Did this trail in the rain (which became snow as I got higher). There were no views whatsoever because of the weather. With that said, it was still an amazing hike. Solid workout. 360-degree view at the top. Can't wait to come back!!

Great hike!

Very nice trail.

Love it! Great for all experience levels!

mountain biking
5 months ago

Love it! Great for all experience levels!

5 months ago

Was not the most strenuous hike, but nearly had us out of breath in some spots. The dean trail was fun, even in the rain. It was like beginner rock climbing. Ninja (my dog) had no trouble jumping over some obstacles. I would not take anyone afraid of heights or a dog that lacks physical ability on the dean trail up to Camels Hump. The dean trail had interesting rock obstacles and overlooks after 3ish miles. The Monroe trail is sort of boring, but a much easier climb up to the peak.

5 months ago

We hiked this trail to the top and back, it was not 6.4 miles but a little over 8 miles. There was not a clear spot to turn around as the Catamount XC trail goes on for many miles, so we stopped at approximately the top, and we got a little view, but not very much.

It was an enjoyable trail to hike, with beautiful scenery, but does not see much traffic in summer, some areas were not very well marked and 2 different people missed a turn and got lost on the way down. It was wet in places and the footing could be slippery. I would not classify this as a great trail for beginners.

At the top there was a lot of signs of moose activity.

(FYI The reviewer Jesepe A is obviously commenting on a different trail that starts nearby goes up to the Long Trail and back, https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/vermont/nebraska-notch-lake-mansfield-trail, that is not this trail)

A nice hike and at the top is was beautiful. I definitely wouldn't call this a hard hike compared to other hikes marked hard. I would give it a moderate. But all in all it was a good hike!

Not sure where on this trail is the waterfall. A little disappointed by that. But the view still is jaw dropping

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