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Stephanie Graudons | 08.23.2018

Often known for its numerous nearby ski resorts, Stowe, Vermont, is a small mountain town with beautiful scenery, great food made with local ingredients, and opportunities for unforgettable, year-round adventure. Whether you’re looking to spend your time hiking, paddling, or indulging in the local culture, the lush forests, colorful mountain vistas, and the small town feel will leave your inner outdoor enthusiast satisfied. Here is a three-day itinerary of some of our favorite places to get you started on your warm-weather trip planning!  

Day one

Ease into the trip by taking a short hike to explore what the area has to offer. The Elmore Mountain fire tower in Elmore State Park offers a fantastic view overlooking Lake Elmore in any season, and it can be done as an out-and-back or as a 3-mile loop hike. Take a dip in the lake to cool off once you finish. If you choose to camp, reserve a campsite or lean-to in the park to maximize your time outdoors.

After your hike, visit the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, join a Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour, or check out The Alchemist Brewery for some local beer. If you like to keep moving, another 3-mile hike option with a great view is the Stowe Pinnacle. Just don’t tire yourself out too much before day two!

Day two

A visit to Stowe would not be complete without a moderately strenuous, rugged hike to the state’s high point, Mount Mansfield. Choose from several routes and head straight for the 4,393-foot summit, or traverse the whole ridge. While this isn’t an easy hike, the extensive views of the surrounding Green Mountains, Adirondacks, and Lake Champlain make it worth every bit of effort. Up on the ridge, you’ll notice you’re hiking alongside beautiful and fragile alpine vegetation, so you’ll want to take care to stay on the trail and avoid walking on the plants. This alpine zone is a remnant of what once covered the entire region after the last ice age, and it only takes a few steps on the vegetation to kill it. Take in the view, take some photos, and make your way back down the mountain to celebrate your summit with a tasty dinner at one of the many local restaurants.

Prefer some lower-key options? Spend the day near water by taking a hike to Sterling Pond, located in Smugglers’ Notch State Park. At only 2.5 miles round trip and less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain, it’s a great option if you’re a beginner or want to bring the family. After the hike, visit the 40-foot Bingham Falls for a change of scenery and perhaps a swim.

Day three

After two days of hiking, drive a little out of town and rest your legs with a paddle at Green River Reservoir State Park. This secluded, undeveloped lake provides a quiet, relaxing atmosphere with pristine scenery and many options for wildlife viewing. Keep an eye out for moose, eagles, loons, and beavers. Primitive campsites around the lake will surely tempt you to extend your trip and leave you wanting even more time in this stunning place.

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