These four options all start from the Barnes Camp Visitor Center and Long Trail overnight parking lots in Stowe. This area has a lot of hiking and ski trails alongside each other, so we strongly encourage you to bring a paper map on your hike.
- Barnes Camp to Smugglers’ Notch Picnic Area – EASY
- Haselton Trail – MODERATE
- Mount Mansfield via Long Trail South > Haselton Trail Loop – DIFFICULT
- Smugglers’ Notch Boardwalk– EASY, ACCESSIBLE
Barnes Camp to Smugglers’ Notch Picnic Area – EASY
» 1.6 mi round trip, approx. 60 ft elevation gain
This lovely walk begins at Barnes Camp with the Smugglers’ Notch Boardwalk, which offers views of the Notch as well as excellent wildlife watching opportunities. Once you reach the end of the boardwalk, continue onto the dirt footpath and follow the white-blazed Long Trail until you come to a signed intersection. Turn right and follow the blue-blazed trail deeper into the Notch. You’ll pass through an old gravel pit, then descend to the West Branch of the Little River. As you approach the river, you will see the picnic area to your left down a short spur trail. Enjoy a packed lunch at the picnic tables, then return the same way.
Haselton Trail – MODERATE
» 4.2 or 5.2 mi round trip, approx. 2,000 or 2,249 ft elevation gain
The Haselton Trail begins near the bottom of Switchback ski trail just past Stowe Resort’s Midway Base Lodge. The trail winds up along streams and across ski trails. The final 0.3 mi overlaps with the classic Nosedive ski trail for a steep push to the Auto Toll Road. Once you reach the road, turn left and stroll up to the chairlift platform or restaurant deck for sweeping views reaching all the way to New Hampshire’s White Mountains. For a slightly longer trip, turn right and walk up the final 0.5 mi of the Auto Toll Road to the Mansfield ridgeline for even more views.
Mount Mansfield via the Long Trail > Haselton Loop – DIFFICULT
» 6.1 mi round trip, approx. 2,793 ft elevation gain
This challenging loop is a Vermont classic, taking you to the highest point in the state!
NOTE: Do not attempt this route if there is a threat of thunderstorms, as route is above treeline for 1.6 mi and offers little protection from wind, rain, and lightening.
From Barnes Camp, head out on the Long Trail South, which begins by crossing the Smugglers’ Notch Boardwalk. When you come to a signed intersection, continue on the LT, which will take you across 108 and begin climbing Mansfield. 1.7 mi after the road crossing, you’ll see a turn for Taft Lodge on your left, which offers a great view for a lunch break. Continue on the Long Trail up to Eagle Pass, where you’ll see a large wooden sign announcing that you are entering the fragile Alpine Zone. Above this point, please take care to walk only on rock, as the plants are easily permanently damaged by foot traffic. Turn left at Eagle Pass and begin the rugged 0.3 mi ascent to the Chin.
PLEASE NOTE: The north side of the Chin is extremely steep, requiring the use of hands while hiking. It may not be appropriate for people with an intense fear of heights and may not be passable by all dogs. Ascent will be significantly more difficult in the rain or fog.
Once you have reached the Chin, continue on the LT south as it traverses 1.3 mi of the Mansfield ridgeline. The open ridge offers continual sweeping views of Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, and Canada.
Once you reach the Mansfield Visitor Center at the Auto Toll Road parking lot, turn off the LT and head down the road 0.5 mi to the top of the ski area. Turn left and follow the Haselton Trail as it overlaps with the Nosedive ski trail for 0.3 mi and continues through the woods down to the resort parking lots.
Smugglers’ Notch Boardwalk – EASY/ACCESSIBLE
» 0.25 mi round trip, approx. 2 ft elevation gain to viewing platform
You can explore wetlands, see a beaver dam, and admire a unique view of Smugglers’ Notch from this 660-foot accessible boardwalk on the Long Trail. Along the boardwalk are several informational panels with facts about the local wildlife and geology.
From Cambridge: Follow VT-15 E into Jeffersonville and take a right on VT-108 S. Pass through Smugglers’ Notch. Barnes Camp is at the exit the Notch just as Stowe Mountain Resort comes into view.
From Stowe: From the intersection of VT-100 and VT-108 at the center of town, head north on VT-108 for 7.7 mi. Barnes Camp will be your next right after passing under the Stowe Mountain Resort cross-street gondola.
For the Boardwalk or for the hike to Smugglers’ Notch picnic area, you can use the Barnes Camp Parking lot. For the Haselton Trail or the Long Trail>Haselton Loop, park in Stowe Resort Parking Lot D2. Across the street from Barnes Camp on 108, you will see a Stowe Resort entrance sign, with a hiker parking sign hanging below it. Turn into the resort and take an immediate right into the parking area. There is a signed path through the trees to the crosswalk.
Where to eat and drink nearby:
- Morse Mountain Grille at Smugglers’ Notch Resort for lunch or dinner
- The Cupboard Deli for creamees, baked goods, and to-go sandwiches
- The Alchemist for after-hike beers (curbside pick-up only as of 7/24/20)
- Edelweiss Mountain Deli for breakfast sandwiches and to-go lunch