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Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Family Camping, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, State & National Parks

The Stowe Experience–Part 3

January 23, 2011 by · 4 Comments 


We had planned and scheduled our trip out east that year to allow us to complete as many high points as we were able during our 12 days on the road so summiting Mt. Mansfield was the initial reason for our stop in Stowe, VT. Situated in Smuggler’s Notch State Park, Mt. Mansfield is 4,395 feet high. However, unlike most other state high points, some kind souls have thoughtfully constructed an Auto Toll Road that will take visitors most of the way to the top of the peak.

Terry, Meg and the puppies on the way up!

The Toll Road is a beautiful drive, in addition to being quite an interesting experience, with much of the road taking the car more vertical than horizontal, at least in parts. We did not feel threatened at any point, however, but would not want to make the drive in the winter, if that is even allowed! As we had picked up a $2 off coupon on our stop at the Stowe Visitor’s Center when first arriving in town, we paid $21 for our car full of riders to use the road.

Once at the top it is time to get out and complete the two mile hike to the summit. A primitive Visitor’s Center welcomes visitors with a map and information about vegetation, but no toilet facilities, so hikers should use the restrooms before driving the toll road. The hike was a welcome event for us as we were feeling the need to wear off some of that Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream we had consumed! The dogs (our three English cocker spaniels) accompanied us and had a great time.

Meg, me and the puppies hiking

We had arrived at the Visitor’s Center at the end of the Toll Road at 10:42 that morning and reached the summit at 11:25. After snapping a few pictures, we headed back down, reaching the Visitor’s Center again at 12:17 pm, making our total round trip time one hour and 35 minutes. We let many other hikers pass in front of us due to the fact that we had our dogs on leashes which tends to slow traffic on a narrow path.

At the top!Having hiked many mountain trails and summited a number of peaks, I can safely say that the Mt. Mansfield hike is one of the most beautiful I have ever encountered. While most of the way it is a simple up or downhill stroll, there were just a few spots where handholds were required. All in all, a very pleasant way to spend a morning! The ride back down the Auto Toll road was equally pleasant with spectacular scenery and a feeling of accomplishment!

For more information about camping in Vermont browse Woodall’s listings of Vermont camping.


4 Responses to “The Stowe Experience–Part 3”
  1. Jim Sweeney says:

    Makes me homesick for the Green Mountains being as I was born and raised there and used to pick berries in Smuggler’s Notch way before the interstate existed. Guess I’ll have to settle for the wonders of my new home here in Austin, Texas. I’m jealous.

  2. Diane Berry says:

    Hi Jim–sounds like you have some lovely memories of that beautiful area! However, your weather in Texas has to be a bit better than that in Stowe about now! Thanks for your comment. Enjoy!

  3. John Webber says:

    Hi Diane,
    Just a note from someone that has spent many days skiing at Stowe, you will never have to worry about driving up the “Toll Road” in the winter as it is a skiing trail that is, if my memory is correct, about 2 1/2 miles long and the easiest way down from the top of the mountain. Hope you made a stop at the Trapp Family Lodge for dinner and a great desert at Whips called Sack De Bonbon for 2 (an ice cream sundae made in a chocolate bowl from a sack placed in the snow and filled with chocolate).

  4. Diane Berry says:

    Thanks John–that’s a relief! We did, in fact, have a delicious dinner at the Trapp Family Lodge that is the subject of an upcoming post. Missed “Whips” though–guess we’ll just have to pick that one up on our return visit! Thanks for the recommendation!

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