Top Things to See in Stowe: Scenic Trails, Historic Sites, and Local Delights

Nestled in the heart of Vermont, Stowe is a picturesque town that captivates visitors with its enchanting beauty and rich array of activities. As soon as you arrive, you’ll be greeted by rolling hills, charming covered bridges, and a vibrant local culture that invites exploration. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, Stowe offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to every interest.

One of the most popular attractions in Stowe is the scenic Stowe Recreation Path, a 5.5-mile paved trail perfect for biking, walking, or jogging. This well-maintained path meanders through lush landscapes, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Along the way, you’ll encounter charming art installations, inviting picnic spots, and an array of local shops and eateries, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely day out.

For those seeking adventure, the nearby mountains provide ample opportunities for hiking, skiing, and breathtaking scenic drives. Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, offers challenging trails and panoramic vistas, while the historic Smugglers Notch features narrow, winding roads that lead to spectacular viewpoints and serene hiking trails. Whether you’re scaling a mountain, exploring a waterfall, or simply enjoying the vibrant fall foliage, Stowe promises an unforgettable experience.

Stowe Recreation Path

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A Scenic Adventure

The Stowe Recreation Path is a must-visit for anyone who loves the outdoors. This 5.5-mile paved trail winds through the heart of Stowe, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. Whether you’re biking, walking, or running, the path provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Highlights Along the Path

  • Art Installations: At the beginning of the trail in town, you’ll find beautifully painted street artwork on a short section of the pavement. It’s a delightful start to your journey.
  • Bridges and Waterways: The path features several sleek bridges that cross over the river, providing picturesque spots for photos.
  • Rest Stops: There are numerous picnic and rest facilities along the way, including a charming gazebo, perfect for a leisurely break.
  • Shops and Eateries: You’ll encounter several restaurants and shops along the path, including a brewery, making it easy to grab a bite or a drink as you explore.

Smugglers Notch

Smugglers Notch Scenic Highway - Lamoille County Planning Commission

Breathtaking Mountain Views

A visit to Stowe wouldn’t be complete without exploring Smugglers Notch. This stunning mountain pass offers some of the most breathtaking views in Vermont. The drive up the mountain is both beautiful and thrilling, with its twisty, narrow roads.

Hiking and Exploring

  • Visitor Center: Start your adventure at the visitor center, where you’ll find information on various hiking trails.
  • Cave Trail: One of the shorter hikes, the Cave Trail, offers a unique exploration of the area’s natural formations.
  • Scenic Stops: There are several places to stop along the road for hikes or simply to enjoy the views. Each stop offers a new perspective on the natural beauty of Smugglers Notch.

Mount Mansfield

2 Unique Ways to Get to the Top of Mt. Mansfield | Stowe, Vermont

A Drive to Remember

Mount Mansfield is another highlight of Stowe. The drive up the 4.5-mile toll road is an adventure in itself, costing $51 for two people. While it might seem pricey, the views and experiences make it worthwhile.

Summit Hike

  • Parking Lot A: The highest parking lot you can access by car, Lot A is the starting point for the hike to the summit.
  • Hiking Experience: The hike to the summit takes about 20 minutes one way. The trail is well-marked but can be steep in some areas, so make sure your car has good brakes for the descent.
  • Panoramic Views: Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views that are nothing short of spectacular.

Bingham Falls

Bingham Falls Guide | Top Things To Do in Stowe, Vermont | Smugglers Notch State Park - Abby Hawaii

Nature’s Tranquil Escape

Bingham Falls is a hidden gem in Stowe. Accessed via the Mill Trail, this site offers not only natural beauty but also a touch of history.

Mill Trail Highlights

  • Historic Landmarks: The trail features a historic ski cabin and remnants of a butter tub factory, adding a sense of nostalgia to your hike.
  • Scenic Beauty: The wide, well-maintained trail leads to the top of Bingham Falls. The views of the gorge and the waterfalls are breathtaking, and the sounds of the rapids are incredibly soothing.
  • Accessibility: Parking is free but limited, so plan accordingly. The hike is relatively easy, making it accessible for most visitors.

Pinnacle Mountain

01/12/14 Featured Arkansas Photography–Wintertime reflections of Pinnacle Mountain @ Photos Of Arkansas

A Hiker’s Paradise

For those who enjoy a good workout, the Pinnacle Mountain trail is a must-do. This trail offers a continuous climb and some scrambling, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Trail Details

  • Starting Point: The Pinnacle Meadow Trail begins at a gated road adjacent to a dirt parking area. There’s no fee to park.
  • Trail Experience: The trail is wide up to Pinnacle Meadow, and from there, it becomes a rocky path leading to the summit. The climb is steady but manageable.
  • Summit Views: At the top, you’ll be treated to a 360-degree view of the surrounding area, including a lovely view of Stowe.

Gondola Rides

Stowe, VT Great Vermont Skiing and The Sound of Music

A Bird’s Eye View

One of the most exciting ways to see Stowe is from above. The gondola ride offers a unique perspective of the area, providing stunning aerial views of the mountains and valleys.

What to Expect

  • Spectacular Views: The gondola ride takes you high above the treetops, offering breathtaking views of the landscape below.
  • Accessibility: This is a great activity for visitors of all ages and physical abilities, as it requires no hiking or strenuous activity.
  • Photo Opportunities: Don’t forget your camera, as there are plenty of opportunities to capture the beauty of Stowe from above.

Shopping in Stowe

Stowe Mercantile | Historic Village | Shopping in Stowe, Vermont

Charming Boutiques and Shops

Stowe’s shopping scene is as charming as the town itself. With a variety of boutiques, galleries, and specialty stores, there’s something for everyone.

Shopping Highlights

  • Local Crafts: Many shops feature local crafts, from handmade jewelry to unique home decor items.
  • Art Galleries: Stowe is home to several art galleries showcasing works by local artists. It’s a great way to take home a piece of Vermont’s creative spirit.
  • Specialty Foods: Don’t miss out on the local food shops, where you can find everything from artisanal cheeses to maple syrup.

Stowe Mountain Resort

Stowe Mountain Resort | SE Group

A Year-Round Destination

Stowe Mountain Resort is a hub of activity, offering something for everyone, no matter the season.

Winter Wonderland

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: The resort is renowned for its excellent skiing and snowboarding facilities, catering to all skill levels.
  • Family-Friendly: With activities and amenities for kids, it’s a great destination for families.

Summer Fun

  • Hiking and Biking: In the warmer months, the resort transforms into a playground for hikers and bikers.
  • Scenic Gondola Rides: The gondola operates year-round, providing spectacular views of the mountain.

Dining and Entertainment

  • Variety of Restaurants: The resort boasts a range of dining options, from casual eateries to fine dining.
  • Friendly Atmosphere: The staff is known for their friendliness and helpfulness, ensuring a pleasant experience for all visitors.

Emily’s Bridge (Gold Brook Covered Bridge)

Gold Brook Covered Bridge - Stowe Vermont by Joann Vitali

A Touch of History and Mystery

Emily’s Bridge, also known as Gold Brook Covered Bridge, is an iconic structure in Stowe, shrouded in local legend.

What to See

  • Historical Information: An information board at the site details the interesting stories and legends associated with the bridge.
  • Picturesque Setting: While there are other covered bridges in the area, Emily’s Bridge is worth a visit for its historical significance and charming setting.

Trapp Family Lodge

Stowe, VT Mountain Vacations at The Von Trapp Vermont Lodge

A Unique Historical Experience

The Trapp Family Lodge offers a glimpse into the history of the famous von Trapp family, made famous by “The Sound of Music.”

Exploring the Lodge

  • Family History: The lower floor of the main lodge features exhibits on the family’s history, their escape from Austria, and their new life in America.
  • Grounds and Facilities: You can walk the grounds with a pass and even rent sports equipment. The lodge’s beautiful setting makes it a great place for a leisurely stroll.

Cider Houses and Breweries

Pabst Forms Partnership with Vermont Hard Cider | Brewbound

Local Flavors

Stowe is home to some fantastic cider houses and breweries, offering a taste of the local flavor.

Must-Visit Spots

  • Shakedown Street: This cider house is also a restaurant with interesting food and drinks, along with live music on Friday nights. The pork belly here is a must-try.
  • Outdoor Atmosphere: Many cider houses and breweries feature outdoor seating and lawn games, creating a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Bingham Falls

Bingham Falls, Vermont, United States - World Waterfall Database

A Natural Oasis

Bingham Falls is a serene natural attraction that shouldn’t be missed. The Mill Trail leading to the falls is both scenic and historic.

Trail Experience

  • Historic Sites: Along the Mill Trail, you’ll find a historic ski cabin and remnants of an old butter tub factory.
  • Falls and Rapids: The trail leads to stunning views of the gorge and waterfalls. The sounds of the rushing water add to the tranquil ambiance.
  • Accessibility: Parking is free but limited. The trail is well-maintained and relatively easy, making it accessible for most visitors.

Pinnacle Mountain

New visitor center at Pinnacle Mountain State Park |

A Rewarding Hike

Pinnacle Mountain offers a challenging but rewarding hike. The Pinnacle Meadow Trail is perfect for those looking to get a good workout while enjoying beautiful scenery.

Hiking Details

  • Starting Point: The trail begins at a gated road adjacent to a dirt parking area. Parking is free.
  • Trail Experience: The trail is wide up to Pinnacle Meadow and becomes a rocky path leading to the summit. The continuous climb is manageable with some scrambling.
  • Summit Views: At the top, you’ll be treated to a 360-degree view of the surrounding area, including a lovely view of Stowe.

Stowe’s Food Scene

Cozy Winter Dining in Stowe

Culinary Delights

Stowe’s food scene is diverse and delightful, catering to a range of tastes and budgets.

Top Picks

  • Local Restaurants: Stowe is home to a variety of local restaurants offering everything from casual bites to fine dining.
  • Farm-to-Table: Many establishments focus on farm-to-table dining, using fresh, local ingredients.
  • Breweries and Cider Houses: Enjoy a meal at one of the many breweries and cider houses, which often feature excellent food menus.

Seasonal Events and Festivals

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Year-Round Fun

Stowe hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, making it a lively destination no matter when you visit.

Event Highlights

  • Winter Carnival: A fun-filled event featuring ice carving, snow golf, and other winter activities.
  • Stowe Farmers’ Market: Held during the warmer months, the market offers local produce, crafts, and live entertainment.
  • Art on Park: A summer event showcasing local artists and musicians on Park Street.


Stowe, Vermont, is a destination that truly has it all. From stunning natural landscapes and outdoor adventures to rich history and vibrant local culture, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re hiking up Pinnacle Mountain, exploring the Stowe Recreation Path, or savoring local cuisine, your time in Stowe will be filled with unforgettable experiences.

This charming town’s blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and modern amenities makes it a perfect getaway for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure. I hope this guide helps you plan your visit and make the most of your time in Stowe. Happy travels!