What to do in Smugglers Notch State Park

The 25-acre Smugglers Notch State Park acquired its name as a result of an early 1800's trade embargo created by President Thomas Jefferson. The narrow foot and horse trail was a route of commerce between Vermont and Canada. Today the high elevations support alpine plant species and offers spectacular viewing opportunities to the visitor. A 38-site campground is also offered.

Smugglers Notch is a narrow pass through the mountain with 1,000 foot cliffs on either side. In the early days, only a footpath and trail for horses existed.

In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson passed an embargo act forbidding American trade with Great Britain and Canada. This was a severe hardship for northern Vermonters, since Montreal was closer than other markets. Many people, therefore, continued illegal trade with Canada, herding cattle and carrying other goods through the Notch. Later, fugitive slaves used the Notch as an escape route to Canada. During prohibition in the 1920's, liquor was smuggled from Canada over the improved road that was built in 1922.

Many species of plants found in Smugglers Notch are endangered and grow nowhere else in Vermont. These plants are alpine species and thrive in the arctic-like conditions of the moist, cold, rocky cliffs. This area is also a historic nesting site for the peregrine falcon. The higher elevations also provide an opportunity to view fall hawk migrations. Rustling in the trees, you are likely to spot a white-throated sparrow, junco or black-poll warbler.

Recreation
Smuggler's Notch State Park is a narrow rugged pass between Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak. The towering cliffs and ledges are an excellent environment for rare arctic plant life and for viewing the peregrine falcon. In addition to the tremendous views, a 38-site campground is offered. The Smuggler's Notch Scenic Highway (SR 108) is the main road through the recreation haven. Cross-country skiing permitted in winter by walking around entrance gate; all facilities closed including restrooms.

Nearby attractions include Smugglers Notch Historic Site, (2 miles north Route 108); Toll Road (1 mile south Route 108); Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe; Johnson Woolen Mills, Johnson; Alpine Slide, Spruce Peak; Gondolas, Mt. Mansfield; and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury.

Location
From Stowe travel 10 miles northwest on SR 108 to reach the park.

Climate
Winter daytime temperatures in the lower half of the Lakes / Kingdom region averages 14 to 16 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 to -9 Celsius). The upper half of this region experiences winter temperatures ranging below 14 degrees Fahrenheit (below -10 Celsius). Summer daytime temperatures are cooler along the western area of Lake Champlain averaging 66 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (19 to 21 Celsius). The central area of this region expects temperatures from 66 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (19 to 20 Celsius) with the eastern area of this region experiencing the coolest summer time temperatures of less than 66 degrees Fahrenheit (below 19 Celsius). The yearly precipitation for Lakes and Kingdom Travel Region vary from less than 36 inches (91 centimeters) along the western line to more than 44 inches (112 centimeters) along the eastern border of New Hampshire and Canada.

Address
P.O. Box 7248 Mountain Road
Stowe, VT 05672

Phone: 802-253-4014

  • Smugglers Notch State Park Travel Q&A