Stowe, Vermont

Sterling Pond stands as one of the state's most enchanting and serene destinations. Perched at 3,000 feet above sea level, it's a mountain-top jewel of Vermont.

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About This Location

Nestled amidst the rugged beauty of Smugglers’ Notch in Stowe, Vermont, Sterling Pond stands as one of the state's most enchanting and serene destinations. Perched at an elevation of 3,000 feet above sea level, this mountain-top jewel is truly a hidden gem in the heart of Vermont, renowned as the highest-altitude trout pond in the state.

Sterling Pond is a place of magic and tranquility, offering a respite from the world below. While its clear waters are perfect for swimming and its shores teem with wildlife, it's also a paradise for anglers. A permit is required for fishing in the pond, promising a serene and secluded experience for those who seek it.

One of the most iconic and beloved trails in Smugglers’ Notch is the Sterling Pond Trail. This trail, approximately a mile in length each way from the trailhead, leads hikers on a captivating journey through the lush, untouched wilderness. Along the way, the Sterling Pond Trail intersects with a network of additional trails that promise rewarding vistas of the surrounding mountains.

Hiking enthusiasts and their four-legged companions will find solace on this trail, which is rated as moderate and can typically be completed in an hour and a half to two hours. Dogs are welcome, with some areas allowing off-leash exploration.

Upon reaching Sterling Pond, visitors are invited to explore the additional loop around its shores, which extends for 1.4 miles. This path offers a quieter, more secluded experience, with breathtaking views of the pond and opportunities for excellent fishing. While the terrain is relatively gentle, featuring some hills and flat sections, the trail can become rooty and slippery, so proper footwear is essential. After completing the loop, you can return to the Long Trail/Sterling Pond Trail intersection and either make your way back to the parking area or embark on another adventure along the many nearby trails.

For those planning their visit, there is a conveniently located parking lot at the Sterling Pond trailhead, situated just off Mountain Road (VT-108). This lot can accommodate around 30 vehicles, and parking here is free of charge. However, it's essential to keep in mind that the lot fills up rapidly on beautiful days and during the vibrant fall foliage season. In such cases, additional parking is permitted along the side of the road.

It's important to note that Route 108, known as The Notch Road, is closed from mid-October to mid-May due to winter conditions. If you wish to embark on this hiking adventure while the road is closed, parking near Smuggler’s Notch Resort and walking along Route 108 to reach the trailhead is a suitable alternative.

While Sterling Pond is undoubtedly the star of the show, there are other iconic destinations to explore in the vicinity. Be sure to check out Lake of the Clouds, Bingham Falls, and Moss Glen Falls to complete your Smugglers’ Notch experience. And, for even more incredible spots to discover in Vermont, consult the GoXplr Vermont Map, which showcases hundreds of hidden gems across the state.

Location Features

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Mountain Road, Stowe, Vermont

GPS Coordinates:
44.556278, -72.774278
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
There is a parking lot at the pond trailhead just off Mountain Rd (VT-108). The parking lot holds about 30 cars and parking is free. The lot does fill up quickly during nice days and in the fall. Additional parking is currently allowed on the side of the road. (It’s important to note that Route 108 (The Notch Road) is blocked off from mid-October to mid-May in the winter, so if you want to do this hike before the road reopens, park near Smuggler’s Notch Resort and walk along Route 108 to the trailhead.)


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