Sterling Pond is one of the most magical spots in Vermont. It is nestled between two peaks in Smugglers’ Notch and it sits 3,000 feet above sea level. This unique location makes it Vermont’s highest-altitude trout pond. A permit is required if you want to go fishing in the pond.
The Sterling Pond Trail is one of the most famous and popular hikes in Smugglers’ Notch. It offers access to a unique mountain-top pond ideal for swimming and wildlife observation. The Sterling Pond Trail is roughly a mile each way from the trailhead. The trail connects to a number of additional trails that lead to rewarding vistas of the mountains.
Once reaching the pond, visitors are welcome to follow the additional loop around Sterling Pond. This loop leads to more peace and quiet along with great fishing spots (1.4 miles). This is a tight heavily forested trail with beautiful pond views and a better chance of spotting wildlife. While the walk is relatively easy, with some hills and flats, the rooty trail is frequently wet and slippery. After looping the pond, return to the Long Trail/Sterling Pond Trail intersection and begin your descent down to the parking area or go hike another trail.
(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.)
There are many other iconic spots to explore near the pond. These include Lake of the Clouds, Bingham Falls, and Moss Glen Falls. Also, check out the GoXplr Vermont Map to find hundreds of great spots in Vermont goxplr.com/map/vermont
- Address: Sterling Pond
- Town: Stowe
- State: Vermont
- GPS: Lat 44.55636 Lng -72.77436
- 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.)
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE