There’s no shortage of gorgeous views here in Stowe. It seems everywhere you look, there’s another beautiful waterfall, gorge, or mountain view. Here are our favorite five spots for the best views in Stowe VT.
You don’t have to go far to get to Sunset Rock. It’s right in the middle of historic Stowe Village. While the going may be a bit steep at the start, the view back down of Main Street and the Green Mountains beyond is worth it. Continue on the trail to Glacial Kettle Hole, a hole formed as a myriad of small pebbles were continuously washed around in a circle over 10,000 years ago. Another quarter of a mile brings you to the Upper Overlook and a gorgeous view of Mount Mansfield. While on your hike, keep an eye peeled for deer, wild turkey, partridge, and the colorful trail markers made by local elementary students lining the trail. The main trailhead is at the end of Sunset Street on the Sunset Rock Trail. Access also from the parking lot on Taber Hill Road.
Sterling Falls Gorge
This short (1/2 mile) and easy hike follows a trail alongside the Sterling Falls Gorge in the Sterling Falls Gorge Natural Area. The falls themselves consist of three falls, six cascade sets and eight pools. In summer, a few of the cascades and pools may be hidden by the leafy green foliage of the forest. There are several trails in the park to explore and plenty of opportunities for great photographs of the best views in Stowe VT. The waterfalls are a bit smaller than other waterfalls in the area, but that just means it’s less crowded and easier to enjoy. To enjoy a cool swim in the main pool, it’s just a quick hike across the bridge at the parking lot (at the start of the trail) to the middle falls. This is an easy hike for all ages, and the climb is only about 150 feet in elevation.
The hike to the Stowe Pinnacle is short and steep with a climb of over 1,500 feet. It’s rated moderately difficult, but the view from the rock summit is amazing and well worth the effort. It’s one of the most photographed views in the state, with views of Mt. Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, and the Worcester and Sterling Mountain Ranges. The Stowe Pinnacle hike is also a favorite of bird watchers. You can hike the Pinnacle two ways: from the Upper Hollow Road trailhead or the Pinnacle Meadows lot trailhead (which shortens your hike by about a mile). Start your hike early, as this is a popular trail and can get crowded. This is the quintessential Vermont mountain hike, with rocky, root-filled trails that wind upwards through the forest. Besides the amazing panoramic view from the rocky summit, two mountain dogs (big, friendly Goldens) are there to greet you.
If you’re looking for a short, easy hike with a big reward, or just love waterfalls, head for Bingham Falls. One of the more popular waterfall hikes, it’s only about a quarter-mile down to the falls. The area is a favorite spot for hiking, swimming, snowshoeing, ice climbing and cross-country skiing too. The hike starts off on a wide path to the top of the gorge, and you can choose to hike to the upper gorge or down to the falls. As you hike down the skinny rocky trail along the gorge, at times the edge is quite close and the trail can become slippery. Just keep an eye on the kids, take your time and you’ll soon be at the bottom. Incredible views of the winding river await hikers at the upper gorge, while at the bottom of the trail, you’ll be enveloped in the pretty, 40-foot cascading waterfall’s mist. There are pools perfect for a cooling swim too. If you enjoyed Bingham Falls, and love short hikes to pretty waterfalls, add Moss Glenn Falls to your list. It feels a bit more remote and is not as crowded. You’ll find Moss Glenn Falls at 615 Moss Glen Falls Road.
There are many trails on Mount Mansfield to explore, and all offer the best views in Stowe VT along the way and of course at the summit of the state’s highest peak. Read up on the hikes before you go, as many of the hikes are challenging, and are for very experienced hikers. A few of the more popular hikes are the Sterling Pond Trail, the Mansfield Ridgeline Trail, and the Cliff Trail. The Mount Mansfield Loop Trail is a popular loop that is accessible year-round and is considered difficult, but the views are amazing. The historic Long Trail, the oldest long-distance footpath in America, travels almost 300 miles between Massachusetts to Canada, offering gorgeous views along every step of the way. And no matter how you make it up the mountain, or which trail you hike, be on the lookout for wildlife! Fall is prime time for spotting moose, geese, hawks, and waterfowl as well as gorgeous foliage. Not ready for exercise, but you still want to enjoy the view? Take the Gondola SkyRide to the top of Mt. Mansfield. It’s a fun, easy way to enjoy the scenery up and down the mountain.