Stowe is known as one of the premier destinations for skiing and while its frigid temps and snow-capped mountains promise tons of fresh powder, something truly amazing happens after the winter thaw. When the snow turns into mountain run-off and the grass begins to peek through the mud that covers the ground during Vermont's mud season, the entire state starts to change.
Stowe's mountains become more green and lush, its skiing slopes become summits for avid hikers, and its farms burst forth back to life. Farmers markets line small-town streets and shops procure sidewalk sales every weekend, with outdoor festivals beginning to dot the calendars of many. When summertime arrives in Vermont, specifically, in Stowe, this wintertime ski capital becomes a summertime haven for a multitude of adventures.
Hiking, Mountain Biking, And General Exploration
All of the places that were closed off or blocked off for the winter season - such as the road to Smuggler's Notch - open during the summer months. That means that whichever parts of Stowe were unexplored before can finally be visited. Gondolas and auto toll roads open up for summer views, such as the one to the summit of Jay Peak and the auto toll road up to the summit of Mount Mansfield, the state's tallest mountain - all within driving distance of Stowe.
Hiking some of Stowe's most notable trails, such as Stowe Pinnacle, which gives an almost 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape, are great ways to spend time outdoors. The Mad River area and the region around Waterbury, which is right next to Stowe, are great places to start for novice hikers. Another great beginner hike is Sunset Rock, which gives visitors a stunning view of historic Stowe as well as the surrounding Green Mountains. Here are some key Stowe favorites:
- Length: 0.1 miles
- Rating: Easy
- How to get there: Start at Sunset Street in town to reach the trailhead, or drive up Taber Hill Road to the trailhead parking lot
- Length: 2.8 miles
- Rating: Easy-Moderate
- How to get there: Start at the very bottom of the trailhead in the parking lot, or cut the hike in half by driving up to the Pinnacle Meadows Parking lot
- Length: 2.3 miles
- Rating: Moderate
- How to get there: Follow route 108 and park in the Notch parking lot
Taking Advantage Of Stowe's Food Scene And Breweries
One thing Stowe should be known for is its food and the breweries in the surrounding area. While Vermont, as a whole, is known for its incredible craft brews, Stowe is home to many that are worth stopping at for those who happen to be in town. While these things can be taken advantage of during the winter, Vermont's finicky weather makes it tough to navigate the roads at times, which makes summer the perfect time to do all of this foodie and brewery exploration. If you find yourself in Stowe with sunny skies and 75-degree temps, check these places out.
Trapp Family Lodge
If your brain is associating the Trapp Family Lodge with the von Trapp family, you'd be correct! Famously known from The Sound of Music, which detailed part of the von Trapp family's lives, this is the lodge that belongs to the same family. Reaching deep into its German roots, the lodge was constructed in a classic architectural style and is home to the von Trapp brewery, which is serving up fantastic German beers.
The brewery itself is stunning, and every area of the ground features views of the mountains surrounding it. It's said that the location for the Trapp Family Lodge was chosen because the views were so reminiscent of Austria, and we'd be inclined to agree. Stop by for some incredible German food, a Dunkel, and a stroll of the surrounding meadows and farms - or just book a stay at the Lodge!
- Hours for the Brewery & Bierhall: Every day from 11:30 AM to 9 PM
Ben & Jerry's Factory
Upon first arriving in Stowe, visitors will probably see signs for the (official) Ben & Jerry's Factory that calls Stowe its home.
Here, visitors can take the factory tour, which kicks off with a brief educational video about the creation of the beloved ice cream company, followed by a factory walkthrough and, finally, a taste of some of the world's best ice cream. After the tour, head out to the back hills to walk through the Flavor Graveyard!
- Scoop Shop Hours: Every day from 11 AM - 8 PM
- Tour Hours: Every day from 11 AM - 8 PM
Known as one of the best breweries in Vermont with a reputation for its bold, original beers, The Alchemist is more of an experience than your typical brewery. It's not unusual for Alchemist fans to walk out with entire boxes full of four-packs since many of the beers are seasonal and they don't always last.
Get a free tasting at the taps to the left of the entrance, or take some time to walk around the brewery and scope out the brewing process before taking in the views outside.
- Hours: Open Daily from 11 AM - 6 PM