Hike to Vermont's Sterling Pond

Smugglers Notch, Cambridge, Vermont, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Snowshoeing, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2.2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    965 Feet

Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Enjoy beautiful views of surrounding valleys and mountains on this short hike. Once you make it to the pond, you can extend the hike with a 1.4 mile loop around it's perimeter. If you're thinking of bringing your pole, this is Vermont's highest elevation trout pond (permits required).

Sterling Pond trail begins across the street from a parking area on Route 108, about 3 miles south of Smugglers' Notch Resort. Keep in mind that the road is closed to vehicles once the snow falls, so if you want to hike this area in the winter, you'll have to park about 40 minutes away and hike in to the trailhead.

This trail is a short 1.1 miles each way, with a 1000' gain in elevation. It's steep, slick, and the trail is characterized by large boulders and heavy tree roots sprawling across the trail. Although the terrain can be difficult at times, this is a popular and well-worn trail, so you can often see where roots and boulders have been worn down and shaped into hand holds and stairs. Take advantage of those spots to help you through the elevation gain. Also, if you have knee problems, bring your hiking poles. You'll need them for the trip down.

Because this trail is steep and slippery with some difficult terrain, it may be a challenge for people with compromised health, older adults or very young children.

The first section of trail will give your legs and lungs a huge workout. It's a natural staircase for at least the first ¼ mile. After that, you'll find a few areas that flatten out (relatively speaking) where you can catch your breath as you go.

At the end of the mile, you'll come to a t-intersection. Turn left to find the pond (0.1 mile) or right to join up with Vermont's Long Trail.

Sterling Pond is a scenic, peaceful place nestled among the mountains, surrounded by pine trees and some dramatic rock formations. Even if you stopped here, the hike would be worth the trip.

That being said, the view from the top of the trail is lovely. To the left of the open shore, you'll find a steep staircase. Follow that trail (along, but above the pond's edge) to the warming hut and ski lift, and take it all in.

Print out this helpful park map to get a better idea of the surrounding trails.

Pack List

  • Appropriate hiking shoes and clothes (season dependent)
  • A camera and tripod
  • Snacks and water, as there are no facilities on the trail
  • Hiking poles will help with steep sections
  • Fishing permits and gear
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Reviews

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Great quick and up. A little steep so wear good shoes and you'll be fine.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I hiked this in late fall, 2015 and it was absolutely beautiful! It's a very steep, slippery climb, but faster than I had expected considering the elevation gain. Temperatures dropped the day of my hike and wind chills was extreme with the wind whipping up the bare ski trails, so I didn't overnight as intended, but the lean-to & tent platform are nice and the warming shelter is right there too. Again, great views of Sterling Pond and the valley down the ski trails!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago
about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Shannon Kalahan Explorer

I am an avid traveler, adventurer, dog owner, chapstick user, professional photographer, teacher and author based out of New England. I love to meet new people, so please, reach out to say hi!

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