Hike to Vermont's Sterling Pond

2.2 miles 965 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Shannon Kalahan

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.

Read More

Tags

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

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

4 months ago

Beautiful pond. Worth the hike!

The hike to Sterling Pond is a relatively short trail, with beautiful views at the end. Definitely worth the hike!

Beautiful View, Tough Hike

Sterling Pond is a stunning, picturesque body of water that was well worth the difficult terrain to the top. The first 1/4 mile was very difficult with natural stairs, but once past it was generally a nice hike. For future hikers, I would suggest bringing a walking stick or poles to help climb. I would climb again in a heartbeat!

Perfect For Fall

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

Quick, Intense Climb With Amazing Views

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!

Wonderful Day Hike!!

Stay Nearby

Jericho, Vermont

Davis Farm Guest Suite

Come join us for chores on our Organic Dairy Farm or curl up with a favorite book and enjoy the slower pace of the countryside. We look forward to welcoming you!We milk about 85 cows, raise chicken...

From $102/night

Jericho, Vermont

Davis Farm Guest House

Our Guest Home is situated on a dirt road away from the hustle and bustle of life. It is located across the meadow from our farm. With a spacious yard and a deck with a spectacular view, your stay ...

From $250/night

Hyde Park, Vermont

Belle Vista Farm

Frequent visitors include Great Blue Herons, ducks & turtles. You will be blown away by the panoramic mountain view just a 5 minute walk up a lovely mowed path. We've set up a nice little han...

From $125/night

Waterbury, Vermont

Rachel Lane Getaway

Serene, mountain-view tent site located on 10 private acres with pond near hiking trails. Feel as though you are miles away from society on a private road, yet 5 minutes to all Waterbury has to o...

From $99/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike Mt. Mansfield via the Long Trail

    There are several options to reach the summit of Mount Mansfield. The Toll Road (which, appropriately, has a toll to use it), the Laura Cowles trail, the Sunset Ridge trail, Haselton Trail, the Hellbrook Trail… The most popular trail from the ea...

    4.8 miles 2800 ft gain

  • Hike the Chin and Profanity Trails

    The Long Trail to the Chin and Profanity Trail is a 3.8 mile hike, with 2765 feet of elevation gain. Prepare accordingly: this trail is best trafficked on a sunny day, when the trail is free from mud or slippery rocks and roots. Part of this trail...

    3.8 miles 2765 ft gain

  • Explore Smugglers' Notch

    If you're in New England during September or early October, a drive up north into Vermont is an absolute must for prime fall foliage. I-89 brings you through the state from I-93, and is in itself a beautifully scenic drive. Stowe, Vermont is a sma...

  • Hike to Bingham Falls

    Hiking to Bingham Falls is rewarding for many reasons; people not only come to see the falls, but also to swim in the refreshing, icy cold swimming holes as well. The main falls are tucked away along the walls of a deep, rocky gorge that has been...

    0.5 miles