Picnic in the Parks: Smugglers' Notch State Park

By guest bloggers Erin & Eric Meenan

For this (Hikers’) edition of Picnic in the Parks we visited Smuggler’s Notch State Park. On the way to the park we stopped at the Stowe Mercantile for our picnic supplies.
After greeting the local wildlife, we went inside to peruse and sample their snack selection, including their great candy bar.  They also have tons of Vermont gifts. For our picnic we selected some mixed nuts, Gringo Jack chips with Stowe Mercantile spicy bean dip, and of course some candy.

The Stowe Mercantile is right in the center of Stowe and about 6.5 miles down Route 108 from the Smuggler’s Notch State Park.  The park has several great tent and lean-to campsites.  Stop by the Ranger’s lodge for directions to your site and the access point for the trail leading to the Mt. Mansfield hiking trails.

The access trail is about 1.5 miles from the other trails and takes you through several of the Stowe ski slopes.  Keep your eyes open for wildlife; we caught a glimpse of a beautiful fox, but were too slow to take a picture (next time!).  We took the first trail up the mountain called Hazelton.  For those who want a vigorous hike up a steep trail and over several tiny brooks then the Hazelton trail is for you.  If you pick this trail, you won’t be alone. We encountered this delightful couple from Canada.

And don’t worry, the sweat equity pays off when you get to the top.  

The view makes the hard work well worth it and, of course, there are plenty of places to picnic!  If the hike over to the Hazelton trail was enough to get your heart rate up, you can take the gondola to the top from the Midway Lodge, which is just down hill from the trailhead.

Join us for our next picnic at Mt. Ascutney State Park


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