This popular state park, located in Vermont, is a narrow passage that leads through the Green Mountains. In 2003, the park was relocated to allow room for expansions, including an updated campground and sites featuring alternative energy. Despite this, great care was taken to relocate and restore the original structures that were built there by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The site originally housed the many young men looking for work during the Depression era, so it was important for their work to be preserved as much as possible.
Visitors report satisfaction with the new renovations, as the new campground has sites that allow for much more room than before, and ample thought was given to the facilities operating on alternative energy. Campers can now enjoy hot showers, firewood and ice for sale, as well as a new location that provides easy access to Bingham Falls.
Before planning a stay at the park, travelers should be aware that most sites in the park are first come first serve, and not easily accessible by vehicle. Because of the limited space and narrow geography, there are only a small number of sites that can accommodate a trailer or RV. Animal lovers are welcome to bring their furry pals for a visit to the park as well.
Day use of the park consists of a variety of recreation and fun. There's a wetlands boardwalk near what's called the Barnes Camp Visitor Center. Bouldering and cave exploring commonly take place here as well, and when the weather allows it, some try their hand at ice climbing. Day use of the park comes with an entrance fee of $4 for adults, $2 for kids 12 and younger, and children ages 0-3 enter the park free of charge.
Smuggler's Notch State Park has a small campground with 20 tent sites and 14 lean-tos. We almost always splurge on a lean-to so we can camp comfortably rain or shine. This year we stayed in Hemlock, and it was so secluded and quiet. The whole place has a real wilderness feel, but it is very close to lots of hiking and the attractions in Stowe. You can easily walk to Bingham Falls across the street, which I think is one of the most lovely waterfalls in the whole state. There's also easy access to lots of hiking trails, although I would suggest driving to the trailheads as route 108 is not fun to walk along.
A favorite Smuggler's Notch weekend in the summer would include a visit to Bingham Falls, hiking to Sterling Pond, and possibly up to the top of Mt. Mansfield. When we don't have time to hike up Mt. Mansfield, we splurge on a drive up the toll road. Then we can hike around on the summit. Lastly, we always stop at the Alchemist for a case or two of Heady Topper to bring home.
The Green Mountains of Vermont are amazing all year. Check with the local ski resorts for summer activities like gondola rides. The ranger programming was exceptional, as are the views and the nearby areas for hiking and backpacking. Relatively modern campsite but still a simple state park setup with one exception: true to northeast tradition many of the camp sites are lean-to style.
We camped here last week in one of their shelters due to an impending storm. Great facility but a little pricey. Overall though a good experience.