Hike This Popular Northeast Trail For Views Of A Beautiful Mountain-Top Pond

Vermont is aptly known as the Green Mountain State, thanks to its lush foliage, thriving forests, and mountainous regions, making it a perfect place to hike. The Sterling Pond Trail is a popular hike in Vermont that will lead you to Sterling Pond, a beautiful mountain-top pool of water that offers scenic lakeside sights and high-elevation views of Vermont's wildlands. 

Sterling Pond is in Smugglers' Notch State Park in the Green Mountains. The park is near Stowe, Vermont, a small mountain resort town at the base of Mount Mansfield — Vermont's highest peak. The area has ample activities and places for nature lovers to explore, but the short hike to Sterling Pond remains a favorite among visitors. The scenic pond sits at the top of the 3,000-foot-high Sterling Mountain, surrounded by dense forests teeming with wildlife. Sterling Pond is stocked with trout, making it a popular spot for fishing (you'll need a fishing license), sightseeing year-round, and swimming. Before lacing up your boots, there are a few things to keep in mind about the trail that leads to this lakeside haven.

The hike to Sterling Pond

The trailhead of the Sterling Pond Trail is across the road from the Smugglers' Notch State Park Visitor Center. Since this is a majorly popular trek for hiking, trail running, and snowshoeing, the trail is well-maintained and marked. This out-and-back hike is around 1 mile each way and can take an hour to complete. Though it is not lengthy, the Sterling Pond Trail is considered a moderate to difficult route because sections of the hike become steep and rocky as you journey up towards the picturesque pond. Around a mile into your hike, you will reach the intersection of the Long Trail. At this point, you will see a sign directing you to Sterling Pond, 0.1 miles left of the original trail.

If you're itching to spend more time in the Vermont wilderness, there is a 1.4-mile-long loop that borders the pond. This narrow, wooded trail is considered relatively easy and will allow you to explore additional breathtaking views of the pond. You can continue from the pond to the Long Trail North, leading you to the Madonna Chairlift at Smugglers' Notch Resort. To catch a glimpse of one of the most spectacular ponds in the Northeastern United States, add Vermont's Sterling Pond Trail to your bucket list.