When snow turns soft and many people in town sport goggle tans, you know spring has arrived in Vermont. It makes an appearance just as bundled-up anglers head out to ply icy waters for the opening weekend of trout season and as the first cyclists roll up and down the Stowe Recreation Path. Summer soon follows, bringing earlier sunrises, more beautiful weather and even more things to do.
While Stowe has a rightful place as one of the nation’s foremost winter destinations, the mountain village keeps its luster in spring and summer. Even the most hardcore skiers and riders revel in these temperate months. And for good reason. Check out the town’s favorite activities below.
SugaringSpring’s arrival marks the start of maple sugaring season. You’ll smell a faint trace of sweetness in the billowing white clouds of maple steam coming off the evaporators of a nearby sugar house. Take in Vermont’s sweetest season during the statewide Maple Open House Weekend at the end of March. Three sugaring operations near Stowe take part in the special weekend, and also offer tours throughout the season.Learn how maple syrup is made.
Spring skiingUp on the mountain, soft snow and sunny afternoons celebrate the end of winter and the start of spring. In early April, the Mount Mansfield Ski Club’s Sugar Slalom boasts an extensive start list featuring young junior racers and select members of the U.S. Ski Team. Watch racers in costumes, and enjoy music and a post-ski barbecue in the parking lot. Stowe’s acclaimed restaurants and bars are always a hit for après ski.
Local tip: Spring is a great time to get deals on skiing and riding equipment at the shops around town that don’t want to carry inventory over to next winter.Savor snow in spring at the mountain.
FishingTrout fishing season opens in the Green Mountain State in mid-April. If you’re looking for local experts, Stowe’s guides come highly recommended. A tackle shop is a great place to learn about local hatches, fly patterns and the state’s latest trout-stocking efforts.
Local tip: Take a short, scenic hike to Sterling Pond anytime in June. Vermont Fish & Wildlife stocks the pond (which straddles the Smugglers’ Notch Ski Area and Spruce Peak) with brook trout every year.Cast a line in Stowe.
While you may be tempted to sprint through the myriad of activities Stowe has scheduled in the spring, consider pacing yourself. Summer is just as busy.
Mountain bikingMore than 50 miles of well-maintained single track around Stowe guarantee a green Vermont view in the woods, on the roads or paved paths. The key to Stowe’s stellar biking scene is the non-profit Stowe Mountain Bike Club. As stewards of the trails, they ensure Cady Hill Forest and other trails are in top riding condition.Discover the biking mecca.
PaddlingSeveral lakes and rivers are a flat-water dream for paddling. Try out the Waterbury Reservoir and the Winooski and Lamoille Rivers for leisurely canoe, kayak or SUP excursions that wind through countryside. Nearby, Lake Elmore has beach access and campgrounds. No equipment or experience? No problem. Rent assorted paddlecraft at sporting goods shops and follow a certified guide who can instruct your paddle stroke.Dip a paddle into Vermont’s countryside.
HikingHiking doesn’t start in earnest until Memorial Day weekend, when the trails have dried enough to allow foot traffic. Several trails close to Stowe range from short, easy family hikes such as Moss Glens Falls trail and Bingham Falls, to intermediate and difficult including Sterling Pond, Stowe Pinnacle and Hunger Mountain.
Local tip: No judgment if you take the shortcut. Hop on Gondola SkyRide to the base of Mount Mansfield’s Cliff trail and scramble to the summit of Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, to enjoy the 360-degree views. Or, take a leisurely drive up the mountain's ridgeline on Toll Road for stunning views followed by a quick 1.3-mile hike to the summit.Know what to expect and where to go with the Stowe hiking guide.
Zip liningOnce ski season ends, a local zip line option cures your need for speed. Just a short and gorgeous drive north on Vt. 108, you’ll find the ArborTrek Zipline at Smugglers’ Notch, which was named one of the “10 Best Zipline Courses in the USA” by USA Today.Zip through the forest.
Craft beer & diningBright red raspberries, sweet yellow corn, crunchy green cucumbers, deep purple eggplant—these are the colors and flavors of a Stowe summer. Vermont leads the country in farmers’ markets and organic farms per capita, and the Stowe Farmers’ Market—held Saturdays on the Mountain Road—is one of the best around.
Stowe also has one of Vermont's most vibrant and diverse dining scenes, with plenty of options and price ranges. Many restaurants source their food locally, from meats and cheeses to breads and wild edibles such as fiddleheads and leeks. While Vermont has more craft beer breweries per capita than any other state, local vodkas, whiskeys, gins and cordials made in the Green Mountain State create their own buzz compared to larger national brands.Explore Stowe’s craft beverage profile. Plenty of options and plenty of fun. The only question is,