The Stowe Recreation Path
The Stowe Recreation Path (known locally as the 'Rec Path') is a perennial favorite among visitors and area residents alike. It is a 5.5 mile one-way (i.e., not a loop) paved public path that is free to use and easy-to-access. With a mostly flat and level trail experience, people of all ages enjoy easy traveling along the entire route.
The Stowe Recreation Path is open all year long, enjoyed by cyclists, runners, and walkers in the spring, summer and fall, and by Nordic skiers and snowshoers in the winter! Many area restaurants and shops are directly accessible from the path. The Rec Path features attractive bridges, swimming holes and picnic tables, as well as many quiet spots to take in the beautiful views of Stowe.
View the Rec Path Map
The Quiet Path
The Quiet Path is a low-impact extension of the Stowe Rec Path for walkers and joggers only. The natural surface path intersects portions of the conserved Mayo Farm property and meanders along the West Branch of the Little River. Interperative signs and beautiful panoramic views make for a relaxing 1.8 mile tour and a favorite spot for picnics.
Parking areas on Mayo Farm Road, Weeks Hill Road, and Cemetery Roads offer easy access to the Quiet Path. While dogs must be leashed while on the Recreation Path, they can run free on the Quiet Path with other dogs!
Rec Path History
The idea for the Stowe Recreation Path had its genesis way back in 1964, but it wasn't until 1981 that our internationally-acclaimed Rec Path finally made its debut. It began originally as a 2.7 mile path meandering along the West Branch River, and expanded to 5.5 miles long in 1989. For more information, click here.
The History of the Stowe Recreation Path
Due to the traffic on the Mountain Road, in 1964 the Stowe Better Business Association voted in favor of creating a "walking path" but the decision went no further than that business meeting. In 1977, a kind and generous woman named Claire Lintilhac, who lived at the end of the Mountain Road, commissioned the Vermont Highway Department to design a bike route. The completed plans sat idle until 1981 when the Long Range Planning Committee (a group formed under the Stowe Area Association) requested that Bike Path Coordinator be hired for two years at the salary of $5000 for each year. Anne Lusk was hired and started work with no land and no money for construction. Working with volunteer committees and property owners, new plans were prepared, funds raised, designs formulated, articles written, permits received, land acquired, bids opened and construction supervised. By 1984, 2.7 miles of path had been built on 27 donated easements with $300,000 raised for construction. Three years later, the townspeople voted to approve funding for a path extension, and when the Town Moderator "asked if anyone had any thing to say against extending the path, the audience laughed."
Completed in 1989, the total 5.3 miles of path cost $680,000. The funding came from a variety of sources which included $178,000 Land and Water Conservation Funds, $62,000 Revenue Sharing Funds, $120,000 Town Taxes, $134,000 Lintilhac Foundation and $186,000 privately raised by selling pieces of the path at $2 per inch, $15 per foot, $45 per yard, and on through chains, rods, and links.
In 1987, The Report of the Presidents Commission on Americans Outdoor identified the desirability of these greenways. Stowe's community created greenway prompted one magazine to comment, "Walk the Village and ask any resident or merchant for an example of civic pride and invariably the reply is the Stowe Recreation Path." In June 2010, a group of enthusiastic citizens presented a proposal which was approved by the Selectboard and included grooming of the Path for winter recreational activities.
The Stowe Rec Path has earned many conservation, recreation, and travel-related honors over the years. During his administration, President George H.W. Bush formally recognized the Stowe Recreation Path as one of the nation’s “1,000 Points of Light.”