Scenic Smugglers Notch: Exploring Route 108 - Happy Vermont

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Smugglers Notch Route 108

Scenic Smugglers Notch: Exploring Route 108

The opening of Route 108 through scenic Smugglers Notch is a rite of spring in Vermont. This scenic road that winds through a narrow pass between Mount Mansfield, Spruce Peak and Sterling Mountain is closed to traffic during the winter months. Located near Vermont’s tallest peak, the route opens for the season once the snow is finally gone.

The Notch, which connects Stowe and Jeffersonville, has a unique, prehistoric feel with giant boulders, thousand-foot cliffs and thick forests. In the spring, summer and fall, thousands of visitors descend upon the Notch to hike, rock climb and camp.

The Notch is also a popular spot for snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and ice climbing in the winter. (Since this stretch of Route 108 is closed once the snow flies, you need to park below the Notch and trek through the pass on your own in the winter).

History of Smugglers Notch

Before Route 108 was built in the early 1920s, a footpath and horse trail crossed the Notch. Locals used the Notch to illegally transport goods to Canada in the 19th century, and alcohol was smuggled through the area during Prohibition.

After work on Thursday I decided to take the long way home and drove through the Notch for the first time since October. Even though the trees up there are bare and the ground is brown, it was still a pretty nice commute.

camping, cross-country skiing, Fall & Autumn, hiking, History, ice climbing, Lamoille County, roads, Scenic, snowshoeing, spring, Summer, Travel Tips, Winter
  • matthew houskeeper
    Posted at 14:34h, 15 May Reply

    I made that trip once back when I was at UVM. I’m guessing it was in September or early October. It is really dramatic.

  • Radka
    Posted at 18:31h, 16 May Reply

    On the blog you have amazing photos. I like to photograph his son Matěj. Have a nice day Radka.

  • Erica Houskeeper
    Posted at 10:12h, 17 May Reply

    Hi Matt — The road is very dramatic. Fall is a good time to go up there.

    Hi Radka — Many thanks for stopping by!

  • wdbythesea
    Posted at 18:01h, 05 November Reply

    On one of my trips up that way I took a drive through the notch…found it to be great..I will drive through it again…

  • Pingback:8 Reasons to Love Spring in Vermont
    Posted at 20:10h, 13 July Reply

    […] 108—also known as “The Notch”—reopens after the snow is gone, typically by early May. The scenic road, which winds through a […]

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