your guide to a few bouldering destinations
Smugglers' Notch
Quick Info

Location: Stowe, Vermont

Approach: 0-5 minutes, Easy

Problems: 100+

Rating: ***

Rock: Schist

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Documented Problems

Perched high in the Appalachians, near the resort town of Stowe, Smugglers' Notch is a beautiful area to do some bouldering. There is a reasonable quantity and variety of problems and the approach is non-existent. Unfortunately the easy access and beautiful setting means you will be sharing the space with all manner of gawking tourists.

The rock is Schist, and is mostly good quality. Some of the landings can be uneven, so be sure to bring some pads and spotters.


The boulders are part of Smugglers' Notch State Park and there are currently no access issues. Please respect the environment so that we can keep it this way.


Conditions are best in the spring and fall, but because of its high elevation, Smugglers' Notch stays relatively cool in the summer. The road through the notch closes at first snowfall, but it is still possible to hike in a mile from the gate. Beware of massive amount of tourists during the fall when the leaves are changing colors.


Smugglers' Notch is located just north of Stowe, Vermont and is about an hour east of Burlington. From I-89 take exit 10 for VT-100 North towards Stowe. After 9.8 mi (15.8 km) turn left onto VT-108, which will take you right through the Notch. The boulders can be accessed from several obvious pullouts, but the main parking lot will be in 9.7 mi (15.6 km).


Most of the boulders are within a stone's throw from your car. Get out and climb. If you want to boulder after the road has closed, it is about a 1 mile hike up the road from the gate.


Smmuglers' Notch State Park has the closest camping to the boulders. The park is open from mid-May to mid-October and sites start at $16 per night. Reservations are recommended as it is often full during the summer. There are also some private campgrounds around Stowe, which also boasts many pricier accommodation options.


Groceries and restaurants can be found in Stowe.


Between 600 and 400 million years ago, northern Vermont was covered by a warm, shallow sea, called the Ipateus Ocean. Over time the sedimentary rocks that made up the shoreline and continental shelf of this ocean were folded and faulted to form the Green Mountains. Smuggler’s Notch is a narrow mountain pass in the Green Mountains, part of the larger Appalachian Mountain Chain. The boulders at Smuggler’s Notch are schist, metamorphosed sediments from the Ipateus Ocean. Most of the boulders are the result of rock fall from the cliffs above.


There is good hiking, biking and sight seeing in the area. If you have money to burn you can find plenty of ways to get rid of it in Stowe.


New England Bouldering

Smugglers' Notch State Park

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