Wide open spaces in Stowe, Vermont

Wide Open Spaces

When I was in college I remember hearing the song “Wide Open Spaces” from The Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks) for the first time–and it felt like freedom. Comparable themes seem just right for the summer of 2020, and also much of what many of us are craving right now: road trips, escape, the outdoors, adventure and independence. So, when the time is right, get in the car, turn the radio up and drive. We hope your return to travel just might be a return to the northeast’s favorite vacation destination of Stowe, Vermont!

If there was ever a place to experience wide open spaces, that would be picturesque Vermont. With a population of barely over 600,000 people, and rolling mountains, lush hillsides and rich farmland, social distancing is our way of life every day. Physical and mental health has been at the top of my mind over the last months; therefore, I have recommitted myself to experiencing Stowe in all its glory. Whether it is climbing, riding, floating or running, the rugged Green Mountains have many options.

As a youth, I do not recall liking to hike very much. Back then I also lived in Stowe, but when I returned to my childhood home in 2011 I discovered how much I actually like it as an adult. Part of the appeal for me has grown because of my evolving passion for being on the trails and in the woods. It is always a serene experience with the stillness and maybe a slight rustling of trees or tweeting birds. Then there is the reward of the climb to the peak, an awe-inspiring view from the Pinnacle overlooking the village or a refreshing pond swim at the end of the Sterling Pond Trail. There is nothing like reaching the summit and feeling the vastness and solitude of open space!

Click here for the Hiking Guide.

There are so many ways to float on our nearby waterways it is often difficult to choose my favorite!  My family makes near-weekly trips to the wide and deep Waterbury Reservoir or the cooling waters of the West Branch River. The Waterbury Reservoir has a Stowe access point at Cotton Brook which is a great spot if you have your own vessel. It is also very convenient to access from the nearby state park entrance and Stowe’s own Umiak Outdoor Outfitters rents paddle boards, canoes and kayaks right from that location; so there is no need to strap anything to your car.

On a really hot day and when we are feeling more like a lazy river type experience, we break out the inner tubes and float down the snow-fed river from the Moscow recreation fields to Cotton Brook which also empties into the Waterbury Reservoir.  If you do not have your own tubes, have no fear: Umiak will also come to the rescue with rentals to suit all ages.

Mountain biking was another sport I did not fully explore until I was an adult. In fact, I thought that it was too extreme for me and almost passed on giving it a shot. A local event and some mountain bike enthusiasts helped change my mind and the rest is history. Again, I also became drawn to the sport because of the woodsy and secluded trail networks in and around Stowe. Our trail system continues to sustain, develop and expand through the stewardship of the Stowe Trails Partnership and our local MTB enthusiasts.

There are many ways to engage in the wide open spaces in Stowe, Vermont with the aforementioned examples just a few of my favorites. Let us help you find the best fit for you when you join us for your next Stowe adventure.