5 Favorite Cross-Country Ski Trails in Stowe, Vermont

February 13, 2019


All the fresh snow coming down in the Green Mountains of Vermont has us talking about skiing. More specifically, our favorite cross-country ski trails – you know, the ones we just can’t get off our minds. Stowe’s world-class trail networks combined with an idyllic setting and the majestic Mt. Mansfield looming in the distance, is an experience like no other. And even the most athletic Nordic skiers will find fresh new trails to explore. Everyone has a favorite cross-country ski trail in Stowe; here are some of ours.

Morrison Trail at the Trapp Family Lodge
The Morrison Trail was reopened a couple of years ago after a property changed hands to a new “skier friendly owner. A big thank you to the new owner and to the Trapp Family Lodge for bringing back this gorgeous trail, which runs from the top of Telemark Trail through the middle of the cross-country touring center connecting with the County Road Trail. Consider this an alternative route on your way up to the cabin. From there, take Chris’s Run back down, a scenic and fun descent back down from the upper trails at Trapps. These trails are not suitable for beginner skiers.

Ranch Valley Cruise at Stowe Mountain Resort Cross-Country Center
Ranch Valley Cruise is one of the most iconic and fun of the old-school cross-country ski trails at the Stowe Mountain Resort Cross-Country Center. Ski it downhill from where it turns off the Ranch Camp Trail (otherwise known as “the connector”) for a fun, but not too hairy rollercoaster ride all the way down to the Stowe Derby Trail. Turn left and descend to the bridge over Ranch Brook, then straight ahead to get back to the Nordic Touring Center.

The Stowe Recreation Path
A top list of cross-country trails in Stowe just wouldn’t be complete without the Stowe Recreation Path. One of the main attractions in the summertime, the beginner-friendly Rec Path it is now easily enjoyed in the wintertime as well, thanks to regular grooming by Stowe Nordic. Starting at the iconic white steeple church in the center of Stowe, cross-country skiers can follow the Rec Path up a gentle grade for five miles to where the trail ends at a picturesque covered bridge, then turn around and enjoy the gentle cruise back into town. This is a family-friendly Nordic skiing trip that passes a number of Stowe restaurants, so you can take your time and eat and drink along the way! There are also several parking areas along the Rec Path to start from.

[Insider’s Tip: if you’re new to the sport, check out our latest blog post.]

8 Bridges Trail in Sterling Valley
Sterling Forest is home to some amazing and diverse backcountry skiing terrain, from excellent powder descents off the ridge, to gorgeous and peaceful cruises through the woods. The 8 Bridges XC Trail falls into the latter category as it crosses eight bridges while winding and gently rolling through the lower part of the valley. It’s a little over an hour round-trip (or make a loop by going one-way on Maple Run – the very lightly traveled VAST trail that runs parallel to and just below 8 Bridges). It’s an all abilities, any kind of equipment and dog-friendly outing.

The “Stowe Traverse”
The Stowe Traverse is a long backcountry ski day tour that follows most of Stowe’s portion of the Catamount Trail (sections 23 and 24). It runs mostly through rolling, peaceful forest from Sterling Valley to the von Trapp Brewery & Bierhall. This route is ideal for lower-intermediate and advanced skiers, with a few pretty good climbs and descents. Since it is a point-to-point ski, it is best to ski with friends and spot cars at either end. Start at either Sterling Valley for a long day tour, or at Wiessner Woods for a more manageable ski, and end at the von Trapp Brewery & Bierhall. What better way to end a day on skis than with a Trapp lager and some of chef Jack Pickett’s great food!

We encourage all our club members and the greater community to constantly explore cross-country trails in the Stowe area, because you never know what you may find! What are your favorite XC ski trails in Stowe?

Maps of all these trails (and ideas for many more) can be found on Stowe Nordic’s website. Either click on the interactive trail map, or pull down and choose from the list of all the cross-country ski options in the Stowe area.

About Stowe Nordic:
Stowe Nordic is Stowe’s local cross-country ski club. We are dedicated to helping people who live in or are visiting the Stowe area enjoy our sport more – through programs to make good skiers ski better, or helping new skiers discover the joy of free-heeled and non-lift served skiing, or just bringing people together to have fun doing ski related activities.