Reaching New Heights in Stowe
July 10, 2019
by HEATHER MOSELLE, STOWE MOUNTAIN RESORT
The ridge line of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, is known for its resemblance to a man’s face looking up at the sky. The “Nose” and the “Chin” are distinct landmarks to both the skiing and hiking communities in Stowe and are a huge draw for visitors year-round. Those coming to Stowe Mountain Resort in the summer have two unique options for getting to the top of Mt. Mansfield: the Auto Toll Road and the Gondola SkyRide.
The Auto Toll Road was originally completed in 1870 for horse-drawn carriages to access the summit hotel, Mt. Mansfield Hotel (which is no longer standing today). In 1983 the Chapel was finished and today it still hosts a Sunday service and small intimate weddings. The Mount Mansfield Visitor Center at the top currently serves as an information center and starting off point for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The Auto Toll Road is accessible to cars only, and takes visitors up a steep and windy unpaved 4.5 mile-long road. Between the wildlife that you can encounter and the switchbacks that give you a thrill, the Auto Toll Road gets better with each turn along the way. The breaks in the trees also deliver amazing views of Stowe’s ski trails and Spruce Peak.
Besides driving up the Auto Toll Road, many visitors plan a picnic or a hiking excursion along the way. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a weekend warrior, the short distance out to the clearing after parking at the top is breathtaking. The ridge line hike, while challenging in some areas, can’t be beat and gives you 360 degree views. You feel like you are on top of the world… well maybe on top of Vermont – reaching the highest summit of Mount Mansfield when standing on the “Chin” at 4,393 feet elevation. There is a medallion in the rock that gives you a great photo opportunity. Many people also rest there and picnic while absorbing the never-ending views before making the descent.
Looking for another relaxing way to experience Mount Mansfield, well look no further. The Gondola SkyRide is your ticket to the top. The ride up is beautiful no matter what the weather is. On a clear day the expansive views of the mountains covered with the lush forest canopy and the wildflowers on the trails are gorgeous. In the early morning or on a cloudy day, the SkyRide can be just as exciting, especially for a first-time visitor. The clouds hang low over the mountain and you feel like you are riding right through them.
A fond memory of summer at Stowe Mountain Resort is when my parents came to visit for the first time. We went on a ride up the gondola and had lunch at The Cliff House with a view. My dad was in such awe of this special place. We had a memorable lunch talking about old times and all our adventures during ski weekends growing up. I love trips down memory lane with family and creating new meaningful moments together here.
It is hard not to love where I work and what I do. Between the spectacular surroundings, the activeness of the resort, the family feel, and the guests, every day is exciting. And no two are alike. My advice for a guest coming to Stowe Mountain Resort is to take your time, spend the whole day with us, enjoy all that we have to offer, and you will have an experience of a lifetime.
About the Author:
Heather Moselle is the Product Sales and Services Manager of Tickets and Season Passes at Stowe Mountain Resort. She has worked for the resort for seven years and lives in Waterbury, Vermont. She has three sons and loves to ski, hike and boat with them. Heather loves to get out and cheer on her kids at their various activities, which at the moment is her youngest son’s travel lacrosse team!