Smugglers' Notch State Park

About Smugglers' Notch State Park

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The famous Smugglers Notch is a narrow pass through the Green Mountains. Lined with 1,000-foot cliffs, the winding road is closed in winter. In the earlier days, only a footpath and trail for horses existed here.

In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson passed an embargo act forbidding American trade with Great Britain and Canada. This was a severe hardship for northern Vermonters since Montreal was closer than other markets in the US. Many local people continued illegal trade with Canada, herding cattle and carrying other goods through the Notch. Later, fugitive slaves used the Notch as an escape route to Canada. During the Prohibition years, liquor was smuggled from Canada over the improved road built in 1922.

Smugglers’ Notch State Park was relocated in 2003. All of the historic structures originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps were carefully relocated and restored, preserving the work of these pioneering conservationists. The new campground features sites that are further spread out, a new restroom facility that incorporates alternative energy, and a location that gives easy access to Bingham Falls. The restrooms have flush toilets, hot and cold running water, and coin-operated hot showers. Firewood and ice are available for sale

Smugglers Notch State Park is not confined to the campground. Just outside the gates lies a scenic corridor full of adventure. Starting at the Barnes Camp Visitor Center, the 3.5-mile long scenic highway brings visitors through a steep and winding pass filled with beautiful vistas and recreational opportunities.

Visitors can stroll along the wetlands boardwalk near the Barnes Camp Visitor Center or begin a hike on the Long Trail. The Smugglers Notch Picnic Area, set by a beautiful stream, is further up the road. History buffs will enjoy checking out the fireplaces built by the pioneering conservationists of the CCC.

Other great hikes include the challenging Hellbrook Trail and the popular Sterling Pond Trail.

Notable Trails

The TrailFinder website has a description and map of hikes at Smugglers Notch State Park.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Entrance fee

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

Content from Smugglers' Notch State Park Official Website

Last updated October 14, 2023