Conserved in 2002, Pinnacle Meadow was purchased and added to CC Putnam State Forest and boasts big view rewards for a short hike in.
This month’s outing is short and sweet – perfect for families with kids or anyone looking for a small hike. From the parking lot, pass behind the gate and follow the wide trail as it gradually climbs 0.25 mi (~15 min) to the meadow. The trail is usually packed and snowshoes aren’t necessary except after a big storm. Micro-spikes or yak tracks could help with traction, but the meadow and viewpoint are accessible without any extra gear. From the viewpoint at the meadow enjoy sweeping views of Mt. Mansfield and the Green Mountains across the valley and the snowy Worcester range behind you and to the north. If the day is warm enough, have a seat on the stone bench facing the view. From here turn around and head back to the car.
Ideas for spicing up your adventure:
- Try it at night! The trail is easy to follow up to the meadow and would be a grand adventure by headlamp. On a clear night you might even be able to walk up by moonlight.
- Bring a sled! The open meadow is a fun, gentle slope for sledding. (While you could sled back down the trail we’re going to warn you that you’ll likely get going very, very fast.)
- Try it on XC skis! This would make the trip back to the car a breeze.
- Option to continue up to the Stowe Pinnacle summit: from the meadow follow the trail to your right into the trees. The trail climbs gently to the intersection with the lower trail, and then more steeply up to the summit. Micro-spikes/yak-traks are a must for this hike as the steep sections become icy and impassable without traction. Approx. 3.5 mi round trip.
Directions & Parking
Pinnacle Meadow is located at the end of Upper Pinnacle Road on the north side of Stowe Pinnacle. From the intersection of Route 100 and Route 108 in Stowe Village, head north on Route 100. Take your third right onto School Street. After 0.3 miles take a slight right onto Stowe Hollow Road. Travel for 1.5 miles on Stowe Hollow Road, staying straight to continue onto Upper Hollow Road. After the steep, paved hill the road turns to dirt. Take your first left onto Pinnacle Road and travel 0.4 miles. Make a right onto Upper Pinnacle Road and travel for 0.6 miles. At the next fork, take the slight left onto a class IV road that is marked "Pinnacle Meadow", travel for 0.4 miles. Soon you will see the state forest sign and a gate, the parking area on your left. Please take the last ½ mile slowly – the road is narrow and there are large drainage dips to shed water off the road. This is a popular hike and the parking lot may be full. Please be courteous to other users and try to time your visit to non-peak times (early or later in the day, midweek instead of weekend, etc.) Thanks!