One of our goals this winter was to get in lots of snowshoeing. This time of year you can’t go for a walk in the woods without snowshoes, and the roads can get a little hairy between the slush and ice. Plus, snowshoeing is an excellent way to get a workout in the wintertime. You get your heart rate up for sure - snowshoeing requires more physical work than walking or even hiking (it feels kind of like moving through sand).
Sugarbush Resort, one of two ski resorts in the Mad River Valley, has a few snowshoe trails right on the property that we thought we’d check out. If you already have snowshoes then you can hike and snowshoe the trails for free; to rent them is $25 per pair a day.
There are three trails at Lincoln Peak, one of two mountain peaks at Sugarbush. On Saturday we decided to check out the Gate House Trail. To find the trail, head behind Gate House Lodge and keep going up. You’ll soon see a rope, which you can walk beside until you hit the snowshoe trail (marked with a blue marker) in a small patch of woods.
The trail is an out and back, has over 800 feet of elevation climb, and is about two miles round trip. With stops to drink water and enjoy the scenery, it took a little over an hour to climb up, and a half hour to get back down.
Overall, the Gate House trail was good, but not great. We were alongside skiers and snowboarders (you could see them through the bit of woods in between the snowshoe and ski trail) for two-thirds of the hike, but it was pretty quiet and felt more remote the rest of the time. The steady uphill felt great on the legs, and for the most part, the trail was easy to follow using the big blue Snowshoe signs. The main letdown was that the trail ends abruptly against a ski trail. It’d be great to have a view, but you don’t get to the top of the mountains on this snowshoe hike.
If you’re looking for a totally remote feeling, I’d probably head up onto the Long Trail or other spots, but for now, for us, a lot of these easier-to-access trails work well. We’ll definitely get more snowshoeing in this winter.