Stowe Mountain Resort Zip Tour Adventure

What’s the best family adventure you can have on a mountain without putting on a pair of skis?

Since there isn’t snow year-round in Vermont (how I wish!) I’m always looking for the best answer to this question. I’m happy to report that when my family visited Stowe Mountain Resort one bright August morning we discovered an entire range of answers that included flying down the face of Mount Mansfield on a zipline and swinging through the trees at the end of a rope.

Stowe Mountain Resort Adventure Center

Our day began on at the new Adventure Center, a gorgeous soaring building in the Spruce Peak Base Area. Although the ropes course and zipline are both located on Mount Mansfield, which is across the street, all tours start with a visit to the registration desk and Gear Zone here.

We had decided in advance to divide and conquer our mountain fun. My husband Matt and 14-year-old son Tommy grabbed harnesses and headed off for the ZipTour, a series of three ziplines that course down the face of Mount Mansfield offering thrills and views. I was lucky enough to try the Stowe zipline with my fellow Mamas the previous summer, and had my younger son wanted to, would have jumped at the chance to give it another whirl.

Stowe Mountain Resort Treetop Adventure

But 11-year-old Teddy was not enthused by the idea of the height and speed of the zipline opting instead to suit up for a TreeTop Adventure on the ropes course.I wasn’t feeling my best that day and decided I would serve as Teddy’s personal photographer. I was secretly looking forward to playing this role – and to seeing Teddy, always a bit more timid than his brother, master something without having anyone peering over his shoulder or lapping him as tends to happen when you’re the younger child.

Learning the ropes at Stowe Mountain Resort

No one else had signed up for our time slot, so after a quick equipment check we had a private gondola ride over to the Mansfield side of the resort with our friendly guide Coddie who chatted Teddy up and made him feel completely comfortable.

Stowe Mountain Resort Treetop Adventure

Teddy has completed ropes courses before, but this was his first time in the trees at Stowe. His orientation session was detailed and thorough. Stowe’s courses use a dual-locking system that takes a little bit of time to learn but insures that you are always connected by at least one cable, enabling kids to safely move from element to another without adult assistance. During the training session you get to try your hand at locking and unlocking yourself and to cross a low wire and zipline.

Stowe Mountain Resort Treetop Adventure

Stowe offers a Kids Explorer Yellow Course and then four “adult” courses labeled Green, Blue, Red, and Black, each progressively harder. Teddy was thrilled to discover that he passed the height test for the four harder courses (had he been too short, he would have had to stick to the Yellow course). Although on the ride over to the course he had said he would start on the kids course no matter what, the orientation gave him so much confidence that he decided to start his adventure on the harder Green course.

It was awesome to see him take off through the trees without a backwards glance. I could follow him easily on the ground and offer words of encouragement on the particularly challenging elements. Since he was on his own, he could go at his own speed and he loved everything that he tried from the “Swiss cheese boards” as he called them,

Stowe Mountain Resort Treetop Adventure

to the wavy bridge,

Stowe Mountain Resort Treetop Adventure

to a sideways ladder.

Stowe Mountain Resort Treetop Adventure

The elements got higher and more challenging as the courses got harder, until he was far above me, moving nimbly through the canopy.

Stowe Mountain Resort Treetop Adventure

The course guides circle the bottom as well, offering words of encouragement. Visitors have the option to come down from the trees at the end of each course, but if they get stuck in between the guides are there to offer assistance as needed. Teddy did just fine without any help.

Stowe Mountain Resort Treetop Adventure

No matter where you choose to come off the course, you get to end with a series of scenic ziplines, which are a bit less intimidating than those on the mountain face.

Stowe Mountain Resort Treetop Adventure

Teddy completed three of the four harder courses before he got too tired, needing lunch and a drink of water. I loved how much confidence this gave him – maybe next time he’ll even have the courage to try the ZipTour.

Ziplining down Vermont’s tallest mountain

Meanwhile Matt and Tommy were having adventure of their own. After a training session on a smaller zipline at the bottom of the mountain, it was just a quick gondola ride up to the top.

Gondola Stowe Mountain Resort Ziptour

Tommy confessed to being a little nervous at the top, but said he got over it as soon as he took off. I was a little jealous when I watched the video they shot – it was a gorgeous day and it is just so much fun to soar down the mountain.


And it’s pretty cool at the bottom to post for a photo that offers all the stats – they definitely earned bragging rights.

Stowe Mountain Resort Ziptour

I’ll never stop being a fan of winter, but if it can’t snow year round, I’ll take this flavor of fun. I imagine it will be even more gorgeous as the leaves change.

A few Stowe Mountain Resort Family Adventure tips

  • The Stowe Mountain Resort ZipTour and TreeTop Adventures are open daily from June through the first week of September and then Thursdays to Sundays until the middle of October.
  • Both courses are open in all kinds of Vermont weather (and since you are on the face of the highest mountain on the state, you could come prepared for changeable temperatures and conditions) but if you plan your visit for a day when the weather keeps you indoors, you can still get aerial on at the new climbing wall inside the Adventure Center. Even though we were there on a bright, sunny day my kids were tempted by it, so we will definitely be back to give it a whirl.
  • Before completing either activity, be sure to use the rest room and to hydrate, especially if the day is warm. The resort provides some some water stations along the way but they are few and far between. A water bottle that can clip to your harness with a carabiner is a great idea.
  • Tours are offered on the half hour throughout the day and the courses do sell out, so it’s a good idea to make reservations in advance. Save yourself some time on arrival by printing off and signing the release form ahead of time.
  • If you have additional questions about either course, the Stowe Mountain Resort website has excellent FAQ sections for each activity.


Enter to Win!

Have tips of your own and want to get to Stowe for a family adventure? We are giving away a family activity package that includes up to 5 tickets to the Stowe’s ZipTour and Treetop ropes course, plus gondola ride vouchers. Share your family travel tips in the comments to enter. We’ll choose one winner on Monday, August 7, 2017.



  • Family travel tips: No matter how we are traveling (plane, car, etc) I always pack a new toy/game/activity and give it to the kids at the first sign of restlessness. Magnetic tic tac toe boards, Mad Libs, car bingo pad, etc. Also plenty of snacks are a must – especially a candy or treat that they aren’t allowed often. In our family the act of getting to our vacation is usually the most stressful, so I have found these tips help lessen that stress and set a great tone for our vacation!

  • Family Travel tip: pack all bathing suits in one bag- avoids searching through each person’s bag (and the whole back of the car) to find each individual suit!! Also, the plastic zipperedbags that sheet sets come in make great storage for the bathing suits, (and other items). The see-through plastic helps identify items inside when you’re (inevitably) rummaging around the back of the car…

  • When driving to our vacation destination I try to find an interesting place to visit a couple hours into the drive. A museum, battfield or other place of interest allows everyone to get out stretch and to experience different things.

  • Travel light. If anyone wears contacts and plans on taking a run on any zip-line …. wear sunglasses or goggles. Both of my contacts blew off once on a zip-line tour! Great way to spend the day with the family.

  • Always have a first aid kit in the car which comes in handy for blisters and minor cuts. We usually have sunblock and plenty of liquids to keep passengers content and hydrated. When on a scenic route we get out and stretch to take family pics so teenagers remain happy posting on their adventures ????

  • I always bring snacks as well as an easy meal’s worth of food (for the first day, before you get a chance to go grocery shopping, or in case things are closed by the time you arrive). Most of our trips have been by car, and whole family enjoys listening to audiobooks–stories like Harry Potter, Coraline, Percy Jackson, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are entertaining for all!

  • Plenty of sleep the night before. Moderate water at the beginning of the car ride, but lots of water through the rest of the day! Easy dinner ready to go for when you get home (or your hotel).

  • Don’t forget to pack a positive attitude and sense of adventure! Getting outside of your comfort zone can provide the greatest moments in life. So relax, think positive, and enjoy the ride.

  • Make a plan…but be OK with things not going precisely as you hoped. Traveling with family can be difficult at times, but it’s meant to be fun & if you’re too stressed about meeting schedules & deadlines, no one is going to have fun. Take a leap; try new places, new things. Live your list!

  • Leave early, pack lots of snacks, & always have a backup plan in case something unexpected happens (weather, traffic, tantrums, etc.).

  • Tips for traveling: A small backpack for each member; Insulated water bottles to keep water cold. Energy bars and light food like sandwishes. Pack and rest the night before and happy music in the car. Ah! And a selfie stick????.

  • Research. Research. Research. Two hours spent ahead of time on Yelp, TripAdvisor, local news (maybe All Miuntain Mommas?) will save you many hours and headaches in return. Stowe is great, but maybe that great restaurant isn’t open Monday and Tuesday during August – great to know that before driving down Mountain Road with 3 hungry kids… so plan ahead and call ahead. Stowe is awesome.

  • I usually start packing a week before we leave. Everyday items can easily be forgotten so I make a list. Bring small bills for vending machines, tolls and tips. Pack extra plastic bags for dirty laundry and trash. Make snacks and drinks easily accessible in the vehicle. Music is a must in our vehicle, so we let the kids pick out a couple new CD’s to bring along. Look for free stuff and deals to do in the area you are visiting. Lastly, try to relax and have a great time with the family and make everlasting memories.

  • Travel tips I use.. pack backpacks with essentials and then store the rest away until arriving at destination. Unpacking mid trip is not fun ; )

  • Snacks, books, guessing games, music, and cameras. Everyone decides together what the vacation or trip will need as far as entertainment, food and backup plans. Time to stop, move around and stretch to break up the long drive is another way to change the boredom that can happen with long car trips.

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