Best Things to Do in Mad River Valley: Top 12 Attractions to Visit

by Jen
Best Things to Do in Mad River Valley
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Are you thinking about visiting Mad River Valley this year? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in the Mad River Valley. These sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

The Mad River Valley—the place where the mountains touch the sky and the rivers dance through lush valleys. Nestled between the Green Mountains, this slice of Vermont paradise is a year-round haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Imagine waking up to the sound of chirping birds, the smell of fresh pine in the air, and a misty morning view that could make even a poet lost for words. And when it comes to things to do in Mad River Valley, you’ll discover a wealth of outdoor adventures and natural beauty waiting to be explored.

But don’t let its tranquil demeanor fool you. Mad River Valley is brimming with activities that will make your heart race and your Instagram feed envy-worthy. From skiing down powdery slopes to kayaking in crystal-clear waters, there’s no shortage of adventures to be had. And let’s not forget the charming small towns like Waitsfield and Warren, where local artisans and farm-to-table eateries showcase Vermont’s rich cultural tapestry.

So, if you’re wondering what to do in Mad River Valley, you’ve come to the right place. Grab your sense of wonder as we explore the best this valley has to offer. Trust me, by the end of this guide, you’ll be packing your bags faster than you can say “maple syrup.” Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Mad River Valley.

The top places to visit in Mad River Valley right now
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Best Places to Visit in the Mad River Valley

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Mad River Valley? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this tranquil vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Mad River Valley places to visit.

Are you looking to enjoy outdoor pursuits such as hiking, skiing, and mountain biking? Or would you prefer immersing yourself in the local culture through art galleries, farmers’ markets, and farm-to-table dining experiences? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Mad River Valley can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Mad River Valley that you should know about.”

1. Sugarbush Resort

Ah, the thrill of carving your way down a mountain! If you’re a fan of winter sports, then Sugarbush Resort is your snowy playground. With six mountain areas and over 100 trails, it’s a skier’s and snowboarder’s dream come true. But what sets Sugarbush apart from other ski destinations? It’s not just the slopes; it’s the whole experience.

From the moment you arrive, you’ll notice the resort’s commitment to quality. The lifts are modern and fast, minimizing your wait time. The trails are meticulously groomed, offering a variety of terrains that cater to both beginners and experts. And let’s not forget the après-ski activities. From cozy fire pits to gourmet dining options, Sugarbush knows how to pamper its guests after a day on the slopes.

So, if you’re wondering about the best things to do in the Mad River Valley, look no further. Sugarbush Resort offers not just skiing but a complete winter experience. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-timer, this resort has something for everyone. And hey, if you’re not into skiing, no worries! The resort also offers snowshoeing, tubing, and even dog sledding. Yes, you read that right—dog sledding!

In short, Sugarbush Resort is one of those cool destinations in Mad River Valley you can’t afford to miss. It’s not just a place; it’s an experience that will make your winter trip unforgettable.

Sugarbush Resort is one of the best things to do in Mad River Valley.
Experience winter sports at Sugarbush Resort, a skier’s and snowboarder’s dream with six mountain areas and over 100 trails.

2. Mad River Glen

Mad River Glen, where nature and adventure coalesce into one unforgettable experience. If you’re seeking a place that offers more than just adrenaline-pumping activities, this is your sanctuary. Imagine hiking through verdant forests, the air filled with the scent of pine and earth. Now, picture yourself kayaking down the Mad River, the water’s surface reflecting the azure sky.

What sets this place apart from the others? It’s the commitment to conservation. Mad River Glen is a community that values the preservation of its natural beauty. When compiling a list of Mad River Valley places to visit, make sure this one is at the top.

The area offers a plethora of activities for every type of adventurer. From mountain biking to bird watching, it’s a haven for those who love the great outdoors. And for the less adventurous, worry not! The scenic chairlift rides offer panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking.

In essence, Mad River Glen is one of those unique places in Mad River Valley where you can truly disconnect and immerse yourself in nature. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or someone who simply wants to take in the beauty of the natural world, this place has something for everyone.

Explore nature and adventure at Mad River Glen, where hiking and kayaking create unforgettable experiences.
Explore nature and adventure at Mad River Glen, where hiking and kayaking create unforgettable experiences.

3. Warren Falls

Thinking about where to go in Mad River Valley to witness natural beauty like no other? Exploring Warren Falls is the answer. It’s an epitome of serenity for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle. Picture this: cascading waterfalls set against a backdrop of lush greenery, creating a tranquil environment that invites you to relax and rejuvenate.

For the adventurous souls, the falls offer a distinctive swimming experience. Dive into the crystal-clear pools, or if you’re feeling daring, leap off one of the natural rock ledges. It’s not just a swimming hole; it’s an adventure waiting to happen.

But wait, there’s more! The area surrounding the falls is a hiker’s paradise. Numerous trails wind through the forest, each offering its own set of scenic vistas and natural wonders. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual walker, you’ll find a trail that suits your level of expertise.

Warren Falls offers a medley of coolest things to do in Mad River Valley. From hiking and swimming to simply sitting by the water and taking in the view, this hidden gem is a must-see for anyone visiting the area.

Discover natural beauty at Warren Falls, a serene oasis amidst lush greenery in Mad River Valley.
Discover natural beauty at Warren Falls, a serene oasis amidst lush greenery in Mad River Valley.

Welcome to the Artisan’s Gallery—a place where creativity knows no bounds. If you’re thinking about what to do in Mad River Valley that doesn’t involve hiking boots or ski slopes, this is your answer. Situated in the heart of the valley, this gallery is a treasure trove of handcrafted goods, local art, and unique trinkets.

As you step inside, you’re immediately greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors and textures. From intricately designed jewelry to hand-woven textiles, every item tells a story. It’s not just a shopping experience; it’s a journey through the rich cultural tapestry of the Mad River Valley.

And let’s talk about the artists. These are local artisans who pour their heart and soul into every creation. You can often find them in the gallery, eager to share the inspiration behind their work. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with the community and perhaps even discover a new hobby.

Mad River Valley attractions don’t get more authentic than this. Whether you’re an art aficionado or simply looking for that perfect, one-of-a-kind souvenir, the Artisan’s Gallery is a must-see.

Explore boundless creativity at the Artisan's Gallery in the heart of Mad River Valley.
Explore boundless creativity at the Artisan’s Gallery in the heart of Mad River Valley. | Source: https://www.vtartisansgallery.com/

5. Lareau Farm Inn

Lareau Farm Inn is not just another place to lay your head; it’s a culinary adventure waiting to happen.

Envision waking up to the aroma of freshly baked bread and locally sourced ingredients transforming into a breakfast feast. The inn’s farm-to-table restaurant, American Flatbread, is a gastronomic delight that celebrates Vermont’s agricultural bounty. From wood-fired pizzas to organic salads, every dish is a testament to the love and care that goes into sustainable farming.

The inn itself is a cozy, rustic space that invites you to unwind. With its warm wooden interiors and a fireplace that crackles with life, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a Vermont postcard.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also find plenty to do here. From kayaking in the nearby river to cycling through scenic trails, Mad River Valley things to do are aplenty at Lareau Farm Inn.

Savor culinary delights at Lareau Farm Inn's American Flatbread restaurant, celebrating Vermont's farm-to-table goodness.
Savor culinary delights at Lareau Farm Inn’s American Flatbread restaurant, celebrating Vermont’s farm-to-table goodness.

6. Camel’s Hump State Park

Ah, the great outdoors! Camel’s Hump State Park is a nature lover’s dream come true and easily one of the best places in Mad River Valley to experience Vermont’s scenic beauty. The park is home to Camel’s Hump Mountain, the third-highest peak in Vermont, offering a challenging yet rewarding hike that culminates in panoramic views you won’t soon forget.

But hiking isn’t the only activity on offer. The park is a year-round destination, with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the warmer months. If you’re wondering about the coolest activities in Mad River Valley, this park provides a smorgasbord of options.

The flora and fauna are equally captivating. From the vibrant fall foliage that turns the landscape into a painter’s palette to the diverse wildlife that calls the park home, nature is the star of the show here. Birdwatchers, bring your binoculars; you’re in for a treat!

For those who prefer a more laid-back experience, the park also offers several picnic areas and fishing spots. It’s the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature, making it a must-see in Mad River Valley you won’t want to miss. Is this among the top things to do in the Mad River Valley? 100%!

Explore Camel's Hump State Park for Vermont's scenic beauty and hiking adventures.
Explore Camel’s Hump State Park for Vermont’s scenic beauty and hiking adventures.

7. Waitsfield Farmers’ Market

Waitsfield Farmers’ Market is more than just a place to pick up fresh produce; it’s a vibrant community you might want to experience. Held every Saturday from mid-May to mid-October, the market is a feast for the senses. Picture this: rows of colorful stalls filled with organic fruits, handcrafted cheeses, and freshly baked bread. The air is tinged with the aroma of sizzling sausages and sweet maple syrup.

Curious about where to visit in Mad River Valley? This market should be high on your list. It’s not just about the food, though that’s a big draw. Local artisans also showcase their crafts, from intricate jewelry to handwoven baskets. It’s the perfect place to pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir or gift.

The market often features live music, creating a festive atmosphere that’s hard to resist. Kids can enjoy face painting and other activities, making it a fun outing for the whole family.

For the eco-conscious traveler, the market’s commitment to sustainability is a big plus. Many vendors use eco-friendly packaging, and there’s a focus on locally sourced goods. So, if you’re keen on unique things to do in Mad River Valley, spending a Saturday morning at Waitsfield Farmers’ Market is a delightful choice.

Experience the vibrant community of Waitsfield Farmers' Market. They offer organic produce, handcrafted goods, and local flavors.
Experience the vibrant community of Waitsfield Farmers’ Market. They offer organic produce, handcrafted goods, and local flavors.

8. Mad River Path

Welcome to the Mad River Path, a slice of heaven for those who love the great outdoors. This scenic trail network winds its way through the heart of the valley, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, this path provides an idyllic setting for all.

Now, if you’re compiling a list of best places to go in Mad River Valley, don’t overlook this gem. The path is more than just a walking trail; it’s a journey through diverse landscapes. One moment you’re meandering through lush meadows, and the next, you’re crossing charming wooden bridges over babbling brooks.

Local residents have poured their hearts into maintaining and enhancing this trail, making it a true labor of love. Interpretive signs along the way offer insights into the area’s rich history and diverse ecology.

Are you planning to tag along your four-legged friends? The path is dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your pooch along for the adventure. And if you’re into bird-watching, bring your binoculars; the area is a haven for various bird species. The best things to do in the Mad River Valley of VT can not compare to this!

Mad River Path is one of the best things to do in Mad River Valley.
Discover the Mad River Path, a serene trail network in the heart of Mad River Valley, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. | Source: https://madriverpath.org/

9. The Big Picture Theater & Café

Step into The Big Picture Theater & Café, and you’ll instantly realize why it’s one of the unique places in Mad River Valley. This isn’t just a movie theater; it’s a cultural hub that brings the community together. Visualize a place where you can catch an indie film, enjoy a locally-sourced meal, and even attend a live music event—all under one roof!

The Big Picture offers a curated selection of films that you won’t find in your average multiplex. From thought-provoking documentaries to international gems, this is the spot for cinephiles. The café serves up delicious fare that’s as memorable as the films. Think farm-to-table goodness that’ll make your taste buds dance.

Its commitment to sustainability and community is what makes this place stand out. They source their ingredients from local farms, reducing their carbon footprint and supporting the local economy. It’s a win-win!

But let’s not forget the live music. On weekends, the café transforms into a vibrant venue featuring local artists. It’s the perfect way to cap off an evening. So, if you’re looking for the best things to do in Mad River Valley that offers a blend of culture, entertainment, and scrumptious food, The Big Picture Theater & Café should be on your list.

Experience The Big Picture Theater & Café, a cultural hub in Mad River Valley, offering indie films, local cuisine, and live music.
Experience The Big Picture Theater & Café, a cultural hub in Mad River Valley, offering indie films, local cuisine, and live music.

10. The Round Barn Farm

The Round Barn Farm! If you’re searching for Mad River Valley attractions that offer more than just a quick visit, this is your sanctuary. Picture this: a historic Vermont farm that’s been transformed into a charming bed and breakfast. It’s not just a place to lay your head; it’s an experience that encapsulates the essence of Mad River Valley.

The Round Barn Farm is a haven for those who appreciate the finer things in life but crave the simplicity of the countryside. From the moment you step onto the property, you’ll be enveloped by the natural beauty that surrounds you. Rolling hills, lush gardens, and a tranquil pond set the scene for a getaway that’s as relaxing as it is enriching.

The farm operates on a closed-loop system, meaning they grow much of their own food and even produce their own energy. It’s eco-friendly luxury at its finest.

Make sure to add this one to your list if you’re a fan of rustic elegance, sustainable living, and a dash of Vermont history. Whether it’s a romantic weekend or a solo retreat, The Round Barn Farm offers a slice of paradise you won’t easily forget.

The Round Barn Farm is a historic Vermont bed and breakfast offering a memorable experience.
The Round Barn Farm is a historic Vermont bed and breakfast offering a memorable experience.

11. The Mad River Taste Place

The Mad River Taste Place is a culinary adventure waiting to happen. If you’re curious about the Mad River Valley things to do that will tantalize your taste buds, look no further. This place is a gastronomic playground that showcases the finest of Vermont’s local produce, artisanal cheeses, craft beers, and more.

Think that you are walking into a space where every shelf and counter is filled with the finest local goodies. From award-winning cheddars to handcrafted chocolates, the selection is both overwhelming and irresistible. It’s like a farmers’ market, but with the added benefit of being open year-round.

Every product you see has a story, and the friendly staff are more than happy to share the tales behind each item. It’s a place where you can not only shop but also learn about the rich agricultural heritage of the region.

Those Mad River Valley places to visit often focus on outdoor activities, but this is a delightful indoor alternative that offers a different kind of richness. Whether you’re a foodie or just someone who appreciates quality, The Mad River Taste Place is a must-see that offers a slice of Vermont you can actually taste.

Embark on a culinary adventure at the Mad River Taste Place, where Vermont's finest local produce, cheeses, and craft beers await.
Embark on a culinary adventure at the Mad River Taste Place, where Vermont’s finest local produce, cheeses, and craft beers await.

12. Blueberry Lake

Blueberry Lake—a name as sweet as the experience it offers. Nestled amidst lush forests, the lake is a haven for those seeking peace and natural beauty. It’s not just a lake; it’s a sanctuary for your soul. As such, it’s no wonder this is among the most amazing things to do in the Mad River Valley.

Picture this: you’re paddling a kayak through calm waters, surrounded by towering trees and the distant sound of birdsong. It’s as if Mother Nature herself has painted this idyllic scene just for you. And if you’re into fishing, the lake is teeming with opportunities to catch your dinner.

In the winter, the lake transforms into a frozen wonderland, perfect for ice skating and snowshoeing. It’s a year-round destination that offers something for everyone, making it one of the best places in Mad River Valley to experience the changing seasons.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or someone who just wants to unwind, Blueberry Lake is an essential place that you simply can’t afford to miss. It’s the epitome of Vermont’s natural charm, and it’s calling your name.

Discover peace and natural beauty at Blueberry Lake, a Mad River Valley sanctuary and a must-visit experience.
Discover peace and natural beauty at Blueberry Lake, a Mad River Valley sanctuary and a must-visit experience. | Source: https://www.tpl.org/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Mad River Valley

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Mad River Valley? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Mad River Valley:

What’s the best time to visit Mad River Valley?

The best time to visit Mad River Valley depends on your interests. Summer and early fall are ideal for outdoor activities and enjoying the lush landscape. Winter attracts skiers and snow enthusiasts. Spring showcases blooming flowers and crisp weather, while fall brings vibrant foliage, making both seasons popular for scenic beauty.

How do I get around Mad River Valley?

Getting around Mad River Valley typically requires a car due to its rural setting. Rental cars are available at nearby airports. The area is also bike-friendly, and there’s a local shuttle service for transportation within towns. Walking and biking are great options for exploring specific areas within the valley.

Is Mad River Valley family-friendly?

Absolutely! Mad River Valley is family-friendly. It offers a welcoming environment for families with various outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and swimming. Family-friendly accommodations and dining options are available, and the valley’s natural beauty provides a serene backdrop for family adventures and relaxation.

Family enjoying snowboarding at Sugarbush Resort.
Family enjoying snowboarding at Sugarbush Resort.

What should I pack when visiting Mad River Valley?

When visiting Mad River Valley, pack clothing suitable for the season, including layers for changing weather. In winter, bring warm clothing and snow gear for skiing. In summer, pack hiking gear, swimwear, and insect repellent. Don’t forget essential items like sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, and a camera to capture the scenic beauty.

What is the Mad River Valley known for?

The Mad River Valley, located in central Vermont, is known for several attractions and characteristics:

  1. Skiing and Snowboarding: The valley is home to two major ski resorts:
    • Sugarbush Resort: A large ski resort known for its diverse terrain, catering to both beginners and experts.
    • Mad River Glen: Famous for its slogan “Ski It If You Can,” this skier-only mountain (no snowboarding allowed) is renowned for its challenging trails and its single-chair lift, one of the last of its kind in the U.S.
  2. Scenic Beauty: The Mad River Valley is characterized by its picturesque landscapes, with rolling hills, lush forests, and the meandering Mad River. It’s especially beautiful during the fall foliage season.
  3. Outdoor Activities: Beyond skiing, the valley offers a plethora of outdoor activities year-round, including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and fishing.
  4. Artisan and Local Culture: The valley boasts a vibrant community of artisans, with numerous galleries, studios, and craft shops. Local food and craft beverages are also a highlight, with farmers’ markets, craft breweries, and distilleries dotting the area.
  5. Covered Bridges: Vermont is known for its historic covered bridges, and the Mad River Valley has several picturesque examples.
  6. Events and Festivals: The valley hosts various events throughout the year, from music festivals to craft fairs and the famous Green Mountain Stage Race.
  7. Charming Towns: Towns like Waitsfield and Warren exude New England charm, with historic inns, quaint shops, and local eateries.

Are there any local festivals in Mad River Valley?

Yes, Mad River Valley hosts various local festivals throughout the year. These include the Vermont Festival of the Arts, the Vermont Music Festival, and the Mad Marathon. These events showcase the region’s cultural, artistic, and outdoor offerings, making them great opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture and activities.

Why is it called the Mad River Valley?

The name “Mad River Valley” originates from the Mad River that flows through it. The river is said to be “mad” due to its unpredictable and sometimes turbulent flow, especially during spring thaw and heavy rains. This characteristic led early settlers to dub it the “Mad River.”

Is it worth visiting Mad River Valley?

Absolutely, Mad River Valley is a must-visit for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its stunning landscapes, outdoor activities like skiing and hiking, and charming local culture, there’s something for everyone. It’s a year-round destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and Vermont hospitality.

What towns are in the Mad River Valley VT?

The Mad River Valley in Vermont is a picturesque region known for its scenic beauty, outdoor activities, and charming communities. The primary towns in the Mad River Valley include:

  1. Waitsfield: This is one of the larger towns in the valley and serves as a central hub for many activities. Waitsfield offers a mix of historic buildings, local shops, restaurants, and accommodations. The town’s covered bridge is a popular attraction.
  2. Warren: Home to the Sugarbush Resort, one of the premier ski destinations in the Northeast, Warren is a vibrant town with a mix of outdoor activities and cultural events. The Warren Store and Warren Falls are popular spots to visit.
  3. Fayston: A more rural town, Fayston is known for its natural beauty, including part of the Long Trail and the Camel’s Hump State Park. It’s a great place for hiking and enjoying Vermont’s outdoors.
  4. Moretown: Located at the northern end of the valley, Moretown is another picturesque town with a rich history. It’s a quieter spot, perfect for those looking to get away from the busier tourist areas.

Closing Thoughts on Visiting Mad River Valley

So there you have it, folks! A comprehensive guide to the best places to go in Mad River Valley. From the snow-capped peaks to the lush valleys, from the bustling farmers’ markets to the tranquil lakes, this Vermont gem is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.

If you’ve been yearning for a destination that offers both adventure and relaxation, look no further. Mad River Valley is not just a place; it’s a feeling, a state of mind, a home away from home. It’s where you go to escape the mundane and dive into the extraordinary.

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer retreat, this valley has something for everyone. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get read to make some unforgettable memories. Mad River Valley is calling, and you must go.

The top things to do in Mad River Valley for all types of travelers
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