Vermont state parks provide stunning scenery, pristine forests, majestic mountains, bubbling rivers, and serene lakes, among other things. The Green Mountain State, which has 55 different protected areas, is a haven for both outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
You’re sure to find it here and more, whether you’re looking for a daring outdoor adventure or a tranquil mountain retreat! With so many parks to visit, it can be difficult to choose just one. To make things easier for you, we’ve determined the most incredible VT state parks that you simply must visit.
1. VT state parks: Smugglers’ Notch State Park
With a height of 2,119 feet, Smugglers’ Notch State Park stands out from other national and state parks. Smugglers’ Notch got its name because the British used it to import goods into Canada while evading the Embargo Act.
The Green Mountains are home to this state park. You can travel past all five of the Green Mountains’ tallest peaks using the Long Trail. The Hell Brook Trail and the Sterling Pond Trail are two additional well-liked hikes.
Smugglers’ Notch State Park is the perfect place for lovers of action-packed adventures. You can practice ice climbing or bouldering here, or you and your group can explore a cave. The park’s location atop 1000-foot-tall cliffs offers breathtaking vistas of the surroundings.
2. Vermont State Parks: Camel’s Hump State Park
Of all the state parks in Vermont, Camel’s Hump State Park is the biggest. It is situated close to Waterbury in the Green Mountains’ northern region. This state park’s mountain, known as Camel’s Hump, is its main draw. With a height of 4,085 feet, it is the third-highest mountain in the state. Visitors are welcome to explore the summit’s 10 acres of surface area.
This state park is located in a stunning natural setting. Although it lacks visitor amenities, anyone can access and explore it. The Camel’s Hump View Trail is the one you can take that is the most easily accessible. It only has a length of 0.8 miles and gives you a view of the summit.
The Long Trail traverses the entirety of Vermont and includes Camel’s Hump. There isn’t much camping in the parking lot. Primitive camping is permitted as long as it’s carried out at lower elevations and far from tourist attractions.
3. VT state parks: Gifford Woods State Park
The next state park on our list is Gifford Woods State Park in Vermont, which is a great option for a day spent outdoors. Here, you can go camping, have a picnic, and if you have the necessary equipment, fish. It has hiking trails, just like every other state park in the US. The park is traversed by the Appalachian Trail in part. There are four rental cabins, 21 lean-tos, and 22 campsites.
The primary reason to visit Gifford Woods State Park is its flora. Old-growth hardwood trees like beech, sugar maple, white ash, and hemlock can be found here. When the weather is right, there are lots of native wildflowers to enjoy.
Clearly, the best time of year to visit this state park is in the fall. The golden-brown foliage that covers the forest floor is unparalleled.
4. Quechee State Park
The US Army Corps of Engineers is the owner of Quechee State Park. To more effectively implement a regional flood control plan, the army purchased the park’s land. There are camping, swimming, picnicking, hiking, and fishing options in the 688-acre park. There are numerous animal and plant species for wildlife enthusiasts to discover.
The Quechee Gorge is the main draw of the state park. It was created 13,000 years ago as a result of intense glacial activity. Most of the gorge can be explored by visitors. They can either hike through the gorge itself or park on the nearby bridge. We suggest the Dam Trail if you’re looking for a more accessible trail with similarly breathtaking views.
5. Mt. Philo State Park
The area around Mount Philo was designated as Mt. Philo State Park. This state park offers views of Lake Champlain, the Adirondack Mountains, the Green Mountains, and Camel’s Hump because of its elevation. Only a narrow seasonal road or a trail provide access to the park.
From the base to the summit, there are numerous hiking trails that pass through each location. The picnic area on a mountaintop is one of the park’s main draws. You can take a quick break here to breathe in the clean air and take in the tranquil surroundings.
The ideal times to visit this state park as a birdwatcher are September and November. At that time, raptors that are migrating can be seen flying over and around the summit.
6. Elmore State Park
The two most well-known attractions in Elmore State Park are Elmore Mountain and Lake Elmore. Elmore Mountain rises from the lake’s shore at a height of 2,608 feet, while Lake Elmore’s surface area is 219 acres.
This state park offers a sizable campground with 15 lean-tos and 44 tent and RV sites for its visitors to enjoy. There are numerous trails that lead to the mountain’s summit and the fire tower, another well-liked tourist destination. Sand beaches and a beach house with all the amenities are here for you if you decide to stay here for a summer vacation.
7. Little River State Park
A campground called Little River State Park is situated in the Mount Mansfield State Forest and on the Waterbury Reservoir. The biggest campground in the state is in this park. It is also the most well-liked, largely because of its 81 tent and trailer campsites, which offer fantastic camping opportunities.
There used to be a sizable farming community in this state park. People left the area as a result of the severe weather and housing conditions. The Little River History Hike allows visitors to locate town roads, cemeteries, bridges, a sawmill, and cellar holes from that era.
8. Branbury State Park
Branbury State Park, one of the most visited state parks in Vermont, is renowned for its 1000 acres of sandy beaches.
This vast reserve, which is situated in Salisbury at the base of Mount Moosalamoo, offers everything from swimming to boating, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and camping. The park even has a nature center that offers interactive activities and events to both adults and children.
9. Brighton State Park
Brighton State Park, situated along the Spectacle Pond shoreline, is a remote location that provides the chance to encounter Vermont at its most untamed. The park is a highlight of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, offering countless hiking trails to travel, miles of pond to explore, and numerous beautiful views to take in.
Numerous adventurous pursuits are available here, such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, picnicking, paddle boarding, and park-led nature programs.
10. Vermont State Parks – Emerald Lake State Park
The 430-acre Emerald Lake State Park is most well-known for the lake that bears the same name.
The lake is well-liked for a variety of non-motorized water activities, including swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing. It is known for its emerald green waters. The park is a favorite among ardent hikers due to its proximity to the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail.