Hiking Information

Hiking Overview

Vermont State Parks offer a wide variety of hiking opportunities. Whether you're looking for an easy, family friendly hike or looking for outstanding views from a summit hike, or something in between, there is a trail nearby waiting for you.

See our list of hiking trails for some ideas, then go get more information from one of our maps or hiking guides. Grab your pack and a picnic lunch and hit the trail.

Hiking Trails

Click the buttons to view specific descriptions, including trail length, difficulty, estimated hiking time, and kid-friendliness. Printable PDF trail maps are also provided.

Northwest:

Burton Island, Knight Island, Knight Point, Lake Carmi, Niquette Bay, Underhill, Woods Island

Burton Island State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
West Shore Trail 0.75 One way or loop to other trails Easy 1 hour Woodland, Lakeside
North Shore Trail (PDF) 0.50 One way or loop with Eagle Bay Trail Easy 30 min Woodland, Lakeside
Eagle Bay Trail 0.50 One way or loop with North Shore Trail Easy 30 min Woodland, Lakeside
Island Farm Nature Trail (PDF) 1.00 Loop Easy 1 hour Woodland, Meadow
Southern Tip Trail 1.00 One way Easy 1.5 hours Woodland, Meadow, View

Knight Island State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
West Trail 1.00 Loop when combined with East or Cross Trails Easy 1 hour Woodland, Lakeside
East Trail 1.00 Loop when combined with West or Cross Trails Easy 1 hour Woodland, Lakeside, Views
Cross Trail 0.50 Connector Trail Easy 30 min Woodland

Knight Point State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Point Trail 1.00 One way or loop through park Easy 30 min Woodland, Lakeside

Lake Carmi State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Marsh Brook Nature Trail 1.50 Loop Moderate 1.5 hours Woodland, Meadow, Lakeside

Niquette Bay State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Mulhley Trail 1.30 One way or loop with other trails Moderate 45 mins Woodland, Views
Burns Trail 1.00 One way or loop with other trails Easy 20 mins Woodland, Views
Allen Trail 0.50 One way or loop with other trails Easy 15 mins Woodland
Ledges Trail 0.90 One way or loop with other trails Moderate 30 mins Woodland, Views
Island View 0.25 Loop Moderate 15 mins Woodland, Views

Underhill State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
CCC Road to Sunset Ridge 1.00 One way Easy 1 hour Woodland
Cantilever Rock Trail 0.90 One way Moderate 1 hour Woodland, Cliffs, Views
Sunset Ridge Trail to Chin 2.30 One way Difficult 2.5 hours Woodland, Cliffs, Views
Laura Cowles to Chin 1.70 One way Very difficult 2.5 hours Woodland, Cliffs, Views
Halfway House to Nose 1.50 One Way Difficult 2 hours Woodland, Cliffs, Views
CCC Road to Maple Ridge Trail 1.10 One Way Moderate 1 hour Woodland, Cliffs, Views
Maple Ridge to Nose 2.10 One Way Difficult 3 hours Woodland, Cliffs, Views
Long Trail Nose to Chin 1.20 One Way Moderate 1.5 hours Cliffs, Views

Woods Island State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Island Loop 2.00 Loop Easy 2 hours Woodland, Lakeside
Cross Trail 0.50 One way, Connector Easy 30 min Woodland

Northeast:

Brighton, Elmore, Kettle Pond, New Discovery, Ricker Pond, Little River, Seyon Lodge, Smugglers' Notch, Waterbury Center

Brighton State Park

Northeast Kingdom Nature Trail (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Red Pine Trail 0.33 Loop with Main or Shore Trail Easy 20 min Woodland
Main Trail 0.50 Loop with Red Pine or Shore Trail Easy 45 min Woodland
Logger's Loop 0.25 Loop Easy 15 min Woodland
Shore Trail 0.40 Loop with Red Pine or Main Trail Easy 20 min Woodland, Lakeside

Elmore State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Mountain Brook Nature Trail (PDF) 0.50 One Way Easy 20 min Woodland, Wetland
Fire Tower Trail 1.74 Loop with Ridge Trail Moderate to difficult 1.5 hours Woodland, Firetower, Views
Ridge Trail 2.3 Loop with Fire Tower Trail Moderate to difficult 2.25 hours Woodland, Firetower, Views

Groton Forest Trails - Kettle Pond State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Kettle Pond Trail 3.00 Loop Easy 2.5 hours Woodland, Lakeside
Kettle Pond Portage Trail 0.25 One Way Easy 20 mins. Woodland, Lakeside

Groton Forest Trails - New Discovery State Park

Groton State Forest summer trails map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
New Discovery to Osmore Pond 0.50 One Way Easy 30 min Woodland, Lakeside
Osmore Pond Hiking Loop 2.00 Loop Easy 2 hours Woodland, Lakeside
Little Deer Trail 0.50 One Way Moderate 30 min Woodland, Views
Big Deer Mtn Trail 0.90 One Way Moderate 45 min Woodland, Views
Hosmer Brook Trail 1.30 One Way Moderate 1 hour Woodland, Stream
Nature Trail 0.60 One Way Easy 45 min Woodland
Coldwater Brook 1.90 One Way Moderate 2 hours Woodland
Owl's Head 1.50 One Way Easy 1 hour Woodland, Views
Peacham Bog 4.50 Loop Moderate 3.5 hours Woodland, Bog
Silver Ledge Trail 0.60 One Way Moderate to difficult 30 min Woodland, Views
Peacham Bog Nordic Trail 5.00 One Way Moderate 1.5 hours Woodland, Bog

Groton Forest Trails - Ricker Pond State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Cross Vermont Trail 10.00 One Way Easy Rail trail, Woodland

Little River State Park

Little River trails guide and map (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Nature Trail (PDF) 0.40 Loop Easy 45 min Woodland, Stream
Stevenson Brook Trail 1.00 One Way or loop with other trails Moderate 1.5 hours Woodland, Stream
Sawmill Loop Trail 0.30 Loop Moderate to difficult 45 min Woodland, Stream
Dalley Loop Trail 2.80 Loop Moderate 3 hours Woodland, Stream
Hedgehog Trail 2.00 Loop Moderate 2 hours Woodland
Ricker Lot Trail 0.10 One Way connector Moderate 15 min Woodland
Kelty Loop 1.50 Loop Moderate 1.75 hours Woodland
Cotton Brook Multi-Use 8.00 Loop Moderate 7 hours Woodland, Stream

Seyon Lodge State Park

Seyon Lodge trails map (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Noyes Pond Loop 1.00 Loop Easy 1 hour Woodland, Lakeside

Smugglers' Notch State Park

Smugglers' Notch trail map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Sterling Pond Trail 1.40 One Way Moderate to difficult 2 hours Woodland, Lakeside
Hell Brook to Chin 1.80 One Way Difficult 3 hours Woodland, Mountain
Long Trail N. to Sterling Pond 2.40 One Way Difficult 4 hours Woodland, Mountain
Long Trail S. to Chin 2.30 One Way Difficult 4 hours Woodland, Mountain
Long Trail Nose to Chin 1.20 One Way Moderate 2 hours Woodland, Mountain, Views
Haselton to Mt. Mansfield Nose 1.20 One Way Moderate 2 hours Woodland, Mountain, Views
Bingham Falls 0.80 One Way Easy 1 hour Woodland, Waterfall

Waterbury Center State Park

Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Peninsula Trail (PDF) 0.50 Loop Easy 15 min Woodland, Lakeside

Southwest:

Bomoseen, Branbury, Button Bay, Emerald Lake, Half Moon Pond, Lake Shaftsbury, Lake St. Catherine, Mt. Philo, Woodford

Bomoseen State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Bomoseen Hiking Loop 1.50 Loop Moderate 1 hour Woodland, Pond
Slate History Trail 0.75 One Way Easy 1 hour Woodland, Slate
Glen Lake Trail 4.50 One Way Moderate 4 hours Woodland, Lakeside, Views
Daniel Coffey Memorial Trail 0.75 One Way Easy 1 hour Woodland, Pond

Branbury State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Nature Trail 0.50 Loop Easy 45 min Woodland
Rattlesnake Point 1.50 One Way Moderate to difficult 3-4 hours Woodland, Views
Falls of Llana 1.00 One Way Easy 45 min Woodland, Waterfalls
Silver Lake 1.60 Loop Moderate 2 hours Woodland, Lakeside
Mt. Moosalamoo Campground Trail 6.80 Loop Moderate to difficult 5-6 hours Woodland, Brooks

Button Bay State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Button Bay Point Trail 0.30 Loop Easy 15 min Lakeside
Dog Walk Trail 0.25 One Way Easy 15 min Open, Lakeside

Emerald Lake State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Vista Trail 0.75 One Way Moderate 1 hour Woodland, Lakeside

Half Moon Pond State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Glen Lake Trail 4.50 One Way Moderate 1 hour Woodland, Lakeside, Views
Shore Trail 0.30 One Way Easy 20 min Lakeside
Daniel Coffee Memorial Trail 0.75 One Way Easy 1 hour Woodland, Pond

Lake Shaftsbury State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Healing Springs Nature Trail (PDF) 0.75 Round Trip Easy 1 hour Lakeside, Woodland, Wetland

Lake St. Catherine State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Nature Trail 0.50 Loop Easy 45 min Woodland, Meadow, Stream

Mt. Philo State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Summit Trail 1.00 One Way to Summit Trails Moderate 1 hour Woodland, Summit
Devil's Chair 0.50 One Way to Summit Trails Moderate 45 min Woodland, Summit

Woodford State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Atwood Trail 0.50 Loop Easy 30 min Woodland, Lakeside
Reservoir Trail 2.70 Loop Easy Woodland, Lakeside

Southeast:

Allis, Camp Plymouth, Fort Dummer, Gifford Woods, Jamaica, Lowell Lake, Molly Stark, Mt. Ascutney, Quechee, Townshend, Wilgus

Allis State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Bear Hill Nature Trail (PDF) 0.75 Loop Moderate to difficult 1 hour Woodland

Camp Plymouth State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Echo Lake Vista 1.00 Round Trip Moderate 40 min - 1 hour Woodland, Lake View

Fort Dummer State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Sunrise Trail 1.00 Loop Easy 45 min Woodland, Views
Sunset Trail 0.50 One Way Easy 25 min Woodland, Views

Gifford Woods State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Owl Growth Interpretive Trail 0.10 Loop Easy 10-15 min Woodland
Kent Brook Trail 1.10 Loop Easy to moderate 45 min Woodland
Appalachian Trail Moderate to difficult Woodland
Pond and Waterfall Loop 3.50 Loop Easy 2.5 hours Woodland, Brooks, Pools
Deer Leap Overlook 4.00 Round Trip Moderate 2.5 hours Woodland, Views

Jamaica State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
West River Trail 2.50 One Way Easy 2.5 hours Woodland, Riverside
Overlook Trail 2.00 One Way Moderate 2 hours Woodland, Views
Hamilton Falls Trail 6.00 Round Trip Moderate to difficult 4 hours Woodland, Falls

Lowell Lake State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Lowell Lake Trail 3.00 Loop Easy 2 hours Woodland, Lakeside

Molly Stark State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Mt. Olga 1.70 Loop Moderate 1.5 hours Woodland, Views, Firetower
Nature Center Spur 0.20 One Way Easy 20 min Woodland

Mt. Ascutney State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Brownsville 3.20 One way to other parking area Moderate to difficult 3 hours Woodland, Mountain, Views
Futures 4.60 One way to other parking area Moderate to difficult 4 hours Woodland, Mountain, Views
Weathersfield 2.90 One way to other parking area Moderate to difficult 3 hours Woodland, Mountain, Views
Windsor 2.70 One way to other parking area Difficult 23 hours Woodland, Mountain, Views
Summit Trail 1.40 Round Trip Moderate 2 hours Woodland, Mountain, Views

Quechee State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Quechee Gorge Trail 1.00 Round trip from bridge to bottom of gorge Moderate 1 hour Woodland, Gorge
1.50 Round trip from Visitor Center to bottom of gorge Moderate 1.5 hours Woodland, Gorge
1.50 Round trip from bridge to Dewey's Pond Moderate 1 hour Woodland, Falls
2.00 Round trip from Visitor Center to Dewey's Pond Moderate 1.5 hours Woodland, Falls

Townshend State Park

Park hiking trails (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Bald Mountain Trail 2.75 Round trip Moderate to difficult 3 hours Woodland, Summit, Views

Wilgus State Park

Park map and guide (PDF)
Trail Name Mileage Loop or One Way Difficulty Hiking Time Description Kid-Friendly
Pinnacle Trail 1.00 Loop Moderate 1 hour Woodland, View

Trail Recommendations

Vermont has many awesome trails for hikers of all ages and skill levels. Here are just a few our recommendations.

Branbury State Park

Located on the shores of Lake Dunmore, Branbury State Park abuts the 400,000 acre Green Mountain National Forest and the 20,000 acre Moosalamoo Recreation Area.  There are over 70 miles of trails in this region of mountains and lakes traversing the western slopes of the Green Mountains.

Some popular trails are the “Falls of Lana” which leads to a series of cascading falls carved out of rock, “Rattlesnake Point”, which has breeding peregrine falcons and panoramic views of Lake Dunmore, and “Silver Lake”, a hike to a small, scenic mountain lake.

Camel's Hump

Hiking Camel's Hump
Ready to go on the Monroe Trail at Camel's Hump State Park

On the Duxbury side of Camel's Hump State Park, the Monroe Trail is somewhat challenging, but there's also a universally-accessible loop with its own parking area.  This loop is 8/10 of a mile long, is wide and flat, and has three viewing spots to the summit of Camel's Hump - it's perfect for small kids and elders.

On the Huntington side, the Burrows Trail is a bit shorter and attracts lots of hikers.  Always a good idea to get there early (8AM) on a good weather weekend day to get parked and on the trail.

All trails get more rugged as they get closer to the summit.

Gifford Woods State Park

Gifford Woods State Park is an important hiking crossroads where two major hiking trails meet.  The Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, and the Long Trail, which runs the length of Vermont meet in the park.  If you were so inclined, you could literally hike from the park south to Georgia or north to Maine.

Nearby Green Mountain National Forest and Coolidge State Forest also offer numerous loop hikes. There are spectacular views from the Deer Leap Mountain trail and lovely waterfalls along Thundering Brook Trail. The proximity to all these great hiking opportunities make Gifford Woods State Park a popular pass through location for hikers.

Mt. Ascutney

We know today that Mount Ascutney is a monadnock and is not related geologically to surrounding hills. Rather, it stands alone and shares a geological history more closely with the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There are four trails that run from the base of the mountain to the summit that are connected by a relatively level trail that follows the ridgeline and crosses the summit. They are:

  • The Weathersfield Trail. The trail runs 2.9 miles along the south face of the mountain, passing Cascade Falls, the largest waterfall on the mountain.
  • The Windsor Trail. The trail runs 2.7 miles to the summit, passing a small waterfall and the remains of an old stone shelter.
  • The Brownsville Trail. This trail is 3.2 miles and follows an old logging road, passing an old granite quary and offering great views from the north and west.
  • The Futures Trail. This 4.6 mile trail is the longest on Mt. Ascutney. It can be accessed at two points along the state park mountain road.

The Mt. Ascutney Parkway is a 3.7 mile paved road leading to the summit, revealing many excellent scenic views. Additionally, there is a .7-mile side trail to an observation tower on the summit with a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

Mt. Mansfield East Side (Underhill State Park)

Underhill State Park is a part of Vermont’s 34,000-acre Mount Mansfield State Forest.  The park is on the western face of Mt. Mansfield, nearly half way up the state’s highest peak.Over the summit ridge is the Stowe Mountain Resort, one of North America’s original ski areas.

From Underhill State Park there are four hiking trails to the summit ridge of Mt. Mansfield. The Sunset Ridge trail (3.2 miles to the summit) is the most popular.

Vermont’s Long Trail traverses the summit ridge and, with several trails up both sides of the mountain, many loops are possible.  The ridgeline is almost entirely above tree line, so on clear days you have unobstructed views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, even to Lake Champlain in the distance, and New York’s Adirondack mountains far beyond.Mount Mansfield is one of the two spots in Vermont where you will find true alpine tundra, a vegetative type more common in arctic zones far to the north.

Mt. Mansfield West Side (Smugglers' Notch State Park)

On the other side of Mount Mansfield from Underhill State Park, lies Smugglers' Notch State Park.  Smugglers' Notch is a narrow pass through the mountain with spectacular 1,000 foot cliffs on either side. The pass was once used as a smuggling route between Vermont and Canada.  Today, it is a favorite haunt of nesting peregrine falcons, ice climbers and hikers.

The road is passable by vehicles only in summer and is very narrow and winding with many switchbacks and hairpin turns.  The Notch is also a favorite of hikers.

The most popular trail up the mountain is the Long Trail, which can be accessed from the Notch.  Heading north, the Long Trail leads past Elephant’s Head to Sterling Pond, a beautiful and serene mountain lake.

Hiking with your Pet

Pets are permitted on trails unless otherwise posted. Here are some basic rules:

  • Dogs must be on leash at all times on state park trails
  • Pets are expected to have current rabies vaccination
  • Please pick up after your pet

Hiking with Groups

If you are hiking with 10 or more people or charging fees, or publicizing the event, you will need to apply for a Special Use Permit.

Permit information >>

Mud Season Hiking

When the snow starts melting and the temperatures get warmer, most of us want to get outside and hike! But, mud season is not a good time for hiking in certain areas. Rain and melting snow at higher elevations are keeping many of Vermont's hiking trails wet and muddy. When hikers tramp on saturated soils, they cause soil compaction and erosion as well as damage to the trail and surrounding vegetation. Please help protect the fragile trails this time of year by staying off muddy trails.

Higher elevation soils take longer to dry out. And after an epic snowfall this winter, and heavy spring rains the trails will take longer than normal to dry out. A trail may be dry at the trailhead, but is muddy at a higher elevation this time of year. If you notice this happening, please turn around! Trails at lower elevations, dirt roads, and recreation paths provide excellent places for early spring walking.

Below is a list of great places to hike during mud season - enjoy!

Southeast Vermont

Northeast Vermont

Along with the warmer weather, there are many aspects of nature beginning to emerge for us to enjoy. Thank you for helping to preserve our beautiful natural resources!

Guidelines to follow when hiking this time of year

  • If a trail is so muddy that you need to walk on the vegetation beside it, turn back and seek another place to hike.
  • Plan spring hikes in hardwood forests at lower elevations.
  • Avoid spruce-fir (conifer) forest at higher elevations and on north slopes before late May and from the end of October until frozen or snow covered.
  • Camels Hump and Mt Mansfield trails are closed from April 15 through the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend. Please do not hike here. Stay below 3000 ft during these times of year.

Staying away from certain places during mud season makes them ready to enjoy this summer. Have fun out there!

For more information, and other mud season hiking options, check out the Green Mountain Club Mud Season Hiking page.

Trail Running

Combining traditional long-distance running with the challenge of hiking, trail running allows the runner to move over variable, sometimes mountainous terrain while being immersed in nature. Vermont's trail systems offer many opportunities to experience the sport, from rail trails and park roads to summit trails.

Trail Runners Blog

Three friends were given the gift of the ultimate project by the Vermont State Parks Director: to trail run in as many beautiful state parks as they could, write interesting blog entries about their experiences and take photos of their sparkling smiles while doing so!

Click on the links below to read their awesome stories.

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