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10 Best State Parks in Vermont

vt state parks

Vermont boasts some of the most immaculate natural beauty in America. One of the best ways to experience the state’s splendor is by visiting its incredible state parks. From Ludlow to Quechee, here are the 10 best state parks in Vermont. 

Mount Philo State Park, Charlotte, VT

Mount Philo State Park is a 237-acre reserve that overlooks Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks and surrounds the 968-foot tall Mount Philo. Though diminutive by Vermont standards, the elevation is enough to see a large portion of Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains, and sections of New York. Plus, you will find seven tent sites and three lean-tos here at the state’s oldest state park, established in 1924.

Mount Ascutney State Park, Windsor, VT

At this state park, you can expect to find steep trails that lead through hardwood forests to top of the 3,144-foot high Mt. Ascutney summit. On top, you will be treated by panoramic views of the surrounding woods, fields, and farmland. The park, founded in 1935, supports such activities as hiking, biking, camping, and even hang gliding.

Emerald Lake State Park, Dorset, VT

Emerald Lake State Park is a 430-acre reserve that is so-called due to the striking emerald color of the lake it surrounds. Activities include camping, hiking, swimming, non-motorized boating, fishing, picnicking, bicycling, wildlife watching, and winter sports. In addition to the lake itself, the park is known for its bucolic forests, protected, wetlands, and majestic cliffs overlooking Emerald Lake.

Camp Plymouth State Park, Ludlow, VT

Established in 1989, Camp Plymouth State Park is a 295-acre reserve that encompasses the nearby 96-acre Echo Lake. Rich in history, the land that makes up the park was once used to support troops during the Revolutionary War, and Buffalo Brook was famous for yielding large amounts of gold in its time. Now, popular activities include swimming, fishing, hiking, and camping.

Branbury State Park, Brandon, VT

Branbury State Park is a 69-acre reserve that incorporates lands in the towns of Salisbury, Brandon, and Leicester. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Dunmore, the state’s 6th largest lake, this park is most known for its 1000-acres of sandy beach, large swaths of pastoral fields, and the 2,650-foot Mount Moosalamoo that looms in the background.

Jamaica State Park, Jamaica, VT

Jamaica State Park is a 772-acre reserve that sits along the banks of the mighty West River, one of the two longest rivers in Southern Vermont. Featuring some of most beautiful waterfalls in the state, Jamaica features hiking trails, a swimming hole, camping, fishing, birding, and class three and four river rapids for kayaking fun and adventure.

Button Bay State Park, Vergennes, VT

Featuring camping along the water, you will find 53 tent sites, 13 lean-tos, and four cabins at this 253-acre state park along the shores of Lake Champlain. Popular activities, then, as you might expect, include swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and water sports, and you will also find splendid views of Vermont’s largest lake and the neighboring Adirondack Mountains.

Quechee State Park, Quechee, VT

This park is owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers and leased by the State of Vermont for state park lands with Quechee Gorge being the focal point. At its deepest point, the gorge is an astounding 165-foot straight drop from the roadside to the dry river bed below. Formed when an Ice Age lake that covered three states melted and drained, the resulting fissure is the largest in Vermont and a 688-acre park that surrounds it was formed in 1965. 

Lake St. Catherine, Poultney, VT

Lake St. Catherine is Vermont’s 5th largest lake regarding acre-feet, but it is actually a string of lakes, each draining into the next along Vermont’s Route 30. Popular activities in this 117-acre state park include boating, fishing, hiking, camping, swimming, and birding. Plus, you will find 50 tent sites, hot showers, and 11 lean-tos in this beautiful section of the state.

Green Mountain National Forest, Rutland, VT

Although the Green Mountain National Forest is technically managed at the federal level, there is nothing more Vermontesque than these old growth forests. The 400,000 acres of protected lands support a variety of flora and fauna and has also been tagged as a unique ecoregion at the national level. Not only that, but you can get up close and personal with this level of the wilderness through limited camping options (Grout Pond), or hiking, biking, and boating.

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