"Gold in its Pocket" - Autumn's Unexpected Pop of Color

"Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons." ― Jim Bishop

The Green Mountain State is shifting to warmer tones: scarlet, orange, and gold. As the usual hardwood suspects of maple, beech, and birch are changing colors, there’s a contender for the most beautiful foliage that doesn’t quite fit the mold. 

While most conifers are evergreen (meaning they don’t lose their needle-like leaves yearly), tamarack is a beautiful exception in Vermont.  The tamarack has many names including American larch, hackmatack, or Larix laricina for you Latin lovers out there. Larches are the only deciduous members of the pine family.  Unlike most evergreens who shed their needles slowly and throughout the year, the tamarack’s needles turn a brilliant golden yellow then fall to the ground each winter. 

But why do these trees shed their needles? Tamaracks live in challenging locations. They are common in boreal forests in wet, poorly drained bogs and swamp where nutrients are sca…

Fall Field Trips with Vermont State Parks

Children who enjoy meaningful outdoor experiences think critically and act responsibly on behalf of the ecological, social, and economic values of natural resources as adults. Vermont State Parks are offering these opportunities for hundreds of youth across the state this fall. We are creating the next generation of people connected to the conservation values Vermonters hold dear.

State park certified interpreters create rich experiences for visitors of all ages. From preschoolers exploring the Civilian Conservation Corps Ascutney Camp at Mt Ascutney State Park, to high schoolers learning about old growth forest ecosystems at Gifford Woods State Park, there are hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for everyone.

Field trips are available at many more locations than ever before: Elmore, Little River, Waterbury Center, Gifford Woods, Coolidge, Quechee, Mt Ascutney, Jamaica, and a variety of locations in Groton State Forest. School groups booking ahead of time during the school yea…

'Fall' in love with state parks - Parks open through autumn

Days are getting shorter, nights are chilly and some stray trees have started to turn red, orange and gold. Summer may be over, but about half of our parks are open through Indigenous People’s Day, and a select few are open even later. Stop by for a visit and enjoy the cooler weather (and fewer bugs). Fall is a great time for camping, hiking, paddling, or getting in one final picnic before the earmuffs come on.

Below is our late season operating list:

Parks Open Until Sept 29th
Burton Island
Camp Plymouth
Kill Kare

Parks Open Until October 14
Button Bay
Emerald Lake
Green River Reservoir
Half Moon Pond
Kettle Pond
Kingsland Bay 
Lake Carmi
Lake Shaftsbury
Lowell Lake
Molly Stark
New Discovery
Ricker Pond
Smugglers’ Notch
Waterbury Center

Parks Open Until October 20
Mt. Ascutney
Gifford Woods
Grand Isle
Mt. Philo

Parks Open Until October 27
Little River

Parks Open Year-Round
Seyon Lodge

Please note: Parks off-season camping and usage does no…

New cabins now available at Mt. Ascutney State Park

Mt. Ascutney is one of Vermont’s oldest state parks and popular hiking destination. The park is expanding its offerings to include five cabins. 

The cabins are newly finished in 2019 and are now available.  Reservations can be made up to eleven months in advance by either reserving online or by calling the Reservation Call Center at 1-888-409-7579 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm).

The new cabins are located mid-way up the Mt. Ascutney Parkway with 3 of the 5 being universally accessible (click here for a map). Each cabin has one futon, a set of bunk beds, and a table with four chairs. Cabins sleep up to four people although 2 can set up a tent outside or sleep on the floor. There is no electricity in these cabins making it the perfect opportunity to unplug and keep some of the creature comforts of home. You can even bring your pet with you in the Cascadnack cabin! Restrooms with hot water and showers are located a short distance away. The bath house utilizes solar panels as part of its energy generat…

Vermont State Parks Announces Completion of Improvements to Alburgh Dunes State Park

MONTPELIER, VT - Vermont State Parks is excited to announce the completion of a significant infrastructure project at Alburgh Dunes State Park, featuring new parking areas, accessibility improvements, a visitor contact center with portable toilets and changing stalls, and a new accessible natural playground, among other elements. The improvements also include state-of-the-art stormwater treatment and interpretive elements and plantings which complement the natural environment.

“Alburgh Dunes State Park is arguably one of the finest sand beaches on Lake Champlain and a great place for families to visit,” says Parks Regional Manager, Rob Peterson. “We’ve re-developed this park with a focus on sustainability, balancing the protection of sensitive natural features with public access, while improving amenities to serve our visitors’ needs. This project not only contributes to a cleaner lake, it creates inclusive access to a full spectrum of park visitors.”

The 600-acre park, which opened in …

"Keep your eyes on the stars" - Night Sky Viewing Tips

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Did you know that experiencing awe can make you happier, healthier, humbler and more connected to others around you? A simple way to inspire awe? Lay back and take in the vast beauty of the night sky. Are you not quite sure where to start? Here’s some tips to make sure your night sky experience is stellar:

Time it right! Cloudless, moonless nights are the best for a clear view of other celestial objects. When the moon is full, the light will prevent viewing of fainter stars or the Milky Way. Thanks to the darkness of the New Moon on July 31st, this is the perfect time to grab a blanket and check out the stars. Start stargazing two hours after sunset or before dawn. This ensures the light of the sun won’t interfere with your ability to view the fainter light of stars and planets.

Here are some dates of interest when planning your adventures:
July 31st: Black moon. The 2nd New Moon of the month and the first si…

Vermont State Parks Announces New Bike Rental Partnership at Burton Island State Park

MONTPELIER, VT. Vermont State Parks is excited to announce a partnership with Local Motion, Inc. to provide bike rentals at Burton Island State Park. New for the 2019 season, a fleet of rental bicycles will be provided for park visitors to use while visiting the island.

“Burton Island has always been a fantastic place to explore by bike!” Says Ryan Baker Dunn, Marine Operation Supervisor for Vermont State Parks. “The 253-acre island has miles of trails and roads wrapping through the campground on picturesque Lake Champlain. Those looking for a more secluded experience can ride out to the southern tip of the Island, a ¾ mile trail with a scenic bluff and views over the lake to the Green and Adirondack Mountains. Aside from a few staff vehicles, there are no cars on the island, making it a safe, quiet environment for exploration. Vermont State Parks has also invested in work tricycles to further minimize vehicles in the park, making Burton Island a great place for the whole family to rid…