Accessibility in the Vermont State Parks

Accessible Lean-to at Jamaica State Park
The Vermont State Parks have been taking strides to make our campgrounds and facilities more accessible to visitors with varying needs. Many of our pavilions and picnic areas are universally accessible and we're doing more every day to increase trail and water accessibility as well. One of our current projects is taking place at Waterbury Center State Park, where we are linking the parking area, swimming beach, and picnicking areas with ADA accessible paths!

Searching through our system to locate accessible campsites and activities can be challenging, so we've compiled a brief list to make it a little easier. One thing to keep in mind when looking through our interactive campground maps is that any site listed as "universally accessible" is within 150 feet of drinking water, toilet facilities and showers.

For Lovers of the Outdoors:
Stowe Recreation Path
Smugglers’ Notch State Park – *ask for tent site #4 or Oak lean-to*
Smugglers' Notch is a great option for anyone looking a hike with lovely views as well as access to restaurants, lodges, and local businesses in Stowe,VT. Why is that? The Stowe Recreation Path is a 5.3 mile paved multi-use trail that criss-crosses the West Branch of the Little River. For more details check out their website. The town of Stowe also hosts the Smugglers' Notch Adaptive Programs, which are primarily for kids but do have some options for adults.

Jamaica State Park – *ask for Briar lean-to*
Similar to the Stowe Recreation path, Jamaica State Park provides access to the West River Trail, a 16 mile long universally accessible converted rail bed with a packed gravel and (in some areas) packed sand surface. This trail also provides access to Cobb Brook, one of the Vermont State Park's featured nature relaxation spots!


For Anglers and Adventurers:
Shorefishing Platform at Kent Pond
Gifford Woods State Park – *ask for Alder lean-to, Moose cabin, Coyote Cabin, or Whitetail cabin*
Gifford Wood State Park is a great option if you're looking for a smaller, more secluded campground with some good fishing. Across the street is access to Kent Pond and the Kent Pond shorefishing platform, both great spots to relax and unwind with fish and family.


Scenic Gondola at Killington
If you prefer a more exciting adventure, head over to the nearby Killington Adventure Center, where you'll find two scenic lift rides (the open-air Snowshed Express Quad and the K-1 Express Gondola), a Terra Maze, and motorized Utility Terrain Vehicle mountain tours that are all wheelchair accessible. Their Snowshed Pond is also accessible, with some sand and rock just at the water's edge. And as if that wasn't enough, their 4,800 ft alpine "Beast Mountain Coaster" will also be accessible, and opens in late July or early August!

For History and Arts Buffs:
Molly Stark State Park– *ask for Cherry lean-to (accessible picnic pavilion as well)*
Located along the Molly Stark Trail Scenic Byway, our state park is on the main east-west route in Southern Vermont that connects Brattleboro, Wilmington, and Bennington, which provides anyone interested in history or the arts some great opportunities to explore each of those towns. Bennington in particular is home to numerous museums and historic sites, and Wilmington's Memorial Hall Center for the Arts hosts movie screenings, television festivals, and live music which is sure to satisfy anyone looking for a bit of culture!

Quechee State Park – *ask for Hemlock lean-to*
Falcon Demonstration at Vermont Institute of Natural Science
A long-time favorite park for sightseers and anglers, Quechee State Park has access to the Quechee Gorge Visitor Center and the gorge itself (wheelchair accessible from the bridge by the visitor center), Quechee Gorge Village for shopping and dining, and is only fifteen minutes away from the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and Nature Center, with tons of exhibits, activities, and live shows. There's a wildlife rehabilitation clinic in the nature center, live raptor shows, and accessible nature trails on the property.

Mt. Philo
For a Little of Everything: 
Little River State Park - *Ask for tent sites 44 or 80, or Spruce lean-to*
If you're not sure what kinds of activities you're looking for, or want access to everything from woods to nightlife, Little River State Park in Waterbury is probably your best bet. Its proximity to Burlington (40 minute drive) gives it access to everything the city and surrounding area has to offer: bike paths, recreational trails, and even an adaptive sports complex that offers pick-up games. If you're looking to stick closer to the campground, the Stowe Recreational Path (mentioned above) is a half hour away as well.

Depending on where you decide to camp, Vermont Adaptive Sports can schedule daily, weekend, or even weekly outings specific to your group, which range from climbing, paddling, hiking, biking, sailing, trips to museums, horseback riding and more. Contact south@vermontadaptive.org if you're looking for a grand, planned adventure, or check out Inclusive Vermont, a part of vermontvacation.com that has a myriad of resources for planning a getaway tailored to your needs.

The Vermont State Parks constantly seek to make our parks more easily accessible to every current and prospective visitor who comes our way. Hopefully this mini-guide helps with your summer plans, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us at (888) 409-7579.

See you out there!


By Carlie Timbie
Vermont State Parks

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