Off Season Use and Hunting in Vermont State Parks

“Can I still go into a park that’s closed for the season?”

This is the most common question we get during the fall and winter months. The short answer is “yes!” Staff have gone home, and parks are officially closed for the year, but late fall has a start beauty all its' own, and the off season is a great time to visit- for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, or even a late season picnic. 

Basic Rules & Things to Remember:

No facilities or services available: restrooms, running water, etc. Carry-in and carry-out everything that you bring with you.

Please park only in a manner that allows access by others and please drive only on established roadways or parking areas. This means that when a gate is closed, park outside without blocking, and walk in. 

In winter, plowed parking is available in certain locations. List of winter access areas can be found here. 

Park staff are only present sporadically during the off-season. We invite you to be our "eyes and ears" by reporting to anything amiss or out of the ordinary (vandalism, break-ins, inappropriate facility use, etc.)

Off-Season Camping:

Off-season camping is available from November 1st through April 15th, and has an additional set of rules. Please request an online permit at least 3 days prior to going in. The link can be found here. 

Hunting in the parks

Also, before you head into the woods during late fall, keep in mind that hunting season may be in progress. Hunting is an annual tradition for Vermonters and an important part of the state’s cultural heritage. Vermont was the first state to adopt constitutional language that protects your right to hunt, and many people view hunting as a way to source their meat locally as well as build a relationship with the land. Hunting is allowed on all state lands, including State Parks, during the off-season. Please come and visit, but remember to be cautious in the woods. Dress in blaze orange (dogs, too) and make yourself heard!

You may be less likely to run into hunters at parks that keep their gates closed, such as Mt. Philo State Park in Ferrisburgh, Molly Stark State Park in Wilmington, and Townshend State Park in Townshend. Niquette Bay, Underhill, and Knight Point are also good choices. When planning a hike, please note that hunters are required to stay back at least 500 feet of park facilities and structures on state lands, so walking on park roads (no matter what park you're at) is a good option.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Hunting Calendar

Big Game Hunting Seasons: 

September 01 -November 10: Early Bear Season
November 11-November 19: Late Black Bear Season
November 11 -November 26: Rifle Deer Season
December 02 -December 10: Muzzleloader Deer Season
December 02 -December 10: Archery Deer Season (split) 

For more information on hunting in Vermont, visit VT Fish & Wildlife page, and get the full hunting and trapping calendar here. 

For more information on trails, view the Vermont State Parks Hiking page.

Enjoy the season and remember to stay safe!      


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