Join Vermont State Parks for First Day Hikes

An intrepid group of First Day Hikers ready to start the new year with adventure.

Start the new year on the right foot with a hike in a Vermont state park. On January 1, 2020, everyone is invited to join a free, guided, family-friendly hike taking place at many state parks and forests across Vermont. Hikes will be led by professional guides and outdoor educators eager to share their knowledge and love of Vermont’s outdoors. 

Don’t need a guide? No matter where you live in Vermont, a state park or state forest is always close by, and you can still get outside to enjoy it. State park entry is free on New Year’s Day (and all winter long). You’ll discover a whole new world in winter.

Please dress for the weather and bring snowshoes if the snow is deep. Please also bring beverages and snacks. Dogs are welcome (on leash) unless otherwise noted. You don’t need to pre-register, just show up! To check the status of the hikes, call our First Day Hikes “Hotline” at 802-249-1230. Updated messages will be posted to the Hotline on December 31st and January 1st. 

Check out our Facebook and Twitter feeds for more information and more hikes as they are added.

Here is a list of state parks currently offering guided first day events: 

Button Bay State Park
Guide Name: Ron Payne, Otter Creek Audubon Society President
Meeting Time: 9AM
Meeting Location: Button Bay Rd, Ferrisburgh 
Hike Description: A 2 mile walk on flat terrain in search of overwintering birds.

Barnes Camp Loop, Smuggler's Notch
Guide Name: John Plummer, GMC Group Outreach & Field Coordinator
Meeting Time: 10:00 am
Meeting Location (Address): Barnes Camp Visitor Center, Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT 05672
Hike Description: 1.5 miles, moderate difficulty, 2 hours

Holbrook State Park
Guide Name: Cathi Brooks, GMC NEK Section
Meeting Time: 10am
Meeting Location: VT-122, Sheffield, VT 05866
Hike Description: 3 miles, a loop hike up and around, moderate terrain, approximately 3 hours

Gifford Woods State Park
Guide Name: Devani Jolman, Vermont State Parks Interpreter
Meeting Time: 9:00AM 
Meeting Location: Gifford Woods State Park Off Season Parking Lot. There is no address, but it is next to the Vermont State Parks Maintenance building across from Kent Pond. 
Hike Description: 1.1 miles, moderate difficulty, 1 hour

We will hike up and around Gifford Woods State Park on the Kent Brook Trail. It is approximately 1.1 miles and moderate difficulty since there is a fair bit of uphill travel. The hike will take approximately 1 hour. Please wear well treaded boots, yak tracks, or even snow shoes depending on snow level.

Owl's Head, Groton State Forest
Guide Name: Walter Opuszynski
Meeting Time:  1:00PM 
Meeting Location: Parking at the gate just off of Route 232
Hike Description: 2 miles, moderate difficulty, 1 hour

The access to Owl’s Head is located off Route 232 in Groton State Forest. There are two ways to get to the top of Owl’s Head; a 2-mile hiking trail or by hiking ¾ mile up the access road. We will be walking up the access road; parking at the gate just off of Route 232. There is enough room at this location for 8 cars. If we have more cars we can shuttle people from the Kettle Pond parking area a mile south on Route 232. To RSVP, to ask questions, or to confirm the hike is still occurring call Walter at (802) 522-6022.

Muckross State Park
Guides: Rachel & Phil Drinker, Volunteers at Friends of Muckross
Meeting Time: 9am
Meeting Location: 26 Muckross Road, just off from Paddock Road
Hike Description: 1 to 2 hours, easy to moderate terrain
Note: Parking is limited. Please carpool!

Seyon Lodge State Park - CANCELLED 
NOTE: Feel free to self-guide however, our guide has unfortunately fallen under the weather.
Hike Description: 1.5 miles snowshoe/walk around Noyes Pond Loop about 1 hour.

The trail for the snowshoe / hike is on relatively level ground and will circumvent Noyes Pond. It is approximately 1.5 miles in length and will take about an hour. Please bring snowshoes as part of the trail is not groomed.

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