Start Your New Year on the Right Foot with a FREE First Day Hike!



Start the new year on the right foot with a hike in the great outdoors. On January 1, 2023, everyone is once again invited to join a free, guided, family-friendly hike taking place at many state parks, state forests, and other public lands across Vermont. Hikes are 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 pre-register by contacting hike leaders ahead of time. On hike day dress for the weather and bring snowshoes if the snow is deep, and micro-spikes or traction aids in case of ice. Please also bring beverages and snacks. In the event of questionable weather, your hike leader will get in touch with you.

Check out our website at http://vtstateparks.blogspot.com/ and our Facebook feed for more information and more hikes as they are added.

 Here is a list of First Day Hikes happening near you:

 

Button Bay State Park

Guide Name: Ron Payne, Otter Creek Audubon Society President

To register or for more information: rpayne72@myfairpoint.net

Meeting time: 9:00AM

Meeting Location: 5 Button Bay State Park Rd., Ferrisburgh, VT 05491

Hike Description: An easy 2 mile walk on flat terrain in search of overwintering birds.

 

Butler Lodge, Mount Mansfield State Forest

Guide Name: David Hathaway, Green Mountain Club Burlington Section

To register or for more information: david.hathaway.78@gmail.com

Meeting Location: Butler Lodge Trailhead, Stevensville Road, Underhill, VT 05489

Hike Description: Snowshoes required, 4.1 miles, 1600' elevation gain. Group size limit 10.

  

Bomoseen State Park

Guide Name: Tyler Whitley, Vermont State Park Manager

To register or for more information: twhitley0416@gmail.com

Meeting time: 12:00noon

Meeting Location: 22 Cedar Mountain Rd., Castleton, VT 05743

Hike Description: Easy, one mile family friendly hike that winds through some of the quarries, rubble piles and building ruins of the West Castleton Railroad and Slate Company.

 

Brighton State Park

Guide Name: Laura Lee Gray, Vermont State Park Interpreter

To register or for more information: hiddenwings23@gmail.com

Meeting Location: 102 State Park Rd, Island Pond, VT 05846

Hike Description: Easy/moderate two-mile hike along the shore of Spectacle Pond, through a natural red pine forest, to scenic Council Point and return. Snowshoes/traction aids recommended.

 

Groton State Forest: Owl’s Head Mountain

Guide Name: Walter Opuszynski, Forest Recreation Specialist, VT Dept of Forests, Parks & Recreation

To register or for more information: walter.opuszynski@vermont.gov

Meeting time: 1:00pm

Meeting Location: Route 232, gated area near Lanesboro Rd. Groton, VT 05046

Hike Description: Moderate, up and down hike geared towards families with young children. Road to the shelter: ¾ mile with 350 feet elevation gain. Trail to the top of the mountain: 1,500 feet with 100 feet of elevation gain. 1 hour+

 LR Jones State Forest

Guide Name: Joanne Garton, Technical Coordinator, VT Urban and Community Forestry Program

To register or for more information: joanne.garton@vermont.gov

Meeting time: 10:00am

Meeting location: Spruce Mountain Trailhead, 681 Spruce Mountain Rd, Plainfield, VT 05667

Hike description: Snowshoes required. This moderate hike is an off-trail adventure into LR Jones State Forest to explore some EAB infested trees and learn more about rich forest ecosystems.

 

Happy Hill Shelter on the Appalachian Trail

Guide Names: Kathy Astrauckas and Bob Hagen, Upper Valley Ottauquechee Section of GMC

To register or for more information: 802-785-4311, email: kabh@myfairpoint.net

Meeting Location: Norwich, VT 05055

Hike description: Moderate hike. A.T.  Loop with Cossingham Road, Norwich, VT, to Happy Hill Shelter. Lovely woods, lots of short ups & downs.  ~ 4 mi., 800' elev. gain.  Moderate.  Conditions will determine what type of footgear is required (snowshoes or microspikes).  Contact leaders for meeting time and place.  Short carpool required from meeting place to trailhead; masks required for the carpool.


Little River State Park , Dalley Loop Trail

Guide Names: Dana Lawrence and Nancy Thomas, Green Mountain Club Montpelier Section Volunteers

To register or for more information: hikeski51@gmail.com

Meeting Location: Second Parking lot up Little River State Park, off Route 2 west of Waterbury, VT.

Meeting time: 10:00am

Hike description: (3.54 Miles) This loop trail follows an old town road leading moderately upward from the parking area and is a “History Hike” which contains interpretive signage created by Vermont State Parks along the route explaining the locations of various early settlement prior to the establishment of the reservoir below This hike provides both a nice walk in the woods and a chance to see and learn more about Vermont’s history and the changing uses of its landscapes. Footing on the trail is generally good but will be dependent on weather depending so it is always wise to be prepared. If we happen to experience heavy snowfall just prior to the hike snowshoes of some type might be a good idea, in the case of ice micro-spikes might be a good idea. If you have questions as the date approaches, feel free to contact us at the above e-mail.    

 

Lowell Lake State Park

Guide Names: Mike and Ellie Furniere, Vermont State Park Managers

To register or for more information: Elliedingdong@gmail.com

Meeting Location: 260 Ice House Road, Londonderry, VT 05148

Meeting time: 11:00am

Hike description: Snowshoes and/or traction aids required depending on conditions. This easy 3.5-mile hike on the Lowell Lake Trail circles the lake. Highlights include a Revolutionary War-era cemetery, stands of large white pine trees and scenic views of the lake and wetlands. The trail is located on relatively flat terrain and the hike is easy, with some wet sections.

 

Sentinel Rock State Park

Guide Names: Cathi Brooks and Sue Winsor, Green Mountain Club NEK Volunteers

To register or for more information: s.j.p.winsor@gmail.com

Meeting Location: Lower Parking Lot, Hinton Road, Westmore, VT

Meeting time: 10:00am

Hike description: This moderately challenging trail loops through the fields and forests for 1.5 miles. Add on a half a mile to visit the glacial erratic with a view overlooking Lake Willoughby and beyond. If there happens to be more than six inches of snow, snowshoes will be needed. If the trail is packed, micro spikes should be carried to be on hand if needed. Safety first.

 

Silver Lake in the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area

Guide Name: Elise Johnson, Program Technician, Vermont State Parks

To register or for more information: elise.johnson@vermont.gov

Meeting location: Silver Lake Trailhead, Route 53, Salisbury, VT 05769

Meeting time: 1:00pm

Hike description: Snowshoes/traction aids required depending on conditions. This approximately 3 mile round trip, moderate hike follows a gravel road steeply up to remote Silver Lake in the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area of the Green Mountain National Forest.

 

Slate Valley Trails

Guide Name: Gail Helfer, Slate Valley Trails Volunteer

To register or for more information: chuckngail@yahoo.com

Meeting location: Fairgrounds Trailhead, 131 Town Farm Road, Poultney, VT

Meeting time: 9:00am

Hike description: Easy/moderate 5 miles. Meet at Fairgrounds trailhead parking lot. We’ll start the new year off with a hike on the trails in Fairgrounds west.  Hike will go to Big Top and return via Scrambler and Ringmaster.  Bring snacks/lunch, water and dress for the weather, including microspikes or snowshoes, depending on the ground conditions.  

 

Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park

Guide Name, Caitlin Gates, Vermont State Parks Volunteer

To register or for more information: caitlin.s.gates@gmail.com

Meeting location: 321 St. John Rd, Hubbardton, VT 05743

Meeting time: 11:00am

Hike description: Snowshoes and/or traction aids required depending on conditions. This moderate three-mile hike explores a picturesque undeveloped park with sweeping views of the Taconic Mountain Range and the Valley of Vermont. Descend a steep trail to a beautiful, peaceful Japanese style garden with impressive rock and water features.

 

Woodford State Park

Guide Names: Brendan McKenna and Kathleen Backus, Vermont State Park Volunteers

To register or for more information: bmckennavt@gmail.com 

Meeting Location: Woodford State Park (off road parking across the street from entrance), 142 State Park Road, Bennington, VT 05201

Meeting time: 11:30PM on Saturday 12/31/2022

Hike description: This moderately challenging trail loops through the park, forests and by Adams Reservoir for approximately 4 miles. If there happens to be more than six inches of snow, snowshoes will be needed. If the trail is packed, micro spikes should be carried to be on hand if needed. Headlamps or a source of light is absolutely necessary. We will hike rain or shine.



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