Join Vermont State Parks for Fun, Guided First-Day Hikes
First Day Hikers stand in front of Butler Lodge in 2023.
Start the new year on the right foot with a hike in the great outdoors. On January 1, 2024, 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.
|First Day Hikers warm up at the CCC shelter at Owl's Head.
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.
Here is a list of First Day Hikes happening near you:
Guide Names: Cathi
Brooks and Sue Winsor, Green Mountain Club NEK Volunteers
register or for more information: email@example.com
Location: Westmore Parking Lot, south of Lake Willoughby on Route 5A
description: This moderately challenging trail follows the CCC Road in Westmore
for about 2.5 miles then we will turn on to the Bartlett Mountain Loop which is
about 2 miles, returning on the CCC Road. Total miles is about 6.5. This is
also a x-country ski trail and if the trail has been groomed SNOW SHOES WILL BE
REQUIRED. Skiers are also welcomed. If there is only a little snow and the CCC
Road is packed from previous traffic, micro spikes should be carried to be on
hand if needed.
Guide Name: Danielle Schneider, Vermont State Parks Regional
To register or for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting time: 9:30am
Meeting Location: New Discovery State Park winter parking area, 4239 VT RT 232, Marshfield, VT 05658
Hike Description: Moderate hike up Big Deer Mountain from New Discovery winter parking area. Two miles round trip, mostly level hike with steep ascent in final 200 yards. Depending on conditions, snow shoes and/or traction aides, and hiking poles recommended.
Guide Name: Caitlin Gates, Vermont State Parks Volunteer
To register or for more information: email@example.com
Meeting time: 10:00am
Meeting Location: Meet at the Bomoseen State Park Gate, 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. Traction aides and/or snowshoes required
depending on conditions.
Guide Name: Ron Payne, Otter Creek Audubon Society President
To register or for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting time: 9:00AM
Meeting Location: 5 Button Bay State Park Rd., Ferrisburgh,
Hike Description: An easy 2 mile walk on flat terrain in
search of overwintering birds.
Guide Name: David Hathaway, Green Mountain Club Burlington
To register or for more information: email@example.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.
Guide Name: Patrick Dattilio, Vermont State Parks, Parks
Regional Facility & Project Manager
To register or for more information: Patrick.Dattilio@vermont.gov
Meeting location: Causeway Park, 781 Blakely Rd, Colchester,
Meeting time: 8:00am
Hike description: Kick off the New Year with a hike across Lake Champlain on the Colchester Causeway. This easy, family friendly hike will start from Causeway Park and head out onto the causeway, all the way out to the opening and back to Causeway Park. Round trip is about two hours. There is no elevation gain, and this hike can be done with hiking boots or other water resistant/proof footwear. Traction aides will be helpful if conditions are icy.
Guide Names: Kathy Astrauckas and Bob Hagen, Upper Valley
Ottauquechee Section of GMC
To register or for more information: 802-785-4311, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Guide Name: Kaley Grenier, Vermont State Parks, Call Center Representative
To register or for more information: email@example.com
Meeting location: 44 Brook Street, Websterville, VT
Meeting time: 11:00am
Hike description: This approximately 2.5 mile family
friendly, easy hike follows groomed trails through Barre Town Forest. Bring the
whole family to explore the winter world in this beautiful forest featuring
historic granite quarries, abandoned for over 100 years. This hike is in
partnership with the Millstone Trails
Association, who generously maintains the over 20 miles of trails in the
forest. Trails are groomed and depending on conditions, snowshoes or traction
aids may be required.
Guide Name: Walter
Opuszynski, Forest Recreation Specialist, VT Dept of Forests, Parks &
To register or for
more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Route 232, gated area near Lanesboro Rd. Groton, VT 05046
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+
Guide Names: Guy Maguire, Programs Director, South Hero Land
To register or for more information: Visit the South Hero Land Trust Website
Meeting Location: 27 East Shore Road, South Hero, Vermont
Meeting time: 9:30am
Guide Name: Dana
Lawrence and Nancy Thomas, Green Mountain Club Montpelier Section Volunteers
To register or for
more information: email@example.com
Meeting location: Spruce
Mountain Trailhead, 681 Spruce Mountain Rd, Plainfield, VT 05667
Hike description: This moderate to advanced 4.5 mile (round trip) hike summits Spruce Mountain with a 1,164 foot elevation gain. There is a fire tower located on the summit with expansive 365 degree views. Traction aids and snowshoes are required depending on conditions.