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Outdoor Activities

James

Outdoor Activities

Hiking
Enjoy beautiful views of surrounding valleys and mountains on this short hike. Once you make it to the pond, you can extend the hike with a 1.4 mile loop around it's perimeter. If you're thinking of bringing your pole, this is Vermont's highest elevation trout pond (permits required). Sterling Pond trail begins across the street from a parking area on Route 108, about 3 miles south of Smugglers' Notch Resort. Keep in mind that the road is closed to vehicles once the snow falls, so if you want to hike this area in the winter, you'll have to park about 40 minutes away and hike in to the trailhead. This trail is a short 1.1 miles each way, with a 1000' gain in elevation. It's steep, slick, and the trail is characterized by large boulders and heavy tree roots sprawling across the trail. Although the terrain can be difficult at times, this is a popular and well-worn trail, so you can often see where roots and boulders have been worn down and shaped into hand holds and stairs. Take advantage of those spots to help you through the elevation gain. Also, if you have knee problems, bring your hiking poles. You'll need them for the trip down. Because this trail is steep and slippery with some difficult terrain, it may be a challenge for people with compromised health, older adults or very young children. The first section of trail will give your legs and lungs a huge workout. It's a natural staircase for at least the first ¼ mile. After that, you'll find a few areas that flatten out (relatively speaking) where you can catch your breath as you go. At the end of the mile, you'll come to a t-intersection. Turn left to find the pond (0.1 mile) or right to join up with Vermont's Long Trail. Sterling Pond is a scenic, peaceful place nestled among the mountains, surrounded by pine trees and some dramatic rock formations. Even if you stopped here, the hike would be worth the trip. That being said, the view from the top of the trail is lovely. To the left of the open shore, you'll find a steep staircase. Follow that trail (along, but above the pond's edge) to the warming hut and ski lift, and take it all in.
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Sterling Pond
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Enjoy beautiful views of surrounding valleys and mountains on this short hike. Once you make it to the pond, you can extend the hike with a 1.4 mile loop around it's perimeter. If you're thinking of bringing your pole, this is Vermont's highest elevation trout pond (permits required). Sterling Pond trail begins across the street from a parking area on Route 108, about 3 miles south of Smugglers' Notch Resort. Keep in mind that the road is closed to vehicles once the snow falls, so if you want to hike this area in the winter, you'll have to park about 40 minutes away and hike in to the trailhead. This trail is a short 1.1 miles each way, with a 1000' gain in elevation. It's steep, slick, and the trail is characterized by large boulders and heavy tree roots sprawling across the trail. Although the terrain can be difficult at times, this is a popular and well-worn trail, so you can often see where roots and boulders have been worn down and shaped into hand holds and stairs. Take advantage of those spots to help you through the elevation gain. Also, if you have knee problems, bring your hiking poles. You'll need them for the trip down. Because this trail is steep and slippery with some difficult terrain, it may be a challenge for people with compromised health, older adults or very young children. The first section of trail will give your legs and lungs a huge workout. It's a natural staircase for at least the first ¼ mile. After that, you'll find a few areas that flatten out (relatively speaking) where you can catch your breath as you go. At the end of the mile, you'll come to a t-intersection. Turn left to find the pond (0.1 mile) or right to join up with Vermont's Long Trail. Sterling Pond is a scenic, peaceful place nestled among the mountains, surrounded by pine trees and some dramatic rock formations. Even if you stopped here, the hike would be worth the trip. That being said, the view from the top of the trail is lovely. To the left of the open shore, you'll find a steep staircase. Follow that trail (along, but above the pond's edge) to the warming hut and ski lift, and take it all in.
Got an hour? Then you have time to hike Philo. Got kids? This is an essential hike for Burlington-area families. Philo fills a space that few other peaks can: accessible, fun and quick. Plus, the views: more on that in a minute. One really nice factor about Philo is that groups of mixed abilities can all enjoy it. Hikers can take the trail while others can drive up with the cooler. A picnic area, open lawn and several lookouts (some with chairs) make it great for kids and comfortable for grandparents. Now, those views: because Philo rises straight out of the Champlain Valley, hikers have a clear view of the Lake Champlain shoreline and the Adirondacks beyond. A convenient map built into the fence at the summit matches and names each peak and island in view. To the west, look for Whiteface directly across the lake. To the southeast, look for the tall peaks in the Mad River region (Mount Abe and Ellen, in particular). But the best views are to the west. Philo is a Vermont state park. During the season, all visitors are charged an entrance fee, and camping and picnicking facilities are available. There are two routes to the top: a hiking trail (recently rerouted), and a narrow paved road. Many hikers choose to take the trail up and the road down. The trailhead leads to a gentle, carefully maintained path with big boulders and other fun formations for kids. The trail crosses the road; after this point it roughens and rises more steeply toward the summit. The old trail offered a side route that passed through the Devil’s Chair rock formation. It’s less easy to get to now, but if your crew is up for it—and some backtracking, if you want to stay on the trail instead of popping out on the road—look for signs or ask the park attendant at the visitor kiosk for a map. Steps before the top, the trail sweeps by a stunning overlook. Stop here to catch your breath and drink in the view; then finish the final few hundred feet for an equally gorgeous view from the top. To get there: take Route 7 south from Burlington to State Park Road in Charlotte. Check in at the visitor kiosk if in season.
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Mount Philo
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Got an hour? Then you have time to hike Philo. Got kids? This is an essential hike for Burlington-area families. Philo fills a space that few other peaks can: accessible, fun and quick. Plus, the views: more on that in a minute. One really nice factor about Philo is that groups of mixed abilities can all enjoy it. Hikers can take the trail while others can drive up with the cooler. A picnic area, open lawn and several lookouts (some with chairs) make it great for kids and comfortable for grandparents. Now, those views: because Philo rises straight out of the Champlain Valley, hikers have a clear view of the Lake Champlain shoreline and the Adirondacks beyond. A convenient map built into the fence at the summit matches and names each peak and island in view. To the west, look for Whiteface directly across the lake. To the southeast, look for the tall peaks in the Mad River region (Mount Abe and Ellen, in particular). But the best views are to the west. Philo is a Vermont state park. During the season, all visitors are charged an entrance fee, and camping and picnicking facilities are available. There are two routes to the top: a hiking trail (recently rerouted), and a narrow paved road. Many hikers choose to take the trail up and the road down. The trailhead leads to a gentle, carefully maintained path with big boulders and other fun formations for kids. The trail crosses the road; after this point it roughens and rises more steeply toward the summit. The old trail offered a side route that passed through the Devil’s Chair rock formation. It’s less easy to get to now, but if your crew is up for it—and some backtracking, if you want to stay on the trail instead of popping out on the road—look for signs or ask the park attendant at the visitor kiosk for a map. Steps before the top, the trail sweeps by a stunning overlook. Stop here to catch your breath and drink in the view; then finish the final few hundred feet for an equally gorgeous view from the top. To get there: take Route 7 south from Burlington to State Park Road in Charlotte. Check in at the visitor kiosk if in season.
There are many trails up the mountain, I will describe a few of the more popular routes. If hiking from the west side of the mountain the most popular place to start is from Underhill State Park. The two most popular routes from here are: Sunset Ridge Trail & Laura Cowles Trail. If you are hiking from the east side of the mountain the more popular route is the Long Trail. The easiest way up the mountain though is from the Toll Road. Sunset Ridge Trail: One-way hiking distance: 3.3 miles One-way elevation gain: 2600 feet This trail is very scenic and could be considered a classic. For a good portion of the route you will be above the tree line. This trail has the best views of any trail that ascends the mountain, since so much is above tree line. This route would not be recommended during bad weather or high winds since its so exposed. Laura Cowles Trail: One-way hiking distance: 2.7 miles One-way elevation gain: 2600 feet The Laura Cowles trail is a more direct route up to the chin, this trail branches off of the Sunset Ridge trail and rejoins it near the chin. Since its more direct it is steeper and much of the hike is through a forested ravine. This route is tougher, but more protected from the elements. Sunset Ridge and the Laura Cowles trail can be easily done as a loop. But I would recommend going up Laura Cowles rather than down. Long Trail Southbound: One-way hiking distance: 2.3 miles One-way elevation gain: 2800 feet The Long Trail is the most popular route from the east side of the mountain. This trail is very steep, but also sheltered. The Long Trail can also be combined with other hiking routes for a loop hike. You could ascend the Hell Brook trail then down the Long Trail. Or a trip up the Haselton Trail, traverse the summit ridge to the chin then down the Long Trail. From the Toll Road: One-way hiking distance: 1.3 miles One-way elevation gain: 600 feet The Toll Road is the easiest way to the summit of Mount Mansfield. Information about the Toll Road can be found here. This route starts from the nose and follows the Long Trail north towards the chin. Though its the easiest route most people hiking to the summit do not use this route. The views along the ridge to the summit are superb.
Mount Mansfield
There are many trails up the mountain, I will describe a few of the more popular routes. If hiking from the west side of the mountain the most popular place to start is from Underhill State Park. The two most popular routes from here are: Sunset Ridge Trail & Laura Cowles Trail. If you are hiking from the east side of the mountain the more popular route is the Long Trail. The easiest way up the mountain though is from the Toll Road. Sunset Ridge Trail: One-way hiking distance: 3.3 miles One-way elevation gain: 2600 feet This trail is very scenic and could be considered a classic. For a good portion of the route you will be above the tree line. This trail has the best views of any trail that ascends the mountain, since so much is above tree line. This route would not be recommended during bad weather or high winds since its so exposed. Laura Cowles Trail: One-way hiking distance: 2.7 miles One-way elevation gain: 2600 feet The Laura Cowles trail is a more direct route up to the chin, this trail branches off of the Sunset Ridge trail and rejoins it near the chin. Since its more direct it is steeper and much of the hike is through a forested ravine. This route is tougher, but more protected from the elements. Sunset Ridge and the Laura Cowles trail can be easily done as a loop. But I would recommend going up Laura Cowles rather than down. Long Trail Southbound: One-way hiking distance: 2.3 miles One-way elevation gain: 2800 feet The Long Trail is the most popular route from the east side of the mountain. This trail is very steep, but also sheltered. The Long Trail can also be combined with other hiking routes for a loop hike. You could ascend the Hell Brook trail then down the Long Trail. Or a trip up the Haselton Trail, traverse the summit ridge to the chin then down the Long Trail. From the Toll Road: One-way hiking distance: 1.3 miles One-way elevation gain: 600 feet The Toll Road is the easiest way to the summit of Mount Mansfield. Information about the Toll Road can be found here. This route starts from the nose and follows the Long Trail north towards the chin. Though its the easiest route most people hiking to the summit do not use this route. The views along the ridge to the summit are superb.
Camel's Hump is an easy to moderate hike to one of Vermont's best summit views. Early autumn is best time to hike this trail for beautiful New England fall colors. This adventure takes you up the Burrows Trail from the Huntington side of Camel's Hump. There are multiple trails to the summit, but this trail is the shortest. It is 2.4 miles to the summit with 2300' elevation gain. The trailhead is accessed from the aptly named Camel's Hump Road out of Huntington Center; follow signs from town towards Camel's Hump Park. Follow this road for about 3.5 miles until you reach a large, free parking lot at Burrows Trailhead. Be sure to take in the starry night sky before putting on your headlamps or turning on your flashlights! Check for sunrise time depending on the season and plan to be at the summit about 30 minutes prior to sunrise to ensure you catch the whole show. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow with blue blazes marking the way. The first mile is a moderate ascent before increasing in steepness, but nothing technical. If you have chosen a clear morning, the moon is in it's last quarter approaching a full moon, so it provides some light as well. The trail will climb 2.1 miles to a small clearing where other trails merge. You will turn right and take the last 0.3 miles along the Long Trail South. This section is the steepest part as you clear the tree line and become more exposed to the wind. Environmental Tip: Camel's Hump is one of the few mountains in Vermont that has alpine vegetation at the summit - please do the "rock walk" to protect the alpine! The summit will be chilly at the top so bring layers. The sun will rise directly over the White Mountains of New Hampshire, creating a beautiful backdrop. The hike back down the mountain will have you surrounded by bright fall colors that you didn't get to experience on the way up in the dark.
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Camels Hump
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Camel's Hump is an easy to moderate hike to one of Vermont's best summit views. Early autumn is best time to hike this trail for beautiful New England fall colors. This adventure takes you up the Burrows Trail from the Huntington side of Camel's Hump. There are multiple trails to the summit, but this trail is the shortest. It is 2.4 miles to the summit with 2300' elevation gain. The trailhead is accessed from the aptly named Camel's Hump Road out of Huntington Center; follow signs from town towards Camel's Hump Park. Follow this road for about 3.5 miles until you reach a large, free parking lot at Burrows Trailhead. Be sure to take in the starry night sky before putting on your headlamps or turning on your flashlights! Check for sunrise time depending on the season and plan to be at the summit about 30 minutes prior to sunrise to ensure you catch the whole show. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow with blue blazes marking the way. The first mile is a moderate ascent before increasing in steepness, but nothing technical. If you have chosen a clear morning, the moon is in it's last quarter approaching a full moon, so it provides some light as well. The trail will climb 2.1 miles to a small clearing where other trails merge. You will turn right and take the last 0.3 miles along the Long Trail South. This section is the steepest part as you clear the tree line and become more exposed to the wind. Environmental Tip: Camel's Hump is one of the few mountains in Vermont that has alpine vegetation at the summit - please do the "rock walk" to protect the alpine! The summit will be chilly at the top so bring layers. The sun will rise directly over the White Mountains of New Hampshire, creating a beautiful backdrop. The hike back down the mountain will have you surrounded by bright fall colors that you didn't get to experience on the way up in the dark.
Located at 3,650 feet, a mere 743 feet from the summit of Mount Mansfield, the modest Taft Lodge provides shelter for hikers and thru-hikers along Vermont’s Long Trail System. Taft Lodge is the oldest and largest shelter along the Long Trail. Originally built in 1920, the lodge was completely rebuilt in 1996. It can sleep up to 24 on wooden bunk platforms and has a large wooden group table. There is a caretaker from the Green Mountain Club during the summer months, and there is a $6-per-night fee from May through October. There is no electricity or running water. Visitors are responsible for bringing appropriate sleeping bags and pads, food prep, water treatment, and lighting. Pack out all garbage. There is a composting privy next to the Long Trail intersection and a food wash pit provided outside near the cabin. Fifty feet south of the cabin is a water source. Water should always be purified before use. The Long Trail South is the shortest hike to reach the lodge. Park near the trail intersection of Vermont 108 or at the Smugglers Notch Picnic Area. It is a 1.7-mile, 1,970-foot climb from the trailhead.
Taft Lodge
Located at 3,650 feet, a mere 743 feet from the summit of Mount Mansfield, the modest Taft Lodge provides shelter for hikers and thru-hikers along Vermont’s Long Trail System. Taft Lodge is the oldest and largest shelter along the Long Trail. Originally built in 1920, the lodge was completely rebuilt in 1996. It can sleep up to 24 on wooden bunk platforms and has a large wooden group table. There is a caretaker from the Green Mountain Club during the summer months, and there is a $6-per-night fee from May through October. There is no electricity or running water. Visitors are responsible for bringing appropriate sleeping bags and pads, food prep, water treatment, and lighting. Pack out all garbage. There is a composting privy next to the Long Trail intersection and a food wash pit provided outside near the cabin. Fifty feet south of the cabin is a water source. Water should always be purified before use. The Long Trail South is the shortest hike to reach the lodge. Park near the trail intersection of Vermont 108 or at the Smugglers Notch Picnic Area. It is a 1.7-mile, 1,970-foot climb from the trailhead.
One of the most memorable views in Vermont is the reward for this moderately stiff climb with a vertical rise of about 1,500 feet. You can take either of two trails, one from the north end of long Lake Willoughby, the other from the lake's southern end. Or if you don't mind walking almost three miles back along the road, you can make a seven-mile loop. The walk along Route 5A borders Lake Willoughby, and traffic is rarely heavy. Getting to the top of the cliffs is about the same from either direction, a mix of woodland and rocky trail, with some brook crossings on the North Trail. There are some steep sections either way. The North Trail is about half a mile longer, but South Trail includes the view from Pulpit Rock, 550 feet directly above Lake Willoughby and one of the most dramatic in the state. Also impressive are the long-distance views at North Lookout and West Lookout just north of the summit (which is wooded and offers no view at all). These reach to Lake Memphremagog, the mountains of Quebec's Eastern Townships, Camel's Hump, and New Hampshire's White Mountains. Address: Route 5A, Westmore, Vermont
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Mount Pisgah
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One of the most memorable views in Vermont is the reward for this moderately stiff climb with a vertical rise of about 1,500 feet. You can take either of two trails, one from the north end of long Lake Willoughby, the other from the lake's southern end. Or if you don't mind walking almost three miles back along the road, you can make a seven-mile loop. The walk along Route 5A borders Lake Willoughby, and traffic is rarely heavy. Getting to the top of the cliffs is about the same from either direction, a mix of woodland and rocky trail, with some brook crossings on the North Trail. There are some steep sections either way. The North Trail is about half a mile longer, but South Trail includes the view from Pulpit Rock, 550 feet directly above Lake Willoughby and one of the most dramatic in the state. Also impressive are the long-distance views at North Lookout and West Lookout just north of the summit (which is wooded and offers no view at all). These reach to Lake Memphremagog, the mountains of Quebec's Eastern Townships, Camel's Hump, and New Hampshire's White Mountains. Address: Route 5A, Westmore, Vermont
On the western slopes of Mt. Mansfield, from halfway up a cliff face, juts a sword-shaped slice of rock about 40 feet long. You can reach it via the Sunset Ridge Trail from Underhill State Park, west of Burlington. Trail maps are at the ranger station at the park entrance, but the route is well marked. The Sunset Ridge Trail ascends steadily through the woods with only two spots that are difficult when the rocks are wet and slippery. Trailside benches are placed facing scenic overlooks. At 0.7 mile is a junction; follow trail signs for Cantilever Rock, to the left. At about 0.1 mile, after passing through a narrow, rocky area, you will come to the base of a 100-foot cliff. Above is Cantilever Rock, about halfway up the cliff, sticking out at a right angle from the rock face. The area below and beyond is almost as interesting, a jumbled hillside of huge boulders that have fallen from the cliffs above. You can look up and match the pieces of talus around you to the clefts and faces of the cliff overhead, as if working on a giant three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Address: Underhill State Park, Underhill Center, Vermont
Cantilever Rock
On the western slopes of Mt. Mansfield, from halfway up a cliff face, juts a sword-shaped slice of rock about 40 feet long. You can reach it via the Sunset Ridge Trail from Underhill State Park, west of Burlington. Trail maps are at the ranger station at the park entrance, but the route is well marked. The Sunset Ridge Trail ascends steadily through the woods with only two spots that are difficult when the rocks are wet and slippery. Trailside benches are placed facing scenic overlooks. At 0.7 mile is a junction; follow trail signs for Cantilever Rock, to the left. At about 0.1 mile, after passing through a narrow, rocky area, you will come to the base of a 100-foot cliff. Above is Cantilever Rock, about halfway up the cliff, sticking out at a right angle from the rock face. The area below and beyond is almost as interesting, a jumbled hillside of huge boulders that have fallen from the cliffs above. You can look up and match the pieces of talus around you to the clefts and faces of the cliff overhead, as if working on a giant three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Address: Underhill State Park, Underhill Center, Vermont
One of the most scenic sections of the Long Trail stretches from Lincoln Gap, where it crosses an unnumbered road between Lincoln and Warren, just off Route 100. From here it's about 2.5 miles to the summit of Mt. Abraham. The Long Trail crosses at a high point, giving you a head start on the ascent to Mt. Abraham's 4,052-foot summit. Although the trail has only a 1,600-foot overall rise, be prepared to do more climbing than that suggests-the trail dips steeply several places before climbing again. It's easy to find the trailhead, as the crossing is well marked. Head north on the Long Trail, staying to the left at the top of the embankment. The trail runs along a ridge covered in stunted firs and spruce trees, under moss-covered ledges and in one place between large glacial boulders. The unobstructed view from Mt. Abraham's rocky summit includes the distinctive silhouette of Camel's Hump and extends to New Hampshire's Mt. Washington, Lake Champlain, and the Adirondacks in New York.
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Mount Abraham
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One of the most scenic sections of the Long Trail stretches from Lincoln Gap, where it crosses an unnumbered road between Lincoln and Warren, just off Route 100. From here it's about 2.5 miles to the summit of Mt. Abraham. The Long Trail crosses at a high point, giving you a head start on the ascent to Mt. Abraham's 4,052-foot summit. Although the trail has only a 1,600-foot overall rise, be prepared to do more climbing than that suggests-the trail dips steeply several places before climbing again. It's easy to find the trailhead, as the crossing is well marked. Head north on the Long Trail, staying to the left at the top of the embankment. The trail runs along a ridge covered in stunted firs and spruce trees, under moss-covered ledges and in one place between large glacial boulders. The unobstructed view from Mt. Abraham's rocky summit includes the distinctive silhouette of Camel's Hump and extends to New Hampshire's Mt. Washington, Lake Champlain, and the Adirondacks in New York.
Groton State Forest covers a large swath of land in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom region, and includes more than a dozen hiking trails. Geology and a fine view of the mountains and ponds are the main interests in the 10-minute climb up the CCC-built steps from the parking area to the top of Owl's Head. You can also climb from the base via a trail from the road between New Discovery Campground and Osmore Pond. The granite ledges at the top were formed more than 300 million years ago. After the granite had solidified from its molten state, cracks appeared and were filled by molten rock that was forced into the space and cooled here, creating the dramatic stripes that crisscross the bald dome. From the nature center (where you can pick up a trail map) allow about two hours to explore the 748-acre Peacham Bog Natural Area, one of Vermont's largest bogs and one of only two known "raised" bogs in the state. It is surrounded by a coniferous forest of tall trees, and at one point, the environment seems almost like a rain forest, with moisture-loving plants and mosses. Along with pitcher plants and bog rosemary, you may find several orchid varieties, and you will get a good look at a beaver dam. The bog does not have a boardwalk, so waterproof boots are helpful, especially in wet seasons. Because the bog is fragile and often unstable, and because you are far from traveled areas, you should stay on the trail. Address: Route 232, Plainfield, Vermont
Owl's Head Mountain
Groton State Forest covers a large swath of land in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom region, and includes more than a dozen hiking trails. Geology and a fine view of the mountains and ponds are the main interests in the 10-minute climb up the CCC-built steps from the parking area to the top of Owl's Head. You can also climb from the base via a trail from the road between New Discovery Campground and Osmore Pond. The granite ledges at the top were formed more than 300 million years ago. After the granite had solidified from its molten state, cracks appeared and were filled by molten rock that was forced into the space and cooled here, creating the dramatic stripes that crisscross the bald dome. From the nature center (where you can pick up a trail map) allow about two hours to explore the 748-acre Peacham Bog Natural Area, one of Vermont's largest bogs and one of only two known "raised" bogs in the state. It is surrounded by a coniferous forest of tall trees, and at one point, the environment seems almost like a rain forest, with moisture-loving plants and mosses. Along with pitcher plants and bog rosemary, you may find several orchid varieties, and you will get a good look at a beaver dam. The bog does not have a boardwalk, so waterproof boots are helpful, especially in wet seasons. Because the bog is fragile and often unstable, and because you are far from traveled areas, you should stay on the trail. Address: Route 232, Plainfield, Vermont
Parks
Oakledge Park is located in the South End of Burlington, nestled along the shores of Lake Champlain, allowing for beautiful waterfront views. Within the park, there are two large shelters that are available to rent from May to October, two public beaches, a playground, a tree house, walking trails, tennis, bocce and volleyball courts, charcoal grills, picnic tables, bathrooms and lots of open grassy areas for you to enjoy. Although currently under construction with clearly marked detours, there is direct access to Burlington’s 9 mile bike path. Come explore Oakledge Park and enjoy all that is has to offer!
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Oakledge Park
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Oakledge Park is located in the South End of Burlington, nestled along the shores of Lake Champlain, allowing for beautiful waterfront views. Within the park, there are two large shelters that are available to rent from May to October, two public beaches, a playground, a tree house, walking trails, tennis, bocce and volleyball courts, charcoal grills, picnic tables, bathrooms and lots of open grassy areas for you to enjoy. Although currently under construction with clearly marked detours, there is direct access to Burlington’s 9 mile bike path. Come explore Oakledge Park and enjoy all that is has to offer!
Red Rocks Park, in South Burlington, is a gem loved by locals and visitors in all seasons. The park is open year round with summer parking inside the park for easy access to the beach. In the off-season (Labor Day to Memorial Day), parking is available outside the gates, and the trails are open for hiking and cross-country skiing in the winter. Many years ago, Red Rocks used to be the place where the "bad boys" jumped off cliffs into Lake Champlain. Cliff-jumping is no longer allowed, but there is a sandy beach available for swimming, a wooded picnic area, and 2.5 miles of wooded trail with fantastic views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. Leashed dogs are welcome, and it is a very popular spot for dog walkers, joggers, and hikers. The Lake Trail, which is mostly hard-packed gravel, meanders along the cliffs, providing numerous vistas and places to stop and take in the views. There are barriers between the trail and the edge of the cliffs for safety, and signs warn that cliff jumping is forbidden with fines of up to $600 for those who choose to ignore the warnings. Several other trails wind through the woods, which are mostly cedar and hemlock with a few hardwoods mixed in. When Red Rocks Park is open to cars in the summer months, there’s a daily parking fee of $5 for residents and $8 for non-residents. There is a restroom and changing area available next to the beach.
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Red Rocks Park
Central Avenue
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Red Rocks Park, in South Burlington, is a gem loved by locals and visitors in all seasons. The park is open year round with summer parking inside the park for easy access to the beach. In the off-season (Labor Day to Memorial Day), parking is available outside the gates, and the trails are open for hiking and cross-country skiing in the winter. Many years ago, Red Rocks used to be the place where the "bad boys" jumped off cliffs into Lake Champlain. Cliff-jumping is no longer allowed, but there is a sandy beach available for swimming, a wooded picnic area, and 2.5 miles of wooded trail with fantastic views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. Leashed dogs are welcome, and it is a very popular spot for dog walkers, joggers, and hikers. The Lake Trail, which is mostly hard-packed gravel, meanders along the cliffs, providing numerous vistas and places to stop and take in the views. There are barriers between the trail and the edge of the cliffs for safety, and signs warn that cliff jumping is forbidden with fines of up to $600 for those who choose to ignore the warnings. Several other trails wind through the woods, which are mostly cedar and hemlock with a few hardwoods mixed in. When Red Rocks Park is open to cars in the summer months, there’s a daily parking fee of $5 for residents and $8 for non-residents. There is a restroom and changing area available next to the beach.
Waterfront Park is a large regional park located to the west of downtown along the Lake Champlain Shoreline. This park is home to several large music and food festivals, with the Burlington Bike Path running along its eastern border. The park is immediately adjacent to the Community Boathouse, the ECHO Museum, and Lake Champlain Sailing Center. The park can be accessed via College & Lake Streets and Penny Lane. Parking is available at the nearby Pease lot.
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Waterfront Park
20 Lake Street
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Waterfront Park is a large regional park located to the west of downtown along the Lake Champlain Shoreline. This park is home to several large music and food festivals, with the Burlington Bike Path running along its eastern border. The park is immediately adjacent to the Community Boathouse, the ECHO Museum, and Lake Champlain Sailing Center. The park can be accessed via College & Lake Streets and Penny Lane. Parking is available at the nearby Pease lot.
Swimming Holes
The gorge attracts some of the wildest personalities. On the average summer weekend, you will see many young adults leaping off sloping gorge walls, and others diving into swimming pools that really are not deep enough to warrant safe diving practices. Vermont has a plethora of fine swimming holes, so why risk it here? If you can, resist the temptation of the pools here and simply view the gorge and falls from a distance. If you must swim, stick to swimming in the large channel below the bottommost falls. The rugged gorge here is quite neat, but you will have to safely navigate to a few different vantage points to see all of its intricacies. The main falls here is a plunge that dumps into the head of the gorge.
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Huntington Gorge
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The gorge attracts some of the wildest personalities. On the average summer weekend, you will see many young adults leaping off sloping gorge walls, and others diving into swimming pools that really are not deep enough to warrant safe diving practices. Vermont has a plethora of fine swimming holes, so why risk it here? If you can, resist the temptation of the pools here and simply view the gorge and falls from a distance. If you must swim, stick to swimming in the large channel below the bottommost falls. The rugged gorge here is quite neat, but you will have to safely navigate to a few different vantage points to see all of its intricacies. The main falls here is a plunge that dumps into the head of the gorge.
This is the waterfall that fits everyone well: it is perfect for children, teens, and adults alike. There are plenty of flat rock surfaces for picnickers and sunbathers, swimming pools and potholes for waders and swimmers, and a stunning set of waterfalls sure to please anyone. Bolton Potholes, which is frequently called The Potholes or Devil's Potholes, consists of three sets of falls. The first plunge drops into a small, round pothole about 5 feet wide by 7 feet long. The second plunge, only feet downstream, drops into an almost perfectly circular pothole about 25 feet in diameter and 8 or 10 feet at its deepest point. The lips of the surrounding cliff walls overhang the pool slightly, allowing daring souls an opportunity to cliff jump. It is not uncommon to see people slip off this overhang and land in the pool below in unintended positions. The pool really is not deep enough for safe jumping, so if you partake in this activity, you do so at your own risk. Each of the two potholes is filled with the deep, emerald-green water that is so common to Vermont swimming holes, yet still breathtaking every time on every visit. The third falls, a cascade about five feet tall, slips into a narrow river channel. Below this falls, the water calms as it enters a very large round pool that is perfect for younger children. Small sandy and pebble beaches line the riverbank, creating ideal conditions for a fun family-friendly environment. Although it is a cold swimming hole, you are likely to see swimmers here from June until early September. On a recent 80-degree August afternoon, 100 people were seen swimming! Regardless of how crowded the Bolton Potholes can become, the potholes and falls here retain high scenic character and are highly recommended.
Bolton Potholes
1 Bolton Valley Access Road
This is the waterfall that fits everyone well: it is perfect for children, teens, and adults alike. There are plenty of flat rock surfaces for picnickers and sunbathers, swimming pools and potholes for waders and swimmers, and a stunning set of waterfalls sure to please anyone. Bolton Potholes, which is frequently called The Potholes or Devil's Potholes, consists of three sets of falls. The first plunge drops into a small, round pothole about 5 feet wide by 7 feet long. The second plunge, only feet downstream, drops into an almost perfectly circular pothole about 25 feet in diameter and 8 or 10 feet at its deepest point. The lips of the surrounding cliff walls overhang the pool slightly, allowing daring souls an opportunity to cliff jump. It is not uncommon to see people slip off this overhang and land in the pool below in unintended positions. The pool really is not deep enough for safe jumping, so if you partake in this activity, you do so at your own risk. Each of the two potholes is filled with the deep, emerald-green water that is so common to Vermont swimming holes, yet still breathtaking every time on every visit. The third falls, a cascade about five feet tall, slips into a narrow river channel. Below this falls, the water calms as it enters a very large round pool that is perfect for younger children. Small sandy and pebble beaches line the riverbank, creating ideal conditions for a fun family-friendly environment. Although it is a cold swimming hole, you are likely to see swimmers here from June until early September. On a recent 80-degree August afternoon, 100 people were seen swimming! Regardless of how crowded the Bolton Potholes can become, the potholes and falls here retain high scenic character and are highly recommended.
This waterfall is a secluded, geologically fascinating demonstration of nature’s beauty. The long, tight gorge walls along the river cause the water to create a deep, rumbling, thunderous sound as it is forced downstream and eventually over the main 25-foot falls. The water is a beautiful teal color for its entire distance, even as it plunges over the falls. These pretty waters are found in swimming holes throughout the state, feeding the argument that Vermont’s swimming holes are some of the finest in the country. Various cascades and plunges adorn the river as you hike towards the main attraction. At the main falls, water projects away from the rocks at an angle and falls into an ultra-enticing pool, one of the greatest in the region. It is deep, clean, and absolutely stunning; if you did not bring your swimming trunks, you will wish you had. If you do choose to swim here, stay to the left side to avoid the stronger currents on the right.
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Bingham Falls
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This waterfall is a secluded, geologically fascinating demonstration of nature’s beauty. The long, tight gorge walls along the river cause the water to create a deep, rumbling, thunderous sound as it is forced downstream and eventually over the main 25-foot falls. The water is a beautiful teal color for its entire distance, even as it plunges over the falls. These pretty waters are found in swimming holes throughout the state, feeding the argument that Vermont’s swimming holes are some of the finest in the country. Various cascades and plunges adorn the river as you hike towards the main attraction. At the main falls, water projects away from the rocks at an angle and falls into an ultra-enticing pool, one of the greatest in the region. It is deep, clean, and absolutely stunning; if you did not bring your swimming trunks, you will wish you had. If you do choose to swim here, stay to the left side to avoid the stronger currents on the right.
The towns of Waterbury and Stowe do not disappoint waterfall lovers. Honey Hollow Falls is one of the finest in the area. Located within minutes of other fantastic falls in the area, “absolutely gorgeous” and “extraordinarily photogenic” will likely be your reactions to this wonderful waterfall and hollow. The brook tumbles a total of 55 feet over a 150-foot long section of near-continuous plunges, horsetails and cascades. The various falls and the hollow, bordered by pretty ferns and thick moss, are a photographers dream.
Honey Hollow
The towns of Waterbury and Stowe do not disappoint waterfall lovers. Honey Hollow Falls is one of the finest in the area. Located within minutes of other fantastic falls in the area, “absolutely gorgeous” and “extraordinarily photogenic” will likely be your reactions to this wonderful waterfall and hollow. The brook tumbles a total of 55 feet over a 150-foot long section of near-continuous plunges, horsetails and cascades. The various falls and the hollow, bordered by pretty ferns and thick moss, are a photographers dream.
The Mad River harbors a collection of first-class swimming holes, including a long-time Vermont favorite, Warren Falls. The pools below the falls are spacious and full of clear green-tinted water. Cliff jumping is a true past-time here, and you would be hard-pressed to find a safer spot to partake in this activity. Of course, cliff-jumping always carries a high degree of risk, so use caution if you decide to join the conga-line of jumpers often seen here during the warmer months. The falls themselves, a series of several small plunges, are mostly overshadowed by the allure of the pools and the striking gorge walls. Despite the crowds that are likely to be here on summer weekends, there is always enough room for all to savor this jewel of a natural attraction.
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Warren Falls
3919 VT-100
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The Mad River harbors a collection of first-class swimming holes, including a long-time Vermont favorite, Warren Falls. The pools below the falls are spacious and full of clear green-tinted water. Cliff jumping is a true past-time here, and you would be hard-pressed to find a safer spot to partake in this activity. Of course, cliff-jumping always carries a high degree of risk, so use caution if you decide to join the conga-line of jumpers often seen here during the warmer months. The falls themselves, a series of several small plunges, are mostly overshadowed by the allure of the pools and the striking gorge walls. Despite the crowds that are likely to be here on summer weekends, there is always enough room for all to savor this jewel of a natural attraction.
Skatepark
Burlington is now home to a world class concrete Skatepark, in the City’s Waterfront Access North area. The site is well connected to the Burlington Bike Path with parking nearby.
Andy A_Dog Williams Skatepark
1 Lake St
Burlington is now home to a world class concrete Skatepark, in the City’s Waterfront Access North area. The site is well connected to the Burlington Bike Path with parking nearby.
Beach
North Beach is our largest beach and the only beach with active lifeguards in our summer season. With food concessions, a playground, restrooms with showers, picnic tables and grills, North Beach has something for everyone. During the summer months you can also rent kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards at our vendors kiosk and take full advantage of what Burlington has to offer. The park and beach are open all year. North Beach is located off of North Avenue, right down the road from the high school and boasts a full campground with available sites for overnight rentals. Learn more about our North Beach Campground. If you have questions about the Beach or Campground, please call (802)862-0942 or email NBCampground@burlingtonvt.gov
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North Beach Park
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North Beach is our largest beach and the only beach with active lifeguards in our summer season. With food concessions, a playground, restrooms with showers, picnic tables and grills, North Beach has something for everyone. During the summer months you can also rent kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards at our vendors kiosk and take full advantage of what Burlington has to offer. The park and beach are open all year. North Beach is located off of North Avenue, right down the road from the high school and boasts a full campground with available sites for overnight rentals. Learn more about our North Beach Campground. If you have questions about the Beach or Campground, please call (802)862-0942 or email NBCampground@burlingtonvt.gov
With its long sandy beach and expansive shady lawn, the convenience and experience of accessing Lake Champlain couldn’t be better. Multiple post and beam storage barns are on site to house and extensive line-up of top of the line equipment for paddlers and windsurfers of all levels. Members and guests will check in daily with our staff and enjoy access to changing rooms and storage lockers before beginning their day on the beach. Access to this new lakeside stretch of beach, convenient parking, huge lawn with shady trees, volleyball courts, picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, lifeguards, and guaranteed good times are just a few of the benefits of joining the Burlington Surf Club.
Burlington Surf Club (WND & WVS)
32 Lakeside Avenue
With its long sandy beach and expansive shady lawn, the convenience and experience of accessing Lake Champlain couldn’t be better. Multiple post and beam storage barns are on site to house and extensive line-up of top of the line equipment for paddlers and windsurfers of all levels. Members and guests will check in daily with our staff and enjoy access to changing rooms and storage lockers before beginning their day on the beach. Access to this new lakeside stretch of beach, convenient parking, huge lawn with shady trees, volleyball courts, picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, lifeguards, and guaranteed good times are just a few of the benefits of joining the Burlington Surf Club.
Blanchard Beach is a beautiful sandy beach nestled in Oakledge Park at the South End of Burlington, located off of Flynn Avenue. Blanchard is one of two beaches in Oakledge, Oakledge Cove is the other. There is no lifeguard coverage at Oakledge Park. Available facilities at Oakledge Park include tennis courts, softball fields, volleyball courts, two picnic shelters, walking trails and restrooms. The park and beach is open all year.
Blanchard Beach
Blanchard Beach is a beautiful sandy beach nestled in Oakledge Park at the South End of Burlington, located off of Flynn Avenue. Blanchard is one of two beaches in Oakledge, Oakledge Cove is the other. There is no lifeguard coverage at Oakledge Park. Available facilities at Oakledge Park include tennis courts, softball fields, volleyball courts, two picnic shelters, walking trails and restrooms. The park and beach is open all year.
Leddy Beach is located just off of North Avenue in the New North End of Burlington. Leddy Beach boasts a 1500′ sandy beach overlooked by a grassy picnic area with grills and picnic tables. Restrooms and a snack bar are available in Leddy Park Arena. There is no lifeguard coverage at Leddy Beach. This quiet beach is a gem to locals and visitors alike. Leddy Park has extensive athletic fields, tennis courts, a basketball court and Ice Arena on its property. The park and beach are open all year.
Leddy Beach
Leddy Beach is located just off of North Avenue in the New North End of Burlington. Leddy Beach boasts a 1500′ sandy beach overlooked by a grassy picnic area with grills and picnic tables. Restrooms and a snack bar are available in Leddy Park Arena. There is no lifeguard coverage at Leddy Beach. This quiet beach is a gem to locals and visitors alike. Leddy Park has extensive athletic fields, tennis courts, a basketball court and Ice Arena on its property. The park and beach are open all year.