Home Outdoor education A guide to the national parks, forests and lands of Vermont.

A guide to the national parks, forests and lands of Vermont.


Vermont is home to plenty of state parks to explore this summer, but what about national lands? The state has several tracts of national land including a national forest and a refuge with plenty of beauty and recreation to offer. But be prepared to find differences between state parks and national lands.

After:Get That Locked-In Camping Trip — Vermont State Parks Had Record Attendance Last Year

Here’s a guide to visiting Vermont’s national lands this summer:

Appalachian Trail

Vermont is just one part of this hiking trail that spans the east coast, starting in Georgia and ending in Maine.

According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the trail spans over 150 miles in Vermont and ranges from 400 feet to over 4,000 feet in elevation. The trail also passes through parts of the Green Mountain National Forest.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy warns people to stay off the Vermont portion of the trail during mud season, which typically runs from April through May.

Green Mountain National Forest

Green Mountain National Forest covers nearly 400,000 acres and offers year-round traditional outdoor recreation found in other Vermont parks, including kayaking, fishing, skiing, hiking, etc.

There are eight designated wilderness areas in the Green Mountain National Forest including Peru Peak Wilderness, Bristol Cliff Wilderness. Each of the eight zones offers hiking opportunities.

Hiking in the National Forest is often done when hiking portions of the Long Trail, Appalachian Trail, or North Country Scenic Trail, all of which pass through Green Mountain National Forest.

Camping is a popular activity in the forest, but being prepared is essential. There are many campgrounds in the forest, including Chittenden Brook Campground, Moosalamoo Campground, and Silver Lake Campground.

A full list can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/gmfl/recreation/camping-cabins/?recid=64897&actid=29. Be sure to check the fees for different campgrounds, as they vary from campground to campground.

Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge

The US Fish and Wildlife Service manages this vast wildlife refuge which actually spans parts of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. In Vermont, the Wildlife Refuge operates a visitor contact station in the Nulhegan Basin in Brunswick.

The Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refugee encompasses the entire Connecticut River watershed, and is the only such refuge to do so in the United States. The design was first proposed by Connecticut Senator Silvio O. Conte, who wanted to clean up and protect the watershed and the wildlife within it, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Pondicherry Viewpoint at the Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge.

The 7.2 million acre watershed was officially established in 1997, and visitors can enjoy a remote and wildlife-rich experience in Brunswick’s Nulhegan Basin, which is also open to public fishing, hunting and environmental education. The Nulhegan Basin is particularly known for its many species and abundance of birds. You can contact them at (802) 962-5240.

Kate O’Farrell is a reporter for the Burlington Free Press. You can reach her at [email protected]