Vermont State Parks e-newsletter                                                  July 2014
Lean-tos at Lake Shaftsbury State Park. Photo by Gary Bouchard.

Hello Everyone!


Craig Whipple, Director of State Parks


In the peak of our summer season it's hard to limit a Vermont State Parks newsletter to only these few pages! There is just so much happening in every park in every part of the state. Campgrounds are busy, beaches are hopping and people everywhere are having fun, relaxing and creating life long memories in the Vermont outdoors.


I'll let you in on a little secret. We who are lucky enough to work in Vermont State Parks have the best jobs in the world! Seeing you all enjoying your parks gives us such a powerful sense of pride and reminds us that what we do really counts. It is truly a pleasure to serve you. Enjoy the rest of this wonderful summer!


See you out there!


The Outdoor Observer: 
Vermont's Wonderful Waterfalls 

By: Rebecca Phelps 

The beauty of Vermont waterfalls knows no competition. Supplement your next Vermont State Park trip with a visit to one of these beauties.

Falls of Lana. Photo by Ellie Stover

Combine swimming, fishing, an afternoon hike and a picnic during a visit to Jamaica State Park and Hamilton Falls.The West River flows right through this beautiful park, providing a refreshing swimming break in the Salmon Hole, and lots of great fishing opportunities in different pockets along the West River Trail. Wear your swim trunks and pack your fishing rod for this six mile round trip hike to the falls.You are in for a treat-Hamilton Falls on Cobb Brook is a 125 foot cascade of water, beautiful every month of the year. To get there: from the Salmon Hole, hike along the West River Trail for two miles, then turn right on the Hamilton Falls trail for 1 mile to the bottom of the falls, the perfect spot for a picnic.  This is an easy to moderate hike.


Take a visit to Branbury State Park if you want to spend some time on a warm sunny beach, swimming in a clear lake, listening to loons and taking a short hike to one of Vermont's most stunning waterfalls-the Falls of Lana. The 100-foot cascade of water on this falls is easy to access from Branbury, just 0.25 miles from the park entrance south on VT53 at the trailhead for the falls and Silver Lake. The hike is very easy on a gravel road to the top of the falls where there is a nice spot to have a picnic.


Spending time at Emerald Lake State Park? You should take a day trip to beautiful Lye Brook Falls, located in the Lye Brook Wilderness area of the Green Mountain National Forest in Manchester. This cascading falls has over a 150 foot drop and is breathtaking after a rain or in early summer when lots of water is flowing. To get there: From Route 7A in Manchester head east on Depot Street (Route 11/30), after half a mile turn right on Richville Road. At the Post Office turn left on Manchester Road and cross under Route 7, after the underpass turn right on Lye Brook Falls Access Road, follow this to the end and park. The trail leaves at the end of the parking lot. This moderate 4.6 mile round trip hike includes some walking on rocks but is mostly an old gravel railroad bed with easy footing.


Visit the first universally accessible portion of the Appalachian Trail in Vermont and view beautiful Thundering Brook Falls during your stay at Gifford Woods State Park in Killington. Walk through a wetland and keep your feet dry on an incredible boardwalk to the foot of the series of four falls with a total drop of about 130 feet.  The water flows through a steep and narrow cataract and is best viewed after a rain or in early summer. Thundering Brook Falls is always beautiful and worth the trip even during drier times. To get there: From Gifford Woods, drive 2 miles north on Route 100 then turn right on River Road. Drive 2.5 miles to the wheelchair accessible parking lot on the right. The easy 1 mile round trip hike is on the universally accessible boardwalk though a wetland full of lively nesting birds this time of year. 


Your trip to Mt. Ascutney State Park is not complete without a visit to Cascade Falls on the Weathersfield Trail. These falls feature a sheer, dramatic surface water drop of 84 feet.This is a famous geologic site because there is evidence that helped geologists draw conclusions about the volcanic history of the area and the creation of Mt. Ascutney.To get there: From the Mt Ascutney State Park entrance, go 2.3 miles south on Route 44A/Route 5 to the intersection with Route 131, then turn west on Route 131 and go 3.5 miles to the intersection with Cascade Falls Road, turn North on Cascade Falls Road and follow signs to the trail head.  Reach the falls with a 1.2 mile moderate hike on the Weathersfield Trail.  On the way you will pass Little Cascade Falls at 0.4 miles. Continue on and you will reach the Mt Ascutney summit in 2.9 miles with scenic points along the way including the lower West Peak where hang gliders launch. 


Summer is the best time to safely enjoy these waterfalls, so make sure you add them to your July outdoor agendas. Pack your lunch in your backpack, grab your friends and family and hit the trail to create a day trip adventure to remember. 


Where to Swim: Summer 2014 

By: Jenny Montagne 


After a long and cold winter, Vermont has been greeted with some sunny, hot, and beautiful summer weather! Our state is filled with places to jump in and cool off. From lakes and rivers to pools and streams to secret swimming holes, the summer is the perfect time to go exploring and find your favorite spot to swim.

Photo by Sarah Mitchell
Button Bay State Park in Ferrisburgh, Vermont is an ideal family camping spot. The park, which sits along historic Lake Champlain and offers phenomenal views of the Adirondack Mountains, has many tent and lean-to sites as well as four cabins with water views. Button Bay is also the only Vermont State Park to boast a swimming pool. The pool, which is shallow throughout, was designed as a safe, kid-friendly space. With a curving waterslide and lifeguard on duty, it is a great place to relax and beat the heat this summer.
Photo by Courtney Stevens

Lake St. Catherine State Park in Poultney, Vermont is a uniquely beautiful park with many opportunities to play in and on the water. The park is very popular for camping with numerous tent and lean-to sites in both wooded and open areas. Lake St. Catherine was originally established as a picnic and swimming area, and true to tradition, maintains a well-developed sandy swimming beach and grassy lawn area.  If you want to take a break from swimming and get out on the water, stop by the concession stand where you can rent kayaks, canoes, row boats, and pedal boats.


If you're looking for a true Vermont swimming experience, stop by Elmore State Park in Lake Elmore, Vermont. The park sits on Lake Elmore, with a large, sandy beach that is perfect for families of small children. The lake sits in the shadow of picturesque Elmore Mountain, part of the Hogback Mountain Range, receives direct sunlight, and is relatively shallow.  Take a break from swimming at the newly renovated Elmore Beach House with restrooms, changing rooms, and a snack bar and concession stand.

Photo by William Murphy

Visiting one of the state's many day-use parks is a wonderful way to enjoy the parks without camping. Camp Plymouth State Park in Ludlow, Vermont sits on picturesque Echo Lake. The park has a large sandy beach and picnic area. Alburg Dunes State Park in Alburgh, Vermont is another great day-use park with ample opportunities for swimming and beach fun. The beach, located on Lake Champlain, is large and sandy with plenty of room to build sand castles or just relax under an umbrella. Calm, shallow water makes this park ideal for families.

We do weekly swim water quality tests at all of our swimming areas to make sure they are safe for swimming.The results are posted here on our website. To find out more information about swimming in Vermont State Parks, please visit our Swimming page.  

Announcing Two New Blog Series 


This summer, the Vermont State Parks blog will feature two new series!

Our new Trail Running blog series follows running enthusiasts Rebecca Phelps, Steve Snook, and Jay Hollingsworth, and Matthew Becker -- all Agency of Natural Resources employees -- as they traverse trails throughout Vermont State Parks. Stay tuned to hear about their experiences, recommendations, trail routes, and, of course, photos and videos from their adventures!  

Bloggers Erin and Evan Meenan are back this year with their latest venture, Microhikes & Microbrews. Follow along as Erin and Evan visit different Vermont State Parks for small day hikes and then stop by nearby breweries to sample local beers. So far, the Meenans have visited Little River State Park and the Trapp Lager Brewery and Kingsland Bay and Drop-in Brewery. Check out our blog to see where they go next! 
Thanks to our Photo Interns!
Gary Bouchard


Gary Bouchard has lived in Vermont all but ten years of his life. Even after traveling much of those ten years he still finds Vermont the most beautiful state. A professional photographer for over 30 years, he loves being in the outdoors, camping, and photographing our beautiful state. Thanks, Gary for the awesome lean-to photo from Lake Shaftsbury State Park!


Ben Hudson


Benedict Hudson comes from Orange County New York. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2008 with a major in Culture and Communication and a minor in French.  He has traveled the world to many places including Germany, France, Sénégal, and will soon be travelling to New Zealand. Thanks to Ben for the Branbury State Park beach photo! To see more of his work, check out his website at:

Check us out socially


Announcing the Random Acts of Camping Giveaway! 


To share the joy of camping with Vermonters, Vermont State Parks has launched a new promotion to encourage day-users to try camping. The Random Acts of Camping program rewards lucky visitors to day-use parks with two free nights of their choice of tent, lean-to, RV, or cabin camping at any Vermont State Park campground. One winner will be chosen every weekend from now until August 3, weather permitting. 

The program was developed as a way to increase statewide accessibility to camping and to foster a lifelong love of the outdoors. Vermont State Parks will be giving away the free park stays to day-users at Waterbury Center, Sand Bar, Lake Shaftsbury, Camp Plymouth, Mt. Philo, Boulder Beach, and Crystal Lake State Parks during busy weekends this summer. The winners will be chosen at random by park staff. Winners will also receive personal trip planning assistance from the Parks Sales & Service Manager.


"Camping with your family and friends creates memories that can last a lifetime. Our hope is that this promotional program encourages a few more people to realize those wonderful benefits," says Craig Whipple, Director of Vermont State Parks.

Random Acts of Camping winners have been chosen at Waterbury Center, Lake Shaftsbury, and Boulder Beach State Parks so far this summer. Announcements about when and where the promotion will be taking place will be made each Wednesday, weather permitting, on the Vermont State Parks website, Facebook and Twitter feeds.


What's Your Favorite State Park? 

Vermont State Park visitors share their experiences 



Ricker Pond State Park

I have been camping at Ricker Pond for many years, going three times each summer. I can't seem to get enough of that beautiful spot. The pond is small enough so it's fairly quiet - boats are mostly kayaks. In the evening, the stars twinkle, the bullfrogs croak, as you sit around the campfire and the embers die down. It is so cool to hear the loons calling each other as you have snuggled into bed. The staff is fantastic. For my money, this is "my little spot of heaven on earth."


- Betty B. 


Do you have a story to share? Send your favorite state park memories and stories to


Vermont State Parks Partners with Whetstone Station on Two New Brews 


In the Green Mountain State, Vermonters' love for the outdoors and passion for local brews have come together in a State-brewery collaboration. Vermont State Parks and Whetstone Station in Brattleboro, Vt. have brewed up a partnership that features two state park-named beers, Fort Dummer Summer and Molly Stark Dark, brewed with water sourced directly from those two State Parks. The partnership also includes free entry to state parks, local charitable giving and everyone's favorite - koozies for your next camping trip.


Beginning July 16, Whetstone will give away up to 100 vouchers for free park entry into Fort Dummer and Molly Stark State Parks, to patrons who order these limited edition brews. Fort Dummer and Molly Stark Parks will also distribute vouchers for a complimentary koozie at Whetstone Pub & Brewery

About the State Park brews:

Fort Dummer Summer,
Release date: July 16, 2014
This beer is a tribute to the beautiful Fort Dummer in Guilford. Bright, fresh and clean, this brew combines local malt, traditional hops and fresh water collected from the Broad Brook, located in Fort Dummer State Park and brings it all together in this delicious way to celebrate the season. At just 5% ABV this session pale ale is a perfect brew to enjoy in the sun. Extremely limited and available draft only this tasty summer beer won't be around long. You can also find Fort Dummer Summer at the sold-out Vermont Brewers Festival July 18-19.


Molly Stark Dark, Release date: August 13, 2014
This beer is a tribute to the Vermont State Park of the Year, Molly Stark State Park in Wilmington. This American take on a Dunkelweizen, combines Massachusetts grains, fresh water collected from within the park itself, a Vermont yeast strain and a touch of local hops, into a dark, but light, sweet and delicious beer. Follow the Molly Stark trail to Brattleboro and enjoy this draft-only, extremely limited, craft beer while it lasts. At just 4% ABV, but full of flavor, it's a perfect summer evening treat by the fire.

The launch dates of each brew are set for Whetstone's Community Pint Nights. Each Wednesday, $1 from every brew sold goes to a local charity. For more information on the 52 Vermont State Parks, visit and to learn more about Vermont's brewing scene, visit

Please tell us how you like these beers at Vermont State Parks on Facebook or @VTStateParks on Twitter.


Conversation with a Park Ranger
By: Jenny Montagne  

On a sunny day earlier this month I visited Waterbury Center State Park to meet the rangers and see what was going on in the park. Waterbury Center is a gorgeous, family-oriented day use park built on the Waterbury Reservoir. The park is a wonderful place to take in a swim, kayak, paddleboard, or picnic and the town of Waterbury Center is central to many of Vermont's most famous attractions including the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory, the Alchemist Brewery, and Montpelier, the capitol city.
Debra Fisher

During my visit, I met Assistant Ranger Debra Fisher. This is her first year working in the park, but as the daughter of a ranger, Debra spent over ten years volunteering in the Vermont State Parks system. She answered some questions we had about the park and let us know some of the park staff's plans for this summer.


How is the season going so far? 

Really well! The weather is good and park programs are starting to be scheduled.


What drew you to this park? 

I love this park! I grew up outside and it's nice to be able to interact with people and bring that experience to the next generation.


What is distinctive about Waterbury Center State Park? 

There is a lot of interaction with rangers and returning visitors. Waterbury Center has great staff. The returning rangers know every boater by name. 

How was Vermont Days 2014?
Very busy! The park was filled up. People were so ecstatic to be back this year.

What is something about Waterbury Center that most people don't know?
The length of the reservoir: 5 miles long. The deepest point is 100 feet at the dam. Also, there are settlements under the reservoir [as a result of the construction of the Waterbury Dam].
Debra explained that when looking out over the reservoir towards the nature trail, you can make out the path of an old town road.

What are you most looking forward to this summer? 

Bringing more programs into the park!

While at the park, I also had the chance to speak with Ranger Luke Griggs who insisted that I go up on the big hill overlooking the beach for some extraordinary views of the mountains to the east and west. I did and the view was amazing!


Programs at Waterbury Center State Park this summer include Piper in the Park on Saturday, July 26, Magic Weekend on August 2 & 3, and the Waterbury Center State Park Olympics on August 16 & 17. To see all of the scheduled events at Waterbury Center and the rest of Vermont State Parks this summer, click here.


Calling Park Performers!


We are seeking park performers for our 2014 season! 


If you are a musician, storyteller, birder, crafter, or have another talent that you would like to share with us, let us know!


Quick Links 

Vermont State Parks 

Alburg Dunes State Park
Boulder Beach State Park

Button Bay State Park

Branbury State Park

Brighton State Park  Camp
Plymouth State Park

Crystal Lake State Park  

Gifford Woods State Park

Grand Isle State Park
Emerald Lake State Park 

Jamaica State Park

Kingsland Bay State Park

Lake St. Catherine State Park

Little River State Park  

Lake Shaftsbury State Park

Mt. Ascutney State Park

Mt. Philo State Park

Ricker Pond State Park

Sand Bar State Park

Silver Lake State Park

Underhill State Park

Waterbury Center State Park

Agency of Natural Resources

Green Mountain National Forest

Random Acts of Camping 

Camping Tips & Tricks 

Off Season Park Use





Cabins & Cottages

Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge

Vermont State Parks Merchandise

VT State Parks Blog



General Info

The beach at Branbury State Park. Photo by Ben Hudson.
This is the official newsletter of Vermont State Parks
The sun is shining so grab your hiking boots and picnic basket and jump head first into summer! 
Vermont State Parks 

Vermont State Parks | 888-409-7579 | 
 1 National Life Drive, Davis 2
 Montpelier, VT 05620