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The little slice of wilderness called Woodford State Park is nestled in the mountains of Southern Vermont. It’s not exactly a tourist destination, but it beckons to certain people with its quiet mountain lake, secluded hiking trails, and beautiful waterfront campsites. I am definitely one of those people. Woodford State Park is my happy place — A place my family and I have been exploring in every season for more than ten years.
The centerpiece of Woodford State Park is a small, shining lake called Adams Reservoir. The lake is surrounded by forest, with pretty campsites nestled into the trees along the shore. At 2,400 feet in elevation, this is the highest campground in the state. The park itself is just 398 acres, but it’s bordered by the George Aiken Wilderness and the Green Mountain National Forest, so there are unlimited opportunities for exploring.
Woodford State Park is officially open from Memorial Day until Indigenous People’s Day, but visitors are welcome to explore in the off-season, provided they park their vehicle outside the park gates. We love Woodford’s beauty in all four seasons and recommend it to everyone who visits southern Vermont. Here’s what you need to know about visiting this gem of a park year-round.
Spring at Woodford State Park is for Hiking and Fishing
There’s nothing like the brisk days of late spring for an exhilarating hike, and actually, sometimes it’s a snowshoe trek or a skiing expedition because the snow sticks around until at least May. The trail around Adams Reservoir a 2.7-mile loop through a dense softwood forest, but you can also shorten the loop by a mile if you cut into the campground and walk back to your starting point on the campground road.
The temperature at Woodford State Park remains chilly well into June, so be sure to plan for weather extremes if you visit in the spring.
Adams Reservoir is stocked with trout some time in April, and then you’ll find the locals with their tackle boxes and picnic baskets lining the shore. The more patient fisherpeople will sit on the banks from morning till the sun sets hoping for a good catch to stock the freezer. If you want to fish in Woodford State Park, you can buy a Vermont fishing license at the park office.
Summer at Woodford State Park is for Camping and Water Sports
Summer is an awesome time to visit Woodford State Park. The best way to experience the lake and the laid back atmosphere is to reserve one of the 103 campsites that surround the lake. You can choose from 90 tent/RV sites (some are waterfront), 20 lean-tos, and four camping cabins, one of which is dog-friendly.
We live fairly close to the park, in the valley below. When it’s 90 degrees at home, we can count on it being 10 degrees cooler at Woodford State Park, but let’s be honest – it’s rarely 90 degrees in Vermont.
If you’re planning a camping trip in the mountains, bring your woolies, even in the summer! Also, this is one of the few state parks that allows leashed dogs year-round. That’s a huge plus for us.
You can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats from the park rangers for an itty-bitty fee, but the best is the swimming. On the hottest days, there’s nothing like a dip in this mountain lake to restore the senses and fall in love with the world. Try it. I know you’ll agree!
Fall in Woodford State Park is for Leaf-Peeping
Late September brings oranges, reds, and yellows to the forests of Vermont. It also brings leaf peepers from all over the world. At Woodford State Park, you’ll find leaf-peepers, but because the forest is mostly Birch, Spruce, and Fir, it doesn’t explode with color like some other parts of the state.
It still makes a fabulous home base for exploring autumn in Vermont. The campground is open until Indigenous People’s Day in the fall, and if you’re not sure about camping in the cold, reserve one of the four cabins in the park – Lady Slipper cabin is pet friendly.
Winter at Woodford State Park is for Skiing and Snowshoeing
Winter is an awesome time of year to head into the Vermont backcountry. Cross-country ski trails criss-cross the Green Mountain National Forest, and during snowy winters, there’s a pretty well-marked trail through Woodford State Park and the surrounding wilds. The frozen lake makes a fine playground, skating rink, and ski-track all rolled into one. The park is officially closed in the winter, so you have to park your car in the snowmobile lot across the street.
Are you convinced that Woodford State Park is the sweetest little hidden spot in Vermont? Then come on up for a visit — I’ll meet you there!
For trail maps and campground reservations, check out Woodford State Park’s official website.
For more about my home, the beautiful Green Mountain State, check out these posts:
- More than Leaf Peeping: How to Spend Autumn in Vermont
- Cabin Camping at Merck Forest and Farmland Center
- An Autumn Walk Around Lake Shaftsbury
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