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Join Vermont State Parks for Fun, Guided, First-Day Hikes

For Immediate Release: December 24, 2019

Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation



Jessica Savage, Recreation Program Manager

Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation | Agency of Natural Resources


Join Vermont State Parks for Fun, Guided, First-Day Hikes

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Start the new year on the right foot with a hike in a Vermont state park. On January 1, 2020, everyone is once again invited to join a free, guided, family-friendly hike taking place at many state parks and state forests across Vermont. Hikes will be 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.

Please dress for the weather and bring snowshoes if the snow is deep. Please also bring beverages and snacks. Dogs are welcome (on leash) unless otherwise noted. You don’t need to pre-register, just show up! In the event of questionable weather, check the status of the hikes by calling our First-Day Hikes “Hotline” at 802-249-1230. Updated messages will be posted to the Hotline on December 31st and January 1st.

Check out our website at and our Facebook and Twitter feeds for more information and more hikes as they are added.

Here is a list of state parks currently offering guided first-day events:

Button Bay State Park

Guide Name: Ron Payne, Otter Creek Audubon Society President

Meeting Time: 9AM

Meeting Location (Address): Button Bay Rd, Ferrisburgh

Hike Description: A 2 mile walk on flat terrain in search of overwintering birds.


Barnes Camp Loop, Smuggler's Notch

Guide Name: John Plummer, Green Mountain Club (GMC) Group Outreach & Field Coordinator

Meeting Time: 10:00 am

Meeting Location (Address): Barnes Camp Visitor Center, Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT 05672

Hike Description: 1.5 miles, moderate difficulty, 2 hours


Holbrook State Park

Guide Name: Cathi Brooks, GMC NEK Section

Meeting Time: 10am

Meeting Location (Address): VT-122, Sheffield, VT 05866

Hike Description:


Gifford Woods State Park

Guide Name: Devani Jolman

Meeting Time: 9 am

Meeting Location (Address): 34 Gifford Woods Acc, Killington, VT 05751

Hike Description: 1.1 miles and moderate difficulty (uphill). 1 hour.


Groton State Forest: Owl’s Head Mountain

Guide Name: Walter Opuszynski

Meeting Time: 1 pm

Meeting Location (Address): Route 232, gated area near Lanesboro Rd. Groton, VT 05046

Hike Description: 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+