Vermont State Parks Offers Free First Day Hikes

Start the new year on the right foot with a hike in a Vermont state park. On January 1, 2018, everyone is invited to join a free, guided, family-friendly hike taking place at many state parks and 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.
This year, a First Day BIKE option is available at Seyon Lodge State Park. Bring your fat bike and helmet for this guided ride! If you’ve never tried fat biking, demo bikes will also be available (but please still bring your helmet). See below for more details.
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! To check the status of the hikes, call 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:
Guide: Caitlin Gates (Vermont State Park Interpreter)
Meet: 1 pm at park entrance station
Hike: 1+ hour, easy terrain
Guide: Ron Payne (Otter Creek Audubon Society)
Meet: 9 am at park entrance
Hike: 3 hours, easy terrain
Guide: Scott Davison (The Woodstock Naturalist)
Meet: 10 am at the plowed parking area just south of park entrance
Hike: 2 hours, easy to moderate terrain
Groton Nature Center, Big Deer State Park:
Guide: Dave Spencer (local expert)
Meet: 1:00 pm at Groton State Forest Nature Center parking area on Boulder Beach Road, 1.6 miles from Route 232
Hike: 1+ hour loop, easy terrain.

Guides: Jes Halterman (Park Manager) and Lorne Currier (Green Mountain Club)
Meet: 10 am at CCC Trailhead (park at the bottom of the hill below the dam—please don’t block the gate). Follow signs/guide to trailhead.
Hikes:  Two options: 1 hour, easy or 2-3 hours, moderate
Lake Willoughby South Shore Trail Loop: 
Guide: Jean Haigh (Green Mountain Club)
Meet: 10 am at the South End Beach parking area off Route 5a
Hike: 2 hours, 3 miles, easy to moderate terrain
Seyon Lodge Fat Bike/Hike:

Guides: Sarah Galbraith (Riders in Plainfield-Marshfield), Darren Ohl (Vermont Bicycle Shop), and Greg Western (Cross Vermont Trail)

NOTE: Parking is limited at this location: please carpool!
FIRST DAY BIKEHelmets are Required! Bring your own fat bike for the guided ride.
Meet: 10am - Fat bike demos for all abilities, short and easy loop; ride sign-ups
11am - Guided rides depart, beginner 45 minutes and intermediate 90 minutes, easy to moderate terrain
Hike: 11am, 1-hour, easy hike around the pond
Snacks: 12/12:30 - Hot cocoa and waffles
Guide: Alyssa Bennett (Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park Manger)
Meet: Noon at the Hubbardton Battlefield parking lot on Monument Hill Rd
Hike: 2-3 hours, easy to moderate terrain, followed by fresh baked cookies!
Guide: John Connell (Greenmont Farms)
Meet: 1:00 pm at gate just below Underhill State Park on Mountain Road, in Underhill Center
Hike: 3 hours, easy to moderate terrain. Bring a snack and warm beverage to share!