Winter Recreation In and Around
Groton & Groton State Forest
Groton is one of the top places in Vermont for snow fall amounts. Consequently it is an ideal location for winter recreation with the exception of downhill skiing. There are many miles of trails throughout the forest. The state parks are closed, but they can still be used as described below.
Season Use at Vermont State Parks
Vermont’s 52 State Parks have operating seasons that range from April through October, and when they’re not in “operating” mode, visitors can still enjoy what parks have to offer. "It's a misconception that you're not supposed to enter state park land when the parks aren't operating," said the Chief of Park Operations, Craig Whipple. "This land belongs to the people of the State of Vermont, they can recreate here any time they wish! During the operating season, we charge a fee for facilities. In the off-season there is no staff and facilities are closed, but people are still welcome to enjoy the parks.
"Tips for Enjoying your Off-Season State Park Visit
Allowed uses—most day activities are allowed and welcomed, such as snowshoeing and cross country skiing. If you plan an overnight adventure and wish to use park campsites or lean-tos, be sure to obtain permission first from the Department of Forests and Parks (Barre office: 802-476-0170). Large group or commercial activities will require a special use permit or a license.
Access—most state park entrances and parking lots are not maintained in the wintertime. Be sure to park off the traveled roadway; and don’t block any gates, snow plow turnarounds, mailboxes, or driveways.
Be Prepared—dress appropriately for winter activities, as weather can change quickly. Know the area you’re visiting; study a map before your visit and bring it and a compass with you. Equip yourself with enough water, and make sure it doesn’t freeze! Park water systems and facilities are shut down for the winter. Dehydration is a common problem that can go unnoticed when participating in outdoor winter sports.
Be Conscious of Those Around You—you’re outside to have fun and enjoy the outdoors; there may be others around you for the same reasons. Don’t let your activities impact others’.
Some Parks are Open for Business—Seyon Lodge State Park is open for business year-round and charges fees. For more information, go to http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/seyon.htm"
quotes from the Vermont State
Parks News & Events webpage
Parking can be a challenge in the winter when snow banks limit parking to the plowed areas. There are several parking lots that are plowed: Boulder Beach, Kettle Pond, the Nature Center and The Northern parking area almost across from the New Discovery State Park on VT Route 232.
Bed & Breakfast Seyon Lodge, with groomed snowshoeing and cross country skiing trails, is open throughout the winter.
Snowshoeing/ Cross Country Skiing/Walking This can be done on almost all of the Forest Trails and most are beautiful wooded trails. The most used locations are as follows. See the Groton State Forest Map and Trail Descriptions.
Seyon Lodge State Park has about 6 miles of groomed trails, a warming shed, rest rooms, and serves lunch on Wednesday. Day fees.
The Nature Center, with plowed parking, is a free trail head for several wooded trails including:
|Note that there is a new (2014) trail map "Groton Nature Center Area Trails" which shows the trails in that area and describes a number of loop hikes from the Nature Center. Click here to display that work.|
The Little Loop Trail (0.9 mile loop)
The Nature Trail (0.6 mile loop)
Peacham Bog Loop (4.5 mile loop)
Coldwater Brook Trail
Boulder Beach State Park parking lot is plowed and provides easy access to Lake Groton
Kettle Pond day use parking lot is plowed and provides easy access to Kettle Pond and the trail around the Pond
New Discovery State Park entrance is plowed, providing access to trails in that area
Ice Skating The Boulder Beach parking lot is plowed so that when the snow cover permits, Lake Groton can be excellent skating. There is also a small skating rink at the Blue Mountain School which has been created by flooding their tennis courts. This has become quite popular.
Web Cam The Buckaroos of 302, Groton's snowmobile club, has installed a web cam (camera) at the Upper Valley Grill to give out of town snowmobilers a real time glimpse of the conditions in Groton. Go to the Buckaroo's home page and give it a try!
Ice Fishing The Boulder Beach parking lot is plowed, providing easy access to Lake Groton. Also the Kettle Pond day use parking area is plowed. Fishing licenses can be purchased year round at the Upper Valley Grill at the junction of routes VT 232 and US 302.
Camping Off-season camping (including winter camping) is allowed at all state parks with the permission of the parks regional manager (state park rules). If you plan an overnight adventure and wish to use park campsites or lean-tos, be sure to obtain permission first from the Department of Forests and Parks (Barre office: 802-476-0170).
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