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Vermont Lives Up To Its Nickname In Its State Parks System

A wanderer is driving for miles, north and east. They ride through the density of the mid-Atlantic urban landscapes and up through or around the New York City metropolitan area, through the tri-state hubbub with thousands of other motorists inching along like so many ants.

The road starts to open up a bit north of the city, and at New Haven, CT, they take a quick left and head north. Before they know it, the multi-lane freeway has given way to a two-lane road cutting through seemingly endless rolling mountains, the greenest one can find on this side of Ireland. 

Is this heaven? No. It’s the Green Mountain State — Vermont. 

Like an oasis in the desert, Vermont is something of a nature-lover’s paradise, just a few short hours from the most populated city centers in the United States.

It’s no wonder, then, that it is among the most popular destinations in all of New England for those seeking adventure or communion in nature.

Long inhabited by Indigenous people, the area known as Vermont today changed hands from French settlers to Great Britain following France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War. It happened again during America’s war for independence from Great Britain before officially joining the Union in 1791 as the 14th state; hence its motto: “May the fourteenth star shine bright.”

Few stars shine as brightly as Vermont’s when it comes to natural splendor and rich history. Thankfully, many of these local treasures are preserved in her State Parks system.

Here are some can’t-miss Vermont attractions:

Knight Island State Park: A truly remarkable and unique park adventure awaits visitors to this remote Vermont gem, set alongside one of the state’s most famous attractions: Lake Champlain. Knight Island is one of three islands in the “inland sea” area of the lake and boasts more than 180 acres of pristine Vermont backcountry. The remote campsites offer rustic living for overnights for those searching for true solitude. Hiking, camping, and stargazing are popular activities at this spot.

Photo Courtesy Vermont State Parks

Camel’s Hump State Park: Mountaineers of all experience levels will love this site! Named for its signature attraction Camel’s Hump, a mountain peak once called Saddle Mountain or “Tah-wak-be-dee-ee-wadso” by the Native American Tribes who once inhabited the land, the park now stands as a cherished destination for hikers statewide. It offers numerous trails spread over its nearly 20,000 acres, and camping is also available for overnight trips. Its lush setting, stunning views, and rustic atmosphere make this spot one of the more popular in central Vermont.

Photo Courtesy Vermont State Parks

Mt. Ascutney State Park: For travelers in search of the best views in New England, Mt. Ascutney has that covered! The 3,100-foot peak rises high above the surrounding Appalachian Mountains, offering some of the most impressive vistas in the state. The park offers more than 12 miles of hiking trails, dozens of camping sites, and a scenic byway for visitors looking for a less strenuous adventure. During fair weather months, there are a multitude of different bike, auto, and running races up and down the scenic road. Mt. Ascutney is even popular among hang gliders with its two launch points and incredible scenery. There is truly something for everyone at this site!

Photo Courtesy Vermont State Parks

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