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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 fifteen years. Come on, we’ll show you around!
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 and 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.
Quick Facts: Woodford State Park
Address: 142 State Park Road, Woodford, VT
Activities: swimming, hiking, paddle sports, camping
Open: Memorial Day weekend to 2nd weekend in October
Fees: $4 adults, $3 kids
Dogs: on-leash, but not on the sandy beach
Camping: 76 tent/RV sites (no hook-ups), 20 lean-to sites, 4 camping cabins
Official Park Website
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: Fishing and Hiking at Woodford State Park
Adams Reservoir is stocked with trout sometime in April, and then you’ll find the locals with their tackle boxes and picnic baskets lining the shore. The more patient anglers 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.
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 is 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. You should also be prepared for muddy conditions year-round. The trail around Adams Reservoir has no significant elevation change, but it does have plenty of rocks and roots to keep you on your toes!
Summer: Paddling and Camping at Woodford State Park
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 100 campsites that surround the lake. You can choose from 76 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 in Bennington, 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: Leaf-Peeping at Woodford State Park
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, and Woodford State Park is very close to two of our favorite spots to explore in the fall – Wilmington and Bennington. 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.
You can fish for trout in Vermont until the end of. October, and hiking is fabulous here in the fall as well – no bugs!
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 nearby Green Mountain National Forest, and during snowy winters, there’s a pretty well-marked trail through Woodford State Park and the surrounding wilds. We also love skiing on the campground roads that remained covered with snow all year long.
The frozen lake at Woodford State Park 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 and hike in from the road.
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.