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Public Access: Experiencing Conservation First Hand

people on hilltopIt's an important part of our mission to conserve land that offers recreational opportunities.

We have conserved land along the Appalachian, Long, and Catamount Trails, many miles of the VAST snowmobile trail system, numerous local pedestrian trails, favorite swimming holes, and traditional access for fishing and hunting. We frequently join with public agencies or nonprofit organizations in the management of these properties.

However, please keep in mind that not all VLT-conserved land is open to the public. Most of the land we've conserved is privately owned; and, many of the conservation easements protecting these properties from development do not provide for public access. We ask that you respect those landowners that have not invited the public to use their properties.

We have compiled a list of some properties with public access below.  Unless stated otherwise, please note that motorized recreation and overnight camping are not permitted on these properties.

Jump to regions: Champlain Valley, Mad River Valley, Central Vermont, Northeast Kingdom, Southwestern Vermont, Southeastern Vermont

 

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waterfall

 

Brewster Uplands Conservation Trust, Cambridge

Visitors to our Brewster Uplands Conservation Trust property can experience its beauty and natural diversity by strolling the extensive system of trails. The property is  used to host educational workshops on sustainable land management topics. Our stewardship staff uses the land to demonstrate forestry and wildlife habitat management practices.

What to see: Wildlife, conserved forestland, and farmland.
What to do: Hike, walk, mountain bike, and ride horses.
Logistics: Directions to trailhead: From Jeffersonville, go .75 mile south on Route 108. Turn left onto Canyon Road. Follow Canyon Road .5 mile to the intersection of West Farm Road. Turn right onto West Farm Road, the parking area is immediately to the left. Alternate directions from the east, or if Canyon Road is closed or muddy: From Route 15, turn south onto Junction Hill Road. Follow Junction Hill Road 1.25 miles to the intersection of Canyon Road. Turn right onto Canyon Road and follow 0.4 mile to intersection of West Farm Road. Turn left onto West Farm Road, the parking area is immediately to the left.

 

baseball field

Cota Field, Starksboro

The conservation of Cota Field and two adjoining parcels was a joint effort of the Vermont Land Trust, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the Town of Starksboro in 1998. These partners protected a significant 750-acre property, consisting of a farm, three miles of Lewis Creek frontage, and a Little League ball field. The ball field parcel includes open space for athletics and provides access to walking paths and marked trails along Lewis Creek located in the other parcels. These riverside areas offer excellent wildlife viewing from walking trails.

What to see: Wildlife and Lewis Creek.
What to do: Walk, mountain bike, snowshoe, swim, and play field sports.
Logistics: Follow Vermont Route 116 south through the village of Hinesburg and continue toward Starksboro. Turn right (west) on State’s Prison Hollow Rd. Cota Field is on the left in about 100 yards.

 

leaves on a treeLaPlatte Headwaters Town Forest, Hinesburg

The conservation of the former Bissonette Farm in 2008 resulted in the protection of approximately 600 acres in the town of Hinesburg. Three hundred acres of the farm was conveyed to the town of Hinesburg to create the LaPlatte Headwaters Town Forest. This conservation project will restore over 100 acres of wetlands and floodplain, improve a source of drinking water, reduce flood-related erosion, and restore an important aquatic habitat. Funding for the project came from a variety of sources, including federal and state grants, foundations, and individual contributions.

What to see: Wildlife and conserved forestland.
What to do: Hike, hunt, ride horses and snowmobiles, fish, trap, walk, and mountain bike.
Logistics: More information and a map can be found here.

 

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Salisbury Mills, Salisbury

In 2004, members of the Petersen family conveyed this 70-acre property to the Middlebury Area Land Trust, which in turn conveyed a conservation and public access easement to the Vermont Land Trust. The Salisbury–Leicester River flows through this primarily wooded property from its southeast to its northwest corner. The present-day tranquility of the river and its forested banks are in contrast to its past as the second-most industrialized stretch of river in the state. Remnants of a series of mill sites are visible and offer views back in time. Old logging roads and marked trails provide access to the property.

What to see: Wildlife, woodlands, wetlands, and historical sites
What to do: Walk, mountain bike, cross-country ski, and snowshoe.
Logistics: Heading south on US Route 7, south of the junction of Routes 116 and Route 7 in East Middlebury, look for signs to the village of Salisbury near Lake Dunmore. Drive into the village; the property can be reached from Smead Road or West Shore Road. Heading north on US Route 7 from Leicester, bear right on Maple Street and continue onto West Shore Road or take a left onto Smead Road. There are a few areas for parking along the road, or there is parking available at the hydroelectric dam off of West Shore Road.


Waterworks Property, Bristol

This 664-acre property located on the Bristol–New Haven town line houses an extensive and widely used trail system. The land was conserved in 1997 by the Addison County Community Trust, the Vermont Land Trust, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and The Watershed Center. There are two reservoirs that provided water to Vergennes from the 1930s through the early 1970s. An interpretive loop trail travels through many different forest types, past an impressive, lichen-covered cliff face, and along the old reservoirs.

What to see: Wildlife, conserved forestland, and historic features.
What to do: Hike, cross-country ski, mountain bike, snowshoe, and fish.
Logistics: There is a 10-car parking area on Plank Road in Bristol.

 

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Fayston Town Forest, Fayston

This property was initially protected in 2005 in partnership with the Catamount Trail Association and the Mad River Watershed Conservation Partnership. A second small parcel with a parking area was donated by Summit Ventures, Inc. in 2006, improving access to the marked trails. The town forest’s location across the road from the Fayston Elementary School has also made it a popular destination for environmental education classes. A portion of the Mad River Path Association’s Millbrook Trail passes through the property, as does a segment of the Catamount Trail.

What to see: Conserved forestland, scenic trails, and wildlife.
What to do: Hike, cross-country ski, and mountain bike.
Logistics: Access to the 72-acre property is available from a trailhead off German Flats Road; visit the links above for trail maps and more information.

 

mountain view through the trees

Phenn Basin, Fayston

The Vermont Land Trust assisted the Trust for Public Land (TPL) in its purchase of a 3,123-acre piece of woodland in the Phenn Basin north of Route 17. TPL conveyed 2,695 acres to the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation for inclusion in the adjacent Camel’s Hump State Park. Several multi-use trails can be found on the parcel including sections of the Long Trail, the Catamount Trail, and a VAST trail.

What to see: Wildlife and conserved forestland.
What to do: Hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, camp, mountain bike, snowmobile, and ride horses.
Logistics: More information can be found at the Vermont State Park website.

 

 

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snowy forest

 

 

Berlin Town Forest, Berlin

The protection of this beautiful public resource was the result of a partnership between the Vermont River Conservancy, the Vermont Land Trust, and the Town of Berlin. These groups also contributed to the protection of Berlin Pond, the public water supply for the City of Montpelier and parts of Berlin. This 573-acre property includes access (via marked trails) to Irish Hill, a prominent ridgeline to the west of Berlin Pond.
What to see: Wildlife habitat, serene Berlin Pond, conserved forestland, and scenic vistas.
What to do: Hike, mountain bike, and ride ATVs. Please note that water recreation (fishing, swimming, kayaking, etc.) is not allowed on Berlin Pond due to its importance as a municipal water supply.
Logistics: A trailhead off Brookfield Road provides access to trails. Trail map

 

hikers on an East Monptelier Trail

East Montpelier Trails, East Montpelier

This trail system is part of a farmland conservation effort that began in the early 1990s. The vision for a 17-mile network of marked trails passing through a sugarbush, working farms, and serene woodlands is three-quarters of the way realized. To date more than seven miles of pedestrian trails and seven miles of snowmobile trails span several conserved properties. The trails are managed by East Montpelier Trails, Inc., an all-volunteer, nonprofit made up of local residents.

What to see: Conserved farmland and forestland, and an active sugarbush.
What to do: Hike, mountain bike, ride snowmobiles, and observe wildlife.
Logistics: A trail map, directions, parking, and more information can be found here.

 

woods road with fall mountain view

Ellis Reserve, Randolph

Conserved by Madaleen Ellis in 2003, and then given to the town of Randolph for a park, this 38-acre parcel is the perfect place for a picnic or scenic walk due to the views it offers of the surrounding landscape. Scenic marked trails make this a wonderful space for non-motorized recreation.

What to see: Diverse forestland, gentle hills, and fields.
What to do: Walk, snowshoe, and relax.
Logistics: Located up Reservoir Road off Greenhouse Avenue, you may enter the property by car and park only along the roadway.

 

farmThe King Farm, Woodstock

The scenic and historic King Farm consists of 154 acres of farmland and mixed forest. Formerly the headquarters of the Vermont Land Trust, this land is known for its historic buildings, hiking and skiing trails, and a vibrant community garden. The Vermont Land Trust hopes to convey the King Farm lands to the adjacent Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller-National Historical Park. Public access would be expanded by this land transfer, which would connect the King Farm trails to larger ones within the park and those maintained by the Woodstock Trails Partnership.

What to see: Historic features, wildlife, and a beautiful Vermont landscape.
What to do: Hike, walk, cross-country ski, snowshoe, and garden.
Logistics: Take 1-89 to Exit 1. Travel Route 4 west through Quechee, through Woodstock Village, for just over 11 miles. At the Woodstock Farmer’s Market, take a hard right onto Thomas Hill (do not turn onto Prosper Road). Proceed up the hill and take the first left (Rose Hill) up to the King Farm.

 

people walking on trail with view of hillsMount Peg Park, Woodstock

Thanks to a groundswell of community support and the help of the Vermont Land Trust, the town of Woodstock was able to purchase 15 acres of land from Fred Merrill in 2002, expanding the town's Mount Peg Park. Working in close partnership with the Town's Billings Park Commission, funds for the purchase were raised from dozens of local families and the Freeman Foundation. To ensure perpetual public access to Mount Peg’s trails, a conservation easement was transferred to VLT.
What to see: Spectacular mountain views.
What to do: Hike, mountain bike, and observe wildlife.
Logistics: Directions and more information can be found here.

 


stream in forestMill Trail, Stowe

Conserved in 2003 and owned by the Stowe Land Trust, this 31-acre property contains a marked trail through mature northern hardwood forest and along the West Branch of the Waterbury River (also known as Notch Brook) and connects to the State of Vermont’s Bingham Falls Natural Area. The property also houses two historic log cabins which were seasonal camps owned by the Lichtenthaeler family from the early to mid 1900s.

What to see: Conserved forestland, the Waterbury River, Mill Pond, and historic features.
What to do: Hike, hunt, snowshoe, and cross-country ski.
Logistics: From the intersection of Routes 100 and 108 in Stowe village, head north on Route 108 for 5.1 miles. Turn right onto Notchbrook Road and drive .6 miles to a small pulloff on the left where there is limited parking available. Trail map


view of mountains from meadowSunset Rock, Stowe

Conserved in 1999 and donated to the town of Stowe, this 23-acre hillside showcases the town’s pastoral beauty and serves as a recreation area within walking distance of Stowe Village. Marked trails connect views of Vermont’s mountains.

What to see: Scenic vistas of Stowe and the Green Mountains.
What to do: Hike, picnic, and watch the sun set.
Logistics: Directions and more information can be found on this trail map.


Mt. Mansfield Co. Lands, Stowe

Mt. Mansfield Company, Inc. donated an easement on 850 acres of forestland adjacent to the Mt. Mansfield State Forest. The parcel includes a .6-mile section of the Long Trail and the eastern shore of Sterling Pond. In 1998, the Vermont Legislature authorized a land swap resulting in the inclusion of the parcel in the Mt. Mansfield State Forest. The property was conserved for its wildlife habitat, public recreation, and scenic resources.

What to see: Conserved forestland and Sterling Pond.
What to do: Hike and observe wildlife.
Logistics: Access to the property is best off Route 108 from the Sterling Pond Trail in Cambridge or the Long Trail in Stowe.

 

stream through woodsSterling Town Forest, Stowe

With the assistance of the Town of Stowe and the Stowe Land Trust, the Vermont Land Trust purchased a 2,100-acre parcel of undeveloped land in the Sterling Valley area of Stowe. Approximately 500 acres of high elevation habitat were conveyed to the state for incorporation into the adjacent Mt. Mansfield State Forest. In addition, the Town acquired 1,500 acres for the creation of the Sterling Town Forest. The forest contains several established hiking trails, a VAST trail, and a 3-mile segment of the Catamount Trail.

What to see: Wildlife and conserved forestland.
What to do: Hike, snowshoe, mountain bike, ride snowmobiles, cross-country ski, and hunt.
Logistics: Access is available through a parking area at the end of Sterling Valley Road.

 

Curtis PondCurtis Pond Recreation Area, Calais

This small parcel was donated to the town in 1982 to protect a wooded peninsula on Curtis Pond and has been the site of a summer swimming program for decades.

What to see: Peaceful waters.
What to do: Swim, boat, observe wildlife, and fish (with a license).
Logistics: A parking area and access to the pond is located off Worcester Road just up the hill from Maple Corner.

 


Virginia Stranahan Memorial Town Forest, Marshfield

In 2007, the Vermont Land Trust purchased the property from the Stranahan family to facilitate the transfer to the Town of Marshfield as a town forest. The protected property contains of over 620 acres of forest and open fields, providing numerous ecological benefits, educational opportunities, and recreational potential. Management of the property is overseen by the appointed Stranahan Stewardship Committee. The well maintained trails, natural features, and a local history make the Stranahan Town Forest a destination for all seasons.

What to see: Conserved forestland, wildlife, plant and natural communities, scenic vistas, and an active sugarbush.
What to do: Hiking, biking, hunting, skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and snowmobiling on VAST Trails.
Logistics: A trailhead and parking area provide access to the property via Hollister Hill Road. A trail map and more information can be found here.

 



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pond with mountain view

 

 

Keiser Pond, Peacham

In 2007, Wil Merck protected the large, undeveloped Keiser pond in Peacham, giving the community a beautiful recreational treasure. He sold 39 acres of wooded land with frontage on Keiser Pond to the State of Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, which then conveyed a conservation easement to the Vermont Land Trust and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. An additional 65-acre easement was donated, further protecting the pond for the community’s benefit.

What to see: Wildlife and calm waters.
What to do: Fish, swim, kayak, and canoe.
Logistics: A boat ramp with ample parking provides easy access to the pond’s peaceful waters.

 

 

 atlas timberlandAtlas Timberlands

In 1997, the Vermont Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy created the Atlas Timberlands Partnership to purchase and manage 26,789 acres of forestland, now the second largest timberland holding in Vermont. The goal of the partnership is to sustainably manage timber stock while protecting the land's ecological integrity.

What to see: Wildlife, forest, wetlands
What to do: Back-country ski, hike, hunt, and view wildlife
Logistics: Logging roads are the primary access. Not all parcels are located along public roads. There are no marked trails or designated parking areas. Maps are provided on our Atlas Timberlands page.

 

trailworkers

NorthWoods Stewardship Center, Charleston

In 2007, Lydia Spitzer donated a conservation easement to the Vermont Land Trust on 1,342 acres in Charleston and Morgan. Two years later, she donated the property to the NorthWoods Stewardship Center, a local non-profit organization in East Charleston that uses it for outdoor recreation, education, and the demonstration of sustainable management techniques.

Through cooperation with neighboring landowners, NorthWoods offers 15 km of trails that wind through river valley, upland hardwood forests, beaver ponds, and pine and spruce plantations. Features include a turn of the century round barn foundation and the interpretive Lang Brook natural history trail. Visitors are welcomed to use trails year round by donation, and a core network of trails is groomed for Nordic skiing. Please contact the Center or sign up for the weekly winter trail report for up-to-date information.

What to see: Conserved forestland and wildlife.
What to do: Hike, walk, snowshoe, and cross country ski.
Logistics: Stop at the Center for trail maps and ski rentals. Get directions and more information by visiting the NorthWoods website.

 

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field with farm in the distance

Yellow Barn Farm Property, Arlington

Situated on the west bank of the Batten Kill, the Town of Arlington acquired the 12-acre Doores property and conveyed the development rights, conservation restrictions and public access easement to the Vermont Land Trust and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Located on Route 313, near Arlington village, the property creates a scenic entrance to Arlington from the west and provides access to the Batten Kill River. The property also includes the historic 1851 Canfield Barn and a community garden.

What to see: Wildlife, historic features, and the Batten Kill River.
What to do: Hike, walk, fish, picnic, and garden.
Logistics: Access to the property is on the north side of Route 313; visitors can park in the neighboring Arlington Recreation Area.

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This 230-acre parcel is home to a diverse natural environment and abundant wildlife. Four miles of newly renovated and well maintained trails make Hawk Hill a great spot for enjoying nature. This area is part of a wildlife corridor connecting the Green Mountains to the Adirondacks and provides excellent opportunities for observing a variety of wildlife. Hawk Hill was conserved in 2001 with the help of the Freeman Foundation and many community supporters. This land is also the site of a Revolutionary War-era settlement; cellar holes, graves, and other ruins can be found in the woods.

What to see: Wildlife, historical remains, and unique natural features.
What to do: Hike, trail run, hunt, and bird watch.
Logistics: Downloadable map (PDF).

 


southeast vermont

 

fall foliage mountain view

Hogback Mountain, Marlboro

A massive community-driven conservation effort culminated in the protection of this 600-acre property in Marlboro in early 2010. It has a 100-mile scenic view and an expanding network of trails, including a VAST trail that is also popular for hiking in non-winter months as well as old ski and skid trails. The southern portion of the property includes the abandoned Hogback ski area and is adjacent to the Molly Stark State Park. Trails on the Hogback and Molly Stark properties are linked to provide even more possibilities for hiking and enjoying the land.

What to see: Scenic vistas and wildlife.
What to do: Hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, and snowmobile.
Logistics: From the east: Head west on Route 9 and get ready to stop when you see the Skyline Restaurant and Natural History Museum. There is a parking area on the right just past the entrance to the Skyline. If you reach the Wilmington/Marlboro town line, you have gone too far. From the west: Follow Route 9 East for 4.7 miles from the traffic light in downtown Wilmington. More information can be found here.

 

Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association/Martin Sanctuary, Westminster and Rockingham

This 119-acre property was originally protected by The Nature Conservancy in 2003 and then conveyed to the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association. Formed in 1992, the WHPA is a private, non-profit, volunteer organization whose primary objective is to acquire and conserve lands on the Windmill Ridge and surrounding areas for wildlife habitat and public recreation. Primarily forested, the Martin Sanctuary property includes a 1.3-mile interpretive trail that identifies significant natural features along the way. This parcel is part of a larger network of trails that includes over 14 miles along Pinnacle ridge and the surrounding area.

What to see: Wildlife and scenic natural features.
What to do: Walk, hike, mountain bike, ride horses, cross-country ski and snowshoe.
Logistics: Trailhead access and parking are on Bemis Hill Road in Westminster. More information and trail maps can be found here.


wooded trail in wnterBrattleboro Retreat Trails, Brattleboro

This nine-mile network of marked trails crosses over three different conserved properties located near downtown Brattleboro. The Windham Foundation and Brattleboro Retreat own the land and maintain the trails for public use. More recently, a one-mile Woodlands Interpretive Trail loop trail was added within the Retreat Trails network. It can be accessed at the Solar Hill trailhead, located off Western Avenue (behind Solar Hill Yoga and adjacent to the Neighborhood School House).

What to see: Wildlife, a beautiful mix of conserved open lands and woodlands.
What to do: Walk, hike, mountain bike, ride horses, cross-country ski, and snowshoe.
Logistics: A trail map and more information are available here. Audio guide mp3 to the Woodlands Interpretive Trailavailable here.

 

 

men in front of large boulderAthens Dome, Athens, Grafton

The Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association acquired and conserved 207 acres of forestland that provides a link to a trail system connecting Windmill Ridge westward to Grafton. The land possesses unusual geologic features, a historic soapstone quarry, mature forestland, recreational trails, and a stream with a thriving native brook trout population. The Vermont Land Trust, along with a committee of WHPA members, played an integral part in the successful local fundraising campaign to acquire and conserve the property.

What to see: Wildlife, geologic features, quarry, and conserved forestland.
What to do: Hike, snowshoe, hunt. Bikes and horses must stay on trails.
Logistics: See trail map (PDF). 

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