Join Vermont State Parks for Free, Guided 2017 First Day Hikes

December 22, 2016  
Filed under Things to do

Montpelier—Start the New Year on the right foot and get outside for a “First Day Hike” in a Vermont State Park. Individuals and groups are invited to join one of several free, family-friendly hiking events taking place on January 1, 2017 throughout the state in beautiful parks and forests. Professional guides and outdoor educators will lead the way, sharing their knowledge and love of the Vermont outdoors.


The hikes having different starting times and anticipated durations. See below for a list of offered hikes and details. Pre-registration is not required; simply show up ready to enjoy the outdoors and the company of other participants. Dress for the weather and bring beverages and snacks. If there are several feet of snow on the ground, please consider bringing snowshoes. Dogs are welcome on leash unless otherwise noted.


Don’t need a guide? Take advantage of the breadth of opportunities to choose your own trek or ramble through Vermont State Parks and forests this winter. Find a park near you and discover a new place in its wintery state. Entry to State parks in the winter is free.


Ascutney State Park:

Guide: Scott Davison (The Woodstock Naturalist) Meet: 10:00 am at the ranger station

Hike: 1+ hour, easy terrain. NOTE: Not a summit hike.


Bomoseen State Park:

Guide: Caitlin Gates (Vermont State Park Interpreter) Meet: 1:00 pm at park entrance station.

Hike: 1+ hour, easy terrain


Button Bay State Park:

Guide: Ron Payne from Otter Creek Audubon Society Meet: 9:00 am at park entrance

Hike: 3 hours, easy 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.

Hunger Mountain

Guide: Caitlin Miller from the Green Mountain Club Meet: 9:00 am at Hunger Mountain Trailhead (Waterbury)

Hike: 3.5 miles, 5 hours, moderate to difficult terrain. Hike to the summit if weather permits.


Jamaica State Park:

Guide: Lowell Lake Park Ranger Scott Renker Meet: 10:00 am by the park office at the entrance

Hike: 1+ hour, 1-mile, easy terrain. Participants will have the option of a longer hike along the same trail.


Niquette Bay State Park:

Guide: Jessica Savage from Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation Meet: Noon at trailhead in Niquette Bay State Park.

Hike: 1.5 miles, 2 hours, moderate terrain.


Taconic Mountain Ramble State Park:

Guide: Alyssa Bennett, Bat Biologist Meet: Noon at the Hubbardton Battlefield parking lot on Monument Hill Road

Hike: 2-3 hours, easy to moderate terrain, followed by fresh baked cookies!


Underhill State Park:

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!


For hike updates on December 31st and January 1st, please call (802) 249-1230. For more information on First Day Hikes and to view additional hike offerings as they are added, visit or check out Vermont State Parks on Facebook and Twitter.


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Photo Caption: Hikers take to the woods outside the Groton Nature Center on the first day of 2016 as part of the annual “First Day Hike” tradition started by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.


Radio Brief: Vermonters are invited to jump start the new year by getting outside on the first day of 2017. Local experts will be offering free guided hikes on January 1 in beautiful State parks and forests across the state, offering an opportunity for families and individuals of all abilities to discover wintery woods and meadows. Hikes vary in length, and no registration is required. Participants should arrive dressed for the weather and bring beverages and snacks. For a list of First Day Hike locations and times, go to Vermont state parks dot com, or visit Facebook dot com slash V-T- state parks.



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