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Townshend Lake, VERMONT

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Camping Vermont Townshend Lake
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Beautiful waterfall hikes

Nice little weekend getaway. Clean bathrooms, roomy tent sites, nice staff. Fun playground and nature area for kids. Very family friendly place with beautiful hikes to Hamilton falls.

busy with permanent longterm campers but lovely hearing the river babble by

Tent camped here with my dog for two nights. Was sold absolutely green wood that would not burn (why do campgrounds always do this??).  First site I was given was out of view of the river, which was entire reason for visiting.  Campground owner was accommodating and found me a spot that overlooked the river (why not do that from the start?).  There is no privacy whatsoever to the sites, and sites are one on top of the other (my tent was basically uncomfortably close to neighbor's fire pit, but there was no other option for pitching elsewhere).  The nights were very loud with kids screaming and people partying.  It's a mishmash of sites too -- my tent was squished in between a permanent trailer and a weekend fifth wheeler.  But the river was magnificent and I could hear it babble by all night; very relaxing once the place quieted down.  Very close to Townsend State Forest and a beautiful hike up Bald Mountain, which looks to have really nice, spacious and quiet tent sites (already booked for next year).

Small, loud, muddy

Unfortunately, I was not a big fan of this small campground. Right from the start, upon checkin, I bought two $5 ea. bundles of wood after being assured they were "kiln dried".  The wood wouldn't catch no matter what I tried -- not even with the help of some fire starter.  The tent site itself was very small and barely fit my truck and tent.  It was made smaller still because of the mud and holes on the perimeter of the site. At night, there was a lot of traffic noise nearby and despite a posted quiet time, other campers were slamming car doors over and over and talking at the top of their lungs, making it difficult to sleep. The surrounding state forest was pretty and the trails were in decent shape.

[Ranger Review] Gregory Endo 15 Pack at Mt. Ascutney State Park

Intro:

On a whim back in August, our family decided we wanted to camp for a night and discover some new mountain biking trails. I did some research and poking around on the interwebs, and discovered Mt. Ascutney State Park in Windsor, VT. The state park had everything we were looking for: close proximity to mountain bike trails, beautiful hiking trails, available leantos, and less than two hours from our home.

Campground Review

I am going to talk about the positives first, and then lay out the few negatives at the end. Sound good? Great!

The state park is located off of a paved road, about 15 minutes from the closest interstate exit. It is situated on the side of Mt. Ascutney, a 3200+ mountain. There is actually an toll-road that goes up the mountain. The campground has two distinct loops. We stayed in the loop to the left of the entrance in one of the lean tos.  Our campsite was a prime site. It was very large, and quite private.  As a bonus, it even had direct access down a path to a large recreation field that included a volleyball net. Our children and their friends loved biking around the field and exploring it while waiting for meals, etc.  The lean to was very clean, and recently painted. It had ample room for 6, and could fit 8 as well. The lean tos come with a bench that can be used inside, or out by the fire which was a nice touch.

Our site was situated under large pine and hemlock trees, with some small deciduous trees mixed in. This kept the site shady, but rays of sunshine did break through at times.  Our lean to faced east, so we had a view of the sunrise in the morning.

The bathroom was clean, and the shower area was recently tiled with nice tilework. Outside of the bathroom there was a little library book case with books for campers to borrow. Such a fun idea!

The state park maintains its own mountain biking trail loop, which accessible directly from the campground. It is a 3 mile beginner friendly loop, with some nice rollers and moderate terrain.  Down the road  about 10 minutes at the Mt. Ascutney Outdoor Center, there is a whole network of mountain biking trails that range from novice to expert. I checked out some of the trails there, and particularly enjoyed the trails in the Mile Long Field. Beautiful switchbacks traversed an idyllic Vermont field. 

The hiking trails are also pleasant--there is a sweet little nature loop in the campground with signs identifying different trees. There are also other trails that lead to the summit of Mt. Ascutney.  We decided to drive up Mt. Ascutney to see the sunset our first night. Sunset was at 7:30. HOWEVER, the toll road also happened to close at 7:30, which we had ignored on the sign.  Well, the state park staff enforce their rules, and they came up to the top before (sadly) the sun had set to tell us we had to drive back down.  Half of our group decided to stay at the top and watch the sunset and then hike down in the dark.  It was quite the adventure--thankfully we always carry headlamps and flashlights in our car. 

It was a bit disappointing that the auto road closes before sunset, but I understand that the park needs to have rules to keep folks safe. There are 6 cabins that the state park rents out that are partially up the mountain on the auto road. Folks who rent those sites actually do have access to the summit at sunset. So if you are looking for an easy sunset experience, that would be the way to go.

Overall, our experience at the campground was fantastic.  The other campers were quiet, everything was clean, and access to local recreation was convenient.

CONS:

The road nearby is noisy. Because of its location, you can hear both the local highway and I91.  If being in the quiet wilderness is important to you, than this campground might not work out.

Gear Review

From time to time, as a Dyrt Ranger, I am given gear to test out and review.  On this camping trip, we tested out a Gregory Endo 15 3D Hydro Pack.  Gregory specifically designed this pack for mountain bikers.  We chose the one in Carbon Black.  Our first impression of the pack was that it was made out of sturdy, rugged materials, which is important for a pack that has to take the abuse of mountain biking. Our second observation was that it didn't have any external water bottle pockets the way a regular day pack would.  This of course makes sense as water bottles would easily fall out while biking.  The waist belt is unique as it can slide into a few different positions in order to change how the pack rides on your back.  The back panel is lifted away from the users back, which provides excellent ventilation. Inside the pack are sever pockets, including a removable pouch ideal for storing bike tools. My husband really appreciates that feature as it makes it much easier to find his tools on the go.  The included reservoir is easy to fill, and we like that it is also very easy to hang to dry. It seems to dry faster than the reservoirs that we have from other brands.He has also used the pack a few times on hikes, and it is comfortable for that as well. The straps are low profile, so it doesn't work for carrying super heavy stuff.

My husband says the pack is comfortable. He says it does bounce a bit while descending rougher trails, and he wished there was a way to prevent that. Overall, it does its job well, stays out of the way, and holds the gear and water that he needs when biking.  It is great that companies are starting make mountain biking specific packs.

Nice and quiet campground in the woods

Once again, we arrived after dark (the days are way too short in the fall)! and although Google Maps guided us correctly to this campground, we also appreciated the very good signage directing us! This campground is set way back in the woods and except for the hooting owl and an occasional barking dog from other campers, it was VERY quiet. No road noise at this campground! 

The campsites are spread out over a big area. Sites 1-9 are located near Berry Pond and are serviced by a pit toilet. The rest are about 1.5 miles south on the loop road. We were originally in site 29 but we would have had to walk through a path in the woods to get to the bathroom; since it was dark when we arrived, we were happy to switch to Site 32, much closer. Our site was level but not all of them appeared to be so. Many trees provide privacy. It looked like the restroom/shower building was fairly new and it was very clean. There is also a group campground and day-use areas.

The next morning, I set off to walk the loop road, thinking it would be a couple of miles at most. Surprise– it was over four miles and HILLY! I got a good workout, but it was a beautiful walk. The reward was seeing Berry Pond and the view when I finally reached the top of the hill. Wish we had more time to take a hike or explore the area more.

Quint NE Campground

Small but well organized campground. TT members will find all th e comforts of home. Staff is pleasant and helpful. Quiet during the weekdays, picks up over weekends but not to overbearing. Sandy beach by the water has plenty of room to relax out in the sun as well as launch areas to set out in a paddle boat, canoe or row boat, all available on site. Mostly a 5th wheelers park but you can see a 34 foot class A here and there so don't fret, there is room.

Really more of an RV park now.

This was our third year tenting at this campground, each trip was the same weekend in September to attend the FreshGrass music festival in North Adams, MA. While there are a few designated tent sites, it’s clear this is an RV park. The new-ish owner greeted us enthusiastically, as always, but seemed so distracted by everything else going on that it made it difficult to understand what he’s trying to tell you. We found it a little rude to be treated as though, because we were tenters and weren’t hauling in a camper, we were not as important as the crowd of RVs pulling in.

We booked our site in mid-April for a September stay and requested a specific site as requested on the registration form, but upon arrival the owner moved us to a different site with no explanation. 

Overall the campground is clean and family-friendly, with activities for the kiddos. The bathroom/shower is adequate, but far away from tent sites and look unfinished and a bit rundown. I assume this will be the next renovation for the new owners.

We go every year and love it

Friends and I camp here every June, and we love being close to the river. We sleep in tents so the sound of the river put  you to sleep at night. Excellent campground for cooking delicious meals over the fir and sitting around the fire later. We also tube down the river. Very clean restrooms and nice staff.

One of the nicest

Chuck and Laura are wonderful hosts and always available to help. The campground is clean, quiet, with plenty of open sites as well as sites in the woods. Sites big enough for our 42’ 5th wheel and 2 cars. Sites in the woods have water and 50 amp service, no sewer. Most of the open sites have 30/50 amp service with full hook-ups. River view sites available. Canoe rental available. Clean bath houses, laundry, dump station gameroom, and camp store. One of the best in the area!

Very nice campground!

Nice campground that has a gorge trail attached to the campground! This was nice to do right before dinner. The campground has full showers and bathrooms. Also, they have a community bonfire on Saturdays with s’mores, which was nice!

low key and beautiful fall getaway

Keep in mind that this review is written after camping sept 8th (the week that school started for many) so it might not be relevant to peak camping season. We were pleasantly surprised with our weekend getaway to Clarksburg State Park. Nestled in the Berkshires and basically walking distance to Vermont, Clarksburg State Park provides a comfortable and semi-private tent site. Several spots (including ours 6) were very close to the rather large pond. While the trees obstruct the views, the site was waterfront and we were able to walk a few yards downhill to the waters edge where we launched our kayaks (there is a designated launching spot elsewhere). No electric and water hookups are provided but we were totally okay with that. Bear boxes were provided on each site so that you don’t have to keep stinky food or garbage in your car! Each site also had a fire pit with a grate so that you can cook right there on the fire. The bathrooms were some of the cleanest campground bathrooms and showers i’ve experienced (no bugs or webs also) and there was a dishwashing station on the side. The sites were large and well spaced but they had trees in between so that you felt privacy. The campground itself had plenty of sites, firewood for sale in the front and a pavilion and beach area on the day use side. There are plenty of trails you can hop on right outside your tent site and very little light pollution for optimal star gazing. We really enjoyed our time here and will definitely be back!

The Worst

Owner Ross was very rude to everyone, Pool has a scum rim around it, and there are no wooded sites

Super easy

Super easy hike, will take a few hours! A great little campground like all state parks around! I'd recommend it, downside, no dogs allowed

Fantastic little camp

My girlfriend and I went here on a thursday and stayed till Saturday, so the camp was a little more empty then normal but it was a great little place. Nice views of the lake, swimming, wide open sites, not too over crowded! I'd definitely go back! Close by to Miller state park (NHs oldest state park), Garwin falls (beautiful little water falls you can swim in)

Nice Riverside Sites

This campground has nice, quiet, shaded riverside sites and other sites options as well. Showers are $0.25 for 8 minutes. Modest camp store. Pallets of firewood are delivered to your site and reasonably priced. Nice pool. Port-a potty by the river needs to be replaced.

My favorite

Nice group camping area on Connecticut River with tent and lean to options. Ranger Eric and staff were awesome.

WOW What a view !!!

Had a great hike and lunch at top of mountain. Climbed weather tower and was an awesome experience.

Awesome

Very clean and enjoyable. We have gone here a couple times exceeding our expectations.

Great campground

High up on a hillside. The prime lean tos have great views. Sites for tents offer some set away but further from water and toilet. Other sites closer, but also closer together. Firewood available. Take a walk to the picnic pavilion which has a great view. Trail around Slack Hill has view of Ascutney. Pavilion and some shelters look over to Kiliington. CCC trail cuts through. Ash and maple woods. Clean, well kept.

Restrictive

It seemed like there were a lot of restrictive rules compared to other campgrounds that made camping more stressful.

Comfortably Isolated

We went camping with a group of 5 people spread out onto two sites. We arrived after dark and our friends were able to pick up a parking pass for us ahead of time. It was easy to find the campground and our site.

Restrooms are easy to reach throughout the campground and there is a shower house near the entrance to the campground (no quarters necessary). Stores for extra food or forgotten materials can be picked up in town a 10-15 minute drive away. We enjoyed our time here and will be back!

Quiet, out of the way

This campground is easy to navigate. It’s family friendly with a large field for volleyball, badminton, etc…

Nice and relaxing. Right next to Quechee Gorge where you can hike down to the gorge and go swimming or just sit on the rocks in the sun. Very relaxing and fun!

Great staff

Overall had a wonderful experience at zoar campsite in charlemont ma. Staff was awesome, went out of their way to tAke care of our group from camping to rafting. Highly recommend the site.

Amenities are well maintained. Could use a refresh but overall great experience will be back

Great Park

Nice rustic ,small all amenities park.Great place to explore Vermont ,hundreds of things to do and see in the area. Really like this park.

Relaxing on the river

Awesome campground with two of the greatest host/owners Chuck and Laura. We have been coming here for years and always enjoy the time spent here. Beautiful river to float down or paddle up. Saw a bald eagle this past weekend while paddling up past the campground. Some site on the river,some in the woods and some in a field.

Very private tent sites

A smaller campground but that always makes for a more private feel. Some of the sites have amazing wooded platforms for your tent that definitely came in handy on those rainy nights. Close to some great hikes.

Friendly staff, clean sites, great fun

Stayed here for 3 nights. Everyone was so helpful and very nice. "Good morning friends!" They brought our firewood right to us and even recommended a place to get great pizza on a rainy night. There is a trail from the campgrounds to see the beautiful gorge. They also had very clean bathrooms too. We will definitely be back.

I was hoping for something nicer

I think its an ok place, they seem to really care about the campground but oursite was like sitting in an open spot on display. Call them up and ask for their help choosing something that offers privacy. The bath house was clean but they have pay showers….really for the price you pay. To camp.  It is convenient to mt graylock. We had a water hookup and gray water dry well.  I dont think i would stay there again.

Nice, quiet, rustic

Basic camping in a quiet, older campground. Very pretty beach area at the reservoir where you can paddle and swim. No hook ups available but only $20 per night for a site that was plenty big enough for a small motor home. Mostly tent campers though and spots would be tough for anything much bigger. Bathhouse was clean and had a pay shower.

Gasoline generators from morning to night

Saw Hapgood Pond was well reviewed so just went for 2 nights. The site across the way ran a generator midday for3 hours each day. One site down and across a large RV ran their generator from 7 to 10 am or so and again from 4 to 9 pm. These folks never stepped outside their RV. 1 mile trail and day use swimming and boating area. Pit toilets. Showers at day use area at pond. No firewood available. No campground office but host volunteer updates tags on site numbers showing free or reserved.