Vermont is not only one of the best places to live and work in the U.S.; it’s also a hugely popular vacation destination. All seasons have their own charm in this freethinking New England state, from the long, snowy winters to gloriously sunny summers and, of course, the breathtaking fall foliage. It comes as no surprise that Vermont is popular among campers. Along with hiking, skiing and fishing, camping in Vermont is among the greatest things to do in this gorgeous state.
Vermont is one of the least populated American states, home to vast forests, accessible mountains, and picturesque villages. Whether you come for fishing or hiking, kayaking or skiing, Vermont has it all in world-class quality. Fishing on Lake Champlain can be done all year long – ice fishing in winter through boat trips in summer – while kayaks and canoes are welcome on most rivers and lakes. Hiking, however, is arguably the most practiced outdoor pursuit in the Green Mountain State. Trails crisscross across the land, running along the beautiful Lake Champlain shoreline and up to the highest Green Mountain peaks, such as Camels Hump and Mount Mansfield. Vermont is also home to the oldest long-distance trail in the United States, the Long Trail. This path runs from the Massachusetts border all the way north to Canada, following the crest of the Green Mountains. A section of the beloved Appalachian Trail cuts through the state’s southern part as well. Rest assured that you’ll find plenty of camping in Vermont on the way, along the trails, on riverbanks and lakeshores. Are you a winter camper, too? We sure hope so! Vermont happens to be one of North America’s best destinations for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. With renowned resorts such as Killington, Sugarbush and Stowe, it’s a winter sports enthusiast’s paradise.
No matter what adventures you’re after, Vermont has you covered. And at The Dyrt, we’re always ready to help you find the best camping in Vermont.
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This is a great campground set in a thick pine forest near a large pond. They have a lagoon for swimming and a children's playground. Hiking trails nearby. Canoes for rent. Fire wood and camping supplies for sale. Close to several towns with multiple restaurants. Pull threw, large sites available.
My family and I went on our first camping trip together here in September of 2019. It was quiet and peaceful. There were no other campers and we had our pick of any site we liked. We picked a nice site next to a babbling brook. While we only tent camped we plan to return with our new to us pop up this year. We only saw two cars during our entire stay.
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).
Smugglers notch was not only beautiful but the campground was one of the best ones I’ve stayed at. We stayed in cherry (leanto) site which was fairly private and big enough for us to set up our 8 person tent. They were pet friendly which is always a plus. The bathrooms were the cleanest ones yet. The staff was friendly and helpful. They make nightly rounds to check on the campers and make sure no one has any questions or concerns. There were trails leading from campgrounds and beautiful views. We had an unforgettable weekend. Would 100% camp there again in the future!
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.
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.
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.
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.
It made me sad to think what this campground used to be (either that or the website was terribly misleading, however, since the property is for sale, I am thinking that it may have fallen on hard times).
I called a week ahead to make sure there would be space. Heath, the owner, called back later the same day, very apologetic that it took him so long to return my call (less than a day did not seem to be too long to me). He assured me there was space, so we made our plans. We did not plan on arriving after dark, but we did, having had too much fun admiring the fall color. I called ahead to let Heath know we would be arriving late and left a message (it took three different phone numbers to reach an answering machine). No one was there when we arrived. It was challenging in the dark, but we found two open spaces and backed into one of them. We were not able to use the electrical connection as it required both input and output 30 amp connections and we need a 110 for one of the connections.
I was so tired that, despite the heavy road noise from Route 2, I fell asleep shortly after 9 pm. However, we were woken out of a sound sleep at around 2 am to the sounds of a woman shouting loudly and angrily (at her kids, husband, someone). This went on for a few minutes and no one sounded in distress and then all was quiet again. Even the road noise had subsided.
The bathrooms were small but reasonable. There was a laundry area and a game room/lounge, stocked with a pool table, couch and chairs, books, (recent) newspapers, and games. There was also an above-ground pool and a separate tent area. Cell service was strong and WiFi is available, but we did not use as we did not have the password.
RV sites were$35 and tent sites were$25, cash or check only. The next morning, we checked the office again and it was still locked up with no trace of anyone having been or being around. There was no place to leave the money and we never heard back from Heath, so we left. There could be so much potential to this conveniently located campground and I hope that someone is able to revive it.