state park fishing area

Groton State Forest

The 25,000-acre forest is the second largest protected area in the state. Within its boundaries are six state parks and year round recreation. Despite being nestled between Interstates 89 and 91 and containing a number of roads and trails, the park maintains a wild atmosphere of the northeast once lost, and now returning. Massive mammals, like black bear and moose, call the park home. Mink, beaver and otters live in and around a number of lakes, rivers, creeks, bogs and kettle ponds. Today, State Highway 232 (also called the Groton Forest Highway) snakes its way north/south through the heart of the state forest. The state forest is serviced by a vast network of hiking and multi-purpose trails for mountain biking, horseback riding, and off road use. In the winter, the network of trails that surround the Groton Nature Center, located on the shore of Lake Groton, are used for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Hiking east of the Groton Nature Center, forest visitors can explore the 700-acre Peacham Bog, one of the largest bogs in Vermont. Many visitors also take the hike up to the top of Owlshead Mountain. The peak of Owlshead is due east of the Kettle Pond Campground. If you want a little bit more of a challenge, consider hiking from the New Discovery Campground, about a two-mile one-way trek up the gently sloping side of the mountain. The view is tremendous and well worth the drive or the foot work to get there. For more information, contact Big Deer State Park, 303 Boulder Beach Road, Groton, VT, 05046. In the summer call 584-3822 and during the winter, 479-4280. Visit

Victory State Forest

Victory State Forest offers 15,826 acres for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, hunting and limited camping. Wildlife viewing is terrific in this region of the state. The Victory Basin and the Wildlife Management Area offer an opportunity to view moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, river otter, red fox and much more. The forest is located in the northeastern area of Vermont near St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville and offers visitors the opportunity to view Burke Mountain, elevation 3,267 feet, and Umpire Mountain, 3,020 feet. Darling State Park is located within the Forest offering camping, hiking, hunting and picnicking amongst a forest of spruce and fir. The Victory Basin offers views of a remote northern ecosystem created by glaciers. Picturesque mountains surround the low-lying swampland. Snowmobiling and mountain biking are extremely popular forms of recreation within this state forest. Contact: Vermont Department of Forest Parks & Recreation, 103 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT, 05671. Phone, 241-3670. Visit Visit

Maidstone State Park

Maidstone is the most remote of Vermont’s state parks and still retains much of the wilderness character associated with the Northeast Kingdom. Maidstone Lake was created when the last glaciers melted and a deep, clear, cold lake was formed. The lake offers good lake trout and salmon fishing. It was designated a state park in 1938. The camp areas were wilderness, but the area around the lodge was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. The CCC built many sites with fireplaces for camping, which are still in use today. The campground has 44 tent/trailer sites and 37 lean-tos. Three of the four rest rooms include hot showers. A sanitary dump station is available, but no hookups. There are play areas, hiking trails, and swimming beaches in the campground. A picnic shelter, swimming beach, and an additional rest room are available at the day use area. Surrounding the park are acres of forest lands that offer miles of logging roads for mountain biking or just walking. R1, Box 388, Guildhall, VT, 05905. Phone, 676-3930. Visit

Lyman Falls State Park

Adjacent to the old Lyman Falls dam in Bloomfield, now breached, the 41-acre property provides access to some of the finest trout fishing in New England and hosts several outstanding primitive canoe campsites, part of a growing water trail. Plunge pools, rapids and riffles below Lyman Falls have the effect of oxygenating the water to create an excellent cold-water fishery. Take Route 2 NE to I-91 just before St. Johnsbury. Take 91 N to Lyndonville exit. Proceed on Route 5 to Route 114. Proceed NE on Route 114 to Route 105. Go right on 105 to town of Island Pond. Continue on 105 to Route 102, town of Bloomfield. Go left (N) on Route 102. A little over 2 miles look for orange gate on right. Visit Visit

Brighton State Park

Brighton State Park lies in the heart of Vermont’s northeastern highlands. A deep evergreen forest blankets much of the surrounding hills. Ponds and lakes are nestled in the wide valleys. This is the wildest and most isolated area in Vermont, rich in legends of Indians and loggers, railroads and rum-runners. According to local lore, Five Iroquois Nations and the St. Francis Abenakis camped here and used Indian Point as a meeting ground. The surrounding forest is the result of centuries of change. It is vastly different from the forest encountered by the first European settlers. Logging, agriculture and development continue to shape the forest. Despite, or perhaps because of human influence, the forest to the west of Spectacle Pond has been transformed into a unique collection of plants and animals. The mature red pine stand and its understory of boreal plants is a unique natural community that has hosted nesting ravens. The 15-acre site is a state designated natural area. Along this trail, you will be able to explore some of the nature and history of Brighton and the Northeast Kingdom. 102 State Park Road, Island Pond, VT, 05846. Phone, 723-4360. Visit Visit

Crystal Lake State Park

In 1759, during the French and Indian War, Roger’s Rangers were chased into the Crystal Lake-Barton area, according to the history books. It is believed that Robert Roger was familiar with this area at the age of 15 and that he participated in and helped lead the raid on St. Francis in Canada. At one time, there was a granite quarry on the east side of Crystal Lake. Near the turn of the century, steamboats barged stones across the lake. The park’s beach house was made of granite quarried beside the lake. It was constructed in the late 1930s by the CCC. Crystal Lake is approximately three miles long and about one mile in width. In some places it is known to be more than 100 feet deep. It is a glacial lake beautifully situated among rough hewn mountain sides. The beach area has almost a mile of sandy shoreline with a marked swimming area. The large historic granite bathhouse has rest rooms, changing areas, and a concession stand. There are approximately 40 free standing charcoal grills, nearly 80 picnic tables, play areas, rental boats and canoes, and lots of parking space. 96 Bellwater Ave., Barton, VT, 05822. Phone, 525-6205. Visit