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Vermont State Parks

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USA Parks
Southern Region
Grafton State Forest
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Grafton, Vermont   05146
(lat:43.1626 lon:-72.6393) map location
Grafton State Forest is a picturesque natural haven nestled in the scenic landscapes of Vermont. This expansive forest offers a serene retreat with its enchanting trails, tranquil streams, and dense foliage that paints the surroundings with vibrant hues during autumn. Towering trees provide a perfect canopy overhead, creating a peaceful ambiance for hikers, nature enthusiasts, and wildlife alike. The forest's diverse ecosystem also serves as a habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, offering a captivating experience for those seeking an immersive connection with nature. Grafton State Forest stands as a testament to Vermont's rich natural beauty, inviting visitors to embrace its splendor and embark on countless memorable adventures.
History of the Area
1. Native American Presence: Prior to European settlement, the area surrounding Grafton State Forest was inhabited by the Abenaki tribe, who utilized the land for hunting, fishing, and trading. They had established trails and settlements in the region.

2. European Settlement: The first European settlers arrived in Grafton, the town where the state forest is located, in the mid-18th century. The town was officially chartered in 1754, and settlers began clearing the land for agriculture.

3. Logging Industry: In the early 19th century, Grafton experienced a boom in the logging industry. The area's forests were extensively harvested to support the growing demand for timber. Logging camps were established, and the rivers were used to transport logs downstream to mills.

4. State Forest Establishment: Recognizing the need for conservation and sustainable land management, Vermont established its state forest system in the early 20th century. Grafton State Forest was one of the first state forests to be designated and was established in 1925.

5. CCC Involvement: During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a significant role in developing Grafton State Forest. CCC workers built trails, fire observation towers, roads, and recreational facilities, leaving a lasting impact on the forest's infrastructure.

6. Modern Era: Grafton State Forest is currently managed by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. The forest provides opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, wildlife viewing, camping, and cross-country skiing. The state forest remains an important natural and recreational resource for the local community and visitors alike.
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1. Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center Trails: Offers 15 miles of trails for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing.

2. Bear Hill Trail: A moderate trail spanning approximately 3 miles round trip with scenic views at the summit.

3. Houghtonville Road to Athens Dome Loop: This challenging loop is about a total distance of roughly 18 miles through dense forest terrain.

4. The Windmill Ridge Nature Reserve Trails: Features several interconnected paths totaling around six miles in length; offers diverse flora and fauna sightings.

5. Turner Hill Wildlife Management Area Trail System - Includes various short hikes ranging from one to three-mile loops within its boundaries.

6.The Mollie Beattie State Forest Paths - These are unmarked but offer adventurous hikers an opportunity for off-trail exploration across vast woodland areas.

7.Gilson Pond Loop- An easy two-mile hike that circles Gilson pond offering beautiful water vistas along the way

8.Athens Dome via Ledge Road- Approximately ten-miles long featuring steep inclines leading up to panoramic mountain views on clear days

9.Pinnacle Meadows Walkway - Short half mile walk ideal for birdwatching or wildflower spotting during springtime

10.Minard's Pond Path - Easy walking path less than a mile circling Minard's pond perfect spot picnic spots

11.Hapgood Woods Trail-A quiet, secluded pathway stretching over four acres providing opportunities wildlife viewing

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Area Campgrounds
Horseshoe Acres Campground
Weston-Andover Road
Andover, VT
West River Camperama
192 Depot Road
Townshend, VT
Bald Mountain Campground
1760 State Forest Road
Townshend, VT
Area Cabins and Lodges
Magic Mountain Ski Area
529 Magic Assess Rd
Londonderry, VT
(802) 824-5645
Grafton Ponds Nordic Ski & Mtn
783 Townshand Rd
Grafton, VT
(802) 843-2400

From Burlington, Vermont:

1. Start on I:89 S from Main St and University Terrace.
2. Continue for about 90 miles to exit 6 towards VT:103 in Clarendon.
3. Turn right onto VT:103 South after the off-ramp.
4. Follow this road until you reach Chester, then turn left onto Depot Street/VT Route 35.

From Montpelier, Vermont:

1. Begin by heading south on US Route 12 toward Northfield Falls.
2. Turn right at County Rd/Northfield St continuing into Dog River Road.
3. Follow signs for Interstate Highway (I):91S via ramp to White River Junction.
4. Take Exit number six leading up:to Rutland /Chester along route Vt.-10.

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Vermont State Parks