2755 State Forest Road Townshend, Vermont 05353Official Website
A visit to Townshend State Park, located at the foot of Bald Mountain on a bend of the West River, feels like a step back in time. The park was constructed during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a public works program aimed at putting young men to work.
The land in and around Townshend State Park was originally purchased as Townshend State Forest in 1912 through the interest of Howard Rice, secretary of the West River Valley Association. Little is recorded prior to 1924, yet records indicate that a small public camping area was available with nearly 1,000 people registering there during 1927. Initially, the primary objective for this land was timber management. A fire tower was constructed in 1924 to help protect the area. The fire tower was removed in 1949.
With history similar to much of Vermont, the lands contained within the state forest once had an agricultural focus. Much of it was cleared for pasture or crops. Stone walls, cellar holes, and old roads are evidence of such a past.
As visitors enter the park property today, they are greeted by lush green lawns leading to the park office, a CCC-built building constructed with stones quarried from the surrounding forest. The park looks basically the same as it did when constructed between 1934-1938. It includes a picnic area, hiking trails, and the only Vermont State Park campground that still has CCC-style tent platforms.
Today the campground is a popular destination for visitors seeking a back-to-basics, rustic experience. Guests staying on the west side of the campground will hear the gurgling of a small brook running down Bald Mountain. Visitors can take a hike up the Bald Mountain Trail, passing various chutes, waterfalls, and pools on the way to spectacular vistas to the north, south, and east. Those seeking a less strenuous experience can relax in the campground or picnic area and enjoy the tranquility of this natural area.
There is a trail to the top of Bald Mountain for day hiking.
The TrailFinder website has a description and map of a hike at Townshend State Park.
Restrooms on site
Wheelchair accessible trail
Content from Official Website
Last updated October 6, 2023