Gifford Woods State Park

Gifford Woods State Park

Quick Facts

Gifford Woods State Park

Vermont

(802) 775-5354

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

With its location at the base of Killington & Pico peaks, this park is a favorite for hikers. Many hikers pass through on their Appalachian Trail journey for a welcome shower and overnight stay. The park is a popular destination during the fall foliage season for its dramatic autumn colors and one of the few old-growth hardwood tree stands remaining in Vermont. The stand has many grand-sized sugar maple, beech, yellow birch, white ash, and hemlock trees. The understory is rich with native wildflowers.

Map of Gifford Woods (VT)

Latitude, Longitude: 43.674080, -72.811670

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Activities

  • Boating

    Boating is available across from the park at Kent Pond.

  • Bird Watching

    Gifford Woods has many woodlands species throughout the park. Keep an eye out for northern goshawk, broad-winged hawk, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, barred owl, yellow-bellied sapsucker, hairy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, least flycatcher, black-capped chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, white-breasted nuthatch, brown creeper, veery, hermit thrush, and black and white warbler.

  • Bicycling

    Lift-served mountain biking is available at Killington Resort near the park.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Gifford Woods State Park is located on the Crossroads of Vermont Byway, an auto-touring route. The byway travels through the villages of Quechee & Woodstock, major mountain recreation areas of Killington & Mendon. There are hundreds of scenic views along the Ottauquechee River and the spine of the Green Mountains.

  • Camping

    There are 4 cabins, 22 tent/RV sites (no hookups) and 20 lean-to sites situated in two camping loops. Each loop has a rest room with modern plumbing and hot showers ($). There is a trailer sanitary station, and some limited generator use is permitted. Firewood and ice are available for sale.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted at Kent Pond. Sport species include brook and rainbow trout, large-mouth bass and crappie. Kids under 15 can fish without a license.

  • Hiking

    A wide variety of hiking trails can be accessed from the park. There is easy access to the Appalachian Trail. A trail map and guide is available at the park or online.

    Explore the giants of the forest along the Old Growth Interpretive Trail in Gifford Woods State Park. This park contains one of the few old-growth hardwood tree stands remaining in Vermont. The stand has many grand-sized sugar maple, beech, yellow birch, white ash and hemlock trees. The understory is rich with native wildflowers. Hike the 0.1 mile interpretive trail in about 15-20 minutes and learn about old growth forests through beautiful interpretive panels along the trail.

    For detailed trail info and maps, click on the link below to visit the park web page.

  • Historic Sites

    Established in 1931 when the state purchased 13 acres of land from Lee Pearsons, the park grew over the next two decades with a land donation from Walter K. Barrows and various land purchases. Mr. Barrows noticed that many passing motorists stopped at the spot to admire the large old trees growing on his property and decided that it should be protected by adding it to the newly established state park.

    Today, Gifford Woods contains one of the few old-growth hardwood tree stands remaining in Vermont. The stand has many grand-sized sugar maple, beech, yellow birch, white ash and hemlock. The understory is rich with native wildflowers. In 1978, seven acres of forest in this area was designated the Gifford Woods Natural Area. An additional 13 acres were designated as Gifford Woods National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1980 because of the exemplary quality of the old-growth forest. To preserve the natural state of the Natural Area, no trails or development of any kind are permitted.

    Development of Gifford Woods State Park began in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a nation-wide public works program created during the Great Depression of the 1930's to provide jobs and training for thousands of unemployed Americans. In 1933 and 1934, CCC crews constructed the park office and ranger's quarters, picnic area, stone restroom building, trails, the park entrance and parking area. In 1939 the CCC constructed a camping area. A new section was added to the campground in 1959. The park continued to grow throughout the 20th Century, and reached its current size of 285 acres in 2003, when 171 non-contiguous acres were acquired from the Green Mountain Club to protect the Long Trail corridor.

    The town of Killington was chartered on July 7, 1761. Settlers to the Killington area were primarily subsistence farmers, raising crops and tending sheep in the valleys. Logging and milling were the prevalent industries in the area, with several saw and grist mills established.

    Tourism had its beginnings in Killington quite early. The first tourist resort at Killington was built in 1880, well before the region was developed as a ski resort. The original Summit House accommodated hikers and naturalists that came to Killington for the fantastic summit views. Most of the local families that remained in the area rented out boarding rooms to tourists, and a number of small inns and hotels were scattered around the town.

  • Picnicking

    A wooded picnic area is located behind the ranger's quarters with a play area.

  • RVing

    RV campsites are available (no hookups). There is a dump station and some limited generator use is permitted. Ice and firewood are available for purchase.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming and wading can be done in Kent Pond across from the park.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Wildlife abounds in Gifford Woods State Park. Commonly seen animals include white-tailed deer, fisher, coyote, black bear, porcupine, skunk, and an occasional moose. Reptiles and amphibians include wood frog, spring peeper, American toad, and yellow-spotted salamander.

  • Winter Sports

    Located near Killington and Pico Ski Resorts, Gifford Woods is especially popular for snowshoeing during the winter months. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are fun ways to see the park in winter. There are no facilities or staff available, but visitors are encouraged to explore the park during the off season and enjoy the quieter time of year.

Seasonality/Weather

Open from mid-May to mid-October for camping.

Directions

Driving

From Jct. U.S. 4 and Hwy 100: Go 1/2 mi N on Hwy 100. The park is on your left.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(802) 775-5354

Campground reservations

(888) 409-7579

Links