Brighton State Park

Brighton State Park

Quick Facts

Brighton State Park


(802) 723-4360

Map Directions

Things To Do


Brighton State Park lies in the heart of Vermont's northeastern highlands and is surrounded by mountains with evergreen-covered slopes, fast running rivers and streams, and clear lakes. This is one of the wildest and most isolated areas in Vermont. Visitors are able to learn about the rich array of legends of Indians, loggers, railroads and rum-runners. The land northeast and southeast of Island Pond is especially suited for the angler, the hunter, or the outdoor lover, and the park is virtually without roads or villages.

Map of Brighton (VT)

Latitude, Longitude: 44.803276, -71.846123



  • Boating

    Canoes, kayaks and row boats can be rented at the campers' beach on Spectacle Pond and at Brighton Day Use Area on Island Pond.

  • Bird Watching

    Loons breed within the park on Spectacle Pond and delight campers with their nightly serenades. Nearby, Nulhegan Basin is Vermont's largest IBA (Important Bird Area), comprising a mosaic of forest and wetland habitat types. The predominance of boreal habitats is typical of a forest found further to the north and, as such, supports a number of species rarely found in Vermont. The IBA is centered around the Nulhegan Basin and stretches from Lewis Pond in the north to the Granby Stream and its tributaries to the south. The extensive boreal habitat and associated wetlands are home to a number of rare species. Foremost is the state endangered Spruce Grouse whose largest population numbers are in this IBA. Common Loon, another state endangered species also nests on several ponds within the IBA. A number of priority species can also be found at this site including Gray Jay, Cape May, Wilson's, Bay-breasted, Palm and Tennessee warblers, Boreal Chickadee and Black-backed Woodpecker. Many of these species are found at few other locations in the state and represent a suite of birds usually found further to the north.

    The boreal forests and wetlands of Victory Bog Basin also support a number of representative boreal species. High on this list are two species of special concern, Gray Jay and Black-backed Woodpecker. Other species associated with this habitat type include Boreal Chickadee, Rusty Blackbird and Lincoln's Sparrow. The various wetland habitat types support American Bittern, and Virginia Rail as well as the occasional Northern Harrier. Numerous warblers are seen and expected to occasionally breed here. These include Yellow-rumped, Cape May, Wilson's and Bay-breasted warbler. The habitat is suitable for the state endangered Spruce Grouse and this area has been suggested as a reintroduction site for this species.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    There are several self-driving tour routes available from, including Farm & Village Tour, Mountains & Bridges of the Borderline, Northern Lights, Town & Country, Forest Frontier, Living Landscape and Treasure Trove.

  • Camping

    The campground sits on the mostly undeveloped Spectacle Pond, where it is common to hear loons calling at night. There are 5 cabins, 61 RV/tent sites (no hookups) and 23 lean-tos. All three restrooms include hot showers ($). A dump station is available, and some limited generator use is permitted. Campfire wood and ice are available for purchase.

    5 cabins within walking distance to waterfront are available to rent. Cabins are cozy one-room units that sleep four people comfortably. All cabins are constructed with the same layout, using native materials. Amenities include bunk beds and a futon or sleeper couch (linens and towels not included) a table and two chairs, an electric outlet, a covered front porch and a fire ring with cooking grate. Cooking is done outside (bring your own cookware). Bathrooms and showers are located within easy walking distance.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted. Spectacle Pond is a great place to introduce children to the sport of fishing. In the pond, you might catch brown trout, yellow perch, large-mouth bass, small-mouth bass, bullhead, panfish, and burbot. On Island Pond, also look for brook trout, rainbow trout, walleye, and northern pike. Visitors older than 15 years of age must carry a fishing license.

  • Hiking

    Come hike through the remote trails of Brighton State Park. Follow the interpretive trail to learn about the plants and animal species that inhabit the area.

    Along the Northeast Kingdom Nature Trail in Brighton State Park you will explore the nature and history of this unique forest on the edge of Spectacle Pond. This nature trail allows you to take a close look at the wildest and most isolated area of Vermont. Hike the half mile nature trail in about 30 minutes, and follow the brochure that corresponds to numbered posts along the way. The interesting things you learn about the forest may entice you to explore some of the other beautiful trails at Brighton State Park.

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

  • Historic Sites

    Island Pond enjoyed a heyday from the late 1800's until the Depression years, along with the fortunes of the Grand Trunk railroad between Montreal, Canada and Portland, Maine. Island Pond was the site of the first international railroad junction in the United States. At the height of the town's population, its streets were lively with railroad men and loggers, most of whom rode in on one of the 13 rail tracks that passed through town. A mere two tracks remain today. The unique wooden bridge, which once held all 13 tracks, is gone, but the heritage of railroading is still evident in the well-kept train station and a few associated structures at the north end of town.

    Several driving tour routes are available from

  • Picnicking

    At the nearby day use area there is a long sandy beach, (at the southern end of Island Pond), a bathhouse with restrooms, and rental boats.

  • RVing

    The campground sits on the mostly undeveloped Spectacle Pond, where it is common to hear loons calling at night. There are 5 cabins, 61 RV/tent sites (no hookups) and 23 lean-tos. All three restrooms include hot showers ($). A dump station is available, and some limited generator use is permitted.

  • Water Sports

    Brighton State Park is located on the shores of Spectacle Pond. A sandy day use beach and bathhouse is located on Island Pond, just a half mile from the campground.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Here in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, especially in the Island Pond area, wildlife abounds. You might see wild turkey, white tailed deer, moose, beaver, otter, eagles, bears, coyote, and more. In fact, Vermont's Northeast Kingdom offers different ecosystems that are home to a variety of wildlife. The forests, swamps, fields, rivers, and lakes of the state provide habitats for many different animals and birds.

    Great places to view wildlife are the Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge, Nulhegan Basin and the Victory Forest.

  • Winter Sports

    Island Pond is known as the snowmobiling capital of Vermont. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing are also popular winter activities.


Open Memorial Day weekend - Columbus Day weekend. Day use hours are 10:00 am - sunset.



From Island Pond: Go 2 mi E on Hwy 105, then 3/4 mi S on local road.

Phone Numbers


(802) 723-4360

Campground reservations

(888) 409-7579