5 Family-Friendly Winter Hikes in Vermont

Hiking in the winter in Vermont is an experience to be had. Everything happens at a slower pace; you can relax, reflect on life, and enjoy Vermont the way it should be enjoyed.

Here's a list of five different spots in Vermont where you can hike during the winter months, including one that'll make you feel like you're walking through the wardrobe into C.S. Lewis' magical land of Narnia.

These hikes are primarily on flat or easy terrain. If there is more than a few inches of snow on the ground, you may want to wear snowshoes. 

Fox Hill Winter View

The view atop Fox Hill in South Hero, Vermont.

Fox Hill, South Hero

Fox Hill is a quarter-mile walk that rises gradually above Lake Champlain with views across the water toward New York's Adirondack Mountains. You can grab a snack or a cup of hot mulled glogg at Snow Farm Vineyard at the base of the hill and enjoy it as you stroll. 

Another nearby option is to walk on the Island Line rail trail. It's an old railroad bed that runs along the shoreline of Lake Champlain and spans 13.4 miles from Austin Drive in Oakledge Park (Burlington) to Martin Road in (South Hero). It's wide enough and flat enough that it makes a perfect walking trail — it's groomed and packed down in winter when it's covered with snow. 

Winter hiking waterbury reservoir

The dam at the Waterbury Reservoir, Little River State Park, Waterbury.

Little River State Park, Waterbury

An easy walk on wooded trails where you’ll see old stone walls, cemeteries, cellar holes, and old orchards that give evidence of a town that existed hundreds of years ago.

A settlement of 50 or so families once lived in this area in the 1800s. The hard demands of the land and weather forced younger generations to abandon the farms. 

There are 8.2 miles of trails mapped out by Vermont State Parks, with shorter route recommendations. The Dalley Loop Trail (3.54 miles) will take you past the over 200-year-old Almeron Goodell house, still standing with little repairs made.

If the nearby Waterbury Reservoir is frozen, it's a fun spot for ice skating. 

winter hiking sterling forest

Sterling Forest in Stowe, Vermont.

Sterling Forest, Stowe

Sterling Forest is the most remote on the list and where you feel like you've stepped into another Narnia-like world. Stowe Trails describes the feeling in the forest as, "a sense of isolation that can be hard to find these days."

The 6 miles of trails are ungroomed, and so this hike is one of the more challenging on the list if there is snow and wouldn't be great for small children. Snowshoes or cross-country skis are recommended. 

winter hiking thundering Brook falls

The path to Thundering Brook Falls in Killington. Photo courtesty of Jimbo Strachan via Picasa.

Thundering Brook Falls, Killington

The hike to Thundering Brook Falls in Killington, Vermont is a beautiful winter hike. The 125-ft waterfall has water flowing year-round and is a great place to stop and enjoy the views. The hike is only 20 minutes and is more of a walk than a hike. However it is still worth the trip if you want to see some of the beauty that can be found in this area. 

The Outdoor project says, "in the winter the running water creates windows through the thick coating of snow that covers much of the falls that reveal the intricate folds and sharp edges of the bedrock beneath."

Another longer winter waterfall option is Lye Brook Falls (4.7 miles round trip) in Manchester, one of Vermont's tallest waterfalls. In the winter, the falls usually freeze solid transforming them into a giant ice sculpture. 

winter hiking robert frost wayside trail

Robert Frost Wayside Trail in Ripton. Photo courtesy of the USDA Forest Service.

Robert Frost Wayside Trail, Ripton 

For one of the best places in Vermont to enjoy winter hiking, head to the Robert Frost Wayside Trail in Ripton. The state's poet laureate was inspired by the trail and its surrounding landscape, which is described in his poetry.

On the easy 1 mile loop, you'll find several of his poems are mounted along the trail in the woods and fields.

Find Your Own Adventure

One of the best things about Vermont is the vast amount of public land available for exploration.

Find your own adventure in your backyard or nearby trails and enjoy winter!

Winter hiking farmland

Agricultural land in Georgia, Vermont.

Winter hiking camels hump state forest

A private cabin in Camel's Hump State Forest. 

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Topics: Things to Do

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