Townshend, VT 05353
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Take Route 30 South to the Townshend Lake Recreation Area; turn right over dam, then left at T-intersection. Park is 2 miles ahead on right.
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.
At a Glance
- A great park for hiking and camping
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.
The park today
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.
The campground, situated in a wooded area, has 30 tent/trailer sites and 4 lean-to sites. There are two restrooms with flush toilets and hot and cold running water. One of the restroooms has coin-operated showers. A picnic shelter with a fireplace and three tables is attached to the ranger's quarters. There is a trail to the top of Bald Mountain for day hiking. Note: Due to the park's physical layout, there is a limit of 6 people per site and only one (1) vehicle per site.