Vermont’s Townshend State Park and campground offers a unique, rustic experience with plenty of area attractions. Nestled in the woods against Bald Mountain, on the banks of West River, a visit to this understated, secluded park is like a trip into the past. Historically town land, the current Townshend State Park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1934 and 1938 to improve upon the primitive camping area the town offered. The park has changed little since they completed it in 1938: The Park Ranger office is a small stone-brick building the stone for which was quarried from the surrounding land. Some of the campsites on the Eastern side of the campground still have CCC style tent platforms. The site where a Corps crew camped for four years while building the park is still visible. As with seventy percent of the state, the surrounding woods were once cleared farmland and with some poking around one can find old stone walls and cellar holes. There is even a charming brook you can hear babbling past the west end of the camp which is spanned by a beautiful, little stone bridge.
There is a hiking trail that climbs 1,100 feet to the peak of nearby Bald Mountain. This scenic trail takes you past the waterfalls, chutes and pools of the mountain stream. The summit of Bald Mountain affords beautiful views to the North, South and East. There are many spectacular Southern Vermont hikes nearby including Bromley Mountain in Peru, Stratton Mountain in Stratton, Equinox Mountain and Prospect Rock in Manchester and Haystack Mountain in Wilmington.
One mile up the nearby West River, past the historic Scott Covered Bridge, is the Townshend reservoir. The reservoir is a ninety-five acre lake with a day-use public area with picnic areas, swimming, ball fields and nearby hiking. Ledges Overlook trail is a nice 1.7 mile hike overlooking the lake. Boats less than ten horsepower are allowed into the lake. Fishing is allowed and you’re likely to catch smallmouth bass, brown and rainbow trout.
The nearby village of Townshend is a quaint little two-hundred and fifty year old New England village with gift and antique shops. Beautiful downtown Brattleboro, Vermont is a half-an-hour drive South of Townshend State Park on scenic Route 30. Vermont’s Route 100, continually ranked among the most beautiful drives in the country, is only a few miles north.
The campground itself contains thirty sites each of which are small enough that they can only accommodate six people and one vehicle. RVs are allowed but should call ahead. Sites 11-14, 16, 18, 19, 21 and 22 still have tent platforms. There are also four lean-tos and facilities include two restroom buildings one of which has showers. Attached to the Park Rangers Office is a pavilion with three picnic tables and a fireplace.
The Townshend State Park is open memorial day weekend through labor day weekend and located at:
2755 State Forest Rd.
Townshend, Vermont 05353
The Park Phone is 802-365-7500
In a day and age when many campsites have all the amenities of a hotel, Townshend offers a back-to-the-basics stay, beautiful in its simplicity.