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. 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. Stonewalls, cellar holes, and old roads are evidence of such a past. 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 bathrooms, one of which has 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.

1 month ago

Lovely enough trail along the brook at the beginning, but doesn’t offer much in terms of views once you get up there. Nice for a quick walk if you want to gain some elevation, but don’t expect too much. Nothing tricky or difficult about this hike

This trail is straight up one side with a small view of the valley at the top and then straight down.

hiking
3 months ago

Agree this trail is not quite easy. Steady uphill with only a few spots that leveled off. Nice trail clearly marked and decent view, shaded the whole way, but the bugs were brutal so don't forget the bug spray (as I did!). The trailhead is located within a state park, requiring a fee ($4 day use). Bathrooms and water spigot available close to trail head.

3 months ago

This was a beautiful hike! But it is NOT EASY. I took my partner who is very new to hiking and she had a very difficult time with the very steep inclines.
Even I was surprised and thought we may have gone to the wrong hike.
Additionally it is quite buggy in late June.
Great work out if that’s what you are looking for.

Moderately difficult trail due to the incline on the way up. The trail surface is very forgiving, you don’t need super stable boots or hiking shoes but there are many fallen trees that require navigating around. The park could benefit from some maintenance. The view is nice. If you hike in spring time, e.g. mid-May, a protective net for your face is really helpful to keep the black flies away.

hiking
6 months ago

Nice trail! Some steep parts, only reason I took a star away was for the amount of trash littered all over including used tampons… the trail head said 1.7 mi, Alltrails says 3.3 and my fit bit tracker said 3.9. Nice view at the top!

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail! Is definitely moderate and very well marked. Our dogs loved it too and it took us about two hrs. We started kind of late and ended up coming out in the dark, but the trail was easy to follow once we couldn’t see markers anymore. Very pretty, windy, and we even found some chagga.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

It was a nice enough hike, a simple loop with a clearing at the top. The views are alright but nothing outstanding. The park said it was closed for the season and you have to walk along the road a bit. Took an hour and 15 min. Honestly thought the view is prettier at park below.

hiking
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I particularly enjoyed this trail and glad to see it is rightly marked as moderate. The trail is fairly steep without dips, even though it is short as trails go. I saw several red efts along this pine-needle covered trail, and I thought the view was pretty awesome too.

hiking
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

This trail was wonderful! Good part of it alongside stream with endless pools and cascades, easy footing, good workout towards the top and 2 nice views and great place for lunch! Super dog friendly as well!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trail was easy to follow and well kept; wish there was more of a summit/veiw.. Beautiful hike regardless!

hiking
Sunday, November 13, 2016

I was surprised by the low reviews on here as we loved this trail for so many reasons! First off, I would rate the difficulty as moderate. The incline is pretty steady all the way up and only levels off a few times. The terrain is rocky and rooty which is typical northern New England and this time of year (late fall) the leaves on the ground are slippery and hide potential tripping hazards. There is so much beauty here!!! The brook offers lots of little pools and cool rock formations, some that reminded me of a water-slide. There are lots of tree, plant and fungi species and we saw several different birds including a woodpecker. Mossy rocks and boulders are scattered everywhere with tall pines and other interesting trees with exposed root systems flank the trail. At the summit, there are two nice sitting areas to relax and check out the views. There is a summit sign on a tree to the left and before that on the right, a geological survey benchmark embedded into a flat rock. This place is so reminiscent of somewhere I would have loved to play and explore as a kid, and doing it as an adult is just as fun! There were some downed trees along the trail but it was well marked. We'd hike Bald Mountain again!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Good straightforward trail. Very little flat parts. It's a steady incline just about the whole way. Follow a nice brook in the beginning with great pools to lay in.The last 1/4 mile(probably less)to the summit is the real leg burner. Easy for experienced hiker, hard for beginners. Summit offers two views, Mt. Monadnock in NH to the west and Bromley & Stratton Mtn. to the north. Good campground too. Went in Mid Aug. while camping and only passed two couples. Totally alone on top.

Monday, June 13, 2016

a good steep climb up. An overall fun trail and great view but the trail isn't very well maintained. lots of downed trees and overgrown grass. However, the surrounding picnic and playground facilities are very well maintained.

hiking
Monday, May 11, 2015

I was not able to hike this trail from either end! From the link I posted below the trailhead are a not straightforward and have extremely limited parking. I'd love to come back and check this out but I might need to arrange for someone to drop me off close to the start of the trail.

hiking
Friday, December 30, 2011

Its a simple trail that you can use to get a little heart pumping action. Just did it and had lunch on the top, It was about 18 degrees and no wind.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sunday, June 05, 2016