Explore the Parks of the Winooski Valley Park District
By Melanie Heisinger
The Parks of the Winooski Valley Park District is the place to be for a family celebration or just a hike with friends. They offer walking, hiking trails of all sorts. Want to go down the river? They offer canoeing, fishing, picnic areas and more.
The Winooski Valley Park District owns and manages 18 parks and natural areas consisting of over 1,750 acres of conserved land, 25 miles of trails, and protects 13 miles of shoreline along lakes, rivers and ponds in the Winooski River Valley. Parks are open to the public free of charge year-round from dawn to dusk each day.
The WVPD’s parks enhance the scenic beauty of its seven member communities and offer opportunities for outdoor recreation close to where people live and work. The parks provide nature trails, scenic overlooks, picnic facilities, cross country skiing trails, canoe and kayak launches, fishing access, and public garden plots. The WVPD’s parks provide residents the opportunity to experience the natural environment with minimal human disturbance.
Here are a few of the great places to enjoy and explore in Vermont this summer:
Colchester Pond Natural Area, Colchester
A 182-acre pond and surrounding forest situated within a large tract of contiguous forest. Colchester Pond offers a 3.5-mile walking trail through forest and fields that circles the pond, canoe and kayak access, fishing, picnic areas and wildlife viewing. A favorite spot to visit year-round!
Delta Park, Colchester
A 55-acre park at the mouth of the Winooski River encompassing several diverse ecosystems and a half mile of natural sandy beaches.
Donahue Sea Caves, Burlington
A 15-acre park covered by cattail marsh, featuring ancient limestone dolomite caves.
Essex Overlook, Essex
Seasonal picnic area off of Rt. 15 with shade trees and picnic tables.
Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington
A 284-acre park along the Winooski River in Burlington featuring numerous wildlife species, and elevated boardwalk through a cattail marsh, and several miles of trails along the river and through floodplain forests. Visit the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum to tour Ethan and Fanny Allen’s restored 1787 farmhouse.
The park is also home to various community gardens and the Winooski Valley Park District offices.
A 27.5-acre park in South Burlington featuring several diverse ecosystems, including Winooski River frontage, and a 1.75-mile loop trail.
For more information go to www.wvpd.org.