Surrounded by clear waters of the 850-acre Waterbury Reservoir, the Little River State Park is a quiet and secluded place to get away and relax. Located deep in 4,000 acres of the Mt. Mansfield State Forest. this one of the most picturesque and popular state parks in central Vermont. Do not be fooled by the word little as this park is packed with tons of outdoor activities, making it a favorite RV destination. Beyond the serenity of the dam, guests can see the mountains from a distance on a clear day. Boating, fishing, and picnicking are just a few of the recreational activities to choose from. The park offers four and a half miles of mountain biking trails - perfect for beginners and intermediate cyclists. Three miles of this trail are multi-use, leading to the historic ruins.
Until its establishment in 1962, the land on which Little River State Park lies was rich in agricultural production from as early as 1800. This was the case for subsequent years until the Winooski River and Little River flooded in November 1927, destroying much of their produce. Following the calamity, farmers were more than ready to rise and regain their source of livelihood. Unfortunately, luck was not on their side, as the area was once more hit by a massive flood in 1934. This time the damage was more severe, wiping away everything except for one house and few old cemeteries and claiming over 50 lives. This forced the residents to vacate from the area. As a response to this natural disaster, Waterbury Reservoir was constructed in early 1935 as a flood control project. Today RV guests can see the remnants of destroyed buildings by taking a historical tour of the area.
Little River State Park can easily be accessed by all types of vehicles. From the Vermont junction, there is a three-mile Little River Access road off the main road from town. Coming from town the first few miles of this road is gravel while the last mile is a dirt road leading to the park’s entrance. It is recommended that drivers should slow down when driving on this section to avoid loopholes. Though well-maintained, some roads in the campground are narrow for big trailers. There are pretty nice trails which can be accessed via hiking or cycling. For more information on how to navigate the park map trails can be collected at the gate. There are many parking lots including near the Nature Trail Area. For overnight guests, you can park at your campsite.
Little River State Park is a pet-friendly campground divided into two sections: A and B. Located in the wooded area the park offers over 70 campsites for RVs, trailers, and tents. The campground is open from mid-May to mid- October and campsites can be reserved in advance.
Campsites on section A are more exposed while those in B offer more privacy. There are no hookups in this campground, but there is a dump station on-site. Amenities include picnic tables, fire ring, drinking water, flush toilets, coin-operated hot showers, a bathhouse, BBQ grills, and campfire wood.
In addition, Little River State Park has five cabins, 20 leans-to sites, and 27 primitive campsites. For cell reception, laundry facilities, grocery stores, and gas, you will have to drive for 15 minutes to get to the town of Waterbury.
Little River State Park offers great family-friendly fishing. Anglers can catch plenty of trout including rainbow and brown trout. Other common fish species in Waterbury Reservoir include bullhead, rainbow smelt, and yellow perch. Smallmouth bass is native to the reservoir’s shorelines. Anglers can either fish from shores or from a boat. A valid fishing license is mandatory and can easily be purchased from Waterbury town or online from Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
The park runs a series of interpretive programs all year round. Make sure you check the programs available during your RV visit. Commonly featured programs include twilight tours, campfire programs, and amphibian explorations. For plant and wildlife lovers, the park’s naturalist takes visitors through guided nature tours educating them on flora and fauna. For kids, there are organized interactive games and ranger programs. History buffs will love the long hike to the flood ruins.
Thanks to an extensive forest, Little River State Park can provide shelter for coyotes and chipmunks. In recent years, black bears are increasingly being sighted within the park. Few birds can be spotted on the shoreline. In the mornings a variety of birds can be seen soaring high in surrounding Green Mountains. During the night you will be soothed rhythmic hymns of the loons. Owls nesting on the park trees are common when taking nocturnal hikes.
From self-guided nature trails to historic trails, Little River State Park has some of the best trails in the region. The close to five-mile long Stevenson Brook Trail leads visitors to explore the ruins of Ricker’s family cemetery, sawmill remains, walls, roads, tools, and bridges. The trail is well labeled and has a wealth of information on the history of settlers living here before the floods. This trail has some steep sections. Other popular trails include the Dalley Loop Trail and the Sawmill Loop Trail that goes around the park.
Waterbury Reservoir is a prime recreation for water enthusiasts. Campers and RVers can spend time boating, paddling or kayaking along the reservoir. Therefore packing a kayak or a boat in your RV is a great idea. Little River State Park also provides boating rentals.
For swimmers, there are two serene beaches. This a nice place to stroll along the shores or just sit and relax in the evening as you watch the waters and the nearby thicket. If you are camping with your family you can easily access them from campsites.