Established as a state park in the early 1900s, Underhill State Park was incorporated into the larger Mt. Mansfield State Forest a few short years later. During the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), as a part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program, descended upon the park. The CCC built the park office, restrooms, a picnic area, and a lodge. The lodge would later become a small hotel; however, it burnt down in the 1950s. The remaining structures are on the National Register of Historic Structures due to its historical significance and excellent conditions. The CCC also planted tens of thousands of Norway Spruce trees across Underhill State Park, which had been heavily logged.
The closest town is Underhill, VT, which is a small, charming town with a handful of restaurants and shops. However, it lacks a health center with emergency services. For services, the closest option is in Burlington, VT, about 20 miles to the west. Burlington also has a larger variety of shopping, museums, galleries, and theater. Search for an RV in Chittenden County, VT, and get ready to make new memories to last a lifetime.
Underhill State Park is a part of Mt. Mansfield State Forest, which encompasses around 40,000 acres. Mt. Mansfield is the major feature in Underhill State Park. It’s said to resemble the profile of a man’s face from certain angles. Mt. Mansfield is Vermont’s highest peak, topping 4,300 feet. The summit ridge is one of the three mountains in the state blanketed by an alpine tundra, which is a rare, fragile ecosystem.
Although Underhill State Park is open year-round, it’s most heavily used in the summers. Many adventurers enjoy hitting the trails, which range from family-friendly to challenging. The trails weave and twine through dense woods of spruce, maples, and oaks. One joins with the Long Trail, a 273-mile-long trail that meanders from the northern end of the state to the south end. Another connects with trails contained within Mt.Mansfield State Forest, adding several more miles of hiking and recreational fun.
When winters roll around and blanket Vermont in deep, soft snow, the fun doesn’t stop. Local and out-of-town adventurers descend upon Underhill State Park for cross-country skiing through the magical, snow-clad forests. In the distance, the hum of snowmobiles may be heard. One of the snowmobile trails passes through Underhill State Park; the rest, however, snakes through Mt. Mansfield State Forest and the neighboring state parks.
Wildlife observation and photography opportunities are excellent. Between the abundant wildlife and picturesque woods, it’s hard to take a bad photograph. Many animals make their home in this region, including moose, black bear, foxes, and beavers. While hiking, keep an eye on the skies overhead. Birds could be soaring in lazy circles as they ride the thermals are often bald eagles, ospreys, and hawks.
Camping at Underhill State Park
Skip enduring noisy hotel neighbors and wake up in an RV rental surrounded by nature. When renting a camper, adventurers gain access to sheer wilderness and unadulterated nature. Unfortunately, RV camping at Underhill State Park isn’t possible. Underhill State Park offers only a tent campground that’s inaccessible by vehicle. However, there are several options very close by.
Little River State Park near Waterbury has over 70 RV sites. Though it’s largely primitive, with no hookups, the campground does have a dump station. There are restrooms with flush toilets, hot water, and coin-op showers. The facility is also dog-friendly, though they are prohibited from accessing the nearby beach.
Brewster River Campground near Jeffersonville, VT, could be a good candidate to consider. Though the RV campground near Smugglers’ Notch is a small one with only five RV sites, that means it’s a quiet, private facility. Three sites have electric and water hookups, and the remaining two have only electric. The waterfall, fireflies, and occasional wildlife wandering through makes for a magical camping experience. One potential snag: due to how the access road is laid out, turning into the campground may be difficult in vehicles longer than 20 feet.
Exploring the Area
Hop into a rental motorhome and join thousands of other travelers on Route 108, which is a scenic byway that connects Smugglers’ Notch to Stowe Mountain. Along the way, explore the side mountain roads that pass through charming historic towns. Keep an eye out for one of the hundred waterfalls, many of which are a short walk from the road. The Dog’s Head Falls In Johnson, VT, and Bingham Falls near Stowe are popular choices because of their unique, tumbling characteristics.
Many towns host festivals and fairs during the warmer months to foster a sense of community between remote towns and to let their hair down. The town of Stowe is a regular venue for the Vermont Renaissance Faire, which is a fun merging of medieval history and fantasy. The event is usually held in June. Smugglers’ Notch Applefest in Jefferson, VT, has been held annually since the 80s. It highlights the apple-growing tradition, which is often overshadowed the more famous maple trees. The event typically has hard cider tasting, vendors selling apple-related baked goods, jams, and other wares, and fun games for families.
Relax outside an Airstream rental and watch the stars appear in the night sky. Find your bliss with family and friends in the Vermont wilds.