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Thetford Hill State Park

Birding in Vermont

Thetford Hill State Park
Thetford, Vermont 05045
Thetford Hill State Park webpage

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Thetford Hill State Park
Coordinates: 43.8128299, -72.2355258
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About Thetford Hill State Park
Thetford Hill State Park is located within the southern tract of a state forest. The park includes a private summer camp (run under a long-term license agreement) in a former campground, a day-use area, and a world-class cross-country running trail. There is no camping at the park.

Thetford Hill State Park is one of many Vermont State Parks constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a public works program aimed at putting young people to work during the Great Depression. Before it was a state park, like much of Vermont, this area was largely deforested for farmland. Sunset Hill, as it was then known, was popular with hikers, picnickers, and nature enthusiasts for its commanding views of the surrounding area.

Dwight Goddard donated 262-acres to the State of Vermont in 1931. At that time, much of the land was open pasture and field. He gave the property to the State with the stipulation that it remain a State Forest in perpetuity.

The CCC established a camp in the forest in 1935. Between 1935 and 1937, work included the park road to the top of the hill where workers built a log picnic shelter, restroom, and 14 stone fireplaces and tables in the picnic area. Further improvements added in 1964 included camping facilities. The area operated as Thetford Hill State Park from 1936 to 1981 and 1987 to 2008. All that is left of the original structures CCC structures are the remains of some fireplaces which are now hidden in the woods.

Nearby Thetford Academy constructed the 5-kilometer Woods Hill Trail, a cross-country running and skiing trail, in 1991. It is considered to be one of the finest running trails in New England. Since its inception, the trail has hosted multiple Vermont and New England running championships. In the winter the trail is very popular for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Today, visitors to Thetford Hill State Park can enjoy dispersed recreation on the Woods Hill Trail year-round and access to the picnic area in the summertime. The former camping area is under long-term license to Thetford Academy; a local group is working on an agreement to maintain the picnic area for public access.

Visitors are encouraged to park out of the way, off the traveled portion of Academy Road, or in the day-use parking area when the gate is open on weekends during the summer. Camping is no longer offered at the site.
From Thetford Hill State Park webpage