Downer State Forest contains 705 acres divided into two blocks that are connected by a gravel state forest highway. The road allows visitors to view a large portion of the forest and also serves as a through road connecting Downer Road with Beaver Meadow Road in Norwich. Recreation in the forest consists primarily of dispersed recreational activities such as hunting, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. Horseback riding and bicycling are allowed on the state forest highway.
The northern parcel includes a 2-mile gravel loop road which links via a 3-mile gravel road to the southern state forest parcel at Beaver Meadow Road near Norwich.
The majority of the forest road is heavily used as a main VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) corridor snowmobile trail in winter. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers should move to the side of the trail when you hear a snowmachine approach.
The forest also contains a 10-acre pond with a public access site constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Primarily a pine forest in the SW section of the loop, with stands of birch and mixed hardwoods elsewhere. Large areas of the forest contain softwood plantations planted by the CCC.
Downer State Forest was given to the state by Charles Downer (Headquarters Block in 1910 and the Annex Block in 1914), making this the second oldest State Forest in Vermont.
Amenities: Fishing access to 10 acre pond. Downer State Forest is home of Camp Downer, a summer camp that provides youth aged 8-17 with a summer outdoor living experience.
Note: Downer State Forest is actively logged. Logging truck traffic is common on the State Forest Highway. Be very careful when traveling on this gravel forest road as it is narrow and logging activity may be occurring along the side. Stop if you hear a chainsaw running! Proceed only if you are sure it is safe.
Visit VT Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation online for more information or contact:
From Main Street in Norwich, VT, follow Beaver Meadow Road 8.9 miles to Downer Road in Sharon, VT. Turn right and continue 1.6 miles to Camp Downer. Park on left pullout located before camp entrance, being careful not to block gates.
From Route 132, Sharon, VT, follow Beaver Meadow Road south for 0.2 miles to Downer Road. Turn left and continue for 1.6 miles to Camp Downer. Park on left pullout located before camp entrance, being careful not to block gates.
Additional parking is available at several wide turnouts along the state forest highway network.
Parking for southern end of State Forest Highway is available at a wide turnout located along State Forest Highway approx. 0.25 miles north of intersection with Beaver Meadow Road.
State Forest Highway is gated on both ends. Gates are closed during spring mud season to protect the road from damage but gates are usually opened by mid-May. Bikes and horses are not allowed on the road when the gates are closed.
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