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Overlook Park and Woodside Natural Area

Quick access to the Winooski River and wildlife natural area.
Trail Activity
Hiking Snowshoeing Ungroomed cross-country skiing
1.10 miles, Loop
Essex (VT)
Packed Earth/Dirt, Stairways/Ladders
Permitted on leash


Overlook Park and the Woodside Natural Area, also known as 68 Acres, are part of the Winooski Valley Park District and cover 58 acres south of Route 15 across from Fort Ethan Allen bordering the Winooski River. A small picnic area is available just off Woodside Drive at Overlook Park.

A loop trail circles Woodside Natural Area, passing near the river at several points. The trail is open to the public for non-motorized recreational uses such as hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and running. Towering cottonwoods and a dense cover of ostrich fern are abundant along the floodplain containing the park. The forest at the east end of the park has a closed canopy of large diameter cottonwood and green ash. A sub canopy of box elder completes the structure of this classic floodplain forest. A marshy backwater swamp active with beaver and bird life adds diversity to the landscape.

Features of this trail include:

  • Short walk to river from gate
  • Riverside picnic table
  • Many signs of wildlife
  • One moderate to steep section of trail

Other Information


Park Rules:

  • Parks are free and open from dawn to dusk
  • The park welcomes hikers, anglers, paddlers, skaters, ice fishermen, birders, and naturalists
  • Dogs on leashes only
  • Not a staffed facility, enjoy at your own risk
  • Carry in, Carry out
  • Take only pictures and leave only footprints
  • No mountain bikes
  • No motor vehicles
  • No discharge of firearms
  • No hunting or trapping
  • No open fires of glass bottles
  • No motorized boats (including electric motors)

Trail Manager

Visit Winooski Valley Park District or Town of Essex online for more information or contact:

Essex Parks & Recreation

Essex Parks & Recreation
81 Main Street
Essex Junction, VT 05452
Phone: (802) 878-1342
View website

Winooski Valley Park District

Winooski Valley Park District
Ethan Allen Homestead
Burlington, VT 05408
View website

Trail Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Be prepared for extreme weather. Bring rain/wind gear, warm clothing, and matches/fire starters.
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Trailhead Information

Take Route 15 east past St. Michael's College. Opposite the West Dalton Drive entrance to Fort Ethan Allen, turn off Route 15 onto Woodside Drive. Overlook Park is just off Woodside Drive on the left. The trailhead and parking for Woodside Natural Area is 0.25 miles down Woodside Drive on the right.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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