Support your local economy! Check out our new Trailside Services business portal. Learn how to add your business here!

Thetford Academy Cross-Country Trail

Located at the southern end of a state forest, Thetford Hill contains a world-class cross-country running trail built by Thetford Academy.
Trail Activity
Length
3.1 miles, One Way
Difficulty
Moderate
Town
Thetford (VT)
Surface
Packed Earth/Dirt, Snow, Ungroomed
Pets
Unknown
Fees
No

Description

Thetford Academy constructed the 5-kilometer Woods Hill Trail, a cross-country running and skiing trail. Since its inception, the trail has hosted multiple Vermont and New England running championships. In the winter, the trail is very popular for ungroomed cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Thetford Academy, Vermont’s oldest secondary school, hosts the New England Cross-Country Championship races on this trail, designed in 1991 by Thetford resident John Morton, a two-time Olympic biathlon skier and coach-turned-designer of trails for cross-country running and skiing. Morton designed the trail to have minimal impact on the land, using the natural pathways and existing skid trails from past logging operations on Thetford Academy and state land (Thetford Hill State Park). Under the direction of another area resident, Dan Grossman, alumni and community members lent bulldozers and labor, some wrote grants, others did the back-breaking work of pulling rocks with pickaxes and shovels. The result is what many consider one of the finest cross-country running courses in New England, and a fine ski and snowshoe trail.

Other Information

Please note: Operations at this park have changed. Park is open for day-use only. Trails will continue to be maintained and will remain accessible. There are no open facilities and camping is not permitted.

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, a 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 CCC structures are the remains of some fireplaces which are now hidden in the woods.

Trail Manager

Visit Thetford Academy or Vermont State Parks online for more information or contact:

Thetford Academy

Thetford Academy
304 Academy Road
Thetford, VT 05074
Phone: (802) 785-4805
scott.ellis@thet.net

VT Dept. Forests, Parks & Recreation Region 1: Springfield Region

VT Dept. Forests, Parks & Recreation Region 1: Springfield Region
100 Mineral Street, Suite 304
Springfield, VT 05156-3168
Phone: (802) 777-0388
ethan.phelps@vermont.gov
View website

Trail Tips

Respect Wildlife
Keep wildlife wild: do not feed, follow, approach, or otherwise harass wild animals. Doing so may alter their natural behaviors.
Legend
Hide All

Trailhead Information

From I-91, take exit 14 to Thetford and turn west onto VT-113; continue for 0.7 miles. Turn left onto Academy Road and continue for 0.6 miles where the park is on the right. 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. The trailhead is located behind the school buildings, at the back of the athletic fields.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
Please Log In or Create Account to add comments.
These awesome businesses support our goal of connecting people to outdoor adventures!
Hang Tight!
Nearby services are loading
No Results
No Services Found
SHARE THIS TRAIL

Add Trail Log

Please wait…
Join In on the Fun!
Log in or create an account below to unlock all the great features of Trail Finder: keep track of trails you want to do, preserve memories of trails you’ve done, earn badges, and more!
Your log in attempt was not successful. Please try again.
    Lost your password? Reset your password
    Don't yet have an account?
    There was an issue with your submission. Please try again.
      * Indicates required field
      Please check the box below before submitting.
      Already have an account? Login here
      Enter your username, and we will send you a new, randomly generated password to your email account.
      There was an issue with your submission. Please try again.

        Success! A new password has been emailed to you.

        Log in now

        Please wait…