Victory State Forest and Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area Trails
To access the Damon's Crossing parking area from Lyndonville, drive south on US-5 towards I-91, turn right onto Red Village Road (before reaching I-91). Continue straight for 1.6 miles, then turn right onto Severence Hill Road and continue for 4.6 miles. Turn left onto US-2 East and continue for 6.7 miles. Turn left onto Victory Road and continue straight when the road turns to River Road; in another 2.8 miles the parking area at Damon's Crossing is on the left.
Victory Basin is a spectacular lowland natural area with a large diversity of plant and animal species. Covering some 28,000 acres of land, Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Victory State Forest provide excellent habitat for a large number of game and non-game species. Mammals such as bear, moose, beaver, and muskrat use the many ponds and wetlands that drain into the Moose River with other species such as fisher, mink, snowshoe hare, and coyote cohabiting the area. The Victory Basin is also an excellent location for birding, with opportunities to view common species such as grouse or woodcock and less common northern species including gray jays, black-backed woodpeckers, and boreal chickadees.
Victory Basin has an extensive logging history that reached its peak in the late 1800s leaving roads and trails found there today, the remnants of this logging past. Old cellar holes and abandoned homesteads can be found throughout the basin, some near the old roads. Of special interest is the abandoned Victory Branch Railroad corridor, with a level grade that follows the western border of the basin.
Please note, the following trails on the railroad bed both north and south from Damon’s Crossing are in poor condition (wet, uneven, and brushy), and are subject to change due to beaver activity and flooding.
Victory Railroad Trail South: From the Damon’s Crossing parking area (an historic junction where the River Road and Railroad Trail cross the Moose River) the Railroad Trail follows the Moose River through generally open terrain south to a large snowmobile bridge and a spur trail back to the River Road. Scenic areas along the river and some old cellar holes can be found along this route. Return to Damon’s Crossing on the River Road for a pleasant loop.
Victory Railroad Trail North: (Note: This trail is in poor condition due the high level of beaver activity in recent years. Through hiking will require wading through beaver flowages and is not advised. It is still a great place to watch wildlife and see some of the Northeast Kingdom's prime wetland communities.) From the Damon’s Crossing parking area north, the Railroad Trail follows Bog Brook and passes wetlands, beaver ponds (literally passes through beaver ponds if they are active), and softwood stands before reaching a junction with Bog Pond Trail. For many visitors it is easiest to turn around and return to the parking area. The more ambitious hiker can turn left and follow the western spur trail to Bog Pond or continue on Railroad Trail where it eventually intersects the Portland Pipeline cut and forms a large loop back to River Road. The Bog Pond spur leads to a old dam and mill site at Bog Pond and makes a nice destination hike. This trail is especially favorable for birding, with a nice mix of habitats, such as alders, open water, beaver ponds, and spruce-fir forest.
In addition to the short hikes listed above, several expansive loops can be made following the Victory logging road network. Consult a map and plan accordingly.
VT Department of Fish & Wildlife
103 South Main St 10 South
Waterbury, VT 05671
Phone: (802) 241-3447
VT Dept. Forests, Parks & Recreation District 5: St. Johnsbury District
374 Emerson Falls Road
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
Phone: (802) 751-0136
NorthWoods Stewardship Center
154 Leadership Drive/PO Box 220
East Charleston, Vermont 05833
Phone: (802) 723-6551
Check for nearby geocaches to Victory State Forest and Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area Trails.
Leave No Trace Principle
Keep wildlife wild: do not feed, follow, approach, or otherwise harass wild animals. Doing so may alter their natural behaviors.