Big Deer Mountain and Osmore Pond
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:VT 232/New Discovery Road, Peacham
Hours:10 a.m. to sunset, Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day
Fee: $3 children 14 and older, $2 children ages 4–13

New Discovery State Park, 802-426-3042,

Bathrooms: At New Discovery Campground and Osmore Pond Day Use Area
Water/Snacks: At New Discovery Campground and Osmore Pond Day Use Area

A perfect 4.1-mile loop hike that leads to the top of a small mountain with great views, hugs the shores of a serene undeveloped pond, and offers backcountry camping options.

Warm up on the sunny granite slabs of Big Deer Mountain.

The grades of Big Deer Mountain Trail are mellow and the kids will love the great views from the summit and the chance to go for a dip in Osmore Pond. The trail is mostly flat or gradual, with short uphill bursts near the top. This fun loop hike lies within Groton State Forest, which is home to a number of easy hikes, ponds, and lakes, and sections of the Cross Vermont Bike Trail. The campground where you begin is just one of three campgrounds managed as state parks within Groton State Forest. You can turn your visit into an overnight trip by staying at New Discovery or by backcountry camping on Osmore Pond and Kettle Pond, to which you can either hike or paddle.

From campsite 45 in the New Discovery Campground, proceed past the gate to a narrow, flat, woods road. After 0.3 mile, the road reaches Big Deer Mountain Trail in a stand of red pine. Turn right here and proceed for 1.1 miles through beautiful hardwood forests and easy grades. The trail passes a decaying lean-to from the Civilian Conservation Corps era. The footpath starts to climb gradually, and 0.25 mile before the summit it comes to a trail intersection. Stay to the left here and continue on up the short pitch to the top of Big Deer Mountain with nice open ledges and great views to the south and west (1.7 miles).

To complete the loop, head back down to the intersection below the summit (1.9 miles) and turn left. Continue on this trail for 0.9 mile (past Hosmer Brook Trail on the left) to Osmore Pond Trail. Turn right and head north along the shores of Osmore Pond (3.0 miles) and past three lovely backcountry campsites to which you can paddle or hike. Continue on Osmore Pond trail across a forest road to return to the New Discovery Campground (4.1 miles).

Plan B:

Stop for a swim at nearby Boulder Beach State Park in Groton. The Groton Nature Center on Stillwater Road has indoor exhibits, trail information, and special events and concerts throughout summer. A section of the 90-mile Cross Vermont Bike Trail cuts through Groton State Forest near Big Deer on a gradual railroad bed (see Trip 63).

Where to Eat Nearby:

Groton Village has some fine restaurants and delis for picnic supplies on US 302.


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