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Waterbury Reservoir at Little River State Park

Little River State Park lies along Waterbury Reservoir nestled within the thick woodlands of Mount Mansfield State Forest. This large campground state park, the most popular one in Central Vermont, is located in Waterbury only 30 miles south of Burlington.

This park’s popularity comes from having a variety of campsites and cabins plus opportunities for guests to swim, boat, fish, hike, picnic, bird watch, and so much more. Little River State Park is also conveniently located near Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and the famous Trapp Family Lodge.


You’ll enjoy every moment of your visit to this beautiful Vermont state park and its surrounding towns and communities. Spend your nights in the park’s comfortable campground and your days exploring nearby Waterbury, Stowe, and Burlington. This picturesque area is full of year round outdoor adventures.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Little River State Park:

Boating at Little River State Park

Mountains and forest surround Waterbury Reservoir, one of the largest bodies of water in Vermont. While the reservoir is open to a variety of boats, a section is designated for paddlers.

Little River State Park has a boat launch for guests and boat rentals may be acquired at nearby Waterbury Center State Park.

Swimming at Little River State Park

Little River State Park has two rocky beach areas with access to the clear waters of the Waterbury Reservoir. The reservoir’s bottom is surprisingly sandy. Nearby Waterbury Center State Park also has a swimming beach.

Hiking at Little River State Park

As you explore the miles of nature trails located within Little River State Park you will get a glimpse of the past. Most of these trails wind throughout the woodlands, past orchards, farmland, historic stone walls, cemeteries, and cellar holes.

Many more miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails are located within the surrounding woodlands of Mt. Mansfield State Forest.

Here are a few of the trails at Little River State Park:

  • Stevenson Brook Trail – An easy 4.5 mile trail that follows Stevenson Brook through the woodlands and past small waterfalls and colorful wildflowers. Also a great trail for snowshoes during the winter.
  • Hedgehog Hill Trail – Moderate 2 mile trail that passes by multiple historic farm sites.
  • Dalley Loop Trail – A moderate 3.9 mile trail that winds along an old logging road, over small streams and past farmland and historic homesteads. This trail was named for local Civil War Veteran Dan Dalley.

Fishing at Little River State Park

Grab your angling gear and find a comfy spot along Waterbury Reservoir’s rocky shoreline inside Little River State Park. Or head out onto the reservoir with your canoe or kayak. Here you may catch smallmouth bass, rainbow and brown trout, rainbow smelt, bullhead, and yellow perch.

You may also catch wild brook trout in Stevenson Brook, which flows through the park on the southern end of the reservoir. Nearby Waterbury Center State Park provides more opportunities for fishing from shore or boat.

Be sure to pick up a Vermont fishing license ahead of time. And know that anyone over the age of 15 is required to have a fishing license on them at all times while fishing.

Birding at Little River State Park

Grab your binoculars and take a walk along the wooded trails inside the park and in the surrounding Mt. Mansfield State Forest. This peaceful area is full of signs of wildlife including a variety of birds.

Here you may have a chance to observe a Bald Eagle, Mourning Dove, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Peregrine Falcon, American Robin, Common Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Common Loon, Downy Woodpecker, American Goldfinch, Herring Gull, Barred Owl, Pine Grosbeak, or an Eastern Wild Turkey.

Nature and Wildlife at Little River State Park

Nestled within Mt. Mansfield State Forest, Little River State Park is a perfect location to see chipmunks, Eastern Cottontail, White-tailed Deer, beaver, Black Bear, bobcat, coyotes, Gray Fox, Gray Squirrel, Little Brown Bat, and Long-Tailed Weasel.


Pets are allowed in most areas within Little River State Park. Pets are not allowed in the swimming area but they are allowed to swim near the boat launch. The only pet friendly cabin is Bear Cabin.


Little River State Park’s campground is the largest and most popular in Central Vermont. The campground, surrounded by Mt. Mansfield State Forest features 81 tent or RV campsites, 20 lean-tos, and 5 cabins.

Each campsite and cabin has a picnic table and fire ring with a cooking grate and are within walking distance of bathhouses with flush toilets and hot showers. The campground area also has a private beach, boat launch, playground, ball fields, and a dump station.

Each of the 5 rustic cabins have one room with bunk beds and a sleeper sofa (or futon) to accommodate up to 4 guests, and a table, chairs, overhead light and electric outlet. An outside covered front porch area offers views of the lake. Cabin guests must provide their own linens.

Little River State Park also offers 27 remote campsites along the reservoir. These sites may be reserved ahead of time or on a first come first serve basis. Guests may select open campsites upon arrival and a ranger will stop by to register and collect fees. Each backcountry campsite has a fire ring and a toilet.

Park Location

Little River State Park
3444 Little River Rd.
Waterbury, VT 05676
Phone: 802.244.7103

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Little River State Park: