Vermont Perfection at Lowell Lake State Park in Londonderry
June 04, 2015
In all the years I’ve spent in Vermont, I had never heard of Lowell Lake State Park in Londonderry.
For our 11th wedding anniversary, Dave, Phoebe and I made our annual weekend trip to the Inn at Weston. Innkeepers Bob and Linda Aldrich, a wonderful couple we’ve known since 2004 when we were planning our wedding at the inn, are always helpful with suggestions for things to do when we visit. During our stay over Memorial Day Weekend, Linda mentioned Lowell Lake State Park. “It’s so Vermont,” she told me.
How had I grown up in southern Vermont and never heard of this spot? Even if I had, I would have automatically assumed the park was in the town of Lowell, located way up near the Canadian border.
After breakfast at the inn, we packed up our car for the day and headed over to the park, which is located east of Magic Mountain off Route 11.
Getting to Know Lowell Lake State Park
Lowell Lake State Park is located at the end of a dirt road in a beautiful, secluded spot overlooking the lake. The park is operated differently than most other Vermont State Parks because it does not offer any type of facilities, and camping is not permitted. Still, it’s a popular spot for kayaking, fishing, and walking. You can also swim there, but there is no official beach and the water is not tested for bacterial contamination. In the winter, the park is used for ice fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
During our visit, we discovered that it’s also a great spot to catch salamanders (hands down, the highlight of Phoebe’s weekend).
At the park, you can walk the Lowell Lake Trail loop, which is approximately 3.5 miles in length and completely encircles Lowell Lake. The trail highlights include a Revolutionary War-era cemetery, stands of large white pine trees, and scenic views of the lake and wetlands. The trail is located on relatively flat terrain and the hike is of moderate difficulty.
The park was acquired in two main parcels — the first one around 1977 which included the dam, a seasonal hotel and land on the southwestern portion of the lake. The hotel and cabins were torn down shortly after the property was acquired. The second parcel was purchased by the state in 1996 and included the seasonal family-style cabin camping area and the rest of the land and shoreline to the west, north and east. The state owns about three-quarters of the shoreline and four of the five islands. The remainder is private property.
“We estimate that the park gets about 5,000-plus visitors a year, and continues to grow, based on our observations,” says Ethan Phelps, Vermont State Parks Regional Manager. “It seems to be a balance of locals, seasonal residents and tourists.”
I’m thrilled we came across this scenic, hidden spot (thanks, Linda!). We’ll definitely be back.
**If You Go: Lowell Lake State Park is located off Route 11 on 260 Ice House Road. Heading east on Route 11, go past Magic Mountain and take a left onto Lowell Lake Road.