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Located in Burlington’s North End, 67-acre Ethan Allen Park has approximately 4 miles of woodland trails and smaller spurs, which create nested loops around the scenic park and offer views of the surrounding Green Mountains. Local civic leader and landowner William Van Patten opened the park in 1905. Van Patten let his horse, Mattie, find the easiest trails to get to the top of the park’s rocky hill, where he then built a gazebo overlooking Burlington and Lake Champlain. The gazebo remains today and adds to the park’s charm while also providing respite on rainy days.
The park became an entertainment spot in the early decades of the 20th century for picnics, dancing, concerts, and bootleg liquor. Centuries earlier, native Abenaki used this spot to watch for approaching friends and foes.
Although pedestrian access points are situated along the west side of the park along Ethan Allen Parkway, the park’s only dedicated parking area is located at the trail system’s southernmost tip at Ethan Allen Parkway and North Avenue. A short pathway heads northwest from the parking lot to a small playground. To reach the gazebo and corresponding picnic area, head north at the V along the left trail for about 0.6 mile (you’ll be under trees for the duration of your journey). Note the steady climb to the top of the hill.
In about 0.2 mile, you’ll pass another landmark, Ethan Allen Tower, honoring Vermont’s Revolutionary War hero. The Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain are visible from a lookout tower at the top of this monument (opening times vary throughout the year).
Other trails loop around the perimeter of the park and take trail users up and down and around numerous hills. The park has scattered picnic sites and a bike rack in the southeast section. (Note that currently there are no dedicated restrooms in the park.) All trails are located beneath dense tree canopy, which provides shade in the summer months, as well as beautiful forest to ponder and enjoy in every season.
At the park’s northeastern end, a wooden-deck trestle bridge for pedestrians and cyclists crosses over SR 127 and seamlessly connects trail users to the 127 Bike Path, a critical link to other nearby trails and sites, including the Ethan Allen Homestead located just 0.8 mile south along the 127 Bike Path.
To reach the southern trailhead from I-89, take Exit 14W, merge onto US 2 W/Williston Road toward Burlington, and continue to follow US 2 W 1.5 miles. Turn right onto S. Willard St., go 0.8 mile, and then turn left onto Archibald St. In 0.4 mile turn right onto Spring St., and immediately turn left onto Manhattan Dr. Go 0.2 mile, and turn right onto SR 127 N. In 0.9 mile take the exit toward North Ave./Beaches, and go 0.7 mile. Turn right onto North Ave., go 0.3 mile, and turn right onto Ethan Allen Pkwy. Turn right into the trailhead.
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