One of three neighboring island parks in Lake Champlain’s “inland sea” (along with Burton Island and Knight Island), Woods Island became Vermont's forty-fifth state park in 1985. Measuring one mile long and a quarter-mile wide, 125-acre Woods Island provides a unique habitat for a rich variety of plant life, including many species that are rare or threatened in Vermont. A portion of the island was once farmed; traces of drainage ditches remain today. Still visible also is the farm house foundation and weathered remains of old farm machinery. A later attempt by a private developer saw the beginnings of an airstrip constructed down the center of the island; the earth berms you climb over on the cross-island trail are the runway edges. The State of Vermont’s Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation seeks to preserve the primitive character of the island and asks your cooperation in observing its guidelines for island use.
There is no ferry service to the island and visitors must make their own arrangements. There are no docks; visitors must either beach their boat or anchor off. The beach tends to be fairly rocky, except for a point along the east shore, from which the walk to campsites is between one-quarter and three-quarters of a mile. There are two water taxi options, with USCG-licensed captains, operating from Grand Isle County. The state does not necessarily endorse nor recommend either, and rates vary by group size and pickup location.
Woods Island is a “remote area” campground. Remote area campsites, while beautiful, are not for everybody. Sanitary facilities are minimal, and there is no potable water supply. Each campsite does have a fire ring and a nearby composting toilet. The island’s five campsites are situated around the two-mile shoreline, and are connected by a trail system. This gives you great privacy, but it also means you’re going to have to walk and carry your own gear from wherever you come ashore.
Camping: There are 5 remote tent sites on the island.
Hiking: The Island Loop Trail is a 2 mile, easy loop around the island.
Swimming: There are no beaches, but there is still great swimming to be found in Lake Champlain.
Boating: There are no docks. Visitors must either beach their boat or anchor off.
Fishing: Lots of great fishing to be had in Lake Champlain.
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