An Underrated State Park In This New England State Is Hiding A Japanese Garden

Vermont is the "Green Mountain State," so the ideal place to experience this region is in a park with these quintessential elements. Not only does Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park fit the bill, but it also has a hidden Japanese garden with pools and statues to explore. To find this secret gem, head to the town of Hubbardton in Rutland County.

This exquisite Japanese garden exists due to the work of the author and documentary maker Carson Davidson, who loved this area. He created the park to spend the summer with his wife. It is now maintained by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation so that the public can enjoy the natural beauty of this 204 acres of land beside Mount Zion. If you love adventurous hiking destinations that will challenge you, then this state park is the place to go. It is also a stunning location to add to your New England road trip route.

Know before you go

The most important thing to know about Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park is that it has no facilities. This means you will need to take everything you need for the day and bring back any rubbish as you won't find trash cans there. The park also prohibits smoking, lighting fires, and camping.

Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park welcomes visitors all year round from 10 a.m. until the sun goes down. However, if you plan to attempt one of the more challenging hiking trails, you should check the weather to ensure it is passable. Many trails, including the one to the Japanese garden (maintained from Memorial Day weekend through the second Monday in October), are very steep, so wearing good waterproof hiking boots is vital. You are welcome to bring pets, but they must also be happy to climb challenging and wet routes. On a crisp day in the fall, the views are especially beautiful once the leaves start to change color.

Things to see in Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park

Naturally, the top attraction of the state park is the Japanese garden, which can be reached from the parking lot for the Western trails. It features multiple ponds, footbridges, and massive boulders. Most of the park's sights are on this side, and the brave can conquer Mount Zion's two peaks. There are routes to the major and minor peaks, or they can be combined. However, the main peak can be dangerous, so experienced hikers should scale it only when conditions are favorable. Lower down, you'll discover a Cave Trail that joins the Garden Trail for those who don't want to scale the mountain.

Over on the eastern side, there are four waterfalls on the Falls Trail but be warned that the path can get wet and slippery. For those interested in a nearby walk with a historical twist, head to the nearby Hubbardton Battlefield, where conflicts took place during the Revolutionary War. If you get tired from all that hiking, there are many scenic drives to take in Vermont, too, like the Green Mountain Byway.