Welcome to Quechee State Park Its location along US Route 4, and its proximity to many Upper-Valley attractions make the park a popular tourist destination. Hundreds of thousands of visitors stop each year to take in the breathtaking views of the Quechee Gorge. Other visitors seeking an overnight stay enjoy the easy access to the park’s spacious campsites.
The focal point of the park is Vermont’s deepest gorge, formed by glacial activity approximately 13,000 years ago. Visitors can look down at the Ottauquechee River, flowing 165 feet below viewing points along Route 4.
The land on which the park is located was originally owned by the A. G. Dewey Company, a major wool processor in the 19th century. Mr. Dewey settled in the Quechee area around 1869, establishing a woolen mill. The Dewey Company was a very successful processor of wool and employed as many as 500 people, many in the mill village.
Water from falls and the mill pond just above the gorge were used to power the facility. Dewey began making fine satinets in 1836, and shoddy (reworked used wool) in 1841. Numerous machinery and product inventions were created here, including Sheep’s Grey and Dewey’s Gray which was trademarked in 1875. Both types of wool were known for general excellence throughout the country and became the standard fabric for roller coverings in cotton mills.
By 1936 this was the oldest mill in the country making shoddy. Some of the material was used to make baseball uniforms for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, and blankets for the US Army and Navy.
The mill was closed in 1952, and relocated to Enfield, New Hampshire. Over the next several years, nearly all of the mill houses and buildings were demolished. Remains of mill and dam can still be seen at the head of the gorge.
The park had its beginnings almost immediately after the mill closed. That same year the US Army Corps of Engineers began taking land in the area as part of a large flood control plan, which included the construction of the North Hartland Dam. Construction of the campground and picnic areas began later, in the spring of 1962.
In 1965, the State of Vermont leased the park from the Army Corps and turned over the management and operations of the property to the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
Today, the park campground is located in what used to be the mill’s recreation area. The area that is now the park’s play field contained a skeet range, baseball diamond and picnic area. All that remains of this past activity are a few foundations of fireplaces and pieces of broken clay pigeons.
The park contains 45 tent/trailer sites and 7 lean-to sites which are located in the camping area. Two bathrooms with showers ($) serve the campground. Most sites are large enough to accommodate large RVs. There is a sanitary dump station, but no hookups. A large field and play area are also in the campground. Located next to Quechee Gorge is a picnic area with a pit toilet and a hiking trail along the gorge.