Owl’s Head Overlook

Dramatic clouds above Kettle Pond

GPS: 44.298103 -72.294737

GROTON STATE FOREST

Groton State Forest is located in northern Vermont, halfway between St. Johnsbury and Montpelier. The forest comprises nine recreation areas, making this place a haven for photographers and nature lovers alike.

OWL’S HEAD OVERLOOK

Owl’s Head Overlook is a spectacular vista that looks over Groton State Forest and down on Kettle Pond to the west. The best view is from a rocky outcrop at the summit, accessible via a short hiking trail.

BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH

Ow’s Head Overlook is good in summer but magnificent in autumn at the peak of foliage season. In the early morning, you may be rewarded with low-lying fog that adds further interest to the grand scene.

This location is good at sunrise and sunset. At sunrise, the hills are lit from behind, while backlit at sunset with the sun setting somewhere behind Kettle Pond.

The classic image from Owl’s Head Overlook is taken in morning, although I personally prefer this location at sunset. The accompanying photo was taken just after sunset.

GETTING TO OWL’S HEAD

You can enter Groton State Forest either from Marshfield to the north or Groton to the south. When entering from Marshfield, take Route 232, heading south for approximately 6 miles until you see the Owl’s Head marker on your left. If arriving from Groton, follow Route 232 north for about 7 miles past Kettle Pond to the marked entrance.

The way up the mountain involves a well-maintained dirt road that ends at a circular parking area. Follow the short trail up to the summit.

PHOTOGRAPHERS BEWARE

The dirt road up to Owl’s Head Overlook is gated, with the gate officially open only between 10am and sunset. This presents a tactical challenge for those who wish to photograph from here at sunrise or dusk.

In order to capture the scene when the gate is closed, you’ll need to leave your car at the bottom of the hill and hike up the 1-mile dirt road. This is an easy 20-minute hike — well worth the effort in my opinion.

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