At over 5 miles long and 328 feet deep, Willoughby Lake is a unique geological gem similar to the fjords of Scandinavia. The lake offers swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking & paddle boarding.
Public beaches with limited parking are located on both the North and South shores.
The boat launch off Route 5A is sponsored by the Town of Westmore and is staffed by a greeter. The Westmore Association supports the greeter program to ensure that craft are inspected for invasive species before launch and upon return to the launch. Jet skis are prohibited.
A reminder to all motor boaters, sailors and paddlers: Regardless of where you launch from, your craft must be cleaned before and after each use to protect not only Willoughby, but also other waterways from invasive species.
Long Pond is a short ride up the hill from the lake on Long Pond Road, and provides a quiet, contemplative environment. The Willoughby River in Brownington offers a challenging fishing experience for the most seasoned angler.
Westmore is situated in Orleans County, one of the three counties in the far corner of Vermont that make up the Northeast Kingdom. With its distinctive peaks and spectacular Willoughby Lake, Westmore is considered the “Jewel of the Kingdom.”
The view of the lake looking through Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Hor is called “Willoughby Gap” and is one of the most photographed spots in Vermont.
A small town of fewer than 400 year-round residents, Westmore retains its charm even when bustling like a tourist destination during the summer, when the population swells to about 1,000.
The Association, as stewards of the land, ask that all visitors be respectful of the natural environment and the citizens. Please don’t litter, and please carry out what you carry in. Observe the local speed limit and watch for hikers and cyclists in the roadways. Please follow the guidelines of the public beaches that include no alcohol or animals.
As partners in stewardship we can maintain the beauty of this area for generations to come.
Willoughby Lake offers two public beaches, located on the North and South shores.
These swimming spots are popular with residents and day visitors. On busy days, the parking areas can fill up quickly, so plan ahead.
Westmore has a strict no dog ordinance in effect on the North Beach from the Saturday before Memorial Day to Labor Day. We ask your cooperation in keeping both beaches clean and free of animal waste.
The North Beach belongs to the Town of Westmore; the South Beach is owned by the State of Vermont. Ordinances concerning the North Beach are posted on the Town’s website.
Winter in Westmore
Life doesn’t stop on the lake during the long winter season. Ice fishing, ice climbing and snowmobiling draw a dedicated group of winter enthusiasts. Many trails can be used for snow-shoeing and back-country and cross-country skiing.
The VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) trail has many points of entry in Westmore and leads deep into the woods as well as to some popular watering holes for poker runs and the like.
Westmore has two top quality ski resorts, Burke Mountain and Jay Peak, within a 30 minute drive away.
- Willoughby Lake Depth Chart
- Westmore Area Maps
- Northwoods Stewardship Center
- VAST Trails
- Ice Climbing
- NEK Bike Routes
The hiking trails of the northeastern region of Vermont are challenging, beautiful and remote, offering views of dramatic landscapes, beautiful lakes, and abundant wildlife habitat.
The NorthWoods Conservation Corps was established in 1995, and since then has worked with local youth each summer to repair and restore historic trails, and build new routes across public and private lands.
Founded fifty years ago, VAST is responsible for the organization of the sport of snowmobiling, maintaining and grooming over 5,000 miles of trails.
One of the oldest snowmobiling organizations in the U.S., VAST is a non-profit, private group that includes 127 clubs statewide, with over 24,000 members combined.
Westmore is a popular ice climbing venue. Information about ice climbing in Vermont is available at the link below.
- Westmore Area Mountains
- Mt Pisgah Hiking Map
- Mt Hor Hiking Map
- Bald Mountain Hiking Map
- Green Mountain Club
The Green Mountain Club has two cabins on the shore of Wheeler Pond located in Barton, Vermont. The cabins are nearby Lake Willoughby, which is the center of the Northeast Kingdom hiking trails that cover nearly 40 miles in the area. The hiking trails offer unique cliffs and vistas, and Green Mountain Club volunteers maintain the cabins and even stock the firewood.
These cabins are for rent year-round. For reservations, please use our online reservation system.
Northeast Kingdom Weather
Eye on the Sky Weather
Are there food or grocery stores in town?
The Willoughby Lake Store has sandwiches, pizza, ice cream and food to go. It also has lake essentials like maps, garbage bags and a full liquor, beer and wine selection. “The Gap” has pub style food and is a popular spot after a day on the beach. Full service locally owned grocery stores are just minutes away in Barton, Orleans and Lyndonville. Major grocery chain stores can be found in St. Johnsbury and Newport.
How about treats?
In addition to the Lake Willoughby store there are tremendous natural ice cream stands in Evansville at the Evansville Trading Post, Barton, West Burke, Derby and Lyndonville. If maple crispie topping or maple creemees are on the menu, don’t pass them up. Local bakery products are at the general store and neighboring groceries. Westmore is fortunate to have the Barton Baking Company, run by a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. Also the Amish Miller Family sells baked goods on Saturdays in nearby Brownington (the fresh made donuts are very popular)
What are some of the most popular hikes along the lake?
The summit of Mt. Pisgah can be reached from both north and south trails. A parking lot about a half-mile south of the lake offers access to the south trail. Across from the parking lot is the CCC Road trail [etc.]. The north trail is accessible via limited roadside parking. The Town Forest trails have boardwalks and observation areas to get close to nature.
Are there any museums in the area?
The Old Stone House Museum in Brownington provides a glimpse into the rich history of the NEK. Located on picturesque grounds with a nearby observatory, a trip to the museum is well worth the time.
Crystal Lake Historical Society, home of the Pierce House Museum, at 97 Water Street, Barton (https://centerofthekingdom.co…e-historical-society)
The Fairbanks Museum and Planitarium in St. Johnsbury offers programs and on-line content, and is the home of the Eye on the Sky weather report.
Does Westmore offer golf?
There is a 9 hole pay-as-you go golf course at the top of Hinton Hill Road. Barton, Orleans, Newport and St. Johnsbury all have beautifully maintained 18-hole USGA courses. Newark has a unique 9 hole backyard pitch and putt near the town center.
I heard Willoughby has a nude beach
For years, naturalists have used South Cove, a 5 minute walk in the woods, for nude swimming and sunbathing. Vermont as a state allows nude swimming unless local towns pass their own ordinances. The number of nude sunbathers has diminished over the years and the popular spot now usually includes over 50% swimwear bathers.
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