Northern Vermont University is now part of Vermont State University! Please visit for accurate information.

Adventure Abounds at Northern Vermont University-Johnson

The incredible year-round outdoor opportunities on and near campus are a huge draw for many students. Do you ride? Our campus snowboard park — just for our students — is a favorite hangout during the season. Skiers, you’ll discover plenty of great places to hit the powder nearby. Smuggler’s Notch resort is just 15 minutes away, and Stowe Mountain and Jay Peak resorts are less than an hour.

On campus, there’s a popular skate park, lots of trails for hiking and running, and some sweet hills for sledding. We have several tournaments each year on our 18-hole disc golf course, with excellent views of the Green Mountains. If you’re a hiker, you can explore miles of trails on campus and many more options off campus. Vermont’s famous Long Trail passes through the town of Johnson, which gives you access to some stunning scenery.

Not many campuses have a 1,000-acre nature preserve with ponds and forested land, but we do. NVU owns and takes care of one of our most impressive outdoor classrooms, the Babcock Nature Preserve in Eden. It’s not only an outdoor laboratory for field biology and environmental science courses, it’s a great place to unwind. The preserve, open to the public, is about 30 minutes from campus.


With a network of of trails that spread over 10K in length, you don’t have to go far to find a great place to cross-country ski, bike, hike, or get in a challenging trail run. There’s something for you all year round.

Trails include the Water Tower Trail, Outer Loop Trail, some side trails and the VAST Trail system. A trail map is available at the SHAPE Fitness Facility.

Built on our scenic, hilltop campus, our eighteen-hole disc golf course allows for spectacular views of the Green Mountains. Half the course is sparsely wooded and half is open where wind can be a factor. It has many natural bridges to help players make it over wet areas. The campus holds several open tournaments throughout the year including a Glow Disc Tournament at night and the annual Ice Bowl Tournament in the winter. Discs can be purchased at the SHAPE Fitness Center for $8, or students can rent them for a dollar each.

If you like to hike, you’ll love NVU-Johnson. In addition to the miles of trails that wind through the forested and open areas of campus, there are countless options close to campus where you can get out in the woods and hike to your heart’s content.

Vermont’s famous Long Trail crosses right through the Town of Johnson — you can follow it as far as your feet can take you, or do a short-but-steep hike up to Prospect Rock, where you can see for miles and, if it’s summer time, you can take a detour to one of Vermont’s incredible swimming holes.

Other trails in the nearby towns like Stowe and Jeffersonville are close by, and lots more within an hour of campus.

You don’t have to look at our stunning, snow-covered mountains to see why NVU-Johnson seems to attract a large number of skiers and snowboarders. But you don’t have to drive anywhere to get your daily dose of shredding in! We’re one of the only campuses in the Northeast to have an on-campus snowboard park. The “Terrain Park,” as it is known, was initiated by the College Ski and Snowboard Club in the early 90s. This student-maintained area is open exclusively to NVU students, and has a couple kickers for big air and a rail for grinding.

NVU-Johnson owns and cares for one of our most impressive outdoor classrooms, the Babcock Nature Preserve, located in nearby Eden, Vermont. This 1,000-acre area of forest, which also has a bog and three ponds, serves as an outdoor laboratory for field biology, ornithology and environmental science courses. In addition to learning from an enjoying the preserve, NVU students, staff, and faculty regularly volunteer their time to do maintenance and upkeep of the area, to ensure that it is there for generations to come.

The Babcock Nature Preserve is open to the public.

Driving Directions to Babcock Nature Preserve from NVU-Johnson

  • Head south on College Hill toward S Pond Rd.
  • Turn right to stay on College Hill
  • Turn left at School St.
  • Turn left at Vermont 100C N
  • Turn left at VT-100 N
  • Turn left at Knowles Flat Rd.
  • Turn right to stay on Knowles Flat Rd.
  • Take the first left onto Crooks Rd.
  • Slight left at Baker Rd.
  • Arriving at Baker Rd.

Total: 11.6 mi – about 30 mins (dirt roads are slow!)

If you like winter, you’ll love Northern Vermont University! And you’ll find lots of friends who share your passion for playing in the snow. In addition to our campus snowboard park, you’ve got plenty of great places to hit the powder close by.