Complete Guide to Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont including things to do, hiking trails, lodging, camping, history, and so much more.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park is the only park dedicated to the history of conservation and the evolution of land stewardship in America. The park is located near Woodstock, Vermont, and has quite a few notable owners.
About Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
George Perkins Marsh who was a diplomat and early advocate for conservation was born at the estate in 1801.
Then came Frederik Billings who was a conservationist and pioneer in reforestation and farm management.
In the 20th century, the property was purchased by Laurance and Mary Rockefeller and donated to the park's service to become the Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park.
While visiting the park you can enjoy the 20 miles of carriage roads and trails found on Mount Tom. These trails carry you through one of the oldest sustainable managed forests in America.
Is Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park worth visiting?
We were not sure what to expect during our visit to Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, New Hampshire.
I have to tell you that we were so impressed with this park. I wish we would have had a few days to spend exploring the trails and wandering in the woods.
This is a National Park site we could easily plan a return visit to and spend time exploring. Make sure and give yourself time to explore this beautiful park.
History of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is located in Woodstock, Vermont.
The name Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller reflects three generations of conservationists and their involvement in the property as well as their contributions to environmental studies and protection.
Considered by many to be America’s first conservationist, George Perkins Marsh was born in 1801 in Woodstock, Vermont.
His father, Charles Marsh, was a prominent Vermont lawyer and brought his children up with strict Christian morals. Charles built the core of the main house, seen at the park today, in 1805.
George Marsh lived there until he left for Dartmouth College at the age of 16. Following in his father’s footsteps, he practiced law and was appointed to Congress.
Under Presidents Taylor and Lincoln he also served as an ambassador. An intelligent speaker and fluent in over 20 languages, Marsh gave numerous lectures at Columbia University and actually played a role in creating the first Oxford English Dictionary.
It was in 1847 that Marsh gave a speech to the Agricultural Society of Vermont regarding man’s influence on climate change by clearing forests and draining swamps. This had been a hot topic among naturalists and elites from all across the state.
George Marsh was the first man to document the idea that the actions of humans can have effects on the environment. His greatest work was published in 1864 entitled Man and Nature.
His work detailed historical examples of societies failing due to a lack of respect for their environment.
As quoted: “Man masters nature not by force, but by understanding;” this book inspired many who would go on to become great leaders in the conservation movement.
This included John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt, who both set the wheels in motion to create America’s National Parks.
In his later years, Marsh served as United States minister in Italy. He died in 1882 and is buried in Rome. His years growing up in rural Vermont no doubt had a lasting effect on his appreciation for the beauty and grandness of nature.
The Marsh estate in Vermont, including 246 acres, was sold to Frederick Billings and his wife Julia in 1869.
Billings was born in Vermont but moved to California in 1848. Like the homeowner before him, Billings worked as a lawyer.
In California, he was San Francisco’s first land claims lawyer during the Gold Rush. Additionally, Billings was one of the founders of the Northern Pacific Railroad. For over 10 years after moving back to Vermont, Billings worked to modify and add to the home on the property.
Billings added two large additions to the home with details making it the Queen Anne Victorian style that is seen today. Billings had long been interested in the conservation movement after having read Marsh’s Man and Nature.
He set out to purchase several failing farms around his property and reforested much of the area. Billings worked to build a successful dairy farm on the property and also professionally managed forests on the farm.
While living in Woodstock, Billings also kept a home in New York City where he could tend to business matters and political responsibilities. Frederick Billings died in Woodstock in 1890.
As the legacy of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller property continues, it is important to note that the Billings had seven children.
One of Billings’ granddaughters was named Mary French Rockefeller. The American socialite and philanthropist was born to Frederick Billings’ daughter Mary Montagu Billings.
Mary French met Laurance Rockefeller and they married in 1934. A fitting match for each other, both Mary and Laurance worked on a number of projects centered on the conservation movement, donating much of their time and money to various causes.
Mary Rockefeller’s mother died in 1951 and it was then that she inherited the Marsh-Billings estate. Mary Billings had inherited the property from her father Frederick.
Mary and her husband Laurance recognized the importance of the work done by her grandfather Frederick on the property. The couple continued the environmentally respectful practices Frederick had established in forestry and farming.
In 1982, they established the Billings Farm and Museum and created the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.
The park encompasses the historic residential elements of the property as well as the oldest professionally managed forest in the United States.
Lined with sugar maples, there are also hemlock trees that are over 400 years old. The park works in conjunction with the Billings Farm and Museum which is still a working dairy that upholds the practices of Frederick Billings.
Mary Rockefeller died in New York City in 1997 and her husband Laurance Rockefeller died in New York City in 2004.
One of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Vermont, three generations of conservation champions have strolled the hills and fields of this historic property.
No doubt inspired by the beauty around them, each owner of the property made sure that the property itself as well as other areas around the country were respected and preserved.
As George Marsh wrote in Man and Nature: “One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.”
Things to know before your visit to Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
$0.00 - There is no entrance fee to visit the park.
There is a fee to take a guided tour of the Mansion.
$9.00 - Adults age 16-61
$5.00 - Seniors age 62 and over
$1.00 - Children age 15 and under
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Learn more about National Park Passes for parks that have an entrance fee.
Free Entrance Days -Mark your calendars with the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
Eastern Time Zone
Dogs are allowed in the park but must be on a leash at all times.
Park Grounds - dawn till dusk for hiking and equestrian use.
Visitor Center - 10 am to 5 pm
The park is closed on New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
There is no public Wi-Fi available
Insect repellent is always a great idea when outdoors, especially if you are around any body of water.
We use Permethrin Spray on our clothes before our park trips.
Make sure to bring your own water bottle and plenty of water with you. Plastic water bottles are not sold in the park.
We were honestly really confused trying to find the Marsh Billings Rockefeller NHP! The parking lot for the park is the Billings Farm & Museum parking lot. Once you park you can check out the farm visitor center for info on that site or walk across the street to reach the National Park Site.
The visitor center is across the street from the main parking area. There is a hill you will need to walk up to reach the visitor center.
If you need ADA parking make sure and stop into the farm visitor center to let them know you need an ADA parking spot.
They will call the visitor center and let them know you are driving over so they can show you where the parking spots are.
There are no restaurants within the park.
There are no gas stations within the park.
Drones are not permitted within National Park Sites.
National Park Passport Stamps
National Park Passport stamps can be found in the visitor center.
Make sure to bring your National Park Passport Book with you or we like to pack these circle stickers so we don't have to bring our entire book with us.
Marsh Billings Rockefeller NHP is part of the 2014 Passport Stamp Set.
Electric Vehicle Charging
There are currently at least 19 EV Charging stations within 10 miles of the center of Woodstock, Vermont.
Details about Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP
Size - 643 acres
Check out how the park compares to other National Parks by Size.
August 26, 1992 - The park was signed into law by President George Bush.
In 2021, Marsh Billings Rockefeller NHP had 47,997 park visitors.
In 2020, Marsh Billings Rockefeller NHP had 23,538 park visitors.
In 2019, Marsh Billings Rockefeller NHP had 45,979 park visitors.
Learn more about the most visited and least visited National Parks in the US
National Park Address
54 Elm Street
Woodstock, VT 05091
Park phone number - 802-457-3368
National Park Map
Where is Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park?
Marsh Billing Rockefeller NHP is located in Woodstock, Vermont. It is the perfect place to visit on a Vermont weekend getaway.
Estimated distance from major cities nearby
Boston, MA - 140 miles
New York, NY - 273 miles
Jersey City, NJ - 262 miles
Newark, NJ - 260 miles
Montreal, Canada - 290 km
Ottawa, Canada - 482 km
Estimated Distance from nearby National Park
Acadia National Park - 355 miles
Shenandoah National Park - 545 miles
New River Gorge National Park - 757 miles
Mammoth Cave National Park - 1,004 miles
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - 581 miles
Where is the National Park Visitor Center?
The visitor center is located across the street from the parking area.
Getting to Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP
Lebanon Municipal Airport (LEB)
Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport (RUT)
Bradley International Airport (BDL)
Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
Portland International Airport (PWM)
Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
Burlington International Airport (BTV)
Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT)
Hartness State Airport (VSF)
Edward F Knapp State Airport (MPV)
From Albany, New York
From Interstate 87, take Exit 20 for Route 149, Fort Ann/Whitehall. Follow Route 149 for 13 miles to Route 4 East. Continue on Route 4 through Rutland and Killington to Woodstock. Turn left onto Route 12 North and bear right after the iron bridge, continuing ¼ mile. Park in the Billings Farm & Museum parking lot. Begin your visit at the Billings Farm & Museum Visitor Center, where park rangers are also stationed.
From other directions
From Interstate 89, take Exit 1. Follow Route 4 West for about 13 miles, through Quechee and Taftsville to Woodstock. Turn right onto Route 12 North and bear right after the iron bridge, continuing ¼ mile. Park in the Billings Farm & Museum parking lot.
Best time to visit Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP
The best times to visit the park is pretty much anytime outside of winter unless you like playing in the snow.
Fall is an amazing time to visit the park with the fall leaves.
Weather and Seasons
Woodstock, Vermont experiences warm comfortable summers along with cold snowy winters.
The warmest weather is from May 25th to September 16th with an average daily temperature above 68 degrees.
The coldest weather is from December 1st to March 11th with an average daily temperature below 38 degrees.
Snow often occurs between October 24th and April 28th with at least an inch of snow each month. The most snow occurs in February with an average snowfall of 14.2 inches.
Best Things to do in Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
Carriage Barn Visitor Center
The visitor center is the perfect place to start your visit. It is filled with a ton of great information on the conservation that is done at the park along with the parks sustainable practices for managing the trees on the property.
There is a 30-minute park video that is well worth watching. It does an amazing job of explaining more about the history of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP.
I was a bit confused leading into our visit and didn't have a clear picture of the park or the conservation plan before seeing this video.
The Carriage Barn was built in 1895 and rehabilitated in 1999.
Junior Ranger Program
You can print a copy of the Marsh Billings Rockefeller Junior Ranger program at home to start learning about this beautiful park before your visit.
Tour the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion
In 1967, the house was designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Starting in June 2022 you can now make reservations for tours and programs up to 60 days in advance on Recreation.gov. Tours and programs are limited admissions, so please reserve in advance!
A Legacy of Stewardship: Mansion Tour - This tour explores the conservation legacy of the three families who called the mansion home. The tour is split between the grounds and the mansion. Length - 60 minutes
Conservation Through the Artist's Eye - This tour explores the Billing-Rockefeller art collection. During the tour, visitors can view works by acclaimed landscape painters in the mansion and explore how art influenced the conservation movement. Length - 75 minutes
Women of the Estate - Caroline Crane Marsh, Junia Billings, and her daughters and granddaughter Mary French Rockefeller each shaped the Mansion and estate along with the nation. Learn more about these influential women during this tour. Length - 60 minutes
Uncovering the Forest - Ranger's Choice Ecology Program - During this tour, you will hike through the sustainably managed working forest within the park. Visitors will learn how people have shaped the landscape, past, present, and future. Length - 60 minutes
Hidden Spaces - This behind-the-scenes tour includes the family bedrooms on the 3rd floor of the Mansion and the service wing. Length - 75 minutes
Fallout Fridays - Learn how the Cold War influenced conservation thinking. Descend into a 1960s-era fallout shelter that was built by the Rockefellers.
Life in Full Bloom: Garden Tour - This tour explores the gardens both formal and secret garden. Length - 60 minutes
Forestry, History, and the Future - On this tour visitors have the opportunity to hike through the sustainably managed forest within the park. Learn how people have shaped the landscape. Length - 60 minutes
With hundreds of acres of woods and garden areas, the Marsh Billings Rockefeller NHP is a great place to enjoy birdwatching.
The park has a wonderful bird list you can download and have with you.
Hiking in Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
Always carry the 10 essentials for outdoor survival when exploring.
There are multiple hiking trails that are well worth exploring. We had a really peaceful walk through the park which was a highlight of our visit.
Dogs are allowed on the trails as long as they are on a leash. There are black bears in the area so make sure you are aware of your surroundings.
|Acer Loop||1.2 miles, 2 km||moderate|
|Ashes, Ashes||0.3 miles, 0.5 km||moderate|
|Cemetery Road||0.5 miles, 0.8 km||moderate|
|Faulkner Trail (switchback)||1.25 miles, 2 km||difficult|
|Hilltop Trail||0.15 miles, 0.25 km||easy|
|King Farm Loop||0.6 miles, 1 km||moderate|
|Larch Trail||0.4 miles, 0.7 km||moderate|
|Lower Link||0.25 miles, 0.5 km||moderate|
|Stewardship Trail||0.5 miles, 0.8 km||easy|
|Mackenzie Farm Trail||0.2 miles, 0.4 km||easy|
|Maple Grove Loop||0.2 miles, 0.4 km||easy|
|Maple Trail||1.2 miles, 2 km||moderate|
|McKenzie Rd||0.8 miles, 1.5 km||easy|
|Middle Pass Trail||0.5 miles, 0.8 km||difficult|
|Mount Tom Road (to South Peak)||1 mile, 1.6 km||easy|
|Mountain Road||1.2 miles, 1.9 km||moderate|
|North Peak Trail||1 mile, 1.6 km||moderate|
|North Ridge Loop||1.3 miles, 2.1 km||moderate|
|North Slope Trail||0.5 miles, 0.8 km||moderate|
|One Less Traveled Trail||0.8 miles, 1.5 km||moderate|
|Pogue Brook Trail||0.3 miles, 0.5 km||moderate|
|Pogue Loop||0.7 miles, 1.1 km||moderates|
|Precipice Trail (use caution)||0.5 miles, 0.8 km||difficult|
|Prosper Trail||0.6 miles, 0.9 km||difficult|
|Ravine Trail||0.25 miles, 0.5 km||moderate|
|Red Pine Loop||0.5 miles, 0.8 km||moderate|
|Spring Lot Trail||0.1 miles, 0.16 km||easy|
|Sugar House Road||0.1 miles, 0.16 km||easy|
|Summer Pasture Road||0.4 miles, 0.7 km||easy|
|Upper Link||0.25 miles, 0.5 km||moderate|
|Upper Meadow Road||0.4 miles, 0.6 km||moderate|
|West Ridge Trail||1.1 miles, 1.7 km||difficult|
|White Pine Trail||0.3 miles, 0.4 km||moderate|
How to beat the crowds in Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP?
We did not experience any crowds while visiting the park. It is an easy park to wander and explore without running into large crowds.
Where to stay when visiting Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
There are no National Park Lodges within the park.
Nearby lodging includes:
The Shire Woodstock - 3-star hotel by the river. The Shire Woodstock provides a garden and more. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi.
506 On the River Inn - 4-star family-friendly hotel in the heart of West Woodstock. At 506 On the River Inn, you can look forward to a terrace, shopping on site, and a garden. Skiers and snowboarders can spend time on the slopes at this hotel offering a free ski shuttle and ski storage. For some rest and relaxation, visit the sauna or the steam room. The onsite bistro, 506 Bistro and Lounge, features light fare. Enjoy the gym, as well as activities like fishing and volleyball. In addition to a playground and an arcade/game room, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Sleep Woodstock Motel - Sleep Woodstock Motel provides everything you need. Guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Woodbridge Inn - 3-star bed & breakfast by the river. Free full breakfast, a terrace, and a garden are just a few of the amenities provided at Woodbridge Inn. Guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Quality Inn At Quechee Gorge - look forward to free to-go breakfast, laundry facilities, and a gym. Enjoy onsite activities like hiking/biking and ice skating. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites - take advantage of a free breakfast buffet, a library, and laundry facilities. Free in-room Wi-Fi is available to all guests, along with a 24-hour gym and a 24-hour business center.
Click on the map below for additional lodging and vacation rentals near the park.
There are no National Park Campgrounds within the park.
For a fun adventure check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
Escape Campervans has offices in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, New York, and Orlando
Parks Near Marsh Billings Rockefeller NHP
Saint Gaudens National Historic Site (New Hampshire) - 20 miles
Saratoga National Historical Park (New York) - 103 miles
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site (New York) - 106 miles
Springfield Armory National Historic Site (Massachusetts) - 125 miles
Lowell National Historical Park (Massachusetts) - 126 miles
Check out all of the National Parks in Vermont along with neighboring National Parks in Massachusetts, National Parks in New Hampshire, and New York National Parks
Check out the best things to do in Vermont!
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