Local Activities

Mountain Lake Cottages is located on the shore of Lake Willoughby Vermont, a picturesque destination that offers a wide range of outdoor activities. We want you to have an enjoyable stay, which is why we’ve compiled a list of local activities that you can participate in while you’re here.

Water Sports

Kayak, canoe or paddleboat are an excellent way to enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Willoughby and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. One of the best things about being on Lake Willoughby is the stunning scenery. The lake is surrounded by rugged mountains and dense forests, providing a breathtaking backdrop for your paddling adventure. You’ll also be able to see a variety of wildlife, including loons, eagles, and ospreys. Once on the water, you can explore the lake’s two main basins, which are separated by a narrow channel known as The Gap. The northern basin is deeper and colder, while the southern basin is shallower and warmer. The lake is about 5 miles long, so you can easily spend a few hours paddling around and taking in the scenery.

For kayak, canoe, or paddleboat rental, we partner with Clyde River Recreation. They are located just a few minutes away and will deliver the equipment right to the property.


With its clear waters and diverse fish population, Lake Willoughby is a great place to catch a variety of fish species and have a memorable fishing experience.

The best times and seasons to fish in Lake Willoughby depend on the type of fish you are interested in catching. Here are a few of the most popular fish species in the lake and the best times to catch them:

  1. Rainbow and Lake Trout: Trout are the most sought-after species in Lake Willoughby and are most active in the spring and fall when water temperatures are cooler. The best times to catch them are early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not as strong.
  2. Landlocked Salmon: Landlocked Salmon are abundant in Lake Willoughby and are best caught during the spring and fall when they are in shallower waters.
  3. Smallmouth Bass & Perch: Smallmouth Bass and Perch are most active during the summer months and can be found in deeper waters.

There are several great spots to fish in Lake Willoughby. For shore fishing, try the south end of the lake near the state park, as well as the northeast end near the dam. If you prefer boat fishing, try fishing along the drop-off near the dam or in the deeper waters in the middle of the lake.

At Mountain Lake Cottages, we offer some limited fishing gear to our guests on an honor system basis. Basic spinning rod and reel combinations, nets, and pliers are available for use at no cost. Lures and other tackle will be available for purchase and are not expected to be returned. Additional fishing tackle can be found at the Willoughby Lake Store, just down the road. 


The Lake Willoughby area is a haven for cyclists of all skill levels. With scenic mountain and road trails, you can experience the breathtaking beauty of the area while getting some exercise. 

Mountain Biking:

Burke Mountain offers a gravity downhill mountain bike trail system and park accessed by the Sherburne Express High Speed Quad. From the top of the lift, riders can access singletrack and slopestyle trails rated from intermediate to advanced. Riders will find a full-service Norco Bicycle Demo Center at the Sherburne Base Lodge.

The Kingdom Trails network in East Burke is a must-visit destination for mountain bikers. It offers over 100 miles of well-maintained trails with a variety of difficulty levels, including flowy singletrack, technical terrain, and jump lines. 

Looking to enjoy the local scenery via some dirt roads?  Check out NEK Gravel for info on great gravel rides in the Northeast Kingdom, covering the over 1,000 miles of gravel roads and routes.

Road Biking:

The Northeast Kingdom is a popular destination for road cyclists, with quiet roads that wind through picturesque farmland and forested hills.

Rail Trails:

Lamoille Valley Rail Trail:

  • The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail is a scenic 93-mile trail that follows an old railroad bed through the heart of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
  • The trail runs from St. Johnsbury to Swanton, passing through several small towns and offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
  • The trail is relatively flat and well-suited for families and casual riders. You can access the trail at several points along its length, including in nearby towns like Danville and Hardwick.

Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail:

  • The Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail is a 26-mile trail that runs along the Missisquoi River in northern Vermont, from Richford to St. Albans.
  • The trail passes through farmland, forests, and wetlands, and offers opportunities for wildlife viewing and fishing.
  • The trail is relatively flat and well-suited for families and casual riders. You can access the trail at several points along its length, including in nearby towns like Enosburg Falls and Sheldon Junction.

Bike Rentals:

If you don’t have your own bike, there are several rental shops in the area that offer a variety of bikes, including mountain, road, and e-bikes. Check out East Burke Sports which is located just 20 minutes away.


Lake Willoughby has a vast network of hiking trails that offer scenic views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Mount Pisgah, located at the southern end of the lake, offers a challenging hike to the summit with stunning views of the lake and surrounding area. 

Other Local Attractions

No matter what your interests are, Lake Willoughby and the surrounding area has something for everyone. We hope you enjoy your stay and take advantage of all the local activities that the area has to offer.

Lake Willoughby is one of the most stunning natural attractions in Vermont, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from Quimby Country. The lake is 320 ft deep and resembles a Norwegian fjord. You can enjoy activities such as swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and cliff jumping at Devil’s Rock. Additionally, the lake is a bird-watching haven, home to peregrine falcons.

If you’re looking to spend a day at the beach, there are several options to choose from. North Beach is two miles away, while South Beach is three miles away. Southwest Cove is another option, but it’s a nudist beach, so be prepared.

Willoughby State Forest 

The Willoughby State Forest is a must-visit location for anyone who loves hiking and outdoor adventure. There are 26.3 miles of trails to explore, ranging from easy to advanced. Additionally, the park offers stunning views from the overlook, and you can even hike Mount Pisgah.

Sentinel Rock State Park 

Sentinel Rock State Park is a hidden gem located two miles away from Quimby Country. The park offers a relaxing environment with numerous picnic areas and scenic trails.

Burke Mountain 

Located 23 miles away, Burke Mountain is a popular ski resort and mountain biking destination. During the summer, the resort opens its Bike Park, which has more than 100 miles of trails for mountain bikers.

Bread and Puppet Theater 

If you’re a fan of theater, the Bread and Puppet Theater is a must-visit destination. The theater hosts a variety of shows and performances, and you can also visit the Barn Museum to see puppets from previous shows.

Old Stone House Museum & Historic Village 

If you’re interested in history, the Old Stone House Museum & Historic Village is a great place to visit. The museum showcases the rich heritage and culture of the local community, and you can take a guided tour to learn more about the area’s history.

Rainbows Edge Farm 

Rainbows Edge Farm offers a unique experience for visitors looking to take a trip back in time. The farm offers sleigh, carriage, and wagon rides, and visitors can even help with farm chores. Additionally, the farm has a petting zoo, pony rides, and other fun activities for kids.

Vermont Reindeer Farm 

The Vermont Reindeer Farm is home to the only real live reindeer in Vermont, and it’s an excellent place to visit for families. The farm offers visits by appointment, and you can enjoy snacks and drinks in the lodge. The farm also offers guided snowshoeing during the winter season.


Vermont is known for its craft beer, and there are several breweries in the area. Next Trick Brewing is 12 miles away, while Kingdom Brewing is 22 miles away.

Food + Restaurants

Willoughby Lake Store is less than half a mile away and is a great place to grab some groceries. The Gap Pub & Grill is two miles away, and the WilloBarn Snack Bar is three miles away. Other options include Carriage House Café & Grill, and Barton Baking Company (bakery).