Quechee Gorge, Hartford, VT

Activities Regional: 
Quechee Gorge : Photo: J. Kim, 2004

Quechee Gorge, known as “Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon,” is one of New England’s most popular natural wonders.

The metamorphic bedrock along which the river flows is the Gile Mountain Formation. The Devonian age formation is widespread in eastern Vermont. A Mesozoic mafic dike (augite camptonite), up to 220 cm wide, occurs along the west wall of the gorge and dips 62 degrees east (McHone, 1981)..

Quechee Gorge, one mile long and 165 feet deep, is a narrow gorge on the Ottauquechee River in Hartford, Vermont. The gorge affords good exposure of the Devonian Gile Mountain Formation, here comprised of east-dipping, muscovite-chlorite schist and quartzite. A Mesozoic mafic dike occurs along the west wall of the gorge (McHone, 1981). The glacial deposits in contact with the Gile Mountain Formation were deposited as an ice-contact delta from meltwater streams flowing into glacial Lake Hitchcock. Lake Hitchcock, dammed in the south by a glacial moraine, extended from Connecticut nearly 200 miles north to the Canadian border, with smaller arms extending into present river valleys. When glacial Lake Hitchcock drained, the Ottauquechee River cut quickly through delta sediment, establishing the present course of the Ottauquechee River. Frederick Larsen (1985) estimates that the river cut through the delta sands in less than a week and has been slowly carving the gorge through bedrock for the past 13,000 years.

Quechee Gorge, Hartford, VT
Text: M. Gale; Photos: J. Kim, 2004

Link:Quechee Gorge memorabilia and art

Authors and New England residents Michael Blanding and Alexandra Hall know the best of the Green Mountain State, from sampling artisan cheddar at the Grafton Village Cheese Company to skiing at Killington Mountain Resort. Blanding and Hall include unique trip strategies, such as "Vermont Villages" and "History and Literature Tour". Packed with information on sights like Lake Champlain and the eccentric boutiques of Woodstock, Moon Vermont gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.

Quechee State Park

About the Park:

Quechee State Park runs along US Route 4, and its proximity to many Upper-Valley attractions make the park a popular tourist destination. Hundreds of thousands of visitors stop each year to take in the breathtaking views of the Quechee Gorge. Other visitors seeking an overnight stay enjoy the easy access to the park’s spacious campsites. 

The focal point of the park is Vermont’s deepest gorge, formed by glacial activity approximately 13,000 years ago. Visitors can look down at the Ottauquechee River, flowing 165 feet below viewing points along Route 4.

From Jct. I-89 and U.S. 4 (Exit 1): Go 3 mi. W on U.S. 4.

N43° 38.209' W72° 24.032'    Directions / Google Map


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