Physical Geography

VermontVermont is one of the New England states that lie in the northeastern United States.

Vermont occupies part of the Appalachian region of North America, which extends from Alabama northeastward into Canada. All of the state was glaciated during the last Ice Age. Many of its surface features are largely or partly the result of glacial action.

The Green Mountains extend across the state in a north-south band some 20 to 35 miles (32 to 56 km) wide. Rounded summits and rather gentle slopes are typical of the range, which is geologically very old and eroded. Mount Mansfield, in the northern part of the range, is the highest peak in Vermont, cresting at 4,393 feet (1,339 m).

The New England Upland is a plateau region that makes up most of eastern Vermont. It lies between the Green Mountains and the Connecticut River, which forms the eastern boundary of the state. Most of the land is hilly to moderately rolling. In some areas, single mountains called monadnocks rise conspicuously above the surrounding area.

The Northeastern Highland is a complex of low mountains in the northeastern corner of the state. The maximum elevation here is slightly more than 3,400 feet (1,036 m). Geologically, the region is an outlying part of the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

The Taconic Mountains, in the southwestern part of the state, form a low north-south range extending from the Massachusetts border almost to Brandon. Elevations here rarely exceed 3,000 feet (914 m). The Taconic Mountains are separated from the Green Mountains by the Valley of Vermont.

The Champlain Valley lies in the northwestern part of the state, between Lake Champlain and the Green and Taconic Mountains. It is a rolling lowland some 95 to 500 feet (29 to 152 m) above sea level.


The rivers of Vermont are generally small but of great scenic beauty. Their valleys contain the bulk of Vermont's arable land. Some rivers, such as the Connecticut, provide hydroelectric power.

Drainage is mainly eastward to the Connecticut River and westward to Lake Champlain. The Green Mountains in most areas form the divide. Tributaries of the Connecticut River include the West, White, and Passumpsic rivers. Among streams flowing into Lake Champlain are Otter Creek and the Winooski, Lamoille, and Missisquoi rivers. Otter Creek, flowing through the Valley of Vermont, is the longest stream entirely within the state.

Scattered throughout Vermont are hundreds of lakes and ponds, mostly of glacial origin. Lake Champlain, New England's largest lake, lies primarily in Vermont. Lake Memphremagog is shared by Vermont and Quebec. Other natural lakes include Willoughby and Bomoseen. Among large manmade lakes are Moore, Harriman, and Somerset reservoirs.

Vermont'sVermont's state flower is the red clover.

Vermont has an invigorating climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are short and generally warm to cool. July, the warmest month, has average temperatures of about 65° to 70° F. (18° to 21° C). Daytime highs are usually near 80° F. (27° C). Higher temperatures are infrequent. Winters normally are long and cold. January, the coldest month, has average readings of about 15° F. (-9° C). Temperatures of below 0° F. (-18° C.) are frequent but rarely of long duration.

Precipitation is plentiful and well distributed throughout the year. The Champlain Valley, which is the driest part of the state, receives up to about 32 inches (810 mm) annually. Elsewhere, precipitation totals as much as 55 inches (1,400 mm) each year. Snowfall is heavy throughout the state. Some mountain areas receive 120 inches (3,050 mm) or more of snow annually.

Interesting facts about Vermont
The Concord Academy was the first school established solely for the purpose of training teachers. The academy was opened in 1823 by Reverend Samuel Read Hall.
The first patent issued by the United States government was granted to Samuel Hopkins of Vermont on July 31, 1790, for his method of making potash and pearl ash out of wood ash. Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State at the time, signed the patent.
Vermont has the lowest percentage of urban residents in the United States. More than three-fifths of the state's citizens live in rural areas. In addition, Montpelier, the capital of Vermont, has the lowest population of any state capital.
Vermont was the first state to forbid involuntary slavery. The issue of emancipation was included in one of the articles of the state's constitution, signed on July 2, 1777.
Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States. Factories in Vermont bottle the syrup or use it to make such products as maple cream, maple sugar cakes, granulated maple sugar, and maple taffy. The syrup is also used in other products, such as salad dressing and barbecue sauce.
Vermont'sVermont's state tree is the red maple.