The town of Hinesburg is both rich in human heritage and natural geography. Situated at the southern end of Chittenden County, just 10 miles east of Lake Champlain, the town straddles the low-lying Champlain Valley and the rugged foothills of the Green Mountains. In the middle, where valley and upland meet, runs Route 116, a state thoroughfare that courses through the village center.
Hinesburg’s topographic diversity has played an influential role in shaping the character of vegetative and wildlife communities, as well as molding human activities on the land. In particular, the fertile valley soils on the western side of town have been the basis of a rich farming heritage for almost 250 years, while the cascading hillside streams toward the east once provided the power source for several bustling mill industries. There are other fascinating and intertwined stories of natural and cultural history as well. Abundant sand and gravel deposits and Lake Iroquois have developmental roots that reach back to the last ice age, while they also continue to play prominent roles in the current arenas of local economics and recreation. Other tales have faded into the countryside as the times have changed; less than a century ago the forested lands in and around the Town Forest were home to dozens of subsistence hill farms, including a prominent African American community.
Today, as the population of the greater Burlington area continues to burgeon, Hinesburg actively seeks to retain elements of its small town heritage, its abundant biodiversity, and also embrace the progressive spirit of 21st century community development. In the center of town one can observe family owned farms and sugar houses just down the road from state-of-the-art technology entrepreneurs, and only a few miles from important wetlands and black bear habitat. Indeed, it is this diversity of form and function that helps make Hinesburg so unique. Click on the different landscape layers and see for yourself!