Geography of Franklin County, Vermont

Geography of Franklin County, Vermont

Franklin County, located in the northwestern part of Vermont, is a region of scenic beauty, rich history, and diverse geography. From its rolling hills and fertile farmland to its pristine lakes and winding rivers, Franklin County offers residents and visitors alike a wealth of natural wonders to explore.

Topography and Landforms:

According to Healthknowing, Franklin County’s geography is predominantly characterized by rolling hills, valleys, and fertile agricultural land, with the county situated within the Appalachian Mountain range. The landscape is shaped by glacial activity and erosion, resulting in a varied terrain of forests, meadows, and wetlands.

The terrain in Franklin County varies from low-lying river valleys to the higher elevations of the Green Mountains in the eastern part of the county. Elevations range from around 200 feet above sea level along Lake Champlain to over 3,000 feet at the summit of Mount Mansfield, the highest point in Vermont. The county is intersected by several rivers and streams, which have carved out valleys and provided habitat for a variety of wildlife.

In addition to its natural features, Franklin County is also home to several man-made landmarks and historic sites, including the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, the St. Albans Historic District, and the city of St. Albans, all of which provide insight into the county’s rich history and cultural heritage.


Franklin County experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by four distinct seasons, moderate precipitation, and variable weather patterns. Summers in the region are typically warm and humid, with average temperatures ranging from the 70s to the 80s Fahrenheit (21-27 degrees Celsius). Thunderstorms are common during the summer months, bringing brief but intense rainfall to the area.

Winters in Franklin County are cold and snowy, with temperatures often dropping below freezing and occasional snowstorms blanketing the landscape with several inches of snow. The region’s proximity to Lake Champlain can result in lake-effect snowstorms that bring heavy snowfall and blustery conditions, particularly in the western part of the county.

Spring and fall are transitional seasons in Franklin County, marked by mild temperatures, colorful foliage, and fluctuating weather conditions. These seasons offer ideal opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, leaf-peeping, and exploring the county’s scenic countryside.

Rivers and Lakes:

Franklin County is blessed with an abundance of rivers, lakes, and waterways, which play a vital role in shaping the landscape and providing recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Lake Champlain, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States, forms the western border of the county, offering boating, fishing, swimming, and other water sports.

In addition to Lake Champlain, Franklin County is also home to several smaller lakes and ponds, including Lake Carmi, Fairfield Pond, and Lake Iroquois, which provide opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. The county is also intersected by several rivers and streams, including the Missisquoi River, Lamoille River, and Trout River, which meander their way through the countryside and provide habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species.

Ecology and Biodiversity:

Franklin County’s diverse geography supports a rich array of plant and animal life, from hardwood forests and wetlands to grasslands and riparian habitats. The region’s forests are particularly important for biodiversity, providing habitat for a variety of species, including white-tailed deer, black bears, and migratory birds.

Efforts to conserve and protect Franklin County’s natural heritage are ongoing, with organizations such as the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, and local land trusts working to preserve critical habitats, restore wetlands, and promote sustainable land management practices.


Franklin County, Vermont, is a region of diverse geography, rich history, and scenic beauty. Its humid continental climate, abundant water resources, and diverse ecosystems make it a haven for outdoor recreation, wildlife conservation, and rural living.

Whether exploring the shores of Lake Champlain, hiking through the forests of the Green Mountains, or sampling local maple syrup at a sugarhouse, visitors to Franklin County are sure to be captivated by its natural beauty and New England charm.