Emerald Lake State Park

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Emerald Lake's pristine waters and the surrounding wilderness are a haven for swimmers, anglers, hikers, and tourists from near and far.
Trail Activity
7.2 miles, Network
Easy, Moderate
Dorset (VT)
Packed Earth/Dirt, Grass/Meadow
Permitted on leash


Located conveniently between Manchester and Rutland, the park is popular for its wooded hillside campground, beach and swimming area, and nearby attractions and tourist destinations. The park surrounds 20-acre Emerald Lake, named for the emerald green color of its waters when viewed from above. Restricted to non-motorized watercraft, the lake is ideal for swimming and paddling. The lake also offers anglers an opportunity to catch yellow perch, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and other warm-water species. The park is a favorite destination of hikers, with the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail nearby, and trails on Dorset Mountain.

Rich Woods System is a network of trails offering a variety of routes on the west side of the state park with a trailhead in Camp Loop A, just south of the recycling center. Maps are available at the state park contact station.

Vista Trail: Begins at the Nature Center, crosses Otter Creek then crosses the railroad tracks to reach the forest on the east side of US-7. Use caution on this active railroad crossing. The trail climbs, then follows along the ridge east of US-7. There are several beautiful views of Emerald Lake and the Taconic Mountains along the trail.

Lake Trail: The Lake Trail begins at the beach and follows along the shore of Emerald Lake to its southern end. There are great views and swim spots along the way. Fishing is also popular along this trail. There is a bypass trail for hikers with dogs that connects the A Loop Trail and Lake Trail to avoid the day use beach area.

Campground Trails: These connect the camping loops with the Lake Trail and the day use/beach area. They can be used to access the beach or combined to make a loop hike.

Other Information

A  fee is charged during operating season. 

Please note: Dogs are not permitted in the day use area in and around the beach. Dogs on leash are allowed in the campground and on trails. Dog owners are required to pick up after their dogs.

There are 67 campsites and 37 lean-tos located on a heavily-wooded ridge above Emerald Lake. Flush toilets, hot showers ($), and a dump station are provided. There is a small beach with a snack bar and boat rental facilities (canoes, kayaks, row and pedal boats). A hillside picnic area and lakeside picnic tables are available.

Trail Manager

For more information about the park and the trails, visit Vermont State Parks online, or contact:

VT Dept. Forests, Parks & Recreation Region 2: Rutland Region
271 North Main Street, Suite 215
Rutland, VT 05701-2423
Phone: (802) 786-0060
View website

Trail Tips

Dispose of Waste Properly
Keep the Twin States (Vermont & New Hampshire) green and clean! Pick up trash, even if it's not yours. Leave soon-to-be trash like excess packaging, stickers, and twist ties at home.

Trailhead Information

Trailheads are within Emerald Lake State Park. From Rutland, drive south on US-7 for 22 miles. Turn right onto Sweeny Lane, then turn left immediately onto Emerald Lake Lane. The park entrance is another 0.2 miles down the road. 

Various trailheads are located off the parking lot near the ranger station, and off the roads through campground loops A, B, and C.

There is a plowed parking area in the winter. 

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