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Emerald Lake in Vermont on a cloudy day

Serene Emerald Lake State Park lies along beautiful turquoise waters surrounded by woods and mountains 10 miles north of Manchester and 24 miles south of Rutland. This picturesque Vermont state park attracts guests with its beautiful lake, sandy beach, campground, trails, Nature Center, and picnic areas.

Guests enjoy swimming, fishing, and paddling in Emerald Lake plus hiking, bird watching, camping, and much more. The park is also located near several popular attractions such The Bennington Museum, Wilson Castle, and the White Rocks National Recreation Area.

Also nearby is Rutland with its historic downtown and many wonderful shops and restaurants.


Whether you’re passing through the area or a resident you will not want to miss out on a visit to this beautiful state park. Emerald Lake State Park’s most popular feature – its deep lake with clear blue green waters – attracts many but it’s the campground, picnic areas, and nature trails that really round out your stay here.

The scenic picnic areas include tables, grills, restrooms, a Nature Center, horseshoe pit, volleyball court, and a large pavilion that may be rented for groups up to 100 people.

Planning to visit during the winter? The park offers fun winter activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing for guests visiting during that time.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Emerald Lake State Park:

Boating at Emerald Lake State Park

Bring your kayak, canoe, row boat, paddle board, or any other non motorized boat (or rent one here) and enjoy a leisurely day on scenic Emerald Lake. Several areas along the lake’s shore are ideal for launching.

Swimming at Emerald Lake State Park

Emerald Lake State Park has a small sandy beach area with access to Emerald Lake. This area features a snack bar and a picnic area. Restrooms and coin-operated showers are located within the campground.

Hiking at Emerald Lake State Park

Hint: Put on your swimsuit and a comfy pair of shoes before heading out on the trails inside Emerald Lake State Park. After hiking along this gorgeous lake you’ll want to jump into its beautiful clear waters!

The park’s trails wind around the lake and through the surrounding woodlands and hills offering breathtaking views of the mountains and lots of native flora and fauna. For additional trails check out The Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail, which may be accessed right outside of the park, and the trails located on nearby Dorset Mountain.

Here are a couple of the trails at Emerald Lake State Park:

  • Vista Trail – This moderate 2.4 mile trail begins at the Nature Center, crosses Otter Creek, and winds through the forest providing beautiful views of the lake and the Taconic Mountains. One area of this trail extends over the tracks at an active railroad crossing.
  • Meadow Trail – A moderate 0.4 mile trail across open wildflower meadows with spectacular views of the southern Green Mountains.
  • Lake Trail – An easy 0.5 mile trail that follows the shoreline of Emerald Lake from the beach area to the southern end of the lake.

Biking at Emerald Lake State Park

While visiting Emerald Lake State Park, take a peaceful ride throughout the campground area or along some of the park’s roadways.

Fishing at Emerald Lake State Park

Emerald Lake may be small but it’s deep and clear making it perfect for swimming and also for fishing. Much of the lake’s shoreline is rocky (boulders and rock ledges) and drops dramatically into the deep water.

Anglers with a Vermont fishing license may catch yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and northern pike from shoreline or boat. All anglers aged 15 and above are required to have a fishing license on them at all times while fishing.

Birding at Emerald Lake State Park

Bring your binoculars and a bird list as you explore the nature trails through the woodlands and along the open water. Here you may get a chance to observe a Barred Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Cliff Swallow, Wood Thrush, Brown Creeper, Black-throated Green Warbler, Turkey Vulture, Scarlet Tanager, Herring Gull, Common Loon, Black Scoter, Eastern Phoebe, Ring-necked Duck, or a Common Tern.

Nature and Wildlife at Emerald Lake State Park

Many different species live within the surrounding forest and mountains of this southwestern Vermont state park. White-rocked cliffs, limestone caves, and the emerald green waters of the lake are just a few stunning features inside Emerald Lake State Park.

This area, which was once known for its slate and marble production, is now home to birds, fish, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, turtles, frogs, beavers, porcupine, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, and skunks.


Pets are allowed within designated areas at Little River State Park. They are not allowed on the beach or in the day use area. Pets must be supervised and cleaned up after.


Beautiful Emerald Lake State Park features 66 campsites and 37 lean-tos surrounded by wooded hills not far from the lake. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring with a cooking grate and are within walking distance of bathhouses with flush toilets and hot showers. A dump station is also located in the campground area.

Park Location

Emerald Lake State Park
65 Emerald Lake Ln
East Dorset, VT 05253
Phone: 802.362.1655

Park Website



Check out this short video for some more pictures of Emerald Lake State Park: