emerald lake beach

Camping at Emerald Lake State Park

Once I had decided to take July 5th off it was time to think of a relatively cheap vacation to go on. With it being a holiday week I figured the cheapest way to go was camping. The next step was to figure out where to go. Not wanting to spend a ton of time in the car, but wanting to be in the mountains I started to look up Vermont State Parks. What I was looking for was simple, near mountains and located on a lake. After doing my research I decided on Emerald Lake State Park in East Dorset,VT.


Emerald Lake State Park is located just north of Manchester on the flanks of Mt. Dorset. The Dorset area is best known for its marble quarries in the 19th century. As you hike the trails in and around Emerald Lake SP you will see evidence of the marble including a local cemetery with many marble headstones. Emerald Lake SP’s 430 acres is approximately half of the state owned land in this part of Dorset. Across route 7 from the State Park is Emerald Lake State Forest.


For most people the highlight of visiting Emerald Lake State Park is camping and recreating on the lake. Above the lake on a ridge there are 67 campsites and 37 lean-tos. When making reservations online you can click on a site and see a picture view of what it looks like. Some of the sites are fairly wooded giving you more privacy. There are flush toilets and pay per use showers.


Emerald Lake, formerly known as Dorset Pond, encompasses about 20 acres of the park. It received its new names from the coloration of the lake when viewed from above. It is open to non-motorized boats with a nice launch area a little down stream from the open lake. Over the holiday weekend there were kayakers, paddleboarders, canoers, and paddle boaters. We didn’t bring our own boats, but instead rented from the park at a very reasonable cost. Some people were out on their boats fishing while others crowded under 3 large pine trees above the beach for shade. Also quite popular were the two rope swings on the pond. Be sure to check out our video of rope swinging.


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