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Vermont State Parks

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USA Parks
Southern Region
Emerald Lake State Forest
Campfire and Hotdogs ©
Roasting hot dogs over an open fire.
Picnic Table ©
It is always a great day for a picnic in the park.
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Dorset, Vermont   05253
(lat:43.2792 lon:-72.9884) map location
Emerald Lake State Forest, located in Dorset, offers a captivating natural retreat dotted with the jewels of lush greenery and a picturesque lake. Surrounded by majestic mountains, this forest boasts a harmonious blend of dense forests, vibrant wildflowers, and glistening emerald waters. Its well-maintained trails lead visitors on enchanting hikes through towering trees and serene meadows, while the pristine lake invites them to cool off, paddle, or simply bask in the serenity of its tranquil surroundings. Wildlife enthusiasts can expect to encounter a diverse array of species, while camping enthusiasts can find solace in the forest's rustic campsites, providing an ideal spot for relaxation and immersion in nature's embrace.
History of the Area
Early Settlement:
- Like other regions of Vermont, the area around Emerald Lake was inhabited by various Native American tribes for centuries prior to European settlement.
- The Abenaki people, in particular, were known to have a presence in the region and utilized the area's natural resources for hunting and fishing.

Emerald Lake Hotel:
- In the mid-19th century, the construction of the Rutland-Burlington Railroad stimulated tourism in the area, leading to the establishment of the Emerald Lake Hotel.
- The hotel served as a popular destination for vacationers, offering scenic views of the lake, recreational activities, and a relaxed atmosphere.
- The hotel thrived during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, attracting visitors from across the region.

Logging Era:
- The abundant forests surrounding Emerald Lake attracted logging companies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Logging activities in the area intensified with the arrival of rail lines, allowing for easier transportation of timber products.
- Large tracts of the forest were harvested, significantly altering the landscape around the lake.

State Forest Acquisition:
- In 1934, the Vermont Agency of Forests and Parks acquired a portion of the land around Emerald Lake, marking the beginning of Emerald Lake State Forest.
- The state aimed to preserve the natural beauty of the area and offer recreational opportunities to the public.
- The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a New Deal program, played a role in the forest's development during the 1930s, constructing trails, campsites, and recreational facilities.

Modern Era:
- Emerald Lake State Forest continues to provide recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, hiking, camping, and picnicking.
- The forest covers approximately 948 acres and includes the 20-acre Emerald Lake.
- It is managed by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, focusing on conservation, forest management, and providing a quality outdoor experience for visitors.
1. Emerald Lake State Park offers 100 tent/trailer sites, 36 lean:to sites and four cabins for camping.
2. Backcountry camping is allowed in the state forest with a permit from the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation.
3. RV Camping is available at Emerald Lake State Park; however, there are no hookups provided on:site.
4. The park also provides group campsites which can accommodate up to fifteen people per site.

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1. Emerald Lake Loop: A 3-mile loop trail around the lake, offering scenic views of surrounding mountains and wildlife.

2. Long Trail South to Little Rock Pond: This is a moderate 11-mile out-and-back hike that features beautiful wildflowers.

3. Branch Pond Trail: An easy-to-moderate level hiking path stretching about four miles through lush forested areas leading up to an idyllic pond.

4. Lye Brook Falls Hike: Approximately five miles round trip, this moderately difficult trek leads hikers past streams and waterfalls in dense woodland settings.

5. Stratton Mountain via Appalachian/Long Trails - It's a strenuous but rewarding approximately nine mile long journey with panoramic summit views at its peak elevation of nearly 4000 feet above sea level

6.Bald Mountain Trail - At just over two miles one way, it offers stunning vistas from atop Bald mountain's rocky cliffs after steep ascents

7.Grout Pond Recreation Area trails- With more than ten different routes ranging between half-a-mile to six-miles each; these are perfect for short hikes or multi-day backpacking trips amidst diverse landscapes including ponds , forests etc .

8.Prospect rock trail- Roughly three mile return route which ends on top of Prospect rock providing sweeping view across Manchester valley .

9.West Ridge Trial For Haystack Mountain : Around seven mile challenging uphill climb ending with breathtaking panoramas from Haystack Peak .

10.White Rocks Cliff trail - Four Mile intermediate-level track passing by white quartzite boulders before culminating into cliff-top overlooks towards Green Mountains range

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Area Campgrounds
Horseshoe Acres Campground
Weston-Andover Road
Andover, VT

To reach Emerald Lake State Forest from Burlington, Vermont: Start on US-7 S and continue for about 70 miles until East Dorset. Turn right onto VT-7A S in East Dorset then drive a mile before turning left onto Emerald Lake Lane which leads to the destination. The directions may change based on starting location, road conditions or construction work so it's recommended to check local traffic reports beforehand especially when GPS navigation systems aren't available as backup guidance tools.

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Vermont State Parks