Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Covering just 20 acres, Emerald Lake is a relatively small gem of a lake. It is nestled in a pristine, deep valley between the Green Mountains to the east and the Taconic Range to the west. This magical setting, combined with clear, turquoise water for swimming and a sandy beach, makes this a top destination for those in the know.

Swimming is definitely the main attraction here, but you'll also find some lovely hiking trails, an island with an adventurous rope swing, good birdwatching, and kayak/canoe rentals. A basic snack bar at the beach will keep you full if you forget your trail mix. There is a park interpreter on duty on the weekends who provides guided hikes and nature programs for kids and adults.

The campground is bigger than the lake itself with more than 100 campsites and lean-tos. While the campsites are within walking distance of the lake, none of them is a waterfront site. Most of the campsites are perched on the edge of a steep embankment, making them dangerous for small children. Dogs are welcome on the trails and in the campground but not on the beach.

For such a small park, there is a wide diversity of trails within its boundaries. You can climb high above the lake for a beautiful view of the turquoise water, meander through a meadow full of wildflowers, or walk through an ancient forest. Trails are easily accessible from all the campsites, or if you're visiting for the day from the main parking lot.

Emerald Lake State Park is a short drive from the bustling town of Manchester, an outlet-store destination with good restaurants.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Fee


Quiet trails. Great swimming. Rope swing on the island.


Busy on summer weekends.


ADA accessible
Campgrounds + Campsites
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Bird watching


Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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