Branbury State Park, which is located on the eastern shore of Lake Dunmore, is an excellent camping option for lovers of kayaking, hiking, and the natural beauty of Vermont! Nestled at the base of Mount Moosalamoo and bordered by the Green Mountain National Forest, hikers can enjoy multiple hiking trails of varying difficulties within easy driving distance. Branbury State Park also boasts 1,000 feet of sandy beach with shallow waters perfect for wading on a warm day. The gentle waves lapping against the shore entice visitors to swim further or take advantage of the boat rentals. Nearby, the concession stand offers beach toys along side refreshing drinks and snacks. The park also has a delightful playground sure to keep children entertained as well as a nature center with ranger led learning activities.
The park is divided by Route 53 and offers 7 lean-to sites along with 19 tent/RV sites on the far side in a heavily wooded area which offers privacy. On the other side of the road there are 17 tent/RV sites which offer less privacy but are in close proximity to the beach. I highly recommend booking a lean-to in the more private section of the park.
During our stay at Branbury State Park, we hung out at our camp site enjoying a campfire with s’mores and dined on delicious camp food between hiking and kayaking.
On our first morning we set out on the hike to Silver Lake, which is an excellent family hike. From our camp site, we walked south on Route 53 for 0.2 miles to reach the trail head. The trail follows an old unpaved carriage road and is accessible for strollers. We chose to skip the bottom section of the trail and instead followed the penstock, a large pipe which transports water from Silver Lake to a local hydroelectric power station. Shortly after rejoining the trail we passed the sign for the Falls of Lana which are 0.5 miles from the trail head. We continued along and stayed right where the trail branches. The right branch of the trail leads to summit of Mount Moosalamoo and Rattlesnake Cliffs. We continued along the carriage road, ignoring the various trails that branch off. After 1.6 miles from the trail head, we reached Silver Lake. Here there is a grassy picnic area with fire pits and a pebble beach.
Alex swam in the lake while I relaxed in the sun, soaking my feet in the cool water.
If you wish to extend your hike, Rocky Point Interpretative Trail is 2.5 miles long and encircles Silver Lake. There are 15 backcounntry campsites at Silver Lake, for those looking for a more adventurous camping experience.
Hikers can choose numerous trails in this area which vary from easy to moderately difficult. Our time at Branbury State Park was limited, however we hope to return to complete further hikes. Rattlesnake Cliffs Trail, which forks off of the Silver Lake trail, and leads to Aunt Jenny Trail to create a loop, provides stunning views of Lake Dunmore and the Green Mountains.
On the way back down from Silver Lake, we followed the trail marker for the Falls of Lana. The trail was steeper and required a bit of scrambling, however the falls were well worth the effort. Sucker Brook has carved a gorge through the cliff face, creating delightful swimming holes. Spectacular cascades create a refreshing mist. On a hot summer day, plan on luxuriating in the numerous swimming holes and wading areas along Sucker Brook.
We ended the day with s’mores and corn on the cob. At night, the campground was very quite and peaceful. The restrooms were clean and there are coin operated showers available.
We spent the next day enjoying Lake Dunmore. The sandy beach was perfect for sunbathing, with shade trees for those who prefer a cooler experience. We discovered a few freshwater clams which were a delicious treat prepared over the campfire. Lake Dunmore was very shallow along the edges, which makes for a safe experience for young boaters. We enjoyed admiring the gorgeous lakefront homes and found the lake to be very peaceful.
Nearby Attractions: For those looking to go beyond the park, the quintessential college town of Middlebury is a short 17 minute drive away. Foodies will be delighted by the many delightful restaurants in town ranging from the renowned upscale Fire and Ice or quaint Rosie’s Restaurant, along with numerous taverns and cafes. Nearby are some of Vermont’s finest companies including Vermont Coffee Co., Woodchuck Cider, Ottercreek Brewing, Cabot Creamery, Maple Landmark Woodcraft, UVM Morgan Horse Farm, Lincoln Peak Vineyard, and so much more!