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Hike Around Lake Shaftsbury

Shaftsbury, Vermont



1.3 miles

Elevation Gain

42 ft

Route Type



Added by Tara Schatz

This is a small, but beautiful park that is worth exploring in all four seasons.

Lake Shaftsbury State Park is a small park in Southern Vermont between Bennington and Manchester. It is well-loved by locals as swimming spot in the summer, especially for families with kids.  Less well known is the nature trail that meanders around the perimeter of the lake. While only a mile in length, this lovely trail is quiet and perfect for bird watchers. 

The trail begins at the far end of the parking area. In the off-season, between late October and Memorial Day, visitors will have to park outside the gate and walk in. The trail enters a mixed forest before opening up onto a boardwalk that cuts through a wetland. Birds are plentiful here, and there's a good chance that you'll see all types of waterfowl, as well as warblers and other songbirds. You may even see osprey and eagles fishing from the white pine trees that crowd the shore.

The boardwalk leads back into the woods, where the trail climbs up onto a ridge with great views of Lake Shaftsbury. You will cross two foot bridges and a dam as you walk around the lake.   Lake Shaftsbury is stocked each spring with rainbow and brown trout, and anglers frequent the shores until about June. There is no lifeguard on duty, but there is a roped-off swimming area, a sandy beach, and picnic tables with grills. Visitors can rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats for touring the lake. 

In the winter, the lake is used for ice fishing, and the trail around the lake becomes the perfect path for easy snowshoeing. Dogs are permitted to walk the trail, but they are not allowed on the beach when the park is open.

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole
ADA Accessible

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