Silver Lake and Falls of Lana
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:VT 53/Lake Dunmore Road, Brandon
Hours:No posted hours
Fee: Free

Moosalamoo National Recreation Area,

Bathrooms: At Branbury State Park
Water/Snacks: At Branbury State Park

USGS East Middlebury quad;

Hike past exceptional waterfalls and swimming holes to a peaceful lake surrounded by backcountry campsites.

The Falls of Lana have carved a gorge horizontally through the face of a cliff, with mist rising up from its several cascades. Venture into its secluded swimming holes, and complete your trip with a moderate walk up a babbling brook to a beautiful high-mountain lake, dotted with private backcountry campsites. Make this a weekend trip by staying here or at next-door Branbury State Park’s campground on Lake Dunmore. Nestled in the Green Mountain National Forest’s Moosalamoo National Recreation Area, this trip is like none other we have found in New England.

From the trailhead, head up the short and steep trail to Silver Lake Trail, a wide carriage road that will serve as your route to Silver Lake (0.1 mile). The path originally served as access to a lakeside backcountry grand hotel that burned down in 1942. The ruins have long since deteriorated and you’d never guess that this was once a bustling mountainside retreat.

Take the left onto Silver Lake Trail. After 0.3 mile it reaches a large, black, overhead pipe that acts as water chute for a hydroelectric plant fed by Silver Lake. Within 50 feet after crossing under the pipe, a steep, rugged path to the left leads down to the Falls of Lana. Climb down this side trail to a lush grotto with 15-foot rock walls rising up to your left; you can hear the falls ahead here, but you won’t be able to see them yet. Turn to your right and walk uphill next to a rock wall. After a hundred yards or so, a break in the rock wall and a narrow access lead to one of the most interesting and secluded swimming holes in Vermont. This swimming hole is perched at the midway point in the Falls of Lana, with spectacular cascades dropping into the pool from above, as well as exiting to a long chute below. The wild and rugged beauty of this secret spot will surely remain in the memories of the young ones for a long time to come. We recommend only swimming here with strong swimmers during periods of low water as current can be strong. Return to the main trail the way you came.

Continuing on Silver Lake Trail, head left and continue uphill along babbling Sucker Brook for 0.5 mile. There are many fine places to swim and wade, so plan to take your time on a hot day. When the trail reaches a bridge and a trail intersection (there are some excellent backcountry campsites here), take a right away from the brook to stay on Silver Lake Trail.

Continue for another 0.8 mile, climbing very gradually on switchbacks. Even though you gain 850 feet of elevation here, you will barely notice it, and we have seen many toddlers running happily up this section of trail. After 0.8 mile, the path reaches the peaceful waters of Silver Lake, surrounded by the foothills of the Green Mountains. Here you have a choice: follow Silver Lake Loop Trail around the lake (an additional 2.5 miles), or simply picnic at the scenic dam. If you choose to skip the loop around the lake, return the way you came (3.2 miles).

If you’d like to stay, Silver Lake’s fifteen backcountry campsites are widely spaced along the eastern shore. Adventurous souls may want to tackle this as an overnight trip, as the grades are easy and the 1.6-mile, one-way haul is not too bad. The sites are all widely spaced and private, and many have excellent swimming right from the campsite.

Plan B:

Nearby Branbury State Park on Lake Dunmore offers great camping, a swimming beach, clean facilities, boat rentals, picnic areas, and interpretive programs. From arts and crafts to guided hikes, it is worth a stop to see what’s on the schedule. A 1.0-mile hike to Ethan Allen Cave is an interesting side trip. Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen slept here hiding from English forces. The trailhead leaves from the Branbury State Park campground; ask at the office for directions.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Middlebury is home to some excellent eateries, and closer by, sandwiches and ice cream cones can be found at the Lake Dunmore Kampersville complex.


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