Environmental Studies at UVM

Colchester Bog

Colchester Bog resides on a peninsula between two rapidly developing shoreline areas of Lake Champlain and is located just a few miles north of the city of  Burlington.  This 175 acre peatland serves as a haven for a great diversity of flora and faunal species which makes it a prime location for research and the simple enjoyment of nature.

With the help of The Nature Conservancy, the University of Vermont acquired 180 acres in 1973 and has since managed them as the Colchester Bog Natural Area.  The area consists of an open peatland, shrub and tree dominated swamps, open water areas called laggs, a sand dune, and several adjacent uplands.  The Bog itself consists of a forest dominated by a dense thicket of shrubs and trees and an open mat of sphagnum moss and sedges.

Some of the tree types at Colchester Bog include maple, ash, and elm, as well as white cedar, pitch pine, black spruce, and tamarack.  Some of the common shurbs include mountain holly, rhodora, sheep laurel, and labrador tea.  In an effort to allow visitor to see this special natural area while minimizing the impacts of trampling on the bog, community members and an array of students constructed a boardwalk and observation deck made of wooden planks which are kept in place by plastic floats.


Driving Directions

From Burlington take Route 127 north for 5 miles. Bear left onto Porters Point Road near the drive-in theater. After 1.2 miles turn left on to Airport Road (towards Colchester Point). After a short drive, turn right into Colchester Airport Park. Park in the large gravel lot there. Walk across the ball field towards the cedar posts. To the right of the posts is an old runway. At the end of this runway, there is a short trail which drops down into the woods. At the end, turn left and follow this trail a short distance to the beginning of the boardwalk. Note: Please stay on the boardwalk and do not walk in the wetland.

View detail map of Colchester Bog