Chickering Bog Natural Area

Chickering Bog began to form when glaciers receded from Vermont over 10,000 years ago and left behind a bedrock basin that filled with water. The pond that was formed slowly filled in with vegetation. As these plants died, they accumulated and only partially decomposed, forming a layer of peat that has continued to thicken over the years, reaching an impressive 30 feet deep in the northern part of Chickering Bog. It is the peat that gives the area its semi-solid, “quaking” quality. A small patch of open water is all that remains of the original pond.

Chickering Bog is actually misnamed; this so-called bog is really a fen. The difference between the two wetland types has to do with the water source and the acidity of the site. Bogs tend to be acidic and poor in dissolved minerals; fens are more alkaline and rich in dissolved minerals. Water enters bogs solely through rainwater, while fens like Chickering Bog are also fed by calcium-rich groundwater and springs.


129 acres

What the Conservancy is Doing

We completed protection of the bog and most of the surrounding watershed in 2014.

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There is a one-mile trail at Chickering Bog Natural Area. An easy walk, the trail leads to a new boardwalk that was replaced in 2006 with the help of a Vermont Youth Conservation Corps team so that visitors could continue to walk out over the bog without disturbing it. A brochure is available at the preserve. Please read our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.

What to See: Plants

Chickering Bog is home to a large variety of fen plants including grass pink, sundew, cotton grass, blue flag iris, sweet gale, pitcher plant, showy lady’s slipper and livid sedge.

What to See: Animals

Frogs, wood ducks, crows, nuthatches, pileated woodpeckers and the tracks of fur-bearing mammals like bears, white-tailed deer and hares have been spotted here.


Chickering Bog Natural area is located in East Montpelier and Calais. To get there from Montpelier, take Route 2 east 6.5 miles to East Montpelier. Then take Route 14 north about 3.2 miles to North Montpelier where you will see North Montpelier Pond on your right. Continue on Route 14 for 1.1 miles until you see Lightening Ridge Road on the left, which is marked by a sign for the Calais Elementary School. Turn left and go 1.6 miles to George Road on the right.  Park on Lightening Ridge Road on the right a little past George Road.  The Conservancy trail begins to the left of the private driveway. You have to look hard, but there is a green post with the initials “TNC.” A snowmobile trail starts here and goes up the hill to the entrance of the natural area and the trail to Chickering Bog. Look carefully for the sign that marks the Conservancy's Chickering Bog trail after crossing a wetland on the snowmobile trail.

View a map of Chickering Bog.


Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

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Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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