There are a variety of plants and animals to see at this Vermont preserve. View All
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.
The natural area includes most of the fen. We are working to protect the rest of this important area from future development.
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.
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.
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 about 3.2 miles to North Montpelier where you will see Riverbend Store and 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 a private driveway on the left. Please park your car on the right-hand side of the road, not in the driveway. 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.