Champlain lake shore beach at Butternut Hill, Vermont.
Butternut Hill Champlain lake shore beach at Butternut Hill, Vermont. © Binhammer

Places We Protect

Butternut Hill Natural Area


A mile-long trail with southerly Lake Champlain views.

Butternut Hill Natural Area was conserved in partnership with the Lake Champlain Land Trust and consists of approximately 84 acres of a mix of wetlands, uplands, two small agricultural fields, and over 1,100 feet of undeveloped Lake Champlain shoreline. The two wetlands are both long, narrow branches of Lakeside Floodplain Forest divided by a low, forested ridge with a beech forest containing impressively large trees and a small patch of red cedar woodland along the rocky bluff at the lake shore.

The mile long trail at Butternut Hill winds through floodplain forests, cedar pine forest and cobble shorelines while offering a great southerly view of Lake Champlain. There is a beautiful walk out to a point of land overlooking the water and two nice shale beaches that someday could support nesting soft-shell turtles.

In the summer of 2018, TNC partnered with a team from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps to construct a stone staircase from the end of the trail down to the shale beach.

What TNC Is Doing

In partnership with the Lake Champlain Land Trust and the town of North Hero, we maintain a mile-long trail that begins at Camp Ingalls and provides access to Lake Champlain for walking, picnicking or swimming on the shale beaches. We regularly monitor the natural area for invasive exotic plants, removing them where they pose a threat to the natural communities here.

What to see: Plants

The Lakeside Floodplain forests provide moist, rich soils that support a wide variety of wetland plants, including several rare carex species. Look closely in the forested uplands along the trail and you will find a few butternut trees that are still surviving despite infection by the widespread butternut canker.

What to see: Animals

In addition to a variety of plant species, the wetlands at Butternut Hill also support very diverse wildlife including waterfowl such as wood ducks, beavers, and blue-spotted salamanders. Because there is a large population of shagbark hickory trees in the upland forest, the location may provide good summer habitat for the endangered Indiana bat.