Showy lady's slippers at Eshqua Bog Natural Area in Vermont.
Lady's Slippers Showy lady's slippers at Eshqua Bog Natural Area in Vermont. © Sarah Wakefield

Places We Protect

Eshqua Bog Natural Area

Vermont

Hundreds of showy lady’s slippers bloom at Eshqua Bog every spring. Don't miss the show!

Eshqua Bog is a botanical wonderland of cold-climate holdovers—small pockets of bog and a two acre fen—from the post-glacial era 10,000 years ago. This preserve contains a diverse array of bog and fen plants: labrador tea, cotton grass, pitcher plants, showy lady's slippers, larches and buckbean. 

Susan and Dean Greenberg, volunteer stewards of Eshqua Bog, advise visitors: "The showy lady's slippers are usually in bloom around June 20th—depending on weather. Yellow lady's slippers are about two weeks earlier and there are many fewer than the hundreds of showys. There are also northern bog orchids and green orchids which are blooming about the same time or a little after the showys."

New 460 foot handicap accessible boardwalk 

Eshqua Bog Natural Area is co-owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy in Vermont and The New England Wildflower Society. We recently installed a 460 foot accessible boardwalk so that more people could enjoy Eshqua's natural treasures from its multiple viewing platforms and benches. The boardwalk was designed and installed by Josh Ryan and his team from Timber and Stone, LLC., “The new boardwalk and entrance trail provides equal access to all visitors who seek an opportunity to view this unique wetland. While the trail was built to comply with accessibility standards, we were committed to creating a curvilinear boardwalk that beckons users to explore further.”

We recently completed the replacement and upgrade of the parking area and trail which now includes a 460 foot fully accessible boardwalk.  From the boardwalk, visitors can experience the unusual and rare natural history of this plant community first-hand, without impacting its fragile ecology. A memorial bench constructed by the Hartland Nature Club stands near the beginning of the trail in memory of Graceann Ridlon and her work to protect Eshqua Bog. 

What to See: Plants

This bog, which is technically a fen, supports a diverse community of native plants such as the alder-leaved buckthorn and shrubby cinquefoil. The difference between a bog and a fen is the water source and the acidity of the site. Bogs tend to be acidic; fens are more alkaline. Water flows into bogs solely through rainwater and run-off, while fens are also fed by calcium-rich groundwater.

What to See: Animals

A number of mammals use the fen including deer, hares, and red squirrels. Eshqua Bog is also a haven for many species of dragonflies.