LaPlatte River and Marshes (S of Bay Road)

LaPlatte River and Marshes (S of Bay Road)

The Nature Conservancy Shelburne, Vermont 05482

Official Website
LaPlatte River Marsh trail guide and map

Tips for Birding

Across the highway from the boat and fishing access is the LaPlatte River Marsh Natural area. This 200-acre preserve is owned and maintained by the Nature Conservancy. There is a marked trail that runs along the banks of the river and a descriptive trail guide is available to help you on your way. Although boat traffic in the river is heavy during the summer months, the marshland toward the end of the trail is relatively pristine and is frequented by Mallards, Black Ducks, Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, and of course, the ubiquitous Canada Goose.

Birds of Interest

This area is a prime location for marsh ducks and wading birds, especially Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons, and American Bitterns. Furthermore, in the Spring the “peent” of courting woodcock resounds throughout the marsh at dusk. Bluebirds occasionally nest in the snags jutting out over the open water. Inhabitants of the upland landscape in this area include Ruffed Grouse, Gray Catbirds, Song Sparrows, and Common Yellowthroats to name just a few of the avian species commonly found here.

About this Location

Every acre counts in this river shore natural area in Shelburne, an oasis of nature in an otherwise fragmented landscape. An important habitat for migratory waterfowl, this marsh complex is located at the end of the LaPlatte, a river that extends 16 miles from Lake Iroquois to Lake Champlain and drains 34,137 acres of Champlain lowlands. Nearly 150 acres in size, the marshes, and floodplain forests are regularly flooded when the lake level rises and are inhabited by plant species that can endure these wet conditions. This ecosystem is essential to helping filter and clean the water that empties into our Lake and is part of our nature-based solutions for water quality progress in Lake Champlain.

This preserve is a haven for sixty species of birds; twenty mammals including otter, mink, and muskrat, and fifty species of reptiles, amphibians, and fish. On the trail, you can expect to be surprised by ducks, kingfishers, or an occasional osprey and paddlers often spy blue herons.

The Nature Conservancy has been working with volunteers to control invasive species such as common buckthorn, which threaten the preserve’s floodplain forests.

Notable Trails

The TrailFinder website has a description and map of a hike at LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Official Website and Bruce MacPherson and Chip Wright, Green Mountain Audubon Society

Last updated October 13, 2023

North us not up on this map.