Shelburne Bay Park / Allen Hill

Tips for Birding

Birdwatching in Vermont, p. 54.

Shelburne Bay Park and the Shelburne Bay Boat and Fishing access are located on Bay Road. Both vantage points offer excellent views of Shelburne Bay, which provides shelter for a variety of ducks and geese during the winter months. A short drive north on Harbor Road brings you to the open water at the end of the point near the Shelburne Shipyard. Unfortunately, parking here is nonexistent, so beware and be careful if you stop for a quick look at the waterfowl.

In Shelburne Bay Park, a “bike path” runs north from the parking area. This pathway is a favorite of dogs and their owners. Accordingly, birds are less frequent along this route. However, the loop up and over Allen Hill yields a greater number of birds, including an occasional Ruby-crowned Kinglet singing in the cedars at the top of the hill. This route also features a wide variety of wildflowers, some magnificent chestnut oak trees on the south-facing slope, and a splendid view across Shelburne Bay to the Green Mountains.

Birds of Interest

The Green Mountain Audubon Society January field trip to Shelburne Bay produced a typical roster of winter waterfowl: Canada Geese, Mallards, Black Ducks, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and Common Mergansers. Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls, and Greater Black-backed Gulls reside here year-round. Furthermore, rarities pop up at Shelburne Bay regularly. For instance, one summer one of us spotted an athletic pair of Caspian Terns plunging into the water a few yards from the access. One winter, a Greater White-fronted Goose visited the Bay briefly, accompanied by several hundred Canada Geese and a lone Snow Goose. Finally, a Bald Eagle took up residence along the shoreline of the Bay during the winter. Once the Bay is locked in with ice many of the ducks move to the open water on the lakeside of Shelburne Point.

About this Location

Shelburne Bay Park (104 acres) is located off Bay Road. One entrance accesses the Bike and Recreation Path open for walking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The other accesses the boat ramp area managed by the Fish and Wildlife Department. The Recreation Path also connects with the Ti-Haul Trail across Bay Road from the parking lot. The trail is just over a mile long and connects to Harbor Road, just west of the Shelburne Community School.

Restrooms are nearby at the Shelburne Bay Boat Ramp. Portable toilet.

About Shelburne Bay

See all hotspots at Shelburne Bay

People have been living on the shores of Shelburne Bay for centuries. The long arm of Shelburne Point provides shelter from strong winds blowing from the south and west. The bay’s calm surface was an important factor when the 120-mile Lake Champlain was used as a “water highway,” before the advent of the railroad, automobile, and airplane. Early European settlers found evidence of a Native settlement–a cleared field, flints, and arrowheads–at the mouth of the LaPlatte River, across from the boat launch area. Today you can discover how natural and human processes have made Shelburne Bay one of the most unique environments in the Champlain Basin.

Notable Trails

The TrailFinder website has a description and map of a hike at Shelburne Bay Park.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Explore Shelburne Bay brochure, Bruce MacPherson and Chip Wright, Green Mountain Audubon Society, Shelburne Bay Park webpage, and Birdwatching in Vermont

Last updated July 31, 2023