We recently completed the replacement and upgrade of the parking area and easy 1 mile trail which now includes a 460 foot fully accessible boardwalk. The trail to the boardwalk is 5 feet wide with a hard packed fine gravel surface. The boardwalk is also 5 feet wide and has three platforms that are 10 feet wide to allow for passing. Two of the platforms also have benches. The boardwalk meets the outer trail at the edge of the bog.
The outer trail loops through the woods around the edge of the bog. Although there are no significant slopes, the trail can be wet and is quite buggy in spring.
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.
Eshqua Bog is a botanical wonderland of cold-climate holdovers--small pockets of bog plant species 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.
In springtime, this tiny 40.8-acre preserve, circling the mere speck of an 8-acre bog, bursts forth with color, texture, shapes and scents. Most stunning are the wild orchids. Hundreds of showy lady’s slippers, along with lesser populations of small yellow lady’s slippers, dot the wetland. The somewhat more common pink lady’s slipper abounds here too, along with the northern green orchids and white bog orchids.
Visit The Nature Conservancy in Vermont online for more information or contact Lynn McNamara, Critical Lands Manager for Northern VT:
Eshqua Bog Natural Area is located in Hartland. From I-89 take Exit 1, for Rte. 4 west toward Woodstock and Rutland. Drive 10.4 miles nearly into Woodstock, where Rte. 4 makes a sharp 90-degree bend to the right. (There is a gas station on the right hand side.) DO NOT GO RIGHT. Instead turn left on Hartland Hill Rd. Drive 1.2 miles and bear right onto Garvin Hill Road. Drive another 1.2 miles and look for the Nature Conservancy parking area with room for 4 cars on the right, including an accessible designated spot. The accessible trail begins from the upper parking lot.
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