It’s easy to spot wildlife here in Vermont. Whether you’re out hiking a mountain trail, driving down backroads, skirting a bog, or just sitting on your rental’s deck, you can encounter a wide variety of birds and wildlife. Every season brings something new, from snowy owls in winter to magnolia warblers in summer. Here are a few of our favorite tourist spots in Vermont for wildlife watching.
Little River State Park
Visitors to Little River State Park, in nearby Waterbury, can enjoy hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, mountain biking, nature viewing and more. Remains of abandoned cemeteries and sawmills can still be seen as you hike the trails winding through the forest, along the rock edged river and around the Waterbury Reservoir. Keep an eye out for delicate mushrooms and Dutchman’s Britches as you hike as well as owls, loons, goshawk, moose, and black bear.
Wiessner Woods is made up of over 79 acres of mature hardwoods and softwoods, several small streams, and quiet trails that area open for pedestrian uses like snowshoeing, cross country skiing, hiking, and dog walkers. The entire wood offers a wide variety of wildlife and bird watching opportunities including Vernal Pond where elegant Pink Lady’s Slippers grow near the shallow pools. The hardwood forest is home to snowshoe hare, chipmunk and other woodland creatures and the edges of the meadow along the trail at Meadow Overlook are perfect for spotting fox, coyote, and other wildlife.
Stowe Recreation Path
Stowe Recreation Path is a tourist spot in Vermont used year-round by residents and guests as they hike, bike, skate, cross-country ski and snowshoe the trail. Beginning in historic Stowe Village, meandering along the West Branch River past picnic areas and swimming spots, farms and old churches, the trail ends at a historic, possibly haunted, covered bridge. Besides cows and horses munching down in the fields, there are all sorts of creatures in the meadows, marshes, river and forested areas along the trail, including fox, coyote, otters, rabbits, turkey, hawks, and more.
Smugglers’ Notch State Park
Home to famous Smugglers’ Notch and Bingham Falls, the park offers hiking, bouldering, ice climbing cave exploring and biking. Sterling Pond is a great place for fishing, kayaking and bird watching. Favorite hiking trails include the popular Sterling Pond Trail, Bingham Falls Trail, and the more challenging Hellbrook Trail. With its variety of habitat, from ponds and wetlands to gorges and rocky, forested mountain trails, you can see the usual woodland creatures and waterfowl. This tourist spot in Vermont has been identified as an important wildlife corridor for bear too.
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge
About an hour away, on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain is the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge. This amazing refuge is home to the state’s largest great blue heron rookery, as well as black terns, osprey, wood ducks, short eared owls, and more. The refuge also features a variety of habitats within its 6,000+ acres, including wetlands, woodlands and bogs, each with its own distinctive vegetation and wildlife. As you hike or kayak in the refuge keep on the lookout for moose, raccoon, coyote, skunk, red fox, river otters, white tail deer, black bear and more.