champlain islands

Nature Trails In The Champlain Islands

Nature Trails In The Champlain Islands

The Champlain Islands are a nature lovers’ paradise with nature trails, beaches and wildlife. These trails are enjoyed year-round by people on foot, bikes, snowshoes or skis. Here are some of our favorite trails. What ones do you enjoy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Fox Run, Snow Farm Vineyard, South Hero, VT

Enjoy a glass of wine and then go for a walk on the Fox Run trail. A short, uphill walk with an amazing views the Island Line Trail, the vineyard and Lake Champlain. Location: 190 W Shore Rd, South Hero, VT 05486. 

Photo Source: Annie Mora, Coldwell Banker Islands Realty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Island Line Trail, South Hero, VT

This 13.4 mile trail travels through Burlington, Colchester and South Hero. This trail is great for biking and walking with stunning views of Lake Champlain. Location: From South Hero, the trail head is located off of Martin Road with the trail access road on the left. 

Photo Source: Annie Mora, Coldwell Banker Islands Realty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Butternut Hill, North Hero, VT

Located at Camp Ingalls, the mile long trail at Butternut Hill winds through floodplain forests, cedar pine forest and cobble shorelines while offering a great southerly view of Lake Champlain. Location: 1769 South End Road, North Hero, VT

Photo Source: North Hero Parks and Recreation Facebook Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Fisk Quarry Preserve, Isle La Motte, VT

A short walk with amazing scenery. Search for fossils or bring a picnic and soak up the sun on the large rocks.

Location: 4039 W Shore Rd, Isle La Motte, VT 05463

Photo Source: Annie Mora, Coldwell Banker Islands Realty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Ironwood Nature Trail, Grand Isle, VT

Ironwood Nature Trail features numerous old iron wood trees (also called hardhack, or hop hornbeam), a 15-foot observation tower, wetland-forest plants, and an exposed bedrock dome with deep fissures. Approximately 1 mile round trip. Location: Trail begins at the corner of the intersection of East Shore Road South and the Grand Isle State Park access road.

Photo Source: Trail Finder, Photo Courtesy: Dan Sullivan

 

 

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The Champlain Island Towns

With more shoreline than any other part of Vermont, the Lake Champlain Islands region is a unique and beautiful place located in Grand Isle County. The Islands are made up of five towns that all boast small-town rural charm with breathtaking scenery and an abundance of stunning lakefront homes.

drone shot of apple island marina

1. South Hero, Vermont

The Town of South Hero is the southernmost town, and shares an Island with the Town of Grand Isle. Known as the gateway to the Champlain Islands South Hero is a 20-25 minute commute to Burlington, Vermont.  Whether it’s your first visit or your daily commute it’s hard not to stop at the two mile Sandbar Causeway’s resting area to take in the panoramic lake views. South hero residents pride themselves on having a strong sense of community and volunteerism ultimately making this a sought after place for families. Among great lakefront properties, South Hero has a growing town center with restaurants, the Community Health Center, Community Bank and the Worthen Library. In the warmer months you will see cyclists on the Island Line Trail, concerts at Snow Farm Vineyard, and apple picking at Allenholm and Hackett’s Orchard.

aerial picture of lake champlain

2. Grand Isle, Vermont

The Town of Grand Isle is located on the northern side of the Island it shares with South Hero, and is just 25 to 35 minutes to Burlington, Vermont. Known as the beauty spot of Vermont, Grand Isle boasts a rural lifestyle with fertile farmland and pastoral views of Lake Champlain. In the summer months residents attend the Champlain Islands Farmers’ Market and indulge in Island Homemade Ice Cream. On Grand Isle’s eastern shore you will find residents swimming at Marycrest Beach or launching their boat at Ladd’s Landing Marina. The town is home to Vermont’s most visited state park, Grand Isle State Park, and New England’s oldest standing log cabin, Hyde Log Cabin. On the western shore, Gordon’s Landing offers an easy commute to New York State by-way-of the ferry that travels to Plattsburgh, New York all year round.

North hero village

3. North Hero, Vermont

The Town of North Hero is centrally located in Grand Isle County on the North Hero Island. It is named after the Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen. Known as the shire town, North Hero is a quiet community with a picturesque village directly on City Bay of Lake Champlain. The village includes stunning views of the Green Mountains in the distance and is home to popular destinations such as Hero's Welcome General Store, The North Hero House and Shore Acres Inn & Restaurant. North Hero has a close-knit community with strong, independent values. The elongated Island has much to offer in terms of real estate, whether it's on Pelot's Bay or the shores of the Inland Sea you will find an abundance of lakefront cottages and beautiful year-round homes. 

landscape aerial shot of Alburgh

4. Alburgh, Vermont

The Town of Alburgh is the gateway to Vermont from New York and Canada. It has the highest amount of lakefront properties compared to the other Champlain Island towns. In Alburgh, you will find beautiful historic farmhouses as well as newly constructed homes in both country and lakefront settings. With its close proximity to New York, Canada, and St. Albans City, Alburgh is a favored place to reside. You will find walking trails and abundant nature. The sandy beaches at Alburgh Dunes State Park serve as a popular destination for residents and visitors. Alburgh is also home to one of the few golf courses located in the Champlain Islands. Open to the public, the course overlooks Lake Champlain and the deck at the 19th Hole Bar & Grill has some of the best seats in town. 

Isle La Motte lighthouse

5. Isle La Motte, Vermont

The Town of Isle La Motte is the northernmost of the Champlain Island towns and embodies a quiet rustic lifestyle with astonishing views of Lake Champlain. From impressive homes nestled on the shores of Lake Champlain to quaint seasonal cottages, Isle La Motte has much to offer in terms of real estate and lifestyle. Isle La Motte has a rich history. It was the land at which Samuel De Champlain first landed on in 1609, on the lake that now bears his name. The French built a fort in 1666 which is now St. Anne’s Shrine, a historic and peaceful setting that has become a popular destination for locals and tourists. The fort was built by Pierre De La Motte for which the island is named after. Isle La Motte is a geological wonder as well. The area is home to Chazy Reef, the world’s oldest coral reef, and the 85 acre Goodsell Ridge Fossil Preserve

The Champlain Islands is not just real estate, it's a sense of place. We want you to find yours in this rich, beautiful landscape of close-knit communities, history, and countless places to explore. Let a Coldwell Banker Islands Realty agent help you find the perfect home in the Lake Champlain Islands. To begin your property search browse available homes in the Champlain Islands.

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Island Insights: 5 Epic Winter Activities in the Lake Champlain Islands

Vermont Real Estate Guides Island Insights Newsletter

Looking for something to do during the colder winter months? From extreme winter sports to tranquil lower impact exercises, the Champlain Islands have an abundance of recreational activities waiting for us to try. When heading out on the ice always take precaution and check conditions before.

1. Skating on Lake Champlain

When the weather sets up just right, the ice on Lake Champlain becomes glass perfect for skating (especially on the Sandbar)! Whether you are figure skating or out playing pond hockey this serene scene takes skating to the next level.

2. Stroll the Island Line Trail
Bundle up and head to the Lake Champlain Causeway for a serene winter stroll. Walk the beautiful and historic path while enjoying panoramic views of Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains, and the Adirondacks. Better known as the Bike Path, you can access this trail from Colchester or South Hero.

3. Ice Fishing
Lake Champlain is home to Vermont’s premier fishing destination and has many ice fishing opportunities. The shallow waters near the Sandbar are a hotspot for northern pike. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just out fishing for fun, this family fun winter activity is enjoyed by all ages.

4. Trek out to Knight Island
Looking to get your steps in? Knight Island is just about a 40 minute walk from the North Hero Village. Carve out your own path on frozen Lake Champlain. You can walk, grab your snowshoes, or strap into cross-country skis to reach the destination!

5. Snowkite on the Sandbar 

Weather permitting, snowkiting is an epic winter sport with opportunity for major air!  Feeling extra adventurous? Try kitewinging! Kitewings are handheld wing sails used for sailing on low friction surfaces such as ice or snow. Strap on skates or skis and get ready for an epic workout. The ice and wind conditions near the Sandbar make for the perfect spot to try out this new extreme winter sport.

Looking for more fun activities in the Champlain Islands? Read more

Commissions for Community Annual Donation Program

Coldwell Banker Islands Realty Donation Grand Isle County Food Shelf

This past month we donated $1000 donation to the Grand Isle Food Shelf through our Commissions for Community annual donation program. We are grateful to have such wonderful volunteer organizations that support our community and neighbors in such an impactful way. Thank you Judy Ayers and all of the Food Shelf volunteers for all you do!

Don't miss our next issue, get Island Insights in your inbox! Subscribe today.

 

Chazy Reef - A Historical Site To See In Isle La Motte | Lake Champlain, Vermont

Chazy Reef- A Historical Site To See In Isle La Motte, Vermont

The Lake Champlain Islands are home to the Chazy Fossil Reef, one of the most historic places to see in Vermont. The geological wonder has two wonderful viewing sites located in the town of Isle La Motte. This 1,567 acre reef is the oldest reef in the world, as it’s home to 480 million year old fossils! A variety of species are on display with common ones being early snails, squids, and sea sponges. Thanks to the Isle La Motte Preservation Trust, the reef is a designated National Natural Landmark and a part of the 85-acre Goodsell Ridge Fossil Preserve as well as the Fisk Quarry Reserve, which really speaks to the town’s commitment to preservation. 

The Goodsell Ridge Fossil Preserve welcomes locals and tourists to go on a self-guided tour through history on a 4,600ft trail. Along the way are informational panels to help the travel through time. Additional enjoyment is provided during the months of May through October as a museum and visitor center open up. These activities are found in a restored Vermont dairy barn and are staffed by volunteers. This summer season also brings the opportunity to schedule a group tour. Kids who go to school in Grand Isle County will most likely experience one of these adventures of a group tour on a field trip. 

The Fisk Quarry Preserve is only two miles south of the Goodsell Preserve and is also always open to the public. It too offers a self-guided tour on a shorter trail. Along with the quarry providing a fun and educational time for everyone, it’s also still used for geological research. The limestone that the quarry is made up of was used to build quite significant buildings across the country, including our very own Statehouse. Luckily, the Isle La Motte Preservation and the Preservation Trust of Vermont preserved the quarry before any more historical rock could be taken. 

The Chazy Reef is a perfect place to relax, learn, and get out in Grand Isle County’s incredible scenery!

 

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5 Marinas in Grand Isle County to Dock Your Boat

Marinas in Grand Isle County to Dock Your Boat in Lake Champlain, VT

As we begin to welcome summer, don't forget to find a home for your boat this season! Grand Isle County offers some of the best marinas to make your summer boating experience better than ever. From the top of North Hero to the bottom of South Hero, check out our top spots so you can enjoy some time out on Lake Champlain.

  1. Ladd’s Landing Marina

412 US-2, Grand Isle, VT 05458

Located at the Grand Isle - North Hero drawbridge is Ladd's Landing Marina. As a full service marina, Ladd's Landing has a variety of ways to improve your summer experience. They offer rental boats, complete boat services, temporary and seasonal slips for power boats and sailboats, a ship's store, and gathering areas inside and out. The season begins May 15th and lasts until October 1st with their fuel dock and ship's store open daily from 8am - 6pm and when the season is over, winterization is available so you don't have to worry about anything.

  1. North Hero Marina

2253 Pelots Point Rd, North Hero, VT 05474

Out on Pelots Point is where you'll find North Hero Marina. If you're looking for a mooring you can have one as soon as May 1st and a dock space by May 15th. The season runs through October 1st. Fueling is available daily and winter storage is also an option so your boat will be ready for you when you come back next year. Rental boats, a variety of services, and a ship's store are included along with amenities at all docks, a pool for members, and even the Island Tiki Bar. The Tiki Bar is a great place to enjoy a meal after a long boat day while looking out at Lake Champlain. 

  1. Apple Island Marina

6 Featherbed Ln, South Hero, VT 05486

At the entrance of the Islands sits Apple Island Marina in South Hero. They are located just off of Route 2 where they're open a full 5 months from May 15th to October 15th. The Boathouse is open everyday for your convenience with daily, weekly, and seasonal dock slips available. They have a fuel dock and rental boats but what's even better is that the marina is part of the Apple Island Resort. The resort provides a general store, golf course, RV campground, and indoor/outdoor gathering areas for guests. So when you're putting your boat in at the Apple Island Marina, you might want to consider staying a while and taking a little vacation at the resort too.

  1. Keeler Bay Marina

466 US-2, South Hero, VT 05486

Down off of Route 2 is Keeler Bay Marina in South Hero. Open from May 15th to October 15th, they offer 92 seasonal dock slips. Keep your boat in the bay and also get the chance to grab food on your way in or out. Located at the entrance to the marina is a food truck with a brand new vendor offering a variety of delicious options. There is also the Keeler Bay Variety convenience store just half a mile down Route 2.

  1. New England Power Boat Marina

98 Bride Rd, North Hero, VT 05474

The New England Power Boat Marina is located by the North Hero - Alburgh bridge. With the recently installed docks you're sure to be a satisfied customer. A gas dock was also installed with access to town water and a pump out station. So get your boat in the water and cruise around the islands. 


Learn more about life on Lake Champlain on our website and don’t forget to always be safe out on the water!

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