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“Kayak/canoe 12 mile loop”

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Swanton
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Owner description: This park is a popular spot for viewing migrating birds.
Reviewed 27 July 2014

Tried the 12-mile water trail loop starting at Louie's Landing in Swanton, VT this weekend. I'd say it is a nice easy paddle for experienced/strong kayakers, or a challenge for beginners (my husband, who has very well-develloped upper-body strength, barely felt any burn, but I - having hardly any upper-body strength and being a beginner paddler - am definitely feeling sore a day later!). The river was lovely, and we saw lots of beautiful birds, especially towards where the river meets the bay at the top of the loop. The bay itself was also beautiful, just a little more difficult to paddle due to wind and small waves. The only negative thing I have to add is that the loop is open to motor boats (mainly for fishing I suppose, since I imagine there are better access points for boats out on the bay or Lake Champlain). There were quite a few out there with us. And while no one was racing through - they were in fact mostly stationary for fishing - nothing breaks the serenity of your paddle (and scares the birds away) like a passing motor boat with the noise and accompanying smell of gasoline. But that's really the only down point, other than the motor boats it was a wonderful little route!
PS Stop by the Refuge main office on Tabor Road (about 3 miles past Louie's Landing) before heading out; they will give you a map, and you can use the bathrooms because there are no bathroom facilities along the water trail (the loop took us 4.5 hours to complete). The bathroom at Louie's Landing was locked, though there was a port-o-john for those brave enough to attempt it.

1  Thank Shell_Seeker_Mtl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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16 - 20 of 25 reviews

Reviewed 26 June 2014

Enjoyed a mid day kayak session on the Missisquoi River amidst the Missisquoi Widlife Refuge. Such a great place to connect with nature. Paddled north from Louie's Landing a couple miles and the came back against the gentle current. Herons, kingfishers, and a magnificent circling raptor .. and even a turtle sunning on a log. In previous visits, I've walked the trails and been to the visitor center. For a peaceful place to enjoy nature, this place is a local gem.

2  Thank Jonathan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2013

We took a trip to the Refuge on a hot day the end of August and were well rewarded. I've been to several refuges and this is an absolute gem in the system. Well worth a visit and it's free!

There is a nice visitors center that has several exhibits discussing the local flora and fauna and also the indigenous tribe that lived in the area. The volunteer we came across was very friendly and spent a good amount of time with us showing us the exhibits and expanding on them. She was very well informed and gave us an excellent amount of information that wasn't in the exhibits. Afterwards she directed us to the backpacks set up for the kids with materials to document their visit and make it more interactive. There is a clip board with a "scavenger" hunt list, binoculars, magnifying glass and a specimen jar. We were then directed to a map of the trails and off we went!

The abundance of small wildlife is great and really makes the trails so much more fun. We walked the discovery trail which was almost overrun with leopard frogs and some other types of frogs, birds and various insects like dragonflies and bees. The trails are very well groomed and easy to walk, there are also sections that are boardwalk and make for very easy walking. Afterwards we drove down to the Maquam/Black Creek trail and walked both. Very much worth the time. The trails parallel 2 very lazy creeks and you can see several birds, turtles sunning themselves on logs, frogs and other small animals. Again, the trails are very well maintained and there are informative plaques all over to give you an idea of what is all around you.

My regret was that I didn't have more time to spend here, I would have walked all of the trails had it not been the last day of our trip. Make sure you plan a visit if you are in the area.

5  Thank danrodz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2013

Nice visitor center. We did a short trail, close to the center. It was a nice walk, where we saw many frogs and a couple of garter snakes. Birds were not in abundance here when we visited, but still, it was a nice break on our journey.

1  Thank Susan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2013

I went to this wildlife refuge with my wife,cousin and his wife. We walked a trail and saw numerous birds and other wildlife in the marsh. The trail was easy and is well worth it if you want to surround yourself with nature. We can't wait to go back again!

1  Thank Milford_PaMooseman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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