The Cutler Marsh Wetlands Maze area has canoe routes that are marked and unmarked. To follow a marked trail, watch floating buoys: white bowling pins with two orange stripes.

Marked Canoe Trails - follow the floating buoys north of Valley View Highway

  1. North Marsh Canoe Trail
    Now covered by the reservoir, the channel of the Little Bear River can still be followed by watching for slowly moving water. Follow this trail from the Cutler Marsh Marina beneath the Valley View Highway and through a maze of islands into the open water, and north to Benson Marina. If you travel quietly and slowly around the small islands, you may see American Coots, grebes, ducks, and geese. Near the western shore of the marsh, look for Sandhill Cranes, Ring-necked Pheasants, Long-billed Curlews (in migration), Northern Harriers, and Short-eared Owls.
  2. Logan River Canoe Trail
    From Cutler Marsh Marina go south a few hundred yards, then follow the moving water east and upstream to eventually enter the Logan River (also marked by buoys). You can paddle several miles upstream against the slow moving water. The habitat changes gradually from emergent marsh to riparian, with evidence of beaver and occasional deer. Songbirds you may observe include Eastern Kingbird and Willow Flycatcher, but also watch for Black-crowned Night Herons perched in the lower tree branches hunting for fish, as well as large numbers of Snowy Egrets during mid-late summer.
  3. Little Bear River Canoe Trail
    An alternative route between the Mendon Road and Cutler Marsh Marina that avoids the heron rookery is the Little Bear itself. The easiest strategy is to put in at the Little Bear River Recreation site on the Mendon Road (or look for buoys going upstream from the Cutler Marsh Marina). The current is slow, but look out for overhanging branches of the willows along the way. In some years, there may be no way to paddle beneath the trees and you will have to portage around them. Eventually, this channel finds the confluence with Spring Creek and you can paddle downstream and north to the Cutler Marsh Marina through a maze of islands. If the herons have finished nesting, you can paddle south up Spring Creek beneath the rookery and south to the Mendon Road and walk back to your car. A favorite bird of this section is the American Bittern which is rarely seen, but easily identified by its' sound on summer evenings, a resonant "pump, pump, pump-a-lunk." Also listen for the "witchy-witchy-witchy" of the Common Yellowthroat, another hard-to-see, but easily heard, bird of the marsh and one of its few warblers.

Unmarked Canoe Trails

  1. Ibis Rookery Canoe Trail
    Branch northeast from the North Marsh Trail and cross the open waters of the reservoir to find several rookeries on the eastern side of the marsh. In spring and early summer you'll see hundreds of White-faced Ibis and Franklin's Gulls flying about, secure from land-based predators. A little south of this rookery, look among the cattails and bulrush in the evenings for Cattle and Snowy Egrets standing above their nests. PLEASE STAY AT LEAST 1,000 FEET FROM THESE ROOKERIES BETWEEN APRIL 1 AND JUNE 30 SO AS NOT TO DISTURB THE NESTING BIRDS.

    South of the Valley View Highway is "aqua incognita" - a place for you to explore with fewer marked trails. Persistence and repetition will teach you several routes among the maze of islands, or you can follow the marked buoys to the Logan River Canoe Trail.
  2. Spring Creek Rookery Canoe Trail
    Begin by going south and a little east from the Cutler Marsh Marina. Continue upstream to the south and locate the Little Bear River as it enters the islands of the marsh (also marked by buoys). Eventually the marsh gives way to a small river channel; look to the left for a small patch of trees and a stream entering from the left. This is Spring Creek; follow it south to the Mendon Road. To the south, near Mendon Road, is a Great Blue Heron rookery, first documented in 1947, with over 75 nests in recent years. Herons are very sensitive to human disturbance, so PLEASE DO NOT PADDLE THROUGH OR APPROACH WITHIN 1,000 FEET OF THIS ROOKERY BETWEEN APRIL 1 AND JUNE 1 SO AS NOT TO DISTURB THE NESTING BIRDS.
  3. More information on local canoeing

    Canoeing in Cutler Marsh | Hiking in Cutler Marsh | Birding in Cutler Marsh
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