“An outstanding rail trail taking you along the coast of and across beautiful Lake Champlain.
— Chris McCloud
A graded trail with outstanding views, parks, and places to stop for drinks and snacks in Burlington. Benches along the trail provide resting opportunities.
The bike ferry across the gap in Colchester Causeway (about 80-90% of the way across to Grand Isle) operates Memorial Day-Labor Day. Contact Local Motion
in Burlington for details. The rest of trail open all year.
To access this trail, start at Oakledge Park in southern Burlington. Head north through the Burlington waterfront (an alternate start point), then follow the trail up the coast, soaking in the outstanding views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks in New York across the lake. Cross the mouth of the Winooski River, one of the largest rivers in Vermont, and enter Colchester.
Continue through a residential part of town and pass by an old one-room schoolhouse (no longer in use, part of a park). Pass through a marsh and wooded area on the north side of Colchester, and arrive at Colchester Point.
You'll now begin the most dramatic portion of the trail. Continuing north, you begin to cross the lake on the Colchester Causeway, a railroad causeway constructed from giant blocks of marble. 2.5 miles long, it was built in 1900, and gives you the sensation that you are riding on the surface of the water. There is a gap in the causeway about 80-90% of the way across, which is crossed by a seasonal bike ferry between Memorial Day and Labor Day, allowing full access to Grand Isle.
Pick up some maple creamees at a farmstand on the island before returning to Burlington. The portion of the trail between Burlington and Colchester is paved; the Causeway is crushed gravel.
Bikes can be rented at Local Motion trailside in Burlington on the waterfront.
Parking is available at Oakledge Park in Burlington, in downtown Burlington (metered and city garages - note that the garages offer free parking for certain lengths of time), and at Airport Park in Colchester.