Bike Ferry & Island Line
Your trail connection between the Colchester and South Hero causeway bike paths!
Walk or ride to the Island Line Bike Ferry, bringing cyclists and pedestrians across "the Cut", a 200-foot gap in the beautiful Colchester Causeway. Sit back and relax for the 5 minute journey. The Ferry makes the connection between Colchester and South Hero, on some of the easiest terrain in Vermont, with scenic vistas that are among the best in the world.
No matter where you’re coming from, north or south on the Island Line Trail, great biking, gorgeous views, trails, farms and good food awaits you!
While the Island Line Bike Ferry rarely closes, don't forget to check the weather before heading out to visit!
Check out this amazing footage captured by a drone soaring above the Island Line!
Find the answers to your most pressing questions about the Local Motion Bike Ferry!
Why “The Cut?”
Back in the day when the Causeway was the Island Line Railroad running from Rutland to Montreal, a swing bridge was built right near the north end of the line. Employees had a house right there; they were paid to open and close the bridge to boat traffic needing to pass through to and from Mallet’s Bay and Lake Champlain. When the railroad was dismantled, the bridge also came down. Now it is a 200-foot gap in the line. Up until the bike ferry came to the gap in 2005, cyclists and pedestrians (no motorized vehicles on the Causeway) couldn’t pass to the other side. But with our ingenious seasonal Bike Ferry, everyone can cross The Cut to the other side. We love to say The Cut.
From The Cut, going onto the Champlain Islands, where can we get something to eat?
Ah, the #1 question. Our Dockside Ambassadors will gladly inform you of the various eating options up near South Hero, including Allenholm Farm (maple creemees!), Seb’s (maple creemees!), a nifty little spot named The Accidental Farmer Café, the iconic Blue Paddle, and others nearby. A great map listing the eating establishments within a 5-mile radius of the ferry is available from our staff (ask for the black and white photocopy since originals are now out of print).
Can the Bike Ferry accommodate tandem bikes?
Oh yes, for sure. We can carry recumbent bikes, trikes, strollers, hitch-hiker bikes for parent/kid, you name it. Bring it on. But note that if the tandem is rented from us at Local Motion, rental staff should have told you that our tandems are not to go over to the Islands.
Why not. We’re all about inclusivity and equal opportunity.
What if I get a flat tire riding on the Causeway?
Well, we can help you: We carry a small stock of tubes on board the boat for your donation dollars, and we have a bicycle pump. Our able staff is ready for any challenge thrown at them!
Why do we pay $8 for a ticket? Seems like a lot.
Hey, it's $8 round trip! We’d love to say we could transport you for less. But the ferry doesn’t live on love alone. It costs more than $200,000 to run these ferries for just over 100 days of service each summer. Fares bring in less than half of that. We’re a non-profit dialing for dollars just like the next guy.
And just like the big ferries on the lake (the four of them in the area), we have to comply with the big boy rules and regulations of the waters. We have to pay fees for Coast Guard certification and have our Captains and Deckhands join the Maritime Consortium -- never mind the cost of boat gas, yadda, yadda, and more yadda.
We gratefully and gladly accept donations and gifts from generous donors who love the concept, who love cycling, who love the water, and who want to keep the Island Line bike ferry in operation. We are forever grateful to the support that keeps us afloat! We could not do this without you.
And many thanks go to our partners at VTrans who are supporting ferry operations with a grant from the state's bike and pedestrian program. It is thanks to the many individual donors, and to local and state agency partners like VTrans, that we were able to rebuild the causeway and re-open the bike ferry after the devastating spring floods of 2011.
How about bathrooms? My daughter has to go…
Our Port-o-Potty, and a second one placed by Vermont’s Fish and Wildlife Department, sits on the north side of The Cut. On the south side, she can find bathrooms at Airport Park, less than a mile from the southern end of the Causeway.
Swim! Jump in anywhere along the Causeway off those big granite and marble boulders. It’s so refreshing. At The Cut, we’d advise you to stay clear of the entire tip of the Causeway where we, and plenty of other boats, operate.
What are those little black creatures running around the rocks? Are they black squirrels?
No, they’re minks. Aren’t they cute?
What if I rent a bike at Local Motion’s Trailside Center, and ride to The Cut, take the ferry, and while riding on the Islands, I have a bike breakdown?
Please call the Trailside Center for guidance. They won’t come and get you, but they’ll advise you what to do. If you’re on the ferry, or on the southern side of The Cut, however, we have a cool solution to a broken down bike: We put you on a foldable “rescue” bike to get back to the Trailside Center. So all is not lost.
What’s the distance across The Cut?
A mere 200 feet.
What if the weather blows up, or lightening strikes nearby?
We run in all kinds of weather, and we’re safe in winds up to 30 mph. We WILL close temporarily for lightening storms, but we have not closed for the whole day in a couple years. We keep close tabs on the weather in this exposed area; if we do close down for the day, we have an Emergency Closing Plan protocol of informing the public – via our website, with signs posted at both ends of the Causeway, and as a phone message at Local Motion.
Do you sell food or water at the Ferry?
That’s a no on the food (you’re on your own), but we do have cold water available for a donation.
Local Motion's Bike Ferry, located 10 miles from Burlington on the beautiful Colchester Causeway, needs volunteer Dockside Ambassadors! Greet passengers, sell tickets, and provide tourist info to the best of your knowledge. Receive training on site when you arrive for your shift. For every volunteer shift you work, you'll receive one free pass for the Bike Ferry!
Summer Weekdays, 4 hour shifts: 9:45 - 1:45pm or 1:30 to 5:30pm
Spring, Summer and Fall Weekends, 3 hour shifts: 2:30 - 5:30pm
1) Sign up here on SignUp.com.
2) It's easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.com. SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone.
3) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
4) If the weather is rainy, you may cancel!!
How to get there
The Cut is 3 miles from Mills Point in Colchester, on Colchester Point Rd. There's a parking lot there from which you can ride your bike. Or park at Airport Park and ride 4.2 miles to the Cut, or ride from Burlington for a beautiful 10-mile bike tour!
Discount at City Market
Interested in receiving City Market Member Worker credit for volunteering at the Ferry to receive a discount on groceries? City Market / Onion River Co-op Member Workers receive a 7% discount for two hours of volunteer time and a 12% discount for four hours of volunteer time. And you can bank up to 12 months of hours! To be eligible, you must first attend a Member Worker orientation. Note: Ferry volunteers receive an additional 1 hour of work credit for the time it takes to transport yourself out and back from the Cut--just choose the "travel to and from the cut" shift on the
Note: Ferry volunteers receive an additional 1 hour of work credit for the time it takes to transport yourself out and back from the Cut--just choose the "travel to and from the cut" shift on the signup.
Enjoy the best of recreational biking around northern Lake Champlain, and take a moment to stop off at a bicycle rest area along the way! Eight picnic shelters and informational kiosks are located throughout the Champlain Islands, Alburgh, Colchester and Shelburne.
View Rest Area Map Passport To Prizes
Local Motion partnered with local businesses, the Lake Champlain Byway Council and VTrans, and numerous volunteers to develop and install the bicycle rest areas, so that bicyclists would have a place to eat lunch, take a break, and enjoy the natural scenery and nearby attractions that are part of the Lake Champlain Scenic Byway.
Bicycle Rest Areas Locations:
Historic Rutland Railroad Pump House (Alburgh Pump House) at the end of Lake Street in Alburgh Village
Alburg Golf Links 230 Route 129 Alburgh, VT 05440
Goodsell Ridge Fossil Preserve 239 Quarry Road, Isle La Motte, VT 05463
Hall Home Place and Island Ice Cider 4445 Main Street, Isle La Motte, VT 05463
Grand Isle Art Works 259 Route 2 Grand Isle, VT 05458
Airport Park at Colchester Point Road, Colchester, VT 05446
Snow Farm Vineyard 153 West Shore Road, South Hero, VT 05486
Shelburne Vineyard 6308 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, VT 05482