Thanks to LM Member Mike Beganyi for taking this video!
The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy inducted Vermont’s Island Line Trail into its national trails "Hall of Fame" on December 1, 2010, recognizing the trail’s spectacular attributes and decades of collaborative work among towns, the State of Vermont, and trail advocates.
The Island Line Trail unites the Burlington Bike Path, the Colchester Causeway, and the Allen Point Access Area in South Hero into a stunning 14-mile trail that travels along, and over, Lake Champlain. The recent award by the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy recognizes the Island Line as a "rail-trail jewel in a robust outdoor recreation scene."
Hop on the spectacular 14-mile trail along Lake Champlain. The Island Line cruises along Burlington’s waterfront and scoots out on the Colchester Causeway three miles into the middle of the lake! Public beaches, natural areas, and scenic vistas abound.
A new bridge dedicated in 2004 replaced the Winooski River bike ferry, allowing Local Motion to operate their ferry further north at the "the Cut", the site of the railroad swing bridge removed in the 1960s. Click here for the current schedule and information.
Come explore Vermont’s most popular multi-use trail. Stop into ECHO, the museum of Lake Champlain. Have a picnic lunch out on the Causeway. Go for a swim. Click here for a list of trailheads.
Bicycling, running, walking, inline skating and XC skiing are all popular trail activities. Please note that the 5 miles of trail in Colchester are unpaved. Cyclists on road bikes with skinny tires will find it bumpy. All other types of bikes will be fine. It is a good idea to check the weather before venturing out on the causeway as it can be windy and summer storms may build quickly.
Development of the Island Line into a regional world-class trail offers many benefits to the local communities:
A 2002 report by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Champlain team indicated that the trail's economic impact was $1.5 million per year – with a much greater benefit once key upgrades such as the bridge and a ferry across the cut are completed. At that point, the report concluded the trail would be "world-class." (Source: Island Line Trail: Analysis of Economic Impact, Leadership Champlain, 2002)
With the future connection to the islands, Lake Champlain Bikeways can market this spectacular off-road route between the orchards and vineyards of the islands and Burlington's vibrant waterfront to a growing number of activity-oriented baby boomers.
Recent on-path surveys indicate that 20% of trail users are from more than 50 miles away – demonstrating that this trail is an emerging regional attraction and benefits local hospitality, restaurant and related industries.
Multi-use trails are safe places for residents of all ages and abilities to enjoy a wide range of low-impact exercise. 6% of all Vermont residents live within a mile of this trail.
Vermont is facing an obesity epidemic with 26% of VT children now overweight. (Source: Governor Douglas' Fit & Healthy Kids Initiative fact sheet)
The Governor’s health initiative goes on to report that "there are fewer opportunities for physical activity in schools and, more often than not, young people are driven to activities rather than walking or biking to get there."
Trails are well-loved linear parks – public spaces where friends and strangers meet, where families enjoy quality time together, and people of all backgrounds come to unwind and relax. The trail hosts an estimated 150,000 visitors every year.