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 12-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.
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.
'Big Fix' Construction Begins on the Colchester Causeway:
Construction on the Island Line Trail/Colchester Causeway and Ferry Docks at ‘The Cut’ is is ongoing. During October & November, construction crews will widen the Trail near The Cut, and begin building new Bike Ferry docking and landing systems. Construction vehicles will be accessing the project from both the Colchester side at Mills Point Road and the South Hero side at Martin Road. The project will be completed in the spring of 2014.
Specific Trail News for the month of November through December 13: The Causeway on both the South Hero and Colchester sides will be closed to the public Mondays thru Fridays in November & the first half of December. Flaggers will be directing traffic at times. The trail will be open every weekend. There will be construction barriers and signing in place for your safety.
Island Line Trail Map
COLCHESTER:The major repairs have been completed. The trail re-opened to public use in October 2012. Thank you to the Town of Colchester, the State of Vermont, FEMA and all the donors to The Big Fix!
SOUTH HERO: Repairs have been completed. VT Fish & Wildlife and Munson Earth Moving repaired the 1/2 mile section that is part of the Allen Pt Access Area. The corridor reopened June 2013.
BURLINGTON: Repair work completed on the five areas damaged by the record 2011 flooding. Final repaving was done in April 2013.
THE CAUSEWAY BIKE FERRY:Thanks to a successful Big Fix fundraising campaign, we're relaunching ferry service in 2013. The ferry will operate 51 days starting June 14th. Through Labor Day, the ferry will operate Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. For the fall (through Columbus Day), the ferry will operate on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Details here.
Charlie's Boat House
Local Motion is a member-supported non-profit organization promoting people-powered transportation and recreation for healthy and sustainable Vermont communities. Learn more.