Both the 7.5 mile paved Burlington Bike Path and the 5 mile Colchester Causeway Trail are part of the spectacular Island line Trail. The southern section of the Island Line, The Burlington Waterfront Bike Path, is the pride of Burlington, Vermont's largest city. It's urban riding at it's best with its bicycle and pedestrian friendly downtown.
The Burlington Bike Path runs north and south on the former railbed of the Rutland Rutland-Canadian Railroad along Lake Champlain from the southern end of Burlington at Oakledge Park to the northern end at the mouth of the Winooski River. There it meets up with the 5 mile unpaved Colchester-South Hero Trail, the northern section of the Island Line Trail. A new 0.5 mile long elevated trail bridge now connects the two trails.
The route runs along Burlington's Waterfront, offering gorgeous Adirondack mountain views and Lake Champlain vistas the entire way. It connects 6 waterfront parks and parallels an active rail line for about two miles. Explore the many historic and cultural sites along or near the bicycle path, stop for a picnic and swim at North Beach, one of several waterfront parks along the route, or just relax on a bench to admire the sunset.
The best place to start is from the historic Union Station located at the western end of Main Street in the heart of Burlington’s waterfront, where showers, a health club and bicycle lockers and racks are available. Located next to the station is the Local Motion Trailside Center, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote safe bicycling and other recreational activities on the bike path.
Cycling maps, air, info and advice are available as well as snacks. Outside the Center are trailside tables where you can relax and watch the world go by. While you are there, pick up the "Cycle the City" brochure for a 10-mile, self-guided historic loop tour which passes the historic Ethan Allen Homestead.
Located right off the Burlington Bike Path at the end of Institute Road off North Avenue. Facilties include swimming, picnic areas with grills, a full service snack bar and playground. A lifeguard is available from the end of June to August 22 and weekends up until Labor Day, weather permitting. An outfitter set up at the south end of the beach, offers kayak and canoe rentals as well as a variety of kayaking classes and expeditions on the lake. Hey! There is even a foot shower to wash your feet before putting your cycling shoes back on.
Other beaches along the path are Leddy Park and Oakledge Park. Both offer a swimming beach (no lifeguards), grills and picnic tables and restrooms. Access is free to walkers, runners, bikers, and roller bladers via the Burlington Bike Path.
North Beach Campground
Camp right along Lake Champlain. Operated by the Burlington Department of Parks and Recreation, it offers a premier municipal sand beach, shaded campsites and picnic grounds. The Burlington Bike Path goes right through the campground, making it a very convenient overnight stop on a longer trip or a weekend cycling getaway.
An industrial site until the 1960s, the Urban Reserve was purchased and cleaned up by the city of Burlington to preserve forty-five acres of prime waterfront property as a "land bank" for future generations. Residents have the challenge and opportunity to participate in planning for it's future. The reserve is open to the public for walking, fishing, birdwatching, biking and offers nice lake views.
Ethan Allen Homestead
Situated in an idyllic setting overlooking a quiet stretch of the Winooski River. Learn about Vermont's most unusual and flamboyant folk hero and life in the 18th century. The homestead and grounds are open from sunrise to sunset. Enjoy the spectacular scenery, riverside picnic areas and walking trails. (no restrooms available).
Phone: 802-865-4556 / Website: www.ethanallenhomestead.org
Getting there by Bus
The CCTA 11, the FREE College Street shuttle is a primary link from the Bike Path to downtown Burlington and the University of Vermont. All CCTA buses are equipped with easy to use bike racks, which hold 2 bikes.
See www.cctaride.org for schedules.
In 1899 the 3.5 mile causeway was built by the Rutland-Canada Railroad to connect the New England seacoast with the Great Lakes region crossing this stretch of Lake Champlain. The line included 41 miles of track, six miles of marble causeways and trestles, and four drawbridges. Built in only one year, the Rutland and Canadian was a spectacularly scenic railroad.
Rail operations ceased by 1961. The conversion from Rails-To-Trails began in 1973. With the help of State and federal funding, Burlington's Bike Path was completed in 1986.
For More Information
Burlington Parks and Recreation
Phone: (802) 864-0123
Website: Burlington Parks & Recreation