Note: This trail map is a graphical representation designed for general reference purposes only. Read Full Disclaimer.
St. Albans Trailhead: Take I-89 to exit 20. At end of ramp go head south on Rt.7 until intersection with Rt.105. Go o ne more block. There is a small parking area marked by a sign. The MRVT Trail starts here on the east side of Rt.7 and heads northeast.
Richford Trailhead: North on Route 105 into downtown Richford, right turn on Troy Street. Follow Troy and look for the trailhead on the right.
The Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail (MVRT) lies in the heart of northern Vermont dairy country and runs from St. Albans, northeast to Richford, VT, ending just south of the Quebec border. The well-maintained crushed limestone surfaced rail trail follows the original railbed of the Central Vermont Railway’s Richford Branch, the “Milk Run”, and never exceeds a 3 percent grade.
The non-motorized trail designation and smooth, relatively flat grade make this the perfect family or beginner's mountain bike ride. In fact, everyone will enjoy this idyllic bicycle trip through Northern Vermont's rural countryside complete with picturesque red barns and pastures dotted with black and white cows. The route travels past farmland, shaded woodlands, open fields bordered with wildflowers, wetlands teeming with wildlife and along the Missisquoi River.
Trail Highlights: Quintessential Vermont dairy country, two historic railroad trestle crossings, scenic river and mountain views, Swanton Wetlands.
Where to begin your bike ride on the 26.5 mile Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail or how far to travel will depend on your level of fitness and how much time you have. From the Western trailhead at St. Albans to Richford, it's a fairly easy pedal on a hardly noticeable downhill grade. Unless you plan to leave car at your end point, although the grade isn't steep, you'll be pedalling uphill all the way back.
Towns along the way with services are Green Corners, Sheldon Junction and Enosburg Falls.
St. Albans to Sheldon Junction: 5 miles
St. Albans at the western Trailhead lies in the valley between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain in Franklin County. Known as "Rail City", it has been home to the New England Central Railroad for over a century. There are restaurants, bike shops and an historical museum which features exhibits, railroad era memorabilia, maps and area photographs. The city hosts the Vermont Maple Festival in April.
The 5 mile stretch is quiet with a few gravel road crossings (at Green’s Corners, trail users must cross VT 105). You'll pedal past open pastures and farm fields, pines, the Swanton wetlands and some residential areas as you approach Sheldon Springs. Look out for farm and cow crossings, not to mention "cow pies".
Sheldon Junction to Enosburg Falls: 11 miles
The Missisquoi Rail Trail meets up with the Missisquoi River. Enjoy a scenic view of the Missisquoi River from the historic railroad bridge in Sheldon Junction. This stretch parallels the river and bicyclists are treated to scenic views of river rapids, quiet pools, working farms, and Jay Peak. An historic railroad bridge at Sheldon Junction provides great river views and a rest stop witth a picnic table. Look for fox, deer, and other wildlife. During the summer, the last 4 miles are known as "corn alley" as the trail is lined on both sides by stalks of tall corn.
Note: The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, currently under construction, crosses the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail in Sheldon Jct. and will eventually extend 96 miles from St. Johnsbury to Swanton, Vermont.
Enosburg Falls to Richford: 9 miles
From Enosburg Falls, known as the “Dairy Capital of the World", the trail continues to parallel the Missisquoi River with outstanding views. This stretch also offers a nice mix of sunny farmland, quiet wetlands and shaded forests. This is a great segment for bird watchers. Enjoy the historic railroad trestle over the Missisquoi River near mile 23.5. Stop for a while and enjoy the sights and sounds of the river.. It's a nice coasting ride to the Missisquoi Rail Trail's Eastern Terminus at Troy Street just 3 miles short of Richford. This a lovely stretch to do in the fall.
Note: From Richford, cyclists can also connect to La Route verte at the Canadian custom’s station on VT 139. La Route verte is a 3,400-kilometer bicycle network which winds its way throughout the Province of Québec, Canada.
Additional on and off-road riding is possible on the 1400+ mile Lake Champlain Bikeway network including a 350-mile loop around Lake Champlain that can be accessed in St. Albans. The route takes bicyclists both on and off road around beautiful Lake Champlain. If covered bridges spark your interest, then Rt.118 south to Montgomery Center is a must do side trip (see Other Area Rides above).
For More Information:
Northwest Regional Planning Commission
Phone: (802) 524-5958