Winding northeast from St. Albans to Richford, just south of the VermontQuébec border, the Missisquoi Valley Rail-Trail affords visitors direct access to northwest Vermont dairy country. In winter, hardy users take to the 26.1-mile route on snowshoes, cross-country skis and snowmobiles. Tracing the bed of the Richford Branch of the Central Vermont Railway, the corridor never exceeds a 3% grade. The gentle terrain makes this a family-friendly ride and the perfect venue for enjoying postcard images of rural farms, forests, and fields.
The well-groomed, crushed limestone trail begins in St. Albans, which hosts a good selection of restaurants, as well as a museum with railroad memorabilia. The first 10 miles run along State Route 105 past rolling farmland, woods and a wetland area. Reaching the banks of the Missisquoi River, you'll cross an old railroad trestle into Sheldon Junction, a rural town offering more restaurants and restroom facilities. The onward trail links the communities of North Sheldon and South Franklin, skirting the river past expansive cornfields and picturesque dairy farms.
The next main trailhead is in Enosburg Falls. Look for the vintage red caboose alongside the old railroad station at the side of the trail. Beside the station is an interesting little museum with memorabilia from the past two centuries, offering historical glimpses of the town that once dubbed itself the "Dairy Center of the World." After Enosburg Falls, as you near the eastern terminus in Richford, the trail meanders through more quintessential Vermont countryside, with occasional glimpses of the Missisquoi River. The trail and river eventually part ways at an old trestle 3 miles shy of the trail's end in town.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the St. Albans trailhead, take Interstate 89 to Exit 20 and follow US 7 south to State Route 105/Sheldon Road. Turn left on SR 105 and drive one block to the trailhead.
To reach the Richford trailhead, continue north on SR 105 into downtown Richford, turn right on Troy Street and follow Troy until you see the trailhead on the right.
Parking is also available at Enosburg Falls and near the trail near SR 105 at SR 120.