The Montpelier & Wells River Trail occupies the former right-of-way of the old Montpelier & Wells River Railroad, which originally ran for 45 miles across northeast Vermont. Called the "Granite Train" for the materials it often carried from quarries in Barre, the railroad was built to link the Central Vermont Railway in Montpelier with the Boston & Maine Railroad at the Connecticut River. Both lines still operateunder new namesbut the last Montpelier & Wells River train stopped on November 15, 1956.
Today, the Montpelier & Wells River Trail comprises three sections:
*1.8 miles between Wells River and Boltonville, a peaceful area of beaver ponds and scenic river views interlaced with a few more miles of hiking trail.
*18 miles through South Ryegate, Groton and Marshfield, a long journey connecting rural villages with state forest dotted with ponds. Snowmobiles are permitted in the winter and in the summer, outside of the state forest, portions of trail are open to registered, highway-legal vehicles.
*2 miles in Plainfield and East Montpelier along a quiet, wooded route.
The entire area supports a wide variety of wildlife, including black bear, moose, deer, grouse, mink, beaver, otter, fisher, loon and heron. You'll find additional hiking and fishing, the latter especially in Rickers Pond, Groton Lake and Kettle Pond (both warmwater and coldwater species are stocked). Popular hiking trails in Groton State Forest include Big Deer Mountain Trail, Owls Head Trail and Groton Nature Trail.
The Montpelier & Wells River Trail is part of the statewide Cross Vermont Trail
Access the Montpelier and Wells River Trail from numerous trailhead parking areas, including Boltonville, on US 302 about 0.5 mile west of I-91 Exit 17; Ricker Pond, on SR 232, 1.6 miles north of the intersection with US 302; and at SR 14, about 0.8 mile south of the intersection with SR 2.
The trail is actually officially open east from Ricker pond to the Town of Groton where there is parking by the old RR station and on to South Ryegate where you need to start using the road for a while untill the trail picks up again. See their maps on ...
Not all of this trail is officially open but I have done all of it from Rt 14 to Wells River. It is a bit bumpy in places but is a great ride. Maps are available on their web site. Bob