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Nature and history enthusiasts will delight in the Ti-Haul Trail and Shelburne Bay Park Rec Path, two short but scenic trails linked by a pleasant 104-acre park in Shelburne, Vermont. Forming an almost seamless connection near the southern tip of Shelburne Bay, the trails create a meandering and historic journey through woodsy terrain, offering glimpses of the wildlife and water for which Vermont is well known. Both trails are recommended for bird-watching, and locals say to specifically look for black-crowned herons, great blue herons, and several species of ducks.
The best place to begin your journey is at the Bay Road trailhead, located in Shelburne Bay Park on the north side of Bay Road between Harbor Road and US 7. Heading north, the 1-mile Shelburne Bay Park Rec Path travels through a wooded oasis for just over 0.75 mile before skirting the Lake Champlain shoreline and offering an amazing view of Shelburne Bay.
Walking, biking, and cross-country skiing are permitted on this gravel route. Note that numerous small hills make for a pleasant and fun bicycle ride; however, cyclists should be prepared for sand and a few intense uphill climbs toward the northern end.
At Shelburne Bay, trail users can pause and take in the beauty of the shallow water, which is perfect for skipping rocks. Woodsy canopies provide shade, making for a cool respite from the sun in the summer. Boat access points and picnic tables are available in the northern section of the trail, near the trail’s endpoint at the Lake Champlain Yacht Club.
The Ti-Haul Trail, located just across Bay Road from Shelburne Park, is a quintessential rail-trail—a flat, easy bike ride or a perfect stroll with glimpses of farms peeking between the trees. Though this trail also has a gravel surface, it has few hills and is wheelchair accessible.
Heading south, you’ll journey through mostly woodsy landscapes with a few marshy areas before ending in about a mile at Shelburne Dog Park on Harbor Road. The Ti-Haul Trail has an interesting history, having begun as a road specifically built to move the old steamboat Ticonderoga from Lake Champlain to its present home at the Shelburne Museum. The 2-mile trek took 65 days to complete at an average pace of 150 feet per day as the boat was carted along railroad tracks that were built literally as the journey progressed; workers pulled up the railroad tracks behind the boat and placed them ahead. You can learn more about the steamboat and her journey at the museum, located on Shelburne Road, about 1.4 miles from the trail’s southern trailhead.
Also nearby, at the intersection of Bay Road and Harbor Road, is Shelburne Farms, a working farm and education center dedicated to conservation and sustainability, built on an estate designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. in the late 19th century.
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