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The Beebe Spur Rail Trail (also known as the Newport--Beebe Bike Path) makes a level run along the eastern shore of Lake Memphremagog to Vermont’s border with Canada. At less than 4 miles, the distance isn’t taxing, although the gravel surface can make for a challenging bicycle ride without wide tires. At the north end, travelers who want to cross into Canada need to take a 1.5-mile detour and carry a passport.
The trail’s name is derived from the historic community of Beebe Plain, which straddles the US–Canada border; a mid-19th-century post office served both countries from opposite ends of the building. The town served as a railroad connection between a branch of the Connecticut and Passumpsic Rivers Railroad completed in 1867 and Canada’s Massawippi Valley Railway built in 1870. The Quebec Central Railway took control of the line in 1926. A subsequent owner, Canadian Pacific Railway, discontinued use on the line in 1990 and removed the tracks in 1992.
The Beebe Spur Rail Trail follows that old Connecticut and Passumpsic Rivers Railroad line from Newport to the border, while the 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) Sentier Nature Tomifobia uses the Massawippi Valley Railway corridor in Canada.
Starting at the south end in Newport, the trail reveals spectacular views of Lake Memphremagog in less than a mile. This glacial lake’s name means “where there is a big expanse of water.” It spans Vermont and Quebec over its 32-mile length and allows unobstructed views of the Green Mountains to the west. A small trailside pond surrounded by ferns and wildflowers contrasts with the wide-open lake behind it, providing a perfect spot for a snapshot or selfie.
As you gaze across the water, be aware of the legendary lake monster Memphre. With a horse-shaped head at the end of his long neck and a body the size of a house, the creature has elicited sightings for more than 100 years. It hasn’t been seen since 2005, despite the whimsically named In Search of Memphre ultramarathon swim across 25 miles of Lake Memphremagog every July and September.
Heading north, you’ll pass by many lakefront homes—some with tidy boathouses—-with screened-in porches for enjoying views of this shoreline setting. You’ll likely feel a friendly vibe, as trail users who bicycle, walk their dogs, or simply gaze at the water offer cheerful greetings.
After 3 miles, the trail veers away from the lake, passes parking for the trail, and enters residential North Derby. This is no longer a border crossing, but signs direct you 1.5 miles east to Beebe Road, which enters Canada.
To reach the southern trailhead from I-91, take Exit 28, and head west on US 5 S/SR105 W. Go 0.7 mile, then turn right onto Shattuck Hill Road. Go 1.2 miles, and turn left onto Darling Hill Road. Go 0.4 mile, and turn right onto Prouty Dr. In 0.5 mile turn right into the parking lot for North Country Hospital. After parking, retrace your route about 0.1 mile along Prouty Dr. to the trail and turn left.
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