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The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) is a growing, year-round trail across northern Vermont that stretches 93 miles between St. Johnsbury and Swanton. The trail passes through the spine of Vermont’s Green Mountain Range, from the Connecticut River to Lake Champlain. When finished, the LVRT, covering five counties and 18 towns, will be one of the longest rail-trails in New England. The LVRT’s grade never exceeds 3 percent, making it accessible to a variety of trail users and abilities.
The nearly completed trail is being built along the former route of the Lamoille Valley Railroad, which once served as a vital east–west transportation corridor from 1877 until its closing in 1994. The railroad was known as the covered bridge line and was a leaf peeper train for scenic tourism. The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers has supported the project for many years and helps to maintain the trail.
Currently, nearly 87 miles of the trail have been completed with the remaining 6 miles between Wolcott Village and Hardwick expected to be finished by Spring 2023.
Starting from the trail's southern endpoint in St. Johnsbury, the route offers a variety of scenic landscapes, including gorgeous wetlands and Joe’s Pond, a locally popular fishing, boating, and residential area. Heading north, the trail first parallels both US 5 and the Passumpsic River before turning west to run along Whiteman Brook. Tunnels help trail users avoid road crossings at US 5 and I-91 and also provide a cool spot in the warmer months. After heading under I-91 and reaching Mt. Vernon Street, you’ll enter a 1.5-mile section of the trail, also known as the Three Rivers Bike Path, which heads to the southern edge of St. Johnsbury, where you’ll find a small parking lot.
Beginning at Vermont Route 15 (VT-15), you’ll head northeast along Joe’s Pond, a gorgeous lake with a variety of activities available. Take a break at the Joe's Pond Trailhead and enjoy the scenic views over the water. This trailhead has restrooms, picnic tables and pavilion, benches, and a large sandy parking lot. Flanked by trees for most of the route, the trail passes through a small residential area near the intersection of VT-15 and US 2, just before the trail begins to run along the shore of Joe's Pond. Heading towards Danville, the trail snakes in and out of wooded areas and farm fields and crosses over a few local roads. You’ll encounter dramatic outcrops of bedrock—ledge cuts left over from the time of the railroad—as well as dense shaded forest and ferns in the warmer months.
Continuing northwest through West Danville and Walden, the trail begins paralleling the Lamoille River as it winds its way through Greensboro Bend and East Hardwick. The current 6-mile gap starts in Hardwick by the intersection of VT-15 (Grand Army of the Republic Highway) and Log Yard Drive. The trail picks up again along the Lamoille River in the woods. The closest access is from Elmore Pond Road, just south of its intersection with VT-15 (Grand Army of the Republic Highway). The trail continues to follow the river and VT-15 through Morrisville to Cambridge. The quiet route passes through a wide range of landscapes—from small towns to agricultural areas, meadows, and forests.
Heading northwest, you’ll pass through Morrisville only a block or two from downtown. Oxbow Park (257 Portland St) is located just off the trail in Morrisville and offers ample parking, restrooms, and drinking water. Beyond Morrisville and Hyde Park, you’ll continue through vast farmland and riverside areas—including Doghead Falls, a popular fishing access—and continues to Johnson. Here, Old Mill Park is home to a trailhead with parking, restrooms, and drinking water.
Continuing northwest, you’ll pass through vast open areas of farmland in Cambridge and eventually reach Cambridge Junction, where a seamless connection to the Cambridge Greenway heads toward Jeffersonville. This junction (Cambridge Junction) is marked by one of Vermont’s iconic covered bridges, the Cambridge Junction Bridge (also known as the Poland Covered Bridge), built in 1887. The junction also includes a restored train station, a railroad-themed community playground, restrooms, and picnic tables. Several small businesses, including cafés, ice cream shops, and breweries, have popped up throughout this section and cater to trail users.
The trail meanders its way north through Fairfield to reach Sheldon, where it connects with the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail. Continuing northeast through Highgate to Swanton, the trail links up with the mile-long Swanton Recreation Path that runs to the Missisquoi River. The trail's northern endpoint is across the street from the Swanton Historical Society (58 S River St, Swanton).
The Green Mountain Transit (GMT) system provides access to the trail. It serves the communities of Burlington, Essex, South Burlington, Shelburne, Williston, Winooski, Milton, Hinesburg, and part of Colchester. Options include using the the Jeffersonville Commuter to access the trail in Jeffersonville from Burlington and the 116: Richford/St Albans Commuter route to access the trail in Sheldon. Commuter routes are limited to morning and late afternoon/early evening. Visit the GMT website to plan your adventure.
Rural Community Transportation (RCT) serves the counties of Caledonia, Orleans, Essex, and Lamoille, providing fare-free shuttle and commuter bus routes. Use the Jay-Lyn Shuttle to access the trail in St. Johnsbury from Lyndonville, the Route 100 Commuter between Morrisville and Waterbury, and the US2 Commuter to access the trail in St. Johnsbury from Montpelier.
In the mornings and late afternoons, it is possible use the 14/15 Commuter running between Hardwick and Morrisville in order to skip the current trail gap. In Hardwick, the bus stop is on Wolcott Street and about 0.4 miles from the trail. To reach the trail from the bus stop, head south on Wolcott Street and then east on West Church Street. Follow West Church Street as it turns south and then east on North Main Street. In Morrisville, the bus stop is outside the RCT Office and about 0.6 miles from the trail. To each the trail from the bus stop, head northwest on Harrel Street. Turn south to follow Historic VT-100 until it intersects with the trail.
According to the Ride RCT Guide, buses are equipped with a bike rack on the outside. However, riders are responsible for safely securing their own bikes. Bikes may also be brought onto the bus if the bike rack is full and the driver says it is safe to do so. Visit the RCT website for more information and to use their trip planner tool.
For those driving, parking is available at a number of locations along the trail. View the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
The trail is complete with one very minor exception. There is a spot east of Wolcott village were a rockslide has meant additional construction and a delay in opening the entire trail. One note: Someone posted a review about parking and a trailhead in St. Albans. That confused individual was on the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail, not this one.
We love this trail and have done all of the finished sections many times. Our goal is to bike from end to end ( and back again), staying overnight in Morrisville area. Really looking forward to it!
Rode only 10+ miles. Started at Cambridge Junction covered bridge parking lot. Headed East past Dog Head Falls, a must stop. Very pretty flat trail. River, bridges, cows, falls. Mix of sun and tree cover.
Only need to know that the sign in St.Albans telling you to park on the trail means just that. The first 200' of the Trail are its parking lot in St. Albans.
For those of us who have said all our lives "never park on the trail" we need to learn new tricks.
This ride was what I think of when I think of rail trail biking. A trail with only mild changes in elevation, good surface (not paved necessarily) and good scenery. I started at the Morrisville trailhead and headed west for 10 miles before returning to where I had parked. There was not much traffic on the trail (mid morning in mid June) and the weather was great. The trail was in good shape- the crushed stone and dirt surfaces did not show any ill effects from recent storms. The scenery was nice- mostly forested stream banks and agricultural fields. My hybrid bike with road tires did fine on this trail. The parking area in Morrisville came up on my i-phone GPS so it was easy to find.
We rented bikes by the trail head in Jeffersonville and took the rail trail into Morrisville, where we stopped into Black Cap coffee for a snack, then rode back. The trail was not busy and was a beautiful mix of farmlands, mountain vistas and river side views. It’s about 30 miles round trip. Really enjoyed this rail trail.
We rode today (8/31/21) from Hyde Park to Jeffersonville; the western part of the most recently built 1b section. The Trail is great overall, a few repairs have been made using oversized gravel adding a few spots of new and unnecessary roughness.
On the west end of this section avoid the Greenway after the Jeffersonville parking lot off Route 15 and approach Jeffersonville via Route 15 and Main Street. The Greenway after the Jeffersonville parking rail is a very rough trail and may cause you to miss the useful bike store and eateries on Main Street in Jeffersonville.
I have previously ridden the section from Cambridge Jct to Morrisville and enjoyed the ride through the Vermont Farms near the Lamoille River. Yesterday (August 25th) my wife and I rode the section of the which is now open and in terrific shape from the Swanton Railroad Museum ( where we had shady parking) to Sheldon Jct. where the Lamoille Valley RT intersects with the Missisquoi Valley Trail near Hwy 105. This was a fairly flat shady ride of 11.2 miles. We rode both ways and only passed one other bike on the trail. We were glad that the trail was level and shaded on this 90 degree day. There were no other parking areas between the railroad museum and Sheldon Jct and also no benches or picnic tables but we carried a picnic table cover and had our packed lunch on it in a shady, breezy spot that made for an ideal repast. It was a magical day for us and a terrific ride. Did I mention that it was also my birthday. It was a super ride and day!
First time on an e-bike although road bikes Will do just fine on this beautifully maintained flat trail. We rode from Johnson to the Morrisville end and back. The temperature was in the upper 80s but the ride was still perfectly comfortable.It is a very Straight trail but the landscape varies enough to keep it interesting.
Well maintained. Great signage. Beautiful area. Thanks!
Rode with my wife and 1-year-old in between showers today, from Morrisville. The trail was in excellent shape, and passes through peaceful terrain. My son enjoyed seeing the dairy cows along the trail.
We want to give a shout out to Morrisville. This little village has all kinds of public art, and most of the downtown businesses have beautiful flowers on the street. We had lunch at Black Cap Coffee and Beer. Great sandwiches and coffee, with a wide variety of wares and art by local artists and artisans. Just the type of local business we love to find when we're out and about enjoying the trails.
On June 1, 2021, we rode our electric bikes from Cambridge to Morrisville, had lunch at Thompson's Flour Shop, and rode back to Cambridge. This is a wonderful trail, with varying terrain, ranging from open farmland to forested sections. The trail runs alongside the Lamoille River most of the way, and if I had had my fly rod with me I would been tempted to test the waters at several points along the trail. Morrisville is a neat little town with a surprisingly large number of restaurants and cafes. The trail is in excellent condition. It crosses Route 15 once or twice, as well as several minor roads, but there was traffic only on 15. On our next trip we'll get off the trail and explore Johnson and Hyde Park.
From Morrisville heading to Cambridge trail is wonderful. . . Morrisville heading South you can go 5.5 miles but it really is not bike ready. . . VERY rough.
Rode from Morrisville to Cambridge Junction and back. Enjoyable ride that follows the river and meanders through corn and forests. Be sure to check out the falls. Stopped at Lost Nation Brewery at the end to rehydrate¿¿
Rode East to West trail is mostly cinder and well maintained crossing Route 2 in West Danville is dangerous VT drivers do not give way, Joe's Pond is a great place for a dip and a meal, next time I will end there for both.
I rode most of the western half of the trail and found it to be enjoyable. On the plus side, it is scenic, wide enough in most spots to allow riders in both directions, not overly crowded, very manageable hills, and mostly well marked. On the negative side, the gravel is looser than many trails I’ve been on, there are no benches to sit and take a break, and surprisingly, the trail is more wide open than I anticipated. It was up around 90 the day I rode it and it would have been uncomfortable if it wasn’t overcast. And being more open, there wasn’t as much wind protection as found in more forested trails. But overall, it is an enjoyable trail.
I recently rode the eastern section, starting in St. Johnsbury, riding to Danville, then back to St. Johnsbury. This is definitely the direction to go! It is gradually uphill, at railroad grade, for the 13 miles to Danville. You then have an easy 13 mile ride back, coasting or barely pedaling all the way! Most of the trail was shaded before noon. It is one of the best maintained trails I have been on, and I have ridden dozens of them throughout the U.S. There are several cuts through rocks where the temperature drops, welcome on a summer day! Crossing Peacham Road, there is a beautiful view of the mountains to the east. Even though I live an hour and a half away, I will definitely return to ride this trail again!
Probably my favorite non-paved trail. The eastern section has a steady climb going all the way through, nothing hideous but you definitely maintain awareness of it. Also even by rail trail standards it does to feel a bit too straight and green-tunnelish.
The western section is far more scenic with a better variety of climbs and drops. Looking forward to watching the development of this trail. Don't pay too much attention to Google Maps as I think it's a bit behind on what's currently complete.
I'll agree with other reviewers who feel that there are minimal amenities on the trail itself, but there are a few options for places to eat and other points of interest not too far off of it. One of my favorites are the painted silos in Jeffersonville (you can also find a convenience store nearby if you need one).
The Lamoille Valley Railtrail is a wonderful trail. I ride this trail a lot, usually once a week in the summer. I ride the two main sections ST J to West Danville and Morrisville to Cambridge Junction, both about 17 miles long.
There's some good news, this new section is just 1.5 miles long, stretching from the Mississiquoi Rail Trail intersection to Bridge Street in Sheldon, but this short section contains the longest original railroad bridge with great new decking on it. Best for now to ride this section in conjunction with a Mississiquoi trail ride for now.
Hopefully the complete 93 mile Lamoille Valley Railtrail will be totally completed in a few years, along with the existing 26 mile Mississiquoi RT, northern Vermont will offer some great rail-trails!
I love the rail trail. I walk 4 miles almost every day. But this year the trail is not being maintained as well as previous years. I walk mainly between mile marker 56 & 58. It has been mowed only once this year and it was a pretty bad job. Right now there is rag weed, Golden rod, queens lace and other weeds that cause people with allergies to flare up over 2 feet high. I actually have a terrible case of vertigo that my doctors feel has been caused by allergies. The mowing machine actually leaves a wide patch of unmowed area that I assume is a result of a damaged blade. This years maintenance has been a disappointment.
We walked from Berts Boats up to the Back inTime antique store. It was six miles to and from.
My wife and I went from St. J to West Danville and back, using most of a somewhat cool late June afternoon/early evening to do so.
For nature, the many bedrock cuts are now beautiful niches, typically with an abundance of ferns. The wetlands, however, at the West Danville terminal were the highlight of the trip. Look for the "swamp camp".
A reviewer expressed concern about maintenance. I am happy to report the vegetation neatly trimmed on the sides with no grass encroachment on the trail. The gravel surface is in excellent shape.
The views are good for a rail trail, with a rather large opening to the south in Danville. Missing a star due to the somewhat scary route 2 crossings and the somewhat scarce latrines or formal rest/picnic areas. Only 2 are marked on the official map available at lvrt.org.
A gentle but consistent railroad grade makes for good exercise on the outbound trip, and easy downhill on the way back. Excellent surfacing and trail maintenance. Shaded enough to do at noon on a hot day, but with open stretches where more things can be seen besides trailside flora. Beautiful 19th c. deep rock cuts and 21st c. tunnels under highways are like going into air conditioning!
There are two great geocache series on the east end of the tail. Beginning near Joe's Pond and ending near GoodFella's Restaurant is the Vermont Star with 50 caches. Picking up there is the Maple Leaf which continues on to St. Jay with 40 caches. To obtain the correct coordinates of the caches you must answer questions about VT and maple sugaring. When we did the star, we did it in two segments and I rode back on the slightly uphill trail with no problems to get the truck. When we did the leaf, we left one vehicle in St. Jay so as not to have to ride back. Bodda rides an older, single-speed tricycle and had no problems on the trail. Though we live in Morrisville, we have only tried one short segment of the trail there but have heard great things about it and want to try it soon. It is hard to imagine the work that went into cutting through the ledges and filling the gullies. When you drive routes 15 and 2, it's hard to believe how hilly they are but just a short distance away is the almost level rail trail. Gramp
I rode Cambridge Jct to Hyde Park & return one day, then Morrisville to Hyde Park another. The parking area in Cambridge Jct is very nice. There's a nice shelter with portapotty and even a train theme picnic area adjacent. Smuggler's Notch Ski Area has done a lot to improve this spot this summer (carpenters were working on the train the day I was there).
The trail from there to Johnson is pretty much level, with a few small/short grades, the trail is crushed granite hard-pack. The town road crews maintain the trails in their municipality, and some cut the brush more often. Sometimes the grass & weeds will whack your shins as you ride, but the tree limbs had been kept off the trail. You ride along the river, through fields of fodder and forested areas.
Johnson has a beautiful kiosk with water and a portapotty, and downtown is just a half mile away, down Depot St. From there to Hyde Park is more fields, forests, river and a beautiful through truss bridge.
Hyde Park to Morrisville is mainly uphill. If you go east to west it's a leisurely ride. This section is mainly wooded, with high fills down to the river in places. The Lamoille River is always nearby. You also cross quite a few roads, and the through truss bridge in Morrisville.
Just west of Morrisville village you pass right behind the Lost Nation brewery, and many trail users stop to sample their creations. The depot in Morrisville is a restaurant as well. And about 1/4 mile south of the depot is a bike shop if you need any supplies. Parking in Morrisville is adjacent to the depot.
I went a short distance east of Morrisville, even down the unimproved section. Not sure how far you can go, but I do know there are a couple of bridges removed. The trail is railroad ballast, with tall grass/weeds.
This is a wonderful downhill trail especially if your wife will drive shuttle. I was able to do much of it in higher gears. Joes Pond is a hydro project and it is interesting to see the height of the dam in the little town of West Danbury. Great old country store across the road from the ample parking area for the trail in town. Youker
As you can see from other reviews this section is now finished and open. It is a great ride and used a lot. On the east it starts just east of Morrisville at the crossing of Rt. 15A. It ends to the west at a parking area and rest room at Poland Bridge just off Rt. 15 at Cambridge Junction 16.9 miles distant. There it joins the mile and a half long Greenway Trail to Jefferson which is not as developed as the LVTR. (grass grows in the trail) There is an excellent brochure and map available at local stores. Youker
We did this ride on a beautiful sunny Saturday in August, and saw almost no one on the trail. It is mostly shaded, which was welcome on a warm sunny day. Not much in the way of views, but very nice anyway. There is a mild but steady uphill grade almost all of the way from St. J to Danville, so you have to work a little, but that makes the ride back very pleasant...and much quicker. A great addition to the Northeast Kingdom.
My wife and I ventured on this trail the 4th. of July weekend 2016.We were somewhat disappointed in the following on this trail since there was a lot of good said in the media during the recent opening of this stretch. We are experienced trail riders and started in Morrisville towards Cambridge Junction. Approx.16 miles in either direction. The surface was great and rideable along with a lot of scenic river and mountain views. Unfurtunatly there were no benches to pull over and rest on the entire trail section. It also bypasses the Town of Johnson completely without signage.
Some of the local merchants could benefit greatly with selling some cold drinks, a sandwich or even a creamee to the trail rider.
The only stop with that one can make is on the Morrisville side at the Lost Nation Brewing Co. which is next to the trail.
Certain sections need the side of the trail mowed of unruly weeds that have taken over the trail already in a short period of time.The weeds are so overgrown that the travel lane is down to one narrow path stopping oncoming riders. This trail can be a great one with a little brushhog maintenance and some benches and signage.
Rode trail from Morrisville to Cambridge Junction. 16.5 miles. Surface is good. Unfortunately there is no place to rest on a bench or other surface. There's also no place to stop for a beverage or refill a water bottle. Considering this trail opened up just recently
Ride Date: April 21, 2016
Section Distance (one-way): 18 miles
Starting Point: Route 15A, east of Morrisville, VT
Ending Point: Cambridge Junction, VT
What I wound up riding today: 36.5 miles
Surface Type: hard-packed dirt/crushed stone, even road bikes could navigate most of it
Elevation: Overall decrease from Morrisville to Cambridge (about 250 - 300 feet)
Notes: Only 2 busy grade crossings, Route 100 in Morristown & SR 15 between Cambridge & Johnson
Other Info: Very few parking options at Route 15A trailhead, best to park in downtown Morrisville at Oxbow Park
The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) will someday stretch 93 miles across northern Vermont. Currently there is about 35 miles of nicely built hard-pack rail trail in 3 different sections. In 2015 I reviewed the St Johnsbury to West Danville section. But today Sue and I rode the newly opened section which begins at State Route 15A in Morrisville, passing through downtown Morrisville, skirting downtown Johnson on it's way to Cambridge Junction and Cambridge Greenway.
Once again, the trail is all new and sports a very nice hard-pack surface, even road bikes (with the exception of the super-narrow tires) would be fine on 99% of this trail. This trail section also features some really nice views of the Lamoille River, farmlands and mountains. (The aforementioned St Johnsbury to West Danville section tends to be more wooded, this Morrisville to Cambridge is much more open).
The trail section has an overall downhill grade from Morrisville to Cambridge, but the elevation change between the two end points is only about 275 feet or so over 18 miles.
The towns of Morrisville and Johnson offer several food/shopping options. The town of Johnson is about 1/2 mile off-trail (access road from Johnson is Railroad Street).
The LVRT organization has done a great job on this trail so far. Even though the completion of the 93 miles are years away, what they have done so far is very nice and this is a very enjoyable ride/walk for all ages.
My full review at:
My wife and I rode this trail in August from St Johnsbury to Joe's Pond. Riding the trail in this direction is all up hill for the 17 miles with one or two short level or down hill sections. That made the return trip very easy. Trail is in excellent condition with most of it in wooded or shaded areas. We'll consider riding it again next year when we're back in New England.
My wife and I rode the trail in August. We didn't know the grade at the time, but we're glad we started in St Johnsbury and did the up hill direction first. The grade is the only negative. Trail surface was good and the scenery nice. Didn't see many people but we were on the trail in the middle of the week. We'll likely to do it again when we're back in the area next summer. Joe's Pond makes for a nice stop/turn around point.
The trail is now open from St. Johnsbury to the north end of Joe's Pond in Danville.
- The trail is not too busy, although I suspect it will become more popular as word gets out.
- The bridges, signage, and other infrastructure are all great.
- Scenery is wooded. No breathtaking views, but no bad views.
- Grass is coming up here and there. I am concerned at how the trail will look as time goes on.
Make of it what you will:
- The entire run from St. Johnsbury to Joe's Pond is uphill. There are NO breaks! While it's just a railroad grade, I am surprised that nobody has given any sort of warning about this. I saw some people struggling.
The bottom line is that this is a great start, but I think that the trail will appeal to a lot more people if they can build the next phase so that there will be more trail available that is level.
I've been dreaming about this trail for years now. Finally a major section is ready to ride. I rode this from the eastern trail head in Saint Johnsbury to the northwest end of Joe's Pond, where it turns to ballast.
The trail itself is in very nice shape, smooth and wide. The culvert (tunnel) under US 5 is lit, with motion sensor lighting. This would be a good idea under I 89 as well.
The views are mostly woods until you ascend he hill that separates the beginning and the end. The sounds of US 2 drift in through the trees occasionally, but it is a fairly quiet trail. In Danville, the land opens up a bit, with some nice views to the east.
The end of the trail at Joe's Pond, surrounded by wetlands north of the pond, is a perfect place to rest and observe wildlife. Prime area for herons. I saw a Kingfisher.
There are a few at grade crossings, three of which cross US 2, which can be busy.
For a rail trail, there is a lot of climbing. Reminded me of the Great Allegheny Passage west of Cumberland MD. From around mile 2 to mile 7, it is not steep, but a steady climb. My topo maps tell me I climbed over 1000 feet.
It's a great trail. Can't wait until it's finished. Thanks to the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers for getting this done. More, please.
even though the LVRT is not officially open, I suspect it will be official within the next week or so (today is 8/27/2015). I just did the whole 16.2 mile trail from St J to the end of the completed trail past West Danville's Joe pond out and back for a great 32+ mile ride.the trail is in great shape, all the signs are up, even the brand new brochures are available in both St J & Danville. when I returned back to the St Johnsbury trailhead at about 5pm, the parking lot was totally full! and people were on every mile of the trail. I'm guessing Labor Day weekend will make it official (just guessing). other than a couple of railings on some very short culvert crossings, and maybe some painted crosswalks where the trail crossed a road, is looking great and riding great! according to mapmyride app, there is an elevation gain of 1,000 feet from St J to West Danville.once traillink allows reviews on the web based page, I'll post a longer review, they only allow reviews on the mobile site for "project" trail trails, cmon traillink, this is an active trail!
First things first. The LVRT is officially not open. Parts of it do exist and are wonderful to ride if you are lucky enough to figure out where to access them.
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