Toonerville Rail-Trail

Vermont

Toonerville Rail-Trail Facts

States: Vermont
Counties: Windsor
Length: 3.1 miles
Trail end points: Clinton St. and Charlestown Rd. at Connecticut River Rd. (Springfield)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6031957
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Toonerville Rail-Trail Description

The Toonerville Rail-Trail (a.k.a. Springfield Greenway) spans 3 meticulously maintained miles from the downtown business district of Springfield southeast to the western bank of the Connecticut River at the Vermont–New Hampshire border. The Springfield Terminal Railway once operated an electric rail line connecting Springfield to Charlestown, New Hampshire, across the state boarder. The trolley was affectionately nicknamed the "Toonerville Trolley" after a popular cartoon strip that ran until 1947. Established in the 1890s, it was Vermont's longest surviving passenger trolley service.

The paved trail begins at the Robert B. Jones Industrial Center, just east of downtown. Starting your trip here is a breeze: there's plenty of parking, the trailhead is easy to find and the first 2 miles of the trail follow a gentle downhill grade along the Black River. A tributary of the Connecticut, the Black River powered mills in the 18th and 19th centuries, although today you're more likely to spot a kingfisher or blue heron than evidence of the mills.

At mile 1.5 the trail spans the Black River by way of a rustic former trolley bridge. Before crossing, venture off-trail for a visit to the 1795 Eureka Schoolhouse. It is the state's oldest one-room school. In the 1960s, crews moved the building to its present location and restored it. Open from May to October, it now serves as a tourist information center.

Beyond the bridge the trail takes a short detour on quiet Paddock Road before rejoining the corridor and passing beneath US 11. The Toonerville Rail-Trail continues for another 0.5 mile before reaching a parking area for Hoyt's Landing at the confluence of the rivers, a popular spot for fishing, swimming and canoeing. Beyond the landing, the trail crosses beneath US 11 once more, ending 0.3 mile later at US Route 5.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Springfield trailhead, take Interstate 91 to Exit 7 and follow US 11 north toward Springfield for approximately 2.5 miles. Watch for the Robert B. Jones Industrial Center on the right. There is ample parking here.

To reach the Hoyt's Landing trailhead from I-91, take Exit 7 and follow US 11 toward Charlestown, News Hampshire. Hoyt's Landing, and trail parking, is on the right.

Toonerville Rail-Trail Reviews

My wife and 2 kids (7 and 10) and I were here on a Sunday afternoon. We started at the end of the trail near Rt 91. We were the only ones there. We parked in the trail parking lot and headed toward Springfield. The trail starts as a dead end street, at the end of the street it turns to a paved bike path. The start of the path is very nice, after passing by a gas station and a busy road crossing and parking lot, it parallels a river for about 1/4 mile. The trail ends and the route follows a quiet country road for another 1/2 mile before coming to an old iron road bridge that crosses the river. There's a small park just over the bridge that we stopped at for a break. After that, the "bike trail" just parallels route 11 until the outskirts of Springfield. It looks just like a pavement sidewalk next to a busy road, for the next 2 plus miles until it ends in a run down part of the edge of town. Overall not much scenery after mile one, and not much fun.

Directions to the Hoyt's Landing traihead are poor. Should say, "small sign on the Vermont side, just before you cross the Connecticut River into New Hampshire."
This trail is nicely paved, but too industrial and too many cars for our taste. Vermont is late to the casual biking game and doesn't seem to place much if any emphasis on it. Happily, New Hampshire is just the opposite (figuratively and literally.) Many fine trails in New Hampshire. Vermont: Get with It.

This is a very nice walk for getting back in shape. I walked the full length and enjoyed seeing one small garter snake, a bluejay, hawk, crows and many smaller birds. There were so very many species of wild flowers on the trail today. Even wild grapes. Numerous types of trees too.
People use this for biking, walking, pushing baby strollers, walking dogs, skating. No 4 wheelers allowed. Slight incline to go under bridge. There are about 4 resting benches. Common to see older couples out using this trail too. The trail is on pavement. The trail is 3 miles end to end. ~~Mary

Accordion

Pleasant ride. Not too difficult, some of the inclines were a little tough for those of us that are out of shape or have joint issues! Rode from Hoyt's Landing to Springfield then on into downtown Springfield. As a previous reviewer noted, the ride into downtown is on the road. The bike lane is very narrow and mined with storm drains every 50'. The brush along the path needs trimmed in a couple of areas, making a bit of a slalom course. Several benches along the path overlooking the river. Overall a nice short path.

At a little over three miles, the Toonerville Trail is not the longest rail trail I've pedaled, but it's pretty. I was on a mountain-biking two day trip, Fort Hill Branch Trail the first day and Sugar River Trail the second day, and I took the Toonerville Trail as a little road-biking change-of-pace in between. I joined the trail at the parking area on Rte 11/5 at Young's Road, not far from the Connecticut River. I rode down to the end of the trail, which is apparently near downtown Springfield, though I did not explore past the end of the trail, opting to ride straight back. It was a lovely ride. The trail does run alongside Rte 11 for much of its length, but I was only briefly bothered by traffic noise, despite riding around 6 pm on a weeknight. There is a beautiful flower garden near the trestle, now for cars, on Paddock Road. In mid-July, the garden was in bloom and looking radiant. Kudos to the Springfield Garden Club. On my way back, I road beyond my parking area and down to the very end of the trail at the Connecticut River and then over to Hoyt's Landing for some beautiful views of the confluence of the Black and Connecticut Rivers and the bridge that crosses over into New Hampshire. Next time, I will park and start my ride there at Hoyt's Landing. I ended up staying the night at the Holiday Inn Express just off the trail, a very pleasant hotel.

Though this trail runs along the Black River, for most of the ride the other side of the trail is bordered by a busy, 4-lane highway. When you get to the western end (about 3 miles from the eastern start), you are faced with either heading back, or riding uphill on the same busy road or on narrow, bumpy sidewalks to the tired center of Springfield, VT.

Consider riding the trail if you're in the neighborhood, but don't make the mistake of going out of your way to ride it, as my wife and i did.

I would like too see the sides mowed, because of ticks and etc.

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