Lamoille Valley Rail Trail

A cyclist on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, which when complete will stretch from St. Johnsbury in the Northeast Kingdom to Swanton on Lake Champlain.

The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail offers leaf peepers a whole new way to take in fall foliage — at a slow pace.

If you’re walking or bicycling, it’s easy to slow down or stop when you reach an amazing vista, and you have plenty of time to take it all in.

Second, the trail takes you right into the woods, then out again. You can smell fall in the air. Reach out and touch a flaming-orange leaf and take a closer look.

Third, it’s flat. It’s an easy outing because the trail was once a railroad line, and steep grades are a no-no for trains.

The former rail line follows the route of the old Lamoille Valley Rail Road, which shut down in 1994. The 17.42-mile section of trail in Lamoille County runs from Tenney Bridge in Morrisville through Hyde Park and Johnson to Cambridge Junction. To the east, a 15-mile section is open between Danville and St. Johnsbury. Eventually, the trail will stretch 93 miles across the top of Vermont, from St. Johnsbury to Swanton.

Walking or biking the Lamoille County section of the trail takes travelers through forests, open fields, farmland hills and wetlands. The trip has stunning views of the Lamoille Valley, and opens up snapshots of the Lamoille River, Elmore Mountain and the Green Mountains that weren’t available before. More: lvrt.org.

Other bike path adventures

Stowe Rec Path: The nationally recognized 5.3-mile Stowe Recreation Path is a walking, biking and hiking greenway that starts in the village behind the Stowe Community Church. While never far from civilization, the path offers scenic views of the West Branch River and Mt. Mansfield. Other access points are on Weeks Hill Road, Luce Hill Road, on the Mountain Road across from Well Heeled, and at the path’s end on Brook Road. More: stowerec.org.

Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail: The 26-mile trail also follow the route of an old rail line, so it’s mostly flat and goes from St. Albans to Richford. “The Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail takes you into the heart of Northern Vermont’s agricultural open lands, wandering through farms, forests, fields and wetlands,” according a website devoted to the trail. More: mvrailtrail.org.

Burlington Bike Path: A 7.6 mile route that follows the shoreline of Lake Champlain and which links to the 4-mile Colchester Bike Path. It’s all part of the longer Island Line Trial. More: enjoyburlington.com/place/burlington-greenway.

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