Named after the railroad, the Island Line Trail offers some rather unique features. Let’s start with the basics. The trail starts at Oakledge Park in Burlington, VT. It runs about 14 miles to South Hero Island in Lake Champlain. To reach the island, the railroad built a causeway from the lake shore to the island. This is one of the unique features of the trail, a 3-mile causeway to the island. Near the island the railroad left a 200-foot gap in the causeway to allow the passage of boats. This was crossed using a swing bridge. The bridge no longer exists. The gap is now crossed by trail users by way of a ferry. The ferry, called Local Motion is the second unique feature of the trail.
The trail is easily accessed from downtown Burlington. I started at King St in downtown Burlington. I rode on a fall weekend and found it busy with walkers, runners, and cyclists. The urban feel gradually changed to back yards then started to have a more natural feel. Several public parks were located adjacent to the trail including two dog parks and one skate park. There were nice views of the lake and one portion was a walkway with a concrete deck. This half mile walkway connected the Burlington Bikeway to the Colchester Causeway to create the present trail. The walkway spans the Delta Park flood plain. The trail surface varied with portions paved asphalt and other sections crushed stone. Overall, it was a smooth surface. I was on a hybrid but a road bike should be ok also. There was one area where the trail was on residential streets for a few blocks, but it was very quiet. I didn’t see a single car. If you ride a trike, I didn’t notice a any bollards.
The highlight was the causeway with water just a few feet away on both sides. I saw herons and egrets in the water near Law Island. Near the end of the causeway is the bike ferry that provides another experience. You are invited (but not pressured) to make a donation if you ride, $10 is suggested for a round trip. If you plan on traveling to ride the trail, be sure to check the ferry schedule at the link below before you come. Service is weekends only in spring and fall.
I was short on time after stopping to assist a novice cyclist with a flat, so I came back after riding the ferry. I did not get to South Hero. I have no insight into local dining and randomly choose Vermont Pub and Brewery for lunch located at College and St Paul streets. Food and service was very good. They also had a nice area for outdoor dining.
Note: Although I did not have any problems I have seen media reports the there is a high number of bike thefts in Burlington.
More information about the trail is posted by American Trails
For more information about the ferry including their schedule of operations visit: Local Motion
Video of my bike ride is on my YouTube Channel: Mark's Bike Tock