Waterfront Bike Path is a popular attraction for outdoor lovers. It’s a showcase for Lake Champlain providing a scenic passage for viewing the lake. It provides recreation while encouraging personal fitness.
It is one of Burlington Vermont’s many bike paths. The asphalt surface trail is rated easy in difficulty. It travels north 7.5 miles from its southern end at Oakledge Park in Burlington. The northern end at the bridge over Winooski River connects with Colchester Bike Path.
The trail passes six major waterfront parks along its route. The bike path is estimated to be used by 150,000 bicyclists, walkers, joggers and in-line skaters annually. A free shuttle links the bike path with downtown Burlington and the University of Vermont.
The railroad bed was originally used for the Rutland and Burlington Railroad. It was chartered in 1843 as Rutland Railroad. The railroad expanded until after World War II. Many branches were closed in 1953 resulting in an employee strike. This caused the end of passenger service, and then in 1963 the railroad declared bankruptcy.
Conversion of the railroad bed from rails to trails began in 1973, with completion in 1986 through State and Federal funding. The rail to trails process was one of the earliest conversions in New England. It has aged since it was completed 25 years ago, not meeting today’s standards. It is currently in need of repair and restoration.
Burlington was founded on the banks of Lake Champlain. Burlington is an important industrial, retail and educational center in the state with a population of 42,417. It’s the end of a scenic area with route 7 running north to Burlington and US 95 heading west from White River Junction.
Colchester is a northern suburb of Burlington with a population of 17,067. It’s the states fourth largest municipality, named for the Earl of Colchester in 1763. The lakeshore community is a popular summer destination for vacationers.
Lake Champlain is up to 12 miles long stretching southward from Canada for 120 miles. The lake is an important component allowing large ships to navigate between New York City and Montreal with the Great Lakes. Lake Champlain is located between New York and Vermont. Two third of the lake lies in Vermont with the remainder in New York.
Lake Champlain Ferries provide a link between the two states. A ferry departs Burlington arriving at Port Kent NY, a second from Charlotte VT, and a third from Grand Isle VT. Schedules and charges vary with each ferry service.
Burlington Vermont is a 6 hour drive of 315 miles from Rochester NY. Drive east on I-90 to Rome NY exiting on route 8 north to US 87 north. At Port Kent ride the ferry to Burlington.
Here is a visitor’s impression of the trail:
“The Burlington Bike Path is a Crown Jewel of the city”.