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Traveling the Rail Trail

Safety First - Yours and Ours!

Whether you walk, ski, or ride, a trip on the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail takes you into the heart of Northern Vermont’s agricultural open lands. The Trail wanders through the farms, forests, fields, and wetlands of Franklin County at a railroad’s pace – slow, steady grades with sweeping bends. For the full length of the Trail, you’ll see the postcard images of Vermont you’ve grown to love. You’ll also see the families and working landscapes that created and support this spectacular scenery. Please respect the privacy and property of the Trail’s neighbors at all times and keep the Trail free of trash and debris.

The Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail is a public resource. Keeping each other safe is everyone’s responsibility. Good rules of thumb include yielding to the slowest user and yielding to livestock and other animals.

Agricultural crossings are an historic part of the Trail’s rural experience – watch your step or walk your bicycle at these crossings to avoid mud splatters.

Horses are permitted on the Trail but must travel near the shoulder whenever possible. Horse and pet owners should remove animal waste from the trail surface. Pet owners must have control of their animals at all times.

Vital Trail Facts

Overall Length: 26.4 Miles

Allowed Uses: For safety and maintenance reasons, only non-motorized uses are permitted with the exception of snowmobiles, motorized wheelchairs, and maintenance vehicles. Motorbikes, ATV’s and ORV’s are not permitted on the trail. Vermont law prohibits the operation of snowmobiles on streets and highways.

Grade: 3% maximum grade. Town road crossings may be greater. Steep side slopes (stay on trail).

Trail Width: 10 foot trail surface

Surface Type: Crushed stone with stone dust for the majority of the trail. 1/3 mile asphalt pavement in Enosburg Falls. Asphalt pavement at most agricultural crossings.

Speed Limit: 35 mph in rural areas. 15 mph in village areas.

End Points: St. Albans & Richford

Reporting Problems: To report problems along the trail (downed trees, washouts, etc.), call the Vermont Agency of Transportation District 8 at (802) 524-5926. If you observe violations of the law while on the trail, we urge you to report them to the Vermont State Police by calling (802) 524-5993.

Guidelines to Bicycle By

A variety of warm-weather users travel the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail. They walk, run, ride horses, bicycle, observe wildlife, exercise, and just visit. Cyclists sharing the path with other users may have to slow down or stop. Despite the pleasant setting, bicycle collisions can happen on paths just as they do on streets. Bicycles are considered vehicles by Vermont law and must follow traffic laws. Ride in a safe and controlled manner. You are ultimately responsible for operating your bicycle under all conditions. Below are guidelines to cycling the trail:


Special Use Permit

The Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail can be a great place for events of all types. Whether it is a 5K, bike-a-thon, dogsled race, or season-long research project- all events need to obtain a no-cost Special Use Permit (SUP). The SUP is an agreement between the applicant and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (the owner and manager of the rail line). The permit is a way for us to make sure that we know when an event is being held on the trail, that it doesn't overlap with other events or maintenance activities, and to combat any adverse impacts from an event. 


Events may include, but are not limited to: races, competitive events, fundraising events, research projects, trail monitoring projects, emergency services training events, and other special event group activities that may interrupt the normal use of the Vermont State Rail Trails and/or cause significant adverse impacts to the natural, cultural, and experiential resources.  To prevent those interruptions and adverse impacts, permitting of such events is at the sole discretion of the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans). An event will require a permit if it meets any one of these conditions:

  • The event is publicized ahead of time.

  • Participants are charged a fee, or the event is a fundraiser.

  • The event makes any temporary alterations to the trail.

  • The event may conflict with or obstruct other users.

  • The event size exceeds 15 people.

  • The event includes research activities and/or demonstration projects.

For more information and/or to download a copy of the State Rail Trail Special Use Permit Guidance and Application click here, fill it out completely, and submit it to Jackie Cassino, VTrans State Rail Trails Program Manager.  Once received, it will be reviewed, and if approved, a permit will be issues.  Please contact VTrans State Rail Trail Program Manager with any questions you have regarding the permit process.

Trail Users Pledge

I will remember that the land I am traveling on is not mine, but borrowed from future generations. The trail is a neighbor to many homes and businesses. I will respect their privacy, as I would expect others to respect mine.

I understand that I am not the only guest to share this great outdoors. There are others from all walks of life who seek the same privilege of using this land just like me. I will also respect the wild creatures who were here long before me.

I will take time to slow my journey, if only to experience the beauty of the season and to enjoy this trail I love. I will remember the Golden Rule: Keeping each other safe is everyone’s responsibility.

I will leave no blight of litter or abuse on this gift of freedom from life’s often sameness.

Trail use is a privilege, not a right. Remember, the key to the future of trails in Vermont is permission from a landowner.

Source: Adapted from Snowmobiler’s Pledge, Safe Riders™ Campaign

Trail Management

State Owned Trail

The Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail is owned by the State of Vermont and maintained by the Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, and countless volunteers. The Northwest Vermont Rail Trail Council advises the State on management and use issues.

Reporting Problems

Assist with maintaining the Vermont State Rail Trails by reporting any hazards, maintenance needs, or issues with trail etiquette observed during your outing. To report on these issues click here.

If you observe violations of the law while on the trail, we urge you to report them to the Vermont State Police by calling (802) 524-5993.

Send Us Your Comments

We would love to hear about your Rail Trail experiences and would welcome any suggestions.

Please e-mail your comments to Amy Adams.


Users assume all risks, inherent and not inherent, in the use of this Guide. The Vermont Agency of Transportation, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Northwest Regional Planning Commission, its member municipalities, Northwest Vermont Rail Trail Council, and other affiliated organizations and individuals disclaim any and all liability on their part for damages or injuries to persons or property should they occur.

Off-trail bicycle loops are chosen, designated and/or signed because: they are popular, are preferred, provide continuous routes to destinations, are lightly traveled, are scenic, have more room for cars and bikes, or possess a combination of these attributes. No suggestion is given that these routes are safer than other roadways. VAST snowmobile trail locations may change. Call VAST for current information at (802) 229-0005.

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