Vermont Rail Trails


How to Use The Rail Trails

Vermont state-owned rail trails are a public resource. Keeping each other safe is everyone’s responsibility. Trail users should respect all landowners and private property along the trail. Respect for the adjacent landowners includes accessing the trail only from these designated access points and not along private driveways, farm crossings, or other trail crossings that do not otherwise connect to public facilities. Camping on the trail right of way or at trailheads is prohibited. Interested in overnight parking for a longer trip? Contact the Rail Trails Program Manager.

Two individuals walking on a rail trail - video thumbnail.

Vermont Rail Trail Etiquette

Vermont Rail Trail Etiquette in Winter

Winter Trail Etiquette


Quick information on rail trails

The trail has a 10-foot-wide firm compacted crushed stone surface with 2-foot grass shoulders and wheelchair-accessible grades. The trail is open year-round to non-motorized uses.

In the warmer months, the trail can be utilized for walking, jogging, hiking, cycling, and horseback riding. Local snowmobile and trail clubs maintain and groom the trails through winter, allowing for snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, fat tire biking, snowmobiling, and dog sledding.

Snowmobiles on Lamoille Vallery Rail Trail in Vermont winter.

Be Prepared

Rail Trail User Safety 101

  • You are responsible for yourself so be prepared!
  • Your trip on the rail trail begins before you reach the trail. Tell someone where you are going, your route, and when you will return.
  • Check the weather and plan your essential gear (i.e. clothing, equipment, water, food, light, and first aid) based on the forecast and the distance you plan to go.
  • Check your cell coverage on your planned route. Most of the Vermont Rail Trails have excellent cell coverage, but some areas do not.
  • On the trail with a group? Stick together! When you start as a group, end as a group. Pace your group to speed of the slowest user.
  • Observe your surroundings! Even if you are headed out for just an hour, an injury, severe weather, and equipment failure could leave you stranded.
  • Be prepared to turn back. Weather can change quickly. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your time on the trial. Know your limitations and when to postpone. The trail will be there another day.
  • Calling for assistance. If you become stranded and cannot walk or ride back out yourself, call for assistance. If you don’t have cell coverage, ask another trail user to help you make a call. Make sure you know your location details (i.e. mile markers or last road crossing). Stay comfortable and hydrated while you wait. Make sure you are in a visible location. If calling for assistance you should:
    • Provide the trail user’s name, home address, current location, and call back phone number. You should also include the trail user’s age, gender, size, a description of clothing they are wearing, and gear/equipment.
    • Note any pertinent medical information.
    • Explain what happened, when it happened, and where it happened. Also include where the person’s vehicle is located as well as a full description of it (make, model, year, license plate).
    • A description of their last know locations weather, conditions, and trail information.

Adopted from the Hike Safe Green Mountains VT Program

The Basics

Rules of the Trail

All rail trails operate under the same basic rules, to ensure all users are safe. Following these guidelines make the trails safe and accessible for everyone.

  • Unauthorized motorized vehicles prohibited.
  • Obey all traffic signs.
  • Camping on the trail, in the trail right of way, or at trailheads is prohibited.
  • Overnight parking at trailheads with AOT’s permission.
  • Discharging firearms from or across the trail is strictly prohibited.
  • Smoking, alcoholic beverages, and illegal drugs are not permitted on the rail trail right of way.
  • Avoid disturbing natural features.
  • Pet owners must have control of their animals at all times. Pick up and carry out your pet’s waste.
  • No littering.
  • Travel at safe speeds: 35 mph rural (required) and 15 mph village (recommend) speed limits for snowmobiles.
  • Horses can defecate while motoring down the trail. This means that their riders, who are facing the other end of the horse, will not always know when they do it. Because horses don’t have rear view mirrors, it is unfair to expect their riders to know every time and dismount to clear it off the trail. It is reasonable to expect horse owners to clean up after their charges in the trail heads, parking lots and other gathering areas where the riders are not moving forward. Horse manure breaks down very quickly and repeated studies have shown that it is not hazardous to humans or other wildlife.

Clear Communication is key

Pass & Yield Guidelines

  • Stay to the right of the trail except when passing.
  • Yield to the slowest users, and yield to livestock and other animals.
  • In the winter, yield to snow machines.
  • In other seasons, yield to horses. 

Give a clear warning and SLOW DOWN before passing other trail users. All users should operate at a reasonable speed and should slow down when engaging in passing maneuvers, especially when passing other use types.

Vermont Rail Trails*** April 11, 2023