Vermont Rail Trails

Snowmobiling

A person riding a snowmobile

Snowmobiling on the Vermont Rail Trails

Snowmobiling is a winter favorite in Vermont, especially on Vermont’s Rail Trails. Snowmobiling is permitted on all four state-owned and maintained Rail Trails. Rail Trails are groomed for winter use by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers or VAST (Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail, Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail), and the Memphremagog Trails Group (Beebe Spur Rail Trail). Please familiarize yourself with the rules and etiquette for winter recreation before enjoying the trails. Grab your gear and discover the winter scenery and local flavor of the small towns of Vermont.

Snowmobiles on Lamoille Vallery Rail Trail in Vermont winter.

What is a Rail Trail?

Rail trails are multi-purpose, public paths created from former railroad corridors. Flat or following a gentle grade, they traverse Vermont’s downtowns, villages, and rural countryside. Ideal for bicycling, walking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, equestrian, and wheelchair use, rail trails are extremely popular for recreation and transportation. Since the 1960s, more than 26,000 miles of rail trails have been created across the United States.

A person riding a snowmobile

How Do I Find a Rail Trail to Ride?

The snowmobile season runs from December 16th to April 15th, when there is enough snow. Most of the rail trails are considered part of the VAST snowmobile trail system, and when conditions allow, the trails are groomed by local snowmobile clubs. Riding your snowmobile in Vermont means joining a club and registering your sled with VAST. Questions about current conditions and trail grooming? Refer to the VAST snowmobile trail system page during the season for details.

Before your ride, be sure to:

  • Register and insure your snowmobile.
  • Join a Club. You need to join a county and local club where you ride most.
  • Purchase a TMA (trail pass) through the club of your choice.
  • If you were born after July 1, 1983, you will need to take a safety course in order to ride in Vermont.
  • Refer to the rules and regulations specific to each trail, for example: the LVRT has a curfew for snowmobiling between 11 pm and 6 am.
  • For more details, refer to the VAST guidelines for snowmobiling in Vermont: VAST – What you need to ride in Vermont.
A person riding a snowmobile

Trip Planning

Safety

Rail trails can be busy thoroughfares on weekends or near trailheads. The most common cause of accidents is riders colliding, so keep your distance and slow down when passing other trail users.

More information on Safety and trail Etiquette is on the Vermont State Rail Trails System website under the “Information” tab and on the VAST site here Snowmobile Safety Course | VAST.

Parking

Information on formal parking can be found on the Vermont rail trails maps. Overnight parking is an option with permission at some trailheads. For more information, contact the rail trails Program Manager.

A person riding a snowmobile

Rules and Regulations

Allowed Uses

The Vermont rail trails are open for non-motorized uses, with the exception of snowmobiles, motorized wheelchairs, and authorized maintenance vehicles. 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.

  • Rural maximum operating speed (required): 35 mph.
  • Village maximum operating speed (required): 15 mph.
  • Obey all traffic signs.
  • Avoid disturbing, natural features.
  • No littering.

Under Vermont Law, Title 23, Chapter 29, snowmobiles must operate at a speed that is reasonable and prudent, taking into consideration current conditions, trail traffic, and other hazards present on the trail. The maximum speed limit on state lands is 35 MPH.
Thank the local snowmobile clubs for their hard work maintaining and grooming the LVRT, MVRT, and DHRT. Local Club information can be found here: https://vtvast.org/clubs.html. The BSRT is groomed by a local, non-profit ski club-Memphremagog Trails. More information can be found here: https://www.mstf.net/.

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.

Clear communication is key! 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.

A snowmobile traveling down a rail trail in winter

Quick Facts

  • Vermont law prohibits the operation of snowmobiles on streets and highways. The maximum snowmobile speed limit on state lands is 35 mph.
  • E-bikes are permitted.
  • Motorbikes, ATVs, and ORVs are not permitted on the trail.
  • Camping on the trail, in the trail right of way, or at trailheads is prohibited.
  • Overnight parking at trailheads with VTrans 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.

For further information, visit our Etiquette page.

A person riding a snowmobile
Two individuals nordic skiing the rail trail system
Two children biking on the LVRT
A family walking on the Rail Trails
A person biking during a sunset
Vermont Rail Trails*** July 2, 2024