Vermont Rail Trails

History – Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail

Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail

Explore booming mountain views, and quintessential New England villages.

A family walking their dog on the Vermont rail trails in the snow.

Area History

Civil War Invades Vermont

On October 19, 1864, 22 Confederate agents, dressed in civilian clothes, robbed three banks in St. Albans. Their take was $200,000. They fled across the border to Montreal on stolen horses. The Canadian government arrested the raiders and returned the money, but their actions did not calm the fears or reduce the anger of the northern states. American troops were ordered to pursue the raiders into Canada and wipe them out. This would have violated Canadian neutrality and possibly started a war. President Lincoln revoked the order, realizing that a Canadian-American conflict would only serve to help the South.


Train Derailment Closes Track!

The Central Vermont Railway (now New England Central Railroad) has had its headquarters in St. Albans for over 100 years. The Richford Branch of the railway (the Trail) connected to Canada, shipping boxcars of Blue Seal feed and farm-fresh milk in both directions. In June 1984, a derailment on the trestle in Sheldon Junction left a locomotive dangling over water and severely damaged one trestle span. The derailment, combined with declining rail traffic, contributed to the permanent closure of the railway.


Fenian Raids

After the Civil War in 1866 and again in 1870, Irish patriots attempted to invade Canada and force Britain to negotiate the independence of Ireland. In 1870, they were repulsed between Franklin and Cook’s Corners. Fenians gathered in St. Albans and marched via Sheldon to the border. Fenian is a term used since the 1850s for Irish nationalists who oppose British rule in Ireland. They were stopped by Canadian arms and U.S. authorities. The threat of the Fenians encouraged support for the Confederation Movement in Canada. A plaque on the VT 105 bridge in Sheldon Junction notes the Raids’ place in Vermont history.

Notable Landmarks

Lake Carmi State Park

Lake Carmi is the fourth largest natural lake entirely within Vermont. It is 7.5 miles around, averages about 20 feet deep, and is 33 feet at its deepest point. Water from the lake drains north into Quebec’s Pike River, then south into Lake Champlain. The 588-acre State Park includes more than two miles of lake frontage on Lake Carmi. Facilities include boat rentals, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking, playground, and swimming. Vermont State Parks offers a one-night reservation policy for cyclists by advanced registration only. For more information, contact them at (802)879-5674

Notable Landmarks

Lake Carmi Bog Natural Area

This large, 140-acre peat bog dominated by black spruce and tamarack has an understory of typical bog plants. There is a nearby cattail marsh, meadow, and forest. Lake Carmi Bog is a designated State Natural Area.

Vermont Rail Trails*** May 23, 2023