Overview Photo Gallery
Trail Maps St. Albans to Sheldon Sheldon to Enosburg Falls Enosburg Falls to Richford
Overview Bicycling and Walking Opportunities Snowmobile Links Visitor Information Getting Here and Around
Vital Trail Facts

Overall Length – 26.4 miles

St Albans to Sheldon

St. Albans – The Rail City
Mile 0
St Albans FountainKnown as “Rail City,” St. Albans has been home to the New England Central Railroad for more than 100 years. It has a vibrant downtown that reflects the railroad’s influence. Visit downtown to shop at local businesses, tour Taylor Park or the St. Albans Historical Museum, and take a self-guided walk. The city hosts frequent festivals and special events, including the Vermont Maple Festival in April, Christmas in Taylor Park, and a Saturday farmer’s market (May-Oct.) in Taylor Park.

A Feast of Farmland
Miles 0-3
Feast of FarmlandStanding in the former tracks of the Central Vermont Railway, the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail continues an historic link between St. Albans, Sheldon, Enosburgh, East Berkshire, and Richford. Farm-to-village commerce and international trade flowed through the corridor along a plank road in the late 1800s. It continued by rail until a derailment permanently closed the route in 1984.

The State of Vermont and local citizens began converting the corridor to a multi-use trail in the early 1990s. Many traces of the railroad “Milk Run” days still exist along the trail for you to discover, including train stations, rail sidings, and creamery foundations.

The St. Albans parking area is on the old railroad bed located at the intersection of US 7/Main Street and VT 105, just north of the St. Albans Messenger building.  This is a busy intersection, and trail users are advised to use caution as they approach. The parking area entrance is marked with a green and yellow MVRT sign.  A bicycle is mounted on a post near the sign. Trailer parking is available.

The trail travels through cultivated fields and pasture land in this segment. Farm 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 and cow plops. At Green’s Corners, trail users must cross VT 105. A creamery was once located on the land across from the cemetery, which you can explore to find hidden pieces of Vermont history.

Open, quiet farmland from St. Albans to Green’s Corners. Beautiful wetlands and pines with some residential areas from Green’s Corners to Sheldon Springs. Few road crossings, mostly of gravel roads.

St Albans Map
Click map to enlarge view

Swanton Wetlands
Miles 3-5
GeeseTrees, hills, and wetlands fill the landscape on this section of the trail. Always stay on the trail and respect the privacy of trail neighbors. Snowmobiles can travel to Highgate using VAST 207 near mile 5. This is a beautiful segment for viewing fall foliage.

Wetlands (Swamps, Marshes, Bogs, etc.) – Wetlands refer to areas where water is a controlling factor in the development of plant and animal communities. Franklin County is full of wetlands. In the past, some were modified to increase agricultural productivity. Now, farms rely on wetlands to filter runoff and maintain local water quality.

RaccoonA Working Wildlife Habitat – Wetlands are great places for converting sunshine into food. They support a wide variety of plants that sustain wildlife. Acre for acre, wetlands produce more wildlife – in numbers and variety – and more plant growth than any other habitat. Wildlife, like the Canada goose, wood duck, great blue heron, muskrat, beaver, and bullfrog, depend on the dense vegetation in wetlands to build homes and hide from predators. Other wildlife, like black bear, moose, deer, and marsh hawks, use wetlands for a part of their life cycle or during certain times of the year.

FrogShare the Trail with Wildlife – Listen for the musical sounds of songbirds in the forest and frogs in the wetlands along this section of the trail. Watch for chipmunks darting across the trail and turtles warming themselves on rocks. Small snakes enjoy sunning themselves on the trail in open areas. They are not poisonous. We hope you’ll quietly enjoy their company and share the trail with all wildlife.

Service Information

St. Albans – The Rail City (Mile 0)

The City of St. Albans has an excellent variety of services. Visit the Franklin County Regional Chamber web site for more information on lodging and other services.

A Feast of Farmland (Miles 0 - 3)

Parking – The trailhead parking area is on the old railroad bed located at the intersection of US 7/Main Street and VT 105, just north of the St. Albans Messenger building. Trailer parking and picnic tables are available. Parking is also located at the reststop before mile 1 on Franklin Park West Road.

Information, Bench, Picnic Table, Bicycle Rack – Benches, picnic tables, a bicycle rack, and trail information are located at the trailhead parking area in St. Albans. Picnic tables are also located at Zippy’s and the reststop before mile 1.

Restaurants – Nana’s Restaurant and Zippy’s Snack Bar are on US 7 near the parking area entrance. Back Inn Time is located on Fairfield Street (call beforehand).

Convenience Store, Deli, Ice Cream – Go-Go Mart, south of the parking entrance on US 7, sells deli sandwiches, convenience items, and ice cream products. Toby’s Treats, at Duke’s Fitness Center on US 7 near the parking area entrance, and Zippy’s sell ice cream.

Restroom, Water, Phone – Go-Go Mart, Nana’s Restaurant, Zippy’s Snack Bar, The Magic Closet (located beside Zippy’s) and Toby’s Treats make their restrooms and water available to trail users. Go-Go Mart has a public telephone; Nana’s and The Magic Closet allow use of their private line. Restrooms are available during summer daylight hours at the reststop before mile 1.

Gas, Maps, Air, ATM – Gas, travel maps, an air pump, and ATM machine are available at Go-Go-Mart.

Swanton Wetlands (Miles 3 - 5)

Parking – An informal parking area is located on state-owned property across from the cemetery on VT 105.

Information, Picnic Table – Trail information is available in the sign-in box at the cemetery near mile 3.3. A picnic table is located near mile 4.5.

Historic Sheldon (Miles 5 - 9)

Sheldon Springs (Mile 7.5)

Restaurant – Devyn’s Restaurant & Creemee Stand is on VT 105.
Convenience Store, Deli, Ice Cream – The Sheldon Mini Mart and Pauline’s Quick Stop sell convenience items. Pauline’s and Devyn’s make deli sandwiches and sell ice cream.

Restrooms, Phone, Water – Pauline’s makes its restrooms, public telephone, and water available to trail users. The Sheldon Mini Mart will fill water bottles and allows trail users access to its restrooms. Devyn’s will fill water bottles and make its restrooms available to trail users.

Bicycle Rack, Picnic Table – The Sheldon Mini Mart has a bicycle rack. Devyn’s has picnic tables.

Gas, Maps, Air, ATM – Gas and travel maps are available at Pauline’s and the Sheldon Mini Mart. Pauline’s has an air pump. The Sheldon Mini Mart and Pauline’s Quick Stop have ATM banking.

Sheldon Junction (Mile 9.0)

Parking – A trail parking area is located at mile marker 9; please do not block traffic to adjacent businesses.

Convenience Store, Deli, Ice Cream – Mrs. Bubba’s Quick Stop on VT 105 makes deli sandwiches and sells convenience items and creemees.

Snowmobile Repair, Bicycle Repair Supplies – Bruce King’s Auto Sales sells small repair items for snowmobiles.

Restrooms, Information, Water, Picnic Table – Mrs. Bubba’s offers water for filling bottles, makes their restrooms available to trail users, and permits trail users to use its picnic tables. A picnic table is located on the west side of the bridge at approximately mile 8.75. Mrs. Bubba’s has travel information.

Air, Maps, ATM – Bruce King’s has an air pump available during business hours. Mrs. Bubba’s has travel maps for purchase and an ATM.

Restaurant – The Sheldon Casino is next to the trail on Casino Road and is open for Sunday brunch.

River Access – Mrs. Bubba’s has access to the Missisquoi River.

Special Stories

Civil War Invades Vermont

Civil WarOn 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!

DerailmentThe 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

Fenian RaidsAfter 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.

© Copyright 2007 Northwest Regional Planning Commission & Vermont Agency of Transportation