Bicyclists looking for a more extensive trip than simply riding the MVRT can hook up with a 1,187-mile network of bicycle routes known as Lake Champlain Bikeways, including a 350-mile loop around Lake Champlain that can be accessed in St. Albans. The route takes bicyclists both on and off road around beautiful Lake Champlain.
Connecticut: Air Line State Park Trail
Eastern Connecticut’s Air Line State Park Trail follows the right-of-way of the former Air Line Railroad, which was built to connect Boston and New York City in the latter half of the 19th century. The corridor was known as the Air Line because it traced the most direct route possible — as if by a line drawn through the air — and for 86 years, from 1873 to 1959, the Air Line provided a high-speed passenger rail connection between these prominent Northeast cities.
In 1975, the Air Line rail corridor was deeded to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and in 1996 the DEP proposed rehabilitating the rail bed as a linear state park. Today, the long abandoned rail right-of-way is being developed as a multi-use rail-trail in two segments: the Air Line South and the Air Line North State Park Trails. With the reuse of this corridor for hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers, equestrians, and the disabled, residents and visitors to the area can now experience the panoramic views of the surrounding Connecticut hills and valleys directly from the old rail bed.
In the north, the Air Line Trail spans 27 miles from Putnam, in the northeast corner of the state, and passes through Pomfret, Hampton, and Chaplin before reaching Windham, a quaint New England town first settled in 1686. The southern section of the Air Line runs from Windham to the southwest, passing through Lebanon, Hebron, and Colchester before ending in East Hampton. When completed, the Air Line Trail will be one of eight trail segments in Connecticut that will be part of the East Coast Greenway, a 2,500-mile trail network being developed to link cities, suburbs, and towns from the Canadian border to Key West, Florida.
The trail’s most dramatic features are its two viaducts, including the Lyman Viaduct, a spectacular 1,100-foot iron trestle that passes over a deep and wide gorge. There are also new bridges that cross over the Blackledge and Jeremy Rivers, offering hikers and bikers the opportunity to gaze at the expansive views of the rugged, natural scene playing out far below the trail. Trail users can also experience natural scenery in a variety of other locations as the trail passes through or nearby Goodwin State Forest, Beaver Brook State Park, the Hampton reservoir, the Salmon River State Forest, and Grayville Falls Park.
Rhode Island: Blackstone River Bikeway and East Bay Bicycle Path
The East Bay Bicycle Path, which runs south from India Point Park in Providence to Independence Park in Bristol, is Rhode Island’s oldest and longest rail-trail at 14.5 miles. Completed in 1992, the path hugs the shore of Narragansett Bay and other waterways, offering up stunning water views.