Date: July 22, 2015
Distance: 15.05 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 78 feet
Our Bicycling Time: 3 hours 24 minutes round trip
Don’t let the amount of time we took to ride this trail fool you – it was an easy ride peppered with lots of stops to see the beautiful sites, eat lunch, and enjoy ice cream at Burlington’s Waterfront Park. Kendra’s parents are visiting from South Carolina, so her dad (G-Dad), and her mom (Grandmama) came with us! Grandmama walked the trail while Addie trailed on G-Dad’s bike and I pulled the twins in the Thule Coaster.
I had read lots of great reviews about the Island Line Rail Trail online, and we were not disappointed! We chose to start at the Oakledge Park trailhead on Flynn Street in South Burlington. The parking was plentiful, and there were public bathrooms, a playground, and a beach.
Very quickly after passing the beach and crossing a bridge, the trail goes on a public road for a few blocks, then turns left back onto the rail trail. The twins loved this part of the ride because of the trains parked along the trail.
About a mile into the ride, we reached the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center and Waterfront Park. Right after passing the park, we reached a section of the trail surrounded by construction. I could hear the twins squealing behind me – “Mama, digger!” “Mama, tractor!” They were a bit excited to see the workers in action.
The trail moved inland for the next four miles, eventually crossing over the Winookski River Bridge and through the beautiful wetlands of the Delta Park flood plain. We pressed on past mile seven, then made the decision to head back to the bridge and take a snack break. G-Dad and I wanted to continue to the part of the trail that crosses over Lake Champlain, but we’d already been gone an hour and I didn’t want to leave Grandmama for too long, or push our limit with the twins in the Thule. They don’t mind pavement, but I didn’t think they’d enjoy the bumpy crushed stone of the 2.5 mile section of the causeway. Not to mention, although Evan had managed a short nap, I could tell they both wanted to walk a bit.
The ride back was quick, and we stopped when we reached Waterfront Park to grab hot dogs and Italian sausages for lunch. We shared a picnic table with a lovely couple from New Jersey. After they left we spent some time walking along the waterfront, swinging on one of the amazing giant swings lining the boardwalk, watching the ducks swim lazily along the shore, and checking out the sailboats.
Grudgingly, we left the waterfront and returned back to Oakledge Park to let the kids burn off a bit more energy swimming in the cool waters of Lake Champlain. Although there were lots of people on the shore and the rail trail, we never felt crowded. The views were spectacular, and the cool breeze coming off Burlington Bay kept us comfortable for the entire ride.
There are several places to park along the trail, however we found it easiest to park at Oakledge State Park. Keep in mind it costs $8 for non-residents to park in the lot.
Parking at Oakledge State Park: Take Interstate 89 to Exit 13 and follow I-189 south to US Rt. 7. Turn right on US Rt. 7 north, then left on Flynn Avenue. The park is at the end of Flynn Avenue.