island line trail

10 Must-Try Winter Activities in the Champlain Islands

Looking for something to do during the colder winter months? From extreme winter sports to tranquil lower impact exercises, the Champlain Islands have an abundance of recreational activities waiting for us to try. When heading out on the ice always take precaution and check conditions before! 

Ice Fishing at Sandbar Causeway

1. Ice Fishing

Lake Champlain is home to Vermont’s premier fishing destination and has many ice fishing opportunities. The shallow waters near the Sandbar causeway are a hotspot for northern pike! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just out fishing for fun, this family fun winter activity is enjoyed by all ages.

Image source: Burlington Free Press

Kitewing on Skis at Sandbar Causeway

2. Kitewing on Skis

The ice conditions near the causeway make for the perfect spot to try out this new extreme winter sport. Kite Wings are handheld wing sails for sailing on low friction surfaces such as ice or snow, strap on skates or skis and get ready for an epic workout.

Image source: Fred Palatino

lake hockey on frozen lake champlain near sandbar causeway

3. Lake Hockey

When the weather sets up just right the ice on Lake Champlain especially at the sandbar makes for great skating! Whether you are figure skating or out playing pond hockey this serene scene takes it to the next level! Also, consider checking out if the rink in North Hero's City Bay is set up by Great Ice Vermont! This is located right on the frozen shore across from Hero's Welcome.

Image Source: Josh Kenyon 

Cross country skiing in North hero village

4. Make your own Trail

On a sunny day, take to the lake and blaze your own trail! Try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing and carve out your own path on the frozen shores of Lake Champlain. 

Image source: Annie Gardiner

5. Sled the Sandbar in Style

Get your adrenaline pumping and sled Lake Champlain on your snow machine of choice. Be sure to check and make sure the ice is thick enough to safely support the vehicle you are using to explore the frozen lake. 

Island Line Trail Colchester Causeway Bike Path

6. Walk the Island Line Trail

The Island Line Trail is a 14-mile trail that spans across Lake Champlain from Colchester to South Hero. Bundle up and head to the Lake Champlain Causeway for a peaceful winter stroll. Walk the beautiful and historic path while enjoying panoramic views of Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains, and the Adirondacks. Better known as the Bike Path, you can access this trail from Colchester or South Hero.

Kitesurfers on the Sandbar causeway south hero

7. Snowkite on the Frozen Lake

Weather permitting, snowkiting is an epic winter sport with opportunity for major air!

Image source: Abagael/VPR 

 Vermont state park Knight Island sign

8. Trek out to Knight Island

Looking to get your steps in? Knight Island is just a 40 minute walk from the North Hero Village! Knight Island State Park is located just around 1.7 miles from the North Hero Village on Lake Champlain’s Inland Sea. You can walk, grab your snowshoes, or strap into cross-country skis to reach the destination!

Image Source: Annie Gardiner

Sunset bonfire with friends in south hero

9. Warm up with a Sunset Bonfire

Grab your buddies and some local brews for an evening by the fire. We recommend trying out Kraemer and Kin or the newest addition to town, Two Heroes Brewery.

Image Source: Gina LeClair

Chairlift at Bolton Valley Ski Resort

10. Hit the Slopes

Last minute trip up to the mountain anyone?  Luckily, by living in the Champlain Islands we have world renowned ski resorts right at our fingertips! While this last activity is not located in the Islands, Bolton Valley Ski Resort, is only a 45 minute drive from South Hero. Plus, they even have night skiing and riding!

Its incomparable state parks, close knit community and countless outdoor activities make the Champlain Islands region a wonderful place to enjoy year-round or seasonally. Learn more about life in the Lake Champlain Islands here.

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Venture through Vermont on the Island Line Trail

Island Line Trail, South Hero, Grand Isle County, Vermont

Looking for a unique adventure in Vermont? Visit the iconic Island Line Trail! This 14-mile trek takes you from Burlington, Vermont up to the beautiful Lake Champlain Islands located in the Northwest region of Vermont. Run, bike, or even rollerskate on the path while enjoying captivating views of the Adirondack and Green Mountains.

Historically, the trail was not meant for recreational use. It was built in 1899 by the Rutland-Canadian Railroad for coastal market connections from New England to the Great Lakes. Eventually, in the 1980s, the railroad was converted for recreational use. 

The historic path attracts around 150,000 visitors per year! There are three major entry points for folks to begin their trek. Enter from Oakledge Park in Burlington, Airport Park in Colchester, or Allen Point Access in South Hero. 

Shortly after passing Airport Park you will reach Causeway Park in Colchester. This portion is four miles long with a ten foot wide compact stone path that runs across Lake Champlain. There is a 200 foot gap near the end of the causeway, locally known as “the cut”.

The local motion bike ferry takes passengers across this gap and connects you to Allen Point Access in South Hero. The Bike Ferry welcomes all passengers and just asks for a small donation. However, do note, the ferry operates seasonally. See the bike ferry schedule before you plan your trip. 

The Island Line Trail is a great way to explore the outdoor recreation opportunities that Vermont has to offer. Whether it’s with friends, family, or your furry friend, all will be certain to love this Vermont adventure. 

 

Learn more about the Lake Champlain Islands here. 

 

 

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