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Vermont: Champlain Valley & Islands

Cycle the shores of New England’s largest lake, Lake Champlain, as well as the verdant valleys of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Along the way we’ll encounter a less familiar but powerfully evocative period of American history—and a unique regional lifestyle deeply rooted in the natural world.

  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 13 - 33 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 4 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking Activity
  • Ideal for energetic beginners to more experienced riders.

Why You'll Love This Tour


Vermont: Champlain Valley & Islands

Experience the welcoming hospitality and unspoiled beauty of Northern New England on this delightful spin through the Champlain valleys, surrounded by the peaks of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks. We’ll trace our way down from the picturesque island communities into Vermont’s “Queen City”, Burlington, via a one-of-a-kind bike route across Lake Champlain. We’ll also step back into Vermont’s storied history at the Shelburne Museum and Fort Ticonderoga, dine on fresh farm-to-table cuisine and stay in the area’s finest accommodations. This rewarding Vermont bike tour is the best way to discover all that Lake Champlain, and its remarkable islands, has to offer.

Cultural Highlights

  • Visit the Shelburne Museum and its amazing collection of more than 150,000 works in 39 exhibition buildings—including a 220-foot steamboat built in 1906.
  • Cycle from the Champlain islands to mainland Vermont by way of a beautiful rail trail atop a causeway in the middle of the lake.
  • Peruse the storefronts, galleries and street performers that dot downtown Burlington’s pedestrian-only Church Street Marketplace.
  • Explore Fort Ticonderoga, an 18th century star fort that played a big role in both the 7 Years’ War and the American Revolution.
  • Observe geological history at Isle La Motte’s Fisk Quarry where an outcrop of the ancient Chazy Reef Formation dates back 400 million years.

What to Expect

This tour offers the full range of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills and is ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance with the hills.

Average Daily Mileage: 13 – 33 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 4 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Burlington
Jun 76°/55°  Jul 80°/60°  Aug 78°/58°  Sep 69°/50°  Oct 57°/40°

Average Precipitation (in.) – Burlington
Jun 3.6  Jul 3.8  Aug 3.6  Sep 3.4  Oct 3

What’s Included:

  • 5 nights in historic inns
  • 12 meals – 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • Transfers
  • Kayaking excursion on Lake Champlain
  • Visit to Shelburne Museum or Shelburne Farms (your choice!)
  • Visit to Fort Ticonderoga
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extension: Pre-trip: Burlington  1 night for only $145
Dates & Prices
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Land Only

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Sun, Sep 18
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Departure: Sunday, September 18
Return: Friday, September 23
From $2,195 $1,995
  • From $1,995
  • (800) 245-3868
Sun, Sep 25
to Fri, Sep 30
Departure: Sunday, September 25
Return: Friday, September 30
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  • From $2,195
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Sun, Oct 2
to Fri, Oct 7
Departure: Sunday, October 2
Return: Friday, October 7
From $2,195
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Sun, Oct 9
to Fri, Oct 14
Departure: Sunday, October 9
Return: Friday, October 14
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Sun, Oct 16
to Fri, Oct 21
Departure: Sunday, October 16
Return: Friday, October 21
From $1,845
  • From $1,845
  • (800) 245-3868

Land Only Single Supplement: $445

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2016/2017 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Start from Bristol, Vermont OR Fly into Burlington / Transfer to North Hero

The tour begins at the VBT Bristol, Vermont office. Guests driving to the tour may leave their car in the VBT lot without charge for the duration of the tour. From Bristol, we will shuttle to our first inn, The North Hero House. Please plan to arrive at VBT’s Bristol office (614 Monkton Road, Bristol VT) between 11:45 am and 12:15 pm on the first day of the tour. We recommend that travelers stop for an early lunch in Bristol—Main Street offers a few options—or bring a to-go lunch with you to eat on the shuttle. The shuttle to North Hero leaves promptly at 12:30 pm (travel time approximately 1¼ hour). If you arrive after this time, you will need to make your own arrangements to get to the inn.

If you are flying to Vermont, VBT will make one complimentary transfer for guests from the Burlington International Airport, departing at 1:15 pm. Look for the representative holding a VBT sign outside the baggage claim area for your transfer. Please allow for traffic delays.

If your flight arrives after this time, you will need to arrange your own transportation to North Hero House at your expense. Please call one of the following taxi companies: Jessica’s Vital Transit (telephone 802-349-8833) or Middlebury Transit (telephone 888-666-3471). Travel time from the Burlington airport is approximately 45 minutes.

Please contact VBT at least 10 days prior to your vacation’s start date during regular business hours (Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, EST and Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST) at 800-245-3868 to inform us if you will be taking advantage of the complimentary shuttle from the airport, meeting our shuttle at Hotel Vermont if you are on the pre-trip extension, or driving to the start of the tour.

VBT Pre-Trip Extension guests: You have another morning to enjoy Burlington. At 12:30 pm, the shuttle company will meet and transfer you to North Hero House. This transfer is only available to guests who purchase the pre-trip extension through VBT.

At North Hero House, settle in and relax until 3:30 pm, when your VBT Trip Leaders fit you to your bike and offer a brief cycling skills clinic, followed by a short warm-up ride. Enjoy dinner at the inn at 7:00 pm.

Hotel: The North Hero House
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 12 miles

DAY 2: Cycle Isle La Motte and North Hero Island

This morning, we cycle northward along the lake, crossing over a causeway to Isle La Motte, one of the Champlain Islands. Ride quiet back roads on Isle La Motte, stopping to visit historic St. Anne’s Shrine. The shrine has lovely views of Lake Champlain, information on local history, short walking trails, and inherent serenity. Continue on to Fisk Quarry, an old abandoned quarry which at one time was part of a shallow tropical sea. Enjoy time taking in the natural and historical sights. The island was the first visited, in 1609, by French navigator and explorer Samuel de Champlain and his party of Frenchmen and Native Americans as he entered the large lake to which he gave his name. He described the place as “covered with the most beautiful pines that I have ever seen.” After a picnic lunch, you are free to choose between joining our guided kayaking excursion, continuing to cycle south along the lovely shoreline, or simply relaxing before dinner back at the inn.

Hotel: North Hero House
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 17, 26 or 31 miles

DAY 3: South Hero / Burlington Bike Path

After cycling along the Grand Isle shore, we’ll reach South Hero, the largest of the Champlain Islands. Here, lake views and gentle terrain make for very pleasant cycling. We’ll stop at a local vineyard for a wine tasting and picnic lunch, and then continue cycling. We will board the Island Line Bike Ferry for a short cruise with our bikes. This service joins the two sides of “the cut” between South Hero and Colchester along the recently resurfaced marble causeway, and allows us to “ride” uninterrupted from the islands into Burlington. After crossing the cut, we’ll join the Burlington Bike Path and continue cycling to our Burlington hotel.

After settling in, we can explore Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace and find a spot for dinner on our own in one of the many restaurants within walking distance of the inn.

Hotel: Lang House
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 22 or 35 miles

DAY 4: Explore Shelburne / Cycle along Lake Champlain / Shuttle to Shoreham

After breakfast, start cycling to the Shelburne Museum for an included visit. Shelburne Museum has a fine collection of more than 150,000 works in a unique setting comprising 39 exhibition buildings. The museum has exceptional holdings, including 500 quilts, 1,400 waterfowl decoys, 120 weathervanes, and 50 carousel figures—along with the 220-foot steamboat Ticonderoga, built in 1906 at the Shelburne Shipyard on Lake Champlain. Or choose to visit Shelburne Farms instead, with its beautiful grounds and interesting architecture. If you’re looking for a bit more cycling, enjoy an additional ride along the shores of Lake Champlain. Scan the waves and try to catch a glimpse of “Champ,” the legendary lake creature that could be a distant cousin of the Loch Ness Monster. Meet back at the Shelburne Museum parking lot at 4:00 pm for the shuttle (approximately 45 minutes) to Shoreham. Relax, or take a stroll around the village before dinner at the Shoreham Inn.

Hotel: Shoreham Inn
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 10, 15, 23 or 26 miles

DAY 5: Ferry to New York / Fort Ticonderoga

During your ride this morning, enjoy a ferry crossing on the Fort Ticonderoga Ferry, which provides scenic seven-minute crossings on Lake Champlain between Larrabee’s Point in Shoreham, Vermont; and Ticonderoga, New York. The service connects the Lake George and Adirondack regions of New York with the Middlebury and Central Green Mountain areas of Vermont. Among the ferries crossing Lake Champlain, the Fort Ticonderoga Ferry is the oldest. It has operated officially on Lake Champlain since 1799, and actually has provided sporadic service since 1759. Only a handful of businesses in the United States can claim to have served the American public longer. The ferry operates on a cable guidance system, installed in 1946, that, is still used today. Today, the ferry barge is powered by the Addie B, a 16-ton, double-ended tugboat built in 1979 in Maine. The ferry barge, the Fort Ticonderoga 11, is a 94-ton, unrigged steel barge built in 1959 in Warren, Rhode Island.

After crossing Lake Champlain, cycle a scenic loop full of delightful vistas of the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain before our ride eventually takes us to Fort Ticonderoga. Take advantage of the included entrance fee and explore “America’s Fort”, the site that determined the boundaries of our country during two early wars. Much more than a restored military fortress, it has rich and varied offerings including costumed interpreters, 30-minute guided tours, a world-class museum, daily musket demonstrations, and self-guided tours. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch during our time here.

Finish this full-day excursion with another ferry crossing, and cycle back to Shoreham to dine at the inn’s British gastropub.

Hotel: Shoreham Inn
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 23 miles

DAY 6: Middlebury / Depart for home

Enjoy our last breakfast together at the inn this morning before our last day of cycling takes us past weeping willows and stone fences along quiet roads leading into Middlebury. We’ll ride over rolling hills, past farms and through fields along the way. Upon arriving in Middlebury, we can enjoy lunch on our own.

The tour concludes at Vermont Sun Sports and Fitness on Exchange Street, where showers are available. VBT has made arrangements for a shuttle from Vermont Sun and Fitness back to the airport at 2:00 pm (travel time approximately 60 minutes).  We recommend flights out of Burlington no earlier than 4:00 pm. If you need to get back to the airport prior to that time, the transfer back to Burlington will be at your own expense. For guests that parked their cars at the VBT Bristol, Vermont office, the leaders will provide a shuttle at 2:00 pm to your cars (travel time is approximately 25 minutes).

Meals: B
Daily Options: 24 miles

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Hotel Vermont

Vermont’s newest boutique hotel , the Hotel Vermont offers perfectly situated accommodations in downtown Burlington. The natural splendor of this “green,” sustainably operated hotel, coupled with its desire to embrace the outdoors and shared community values, promises a truly memorable experience. The natural sense of freedom that guests feel from the warm, attentive service and special touches improves one’s mental and physical well-being. The hotel's rooms are simple yet elegant, with clean, crisp design elements and a warm rustic charm. Rooms include flat-screen TVs, MP3 docking stations, and complimentary Internet access.
Free WiFi Included

Shoreham Inn

The inn has recently attained Green Hotel status and has an ongoing commitment to the environment. The inn has wireless service but no televisions. Instead, enjoy games, puzzles, books and magazines—and lots of that wonderful Vermont outdoors. Each of the inn’s 10 individually decorated rooms has a private bath, and individual air conditioning units are located in all bedrooms during the warmer months. There is no smoking at the inn.
Free WiFi Included

North Hero House

Located directly on Lake Champlain, this 1891 inn features antique furnishings with modern conveniences, as well as elegant dining in its 3-diamond restaurant.
Free WiFi Included

Lang House

Relax in this beautifully restored 1881 Victorian style mansion, complete with period furnishings, dramatic woodwork and impressive 19th century architectural detail.
Free WiFi Included

Vermont Champlain Valley Bike Tour Photo Gallery
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