Winter has arrived! And as we hit the trails for dog sledding, skijoring or fat bikejoring, some tips and tricks to get there and run safely in Vermont.
NOAA Snow Depth Map
To check the area you’d like to run in for the current local Vermont snow depth, try the NOAA Interactive Snow Depth Map. The map isn’t a 100% accurate, but It gives a good general idea of how much snow is in the area where you are planning on running.
VAST Trail Map
If you are planning on running the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers trails, VAST has an interactive map that can help you plan your adventure on the trails. You can zoom in, figure out mileage, see where the nearest parking is, places near the trail to stop and get a bite to eat, etc.
To aid you in getting to the parking lot where you plan to run, check out New England 511 for current road conditions. The map, during the summer, has useful road construction notices as well. Remember, when driving in Vermont, the posted speed is more for summertime dry roads, sunny skies and warmer temperatures. So play it safe and drive appropriately for winter road conditions.
Remember, no matter where you are running in Vermont, pack gear accordingly so you can stay safe and have a good time while you run your dogs on the trails!
For those VT mushers who use NH Trails and ATVs, some news from the July 2016 edition of the NH Mushers Newsletter: It was announced that several rail trails will no longer allow the use of ATVs.
The restriction of ATV use is a Federal ruling, even though the State of New Hampshire was for mushers using their trails for sled dog training. The trails affected are the NH trails that were purchased with Federal grants and therefore fall under Federal rules and regulations. Mushers who use ATVs to help train, are advised to search for new NH trails on which to train.
The NH trails that cannot be used with an ATV are as follows:
- Northern Rail Trail (Boscawen to Lebanon, 59 miles)
- Ashuelot (Keene to Hinsdale, 21 miles)
- Cheshire (Fitzwilliam to Walpole, 42 miles)
- Farmington Branch (Rochester to Farmington, 7 miles)
- Fort Hill (Hinsdale, 9 miles)
- Monadnock Branch (9 miles)
For more information, contact the NH Mushers Association.
The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail will be a multi-use, four season trail extending from St. Johnsbury to Swanton – almost 100 miles long. The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail will be the longest rail trail in New England once it has been completed.
The trail follows the old east-west railroad that was in use from 1877 until 1994. Upon completion the trail will be used by snowmobilers, hikers, runners, skiers, snowshoers, bikers, equestrians, other organizations…and mushers!
The train passengers, when the rail line was not used for freight, had scenic views through northern Vermont forests, farms, villages and mountains. These same views remain mostly intact today.
According to the TrailLink website, currently the longest stretch of trail open for use is a 17 mile section between St. Johnsbury and West Danville. Possibly another section, 16 miles long, will be opened between Morristown and Cambridge Junction soon.
Map for the finished trail can be found here.
Additional information and history can be found at the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail website. If you would like to become involved with supporting the rail trail a good way is the Friends of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.
The use of the Delaware-Hudson Rail Trail (West Rupert to West Pawlet and Poultney to Castleton) is no longer an option for wheeled rigs larger than a bike. You can still walk, bike, scooter or ski the trail with your dogs; however there are gates at every intersection of trail and road that will not allow sleds or wheeled rigs through.