Vermont > Lake Champlain Islands Bike Tour

2019 Dates: Oct. 6-11, Oct. 13-18, 2019
2020 Dates: June 14-19, July 12-17, Aug. 16-21,
Aug. 30-Sept. 4, Sept. 20-25, Oct. 4-9, Oct. 9-14 (private tour), 2020

This season, you stay the first two nights on this tour at the fabulous multiple-award-winning Hotel Vermont. Described as “rustic and modern, natural and sophisticated, hand wrought and high tech,” this new hotel is located just a few hundred feet from Burlington’s Lake Champlain waterfront and the vibrant nightlife of Church Street. The next three nights you are a guest at the extremely popular North Hero House, where you can relax in your Adirondack chair while enjoying the last rays of the sun reflecting across the lake onto the Green Mountains.

Every day on this spectacular tour includes leisurely lakeside cycling and awe-inspiring views of Lake Champlain, the sixth largest (and surely one of the loveliest) lakes in the U.S. You ride to Charlotte, then cross by ferry to ride through the nationally recognized historic village of Essex, New York. You bike along the renowned Burlington Bike path, follow a causeway into Lake Champlain and take the bike ferry onto the islands. Your easy cycling includes a visit to Vermont’s oldest settlement at Fort Saint Anne (and the Saint Anne Shrine), to the oldest log cabin in the nation, and to the quarry at Chazy Reef where the oldest fossils in the world are located. You can enjoy a visit to Snow Farm Vineyard and enjoy riding north into Canada (bring your passport!). We also include a craft beer tasting led by Hotel Vermont’s beer concierge (or wine if you wish!), as well as an afternoon of professionally guided kayaking along the quiet shores of the lake.

Vermont Lake Champlain Islands Bike Tour Itinerary

DAY ONE  | Arrival Day | Hotel Vermont
This is arrival day. Many plan to arrive early to relax and perhaps enjoy the beautiful college town of Burlington, including the Church Street Marketplace and beautiful Waterfront Park, Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Frog Hollow Craft Center … and treat yourself at Lake Champlain Chocolates.

Dinner is at 7 p.m. and is followed by an introductory meeting with your leaders.

DAY TWO  |  Distance: 28, 34 or 44 miles  |  Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | Hotel Vermont
Monday’s ride takes you south along quiet roads that treat you with great views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack mountains. Arriving in the Village of Charlotte, you may stop at the 160 year old Old Brick Store where you can buy snacks and a vast array of Vermont products, gift items, and great penny candy. From here you cycle down to the Charlotte-Essex Ferry where you take a 20-minute scenic ferry ride across Lake Champlain to Essex, New York. This is your first close glimpse of this fabulous 108-mile-long lake that will be your companion for the next several days. Discovered on July 4, 1609 by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, this is the sixth largest lake in the U.S. And while it seems rather peaceful and quiet today, in earlier times it witnessed a great deal of tumultuous history including battles in the French and Indian Wars as well as the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 with the efforts of Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys. The British also had a large fleet here during the war of 1812 and were soundly defeated by American forces in the nearby battle of Plattsburgh in 1814.

After your 20-minute ferry ride, you arrive in Essex, New York. This entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the buildings on the main street comprise one of the most intact collections of pre-Civil War architecture in America. There is an antique store, a potter, an ice cream store etc. You also have the option here of taking a beautiful six-mile loop that gives you stunning views back over the inlets of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont beyond. Guests often have lunch at either the Old Dock Restaurant or a picnic in a small park that abuts the lake.

On your return to Vermont, you enjoy more miles of quiet roads, cross a one-way covered bridge, and take in more great views of the lake. You end the day with an included wine tasting at the Shelburne Vineyard where you can savor their excellent organic wines before we transport you back to Hotel Vermont.

You are on your own for dinner this evening and can select from several local options in Burlington within walking distance of the inn. But first enjoy your included craft beer tasting led by Hotel Vermont’s own beer concierge.

DAY THREE  |  Distance: 33 miles  |  Terrain: Easier | North Hero House
Today you start cycling on the beautiful Burlington Waterfront Bike Path. The Bike Path follows the Lake Champlain shoreline, offering wonderful views of the lake and the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the city of Burlington to the right. The bike path links six major waterfront parks, crosses the Winooski River on a pedestrian/bike bridge and ends on a causeway that juts out into the lake. From here a seasonal ferry takes you and your bicycle just a few hundred feet across a gap in the causeway to Grand Isle and the Champlain Islands.

In Grand Isle, guests often have lunch at the Accidental Farmer while visiting the adjacent Allenholm Farmstand. From here you wind your way along the western shore of the lake and then cross a drawbridge leading into North Hero, where you are welcomed at the North Hero House. Before settling in, you might want to take the opportunity to explore Hero’s Welcome General Store, which is just a few yards away. This iconic general store is located in a century-old building on the shore of the lake, and you will enjoy walking through its many aisles and outbuildings, including a bakery, cafe, as well as the general store itself.

DAY FOUR  |  Distance: 25 or 46 miles  |  Terrain: Easier | North Hero House
Today you enjoy a pleasant ride north to Alburg and then head north for an optional ride into Canada (bring your passport!). One Canadian highlight is a visit to Fromagerie Kaiser, a boutique cheese and bread shop and a great place to have a picnic before cycling back on a loop to the United States. From here, West Shore Road leads down another beautiful side of the lake and to Alburg Dunes State Park. This 625-acre property is named for the sand dunes located along the long south-facing natural sand beach, and you cycle along a tree-shaded “beach road” before riding your last few miles back to North Hero.

DAY FIVE  |  Distance: 20 or 25 miles and kayaking  |  Terrain: Easier | North Hero House
Today you explore historic Isle La Motte. Heading north, you soon come to a point in the road where Lake Champlain is very close on both sides. This is known as “The Carrying Place” a narrow isthmus that was used by Native Americans to traverse canoes between sections of Lake Champlain as well as by rum-running smugglers trying to avoid Jefferson’s 1808 embargo on trade with Canada. Crossing the bridge over Alburg Passage, you then ride the narrow neck and bridge leading onto Isle La Motte. Here you visit the site of Fort Saint Anne and Saint Anne’s Shrine. The shrine includes a chapel, scenic walkways, historic site markers and seasonal snack bar. Fort Saint Anne was built by the French in 1666 as protection against Mohawk Indian raids, and was the first white settlement in Vermont. In addition, General Montgomery had his headquarters here before the 1775 expedition into Canada. Benedict Arnold also anchored his fleet near here before the Battle of Valcour Island (1776), and the British fleet stopped here before their defeat at the Battle of Plattsburgh (1814).

Leaving St. Anne, you continue to hug the island shore with great views west into the Adirondacks. You can opt for a visit to the Fiske Farm and Quarry Preserve where old quarries have exposed outcroppings of the Chazy reef formation. This is the world’s oldest coral reef (450,000,000 years old and nearly a mile long).
After completing your ride, you return to the North Hero House to enjoy an included professionally instructed and guided afternoon of kayaking on the beautiful eastern bays of Lake Champlain, often including a stop on Butler Island, so you can hike the beautiful pathways and stretch your legs.

DAY SIX  |  Distance: 26 miles |  Terrain: Easier
Today’s ride takes you back over the drawbridge and then along the eastern shore of the islands where you enjoy lovely views of the Green Mountains across the lake. You then ride the spectacular causeway across Lake Champlain and follow the paved bike path back to Burlington.

Lake Champlain/Grand Isle Vermont Bike Tour


Make your reservation with confidence. Your 2019 tour is completely 100% refundable up to 60 days of the tour date. Your 2020 tour is completely refundable up to 90 days of the tour date.

October 6-11, 2019: $2195reserve
Reserve with $300 deposit

October 13-18, 2019: $2195reserve
Reserve with $300 deposit

June 14-19, 2020: $2195reserve
Reserve with $500 deposit

July 12-17, 2020: $2195reserve
Reserve with $500 deposit

August 16-21, 2020: $2195reserve
Reserve with $500 deposit

August 30-September 4, 2020: $2195reserve
Reserve with $500 deposit

September 20-25, 2020: $2195reserve
Reserve with $500 deposit

reserveOctober 4-9, 2020: $2195
Reserve with $500 deposit

reserveOctober 9-14, 2020: $2195 (Private tour)
Reserve with $500 deposit

Final payment due 60 days prior to your 2019 tour (personal check, Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover).

Final payment due 90 days prior to your 2020 tour.

Single Supplement Fee: $435

Cancellations: If you cancel your 2019 tour reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined as follows:

  • If you cancel 60 or more days prior to the start of your tour, there is no cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel between 45 and 59 days prior to the start of your tour, you will forfeit 50% of all tour payments.
  • If you cancel between 0 and 44 days prior to the start of your tour, all tour payments will be forfeited.

If you cancel your 2020 tour reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined as follows:

  • If you cancel 90 or more days prior to the start of your tour, there is no cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel between 60 and 89 days prior to the start of your tour, you will forfeit 50% of all tour payments.
  • If you cancel between 0 and 59 days prior to the start of your tour, all tour payments will be forfeited.


Vermonters are known for being independent, together. And like Vermont, Hotel Vermont is full of compatible contradictions. Located in downtown Burlington near the shores of Lake Champlain, they’re rustic and modern, local and global, natural and sophisticated, hand wrought and high tech.

logo-vermont-north-hero-houseThe North Hero House is an historic, beautifully restored country inn.  Nestled in the heart of a charming well-preserved 19th century village on Lake Champlain, the Inn has been welcoming guests since 1891 when they arrived by paddle wheel steamer.

What’s Included

Professionally guided kayaking, craft beer tasting, 5 nights’ lodging, 5 breakfasts, 4 dinners (you are on your own for dinner one night in Burlington), ferry ride to Essex, bike ferry on Lake Champlain’s causeway, an optional ride into Canada, bicycle and helmet, transfers from/to Burlington International Airport.


We are happy to provide you with a bike to use at no charge. Our bikes come equipped with a front handlebar bag, rear carrier, water bottle, mirror and flat pedals. Pedal cages and soft gel seat covers are available on request. We are also happy to put your own clipless pedals (pedals that attach to your biking shoes) and seat on your bike if you wish. Specific details and styles of bikes available in each location are indicated under each photograph