Old Railroad Bed / West River Trail

Jamaica, Vermont

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Though the railroad that once ran alongside the white-capped West River was called “36 miles of trouble,” the flat and scenic section that you access through Jamaica State Park is anything but trouble. The West River Railroad chugged along between Brattleboro and Londonderry from 1879 to 1935. But the railroad had its problems. Money was tight, so it was built with cheap materials. Throw in steep terrain, sharp corners, foul weather, and cold, snowy Vermont winters and that adds up to trouble. A devastating flood in 1927 nearly wiped out the tracks, so in 1939 the tracks were torn up. The rail bed remains as the park’s Old Railroad Bed/West River Trail. It is a 2-mile-wide stretch with nine nature stops filled with historical and ecological information about the area, running alongside the dark, rushing river waters, strewn with snow-capped rocks in a narrow gorge. Surface quality: Ungroomed.
Winter Trails: Vermont & New Hampshire

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Winter Trails: Vermont & New Hampshire

by Marty Basch (Falcon Guides)

Though the railroad that once ran alongside the white-capped West River was called “36 miles of trouble,” the flat and scenic section that you access through Jamaica State Park is anything but trouble. The West River Railroad chugged along between Brattleboro and Londonderry from 1879 to 1935. But the railroad had its problems. Money was tight, so it was built with cheap materials.

Throw in steep terrain, sharp corners, foul weather, and cold, snowy Vermont winters and that adds up to trouble. A devastating flood in 1927 nearly wiped out the tracks, so in 1939 the tracks were torn up. The rail bed remains as the park’s Old Railroad Bed/West River Trail. It is a 2-mile-wide stretch with nine nature stops filled with historical and ecological information about the area, running alongside the dark, rushing river waters, strewn with snow-capped rocks in a narrow gorge. Surface quality: Ungroomed.

©  Marty Basch/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Cross-Country Skiing
Nearby City: Jamaica
Distance: 4.6
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: Day trip
Trailhead Elevation: 210 feet
Top Elevation: feet
Local Contacts: Jamaica State Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Old Railroad Bed / West River Trail

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Apr 2018