United States

Burlington, VT

Our Guide to Burlington includes the Champlain Islands of North Hero, South Hero, and Isle La Motte

Lake Champlain Burlington, Vermont.

Lake Champlain and mountain views frame Vermont’s largest city. Burlington has a young, outdoorsy, hipster vibe. The Church Street Marketplace is the commercial center. The University of Vermont is a center of life in this young, outdoorsy city, which definitely has a hipster, vibe. There’s a great scene for running in Burlington, with a good network of multi-use trails & parks. The mountains nearby offer a wealth of trail running and outdoor recreation options.

The best place to run in Burlington is the 13-mile Island Line Trail/Burlington Greenway along Lake Champlain. There is also a growing network of bike paths, which are great for running. The Catamount outdoor center in nearby Williston and the trails of Shelburne Farms are other area running highlights. Burlington is also home to the Vermont City Marathon, which brings runners from far and wide to race on this gorgeous albeit brutal route. There’s also fabulous running in the Lake Champlain Islands, just to the north (and connected by a seasonal ferry).

Runners should note that Burlington’s winter is the real deal — cold and snowy! It’s gorgeous in summer & fall. Also, routes along the lake can be windy.

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Some of our favorite runs in Burlington, VT

Shelburne Farms

1400 acre working farm, a National Historic Landmark with stunning waterfront views. For runners, there are more... more...

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  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events


Weather is a factor in Burlington. Lake Champlain modifies temperatures somewhat but is also responsible for Burlington’s fair share of cloudy days. Summers are pleasant and not too hot with average highs around 80F (26c) and mostly comfortable nights. Winters can be bitter, with average January highs in the high 20s (-5C) and lows close to 10F. Burlington is among the country’s snowier cities, averaging 80 inches a year. So, one must be cautious about surface conditions. Fall is gorgeous. Vermont’s famous foliage beckons autumn running in Burlington. Spring can seem like a long time coming, but the greening up is a treat.

There are three “clusters” of hotels in Burlington: downtown, off I-89 near Exit 14w and along Rt. 2, and in nearby Williston. For running purposes, the best bet is to try to stay at one of the town center hotels, which lie west of S. Willard St. between Pearl St. and Main St. Good bets here are the Hotel Vermont, the Courtyard Burlington Harbor, and the Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn. If you are at one of the hotels near I-89, it’s about 2 miles down to the waterfront. The campus of UVM is near this area, and since you’ll probably have a car, it’s about 3 miles south to the South Burlington Rec Path. In South Burlington, the Green Mountain Suites is a good bet. Note there’s not much for running or staying near the airport.

For a real escape, stay and run/bike on the Hero Islands. The North Hero House Inn on North Hero is wonderful, and so is Adams Landing on Grand Isle.


Fleet Feet Sports is the one dedicated running store in the Burlington area. Their location is in Essex Junction, a major shopping area 6 miles east of downtown. Group runs Saturday 8am. Interval training Thursday nights.

Skirack Run Center: Skirack is a well-known outdoor sports store in Burlington, featuring a Run Center within the store. They provide a comprehensive running shoe fit service, which consists of observing and measuring your feet to establish which shoe will best suit you. Included with this service is a 30-day guarantee that if If you are not completely satisfied with the fit of your running shoes, you may bring it back within 30 days and put the cost of your purchase towards a different pair of running shoes.

There is also a Finish Line running/shoe store in the Macy’s in downtown Burlington.

Community & Resources

If you’d like to connect with some group runs in Burlington, here are some good running clubs to check out:

Fleet Feet Sports. Group runs Saturday 8am. Interval training Thursday nights.

Green Mountain Athletic Association: Since 1976, GMAA has been linked with running in Vermont. With about 400 members of varying ages, skills, and goals, this association unites all those who love to run. GMAA sponsors a full queue of races, from 5ks to marathons, including the oldest continuously held race in VT, the Archie Post Five Miler. The club was even one of the founders, and continuing supporter, of the Vermont City Marathon! Check out all of their sponsored races on their website.

Photo: www.gmaa.net

Fleet Feet Sports Lake Champlain Running Club: Fleet Feet Sports, RaceVermont and Shelburne Health and Fitness have launched the Lake Champlain Running Club (LCRC). They have Saturday Morning and Thursday Evening group runs. More information here.

Catamount Outdoor Family Center: Join Catamount Outdoor Family Center for the largest weekly trail running series in the country! They have a Tuesday night trail running series during the summer months. It’s $8/race or you can buy a summer pass.

RunVermont. Fantastic resource right in downtown Burlington. They promote a life-long commitment to running. Organizers of the Vermont City Marathon and several other events throughout the year, they’ve developed a host of other services to support running in the community.

Looking for road or trail races in this area? Find them on RaceRaves, the best online race calendar and reviews community for runners!

Find races in Burlington, VT

Running calendar for Burlington and surrounding area

Major events are:

Vermont City Marathon. May. A great and popular event.

Green Mountain Marathon. October. Begins and ends near the house where Clarence H. Demar, 7 time Boston Marathon Winner, once lived. It is out and back on the west shore of South Hero and Grand Isle; a land of farms, apple orchards and summer cottages. The terrain is flat to rolling and about half dirt road (hard packed and well maintained). The half marathon course is an out and back that finishes at the Folsom School (same as the full marathon).

Archie Post 5-Miler. September. Oldest race in Vermont. Great course along bike path near UVM and Vermont Country Club.

Art Tudhope 10k. 10K out and back through Charlotte. This fast course is a mix of dirt and paved roads, along apple orchards, views along Lake Champlain, and the covered bridge at the turn around point. The start and finish is at Shelburne beach.

First Run 5K. January 1st. BRR!! Costumes

Island Vines 10k.  September. Snow Farm Vineyard in South Hero, Vermont. Enjoy a taste of the Lake Champlain Islands. Run the scenic 10k then enjoy wines from Snow Farm Vineyard and other local fare.

Half Marathon Unplugged. April. Course begins at Airport Park in Colchester and runs along the bike path to the south end of Burlington. The majority of the course is on the bike path.