After seven years of land acquisition and planning, The Robert Frost Trail in North Bennington, Bennington and Shaftsbury, Vermont opened end-to-end in October 2011.
The trail extends 2.1 miles from Lake Paran to the Robert Frost Stone House Museum. Almost half of the trail passes through woods on the farm once owned by Robert Frost (above), and where in 1923 he wrote " Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." Robert Frost lived on the property from 1920 to 1928.
There are sweeping views from the trail south to Mount Greylock in the Berkshires, west to the hills of Hoosick, N.Y., northwest to the Taconic Mountains, and east to the Green Mountains. The trail also threads through deep woods, skirts several waterways, and passes through a red pine stand planted by Robert Frost. Most of the route is gently sloped or flat, although there are two short, steep grades on the east end of the lake.
A footbridge -- the mid-point of the trail -- provides benches for resting and affords lovely views up and down Paran Creek. The trail also features a vantage point for looking over Lake Paran to the Village of North Bennington -- and beyond to The Mile-Around Woods. The trail is marked throughout its length by blue painted blazes.
The principal access to The Robert Frost Trail is at the swimming area on the north shore of Lake Paran. Parking is available at the recreational area there throughout the year. Parking map here. The trail starts at a sign along the sidewalk that leads to the beach.
A new side path -- The Shore Trail -- opened in summer 2012. It runs above the easterly shore of Lake Paran and then up the side of Paran Creek to the footbridge. This route allows for a two-mile circle walk from the swimming beach to the footbridge and back. We recommend following the Robert Frost Trail to the bridge and returning on the Shore Trail. The intersections of the Shore Trail and The Robert Frost Trail are marked with directional signs. A second side trail may someday connect The Robert Frost Trail to the railroad tracks near Overlea Road.
The Robert Frost Trail can also be accessed from its east end at the Robert Frost Stone House Museum on Route 7A in Shaftsbury. Parking at the Museum is limited, and not available during months when the Museum is closed. The trail near the Museum starts where the farm lane bordered by stone walls enters the woods.
Walkers on The Robert Frost Trail should take suitable precautions against deer ticks. Long sleeves and trousers are recommended.
More information about the trail is available from the sources below:
A gallery of photos of the Robert Frost Trail and natural areas along the route
A gallery of photos of Lake Paran, including historic views
A map of the Robert Frost Trail
Parking for The Robert Frost Trail
Download printable trail guide and map (pdf)
A map of conserved land in the vicinity of the Robert Frost Trail
The management plan for the trail and conserved lands in the Paran uplands (pdf)
Precautions for avoiding ticks and preventing Lyme Disease
The Robert Frost Stone House Museum (outside link)
All of the trail corridor is protected by a conservation easement stewarded by the Vermont Land Trust, Inc. Acquisition of the Frost Property and other sections of the trail was made possible by two generous grants by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. A donation of land by Sage City Syndicate Incorporated was decisive in creation of this trail. A grant by the Windham Foundation supported trail construction.
The Fund for North Bennington, Inc. gratefully acknowledges the many other generous grants and donations, along with the volunteered assistance, that made this project possible.