The Robert Frost Trail extends two miles from Lake Paran in North Bennington to Route 7A in Shaftsbury. Almost half of the trail passes through woods on the farm once owned by Robert Frost, and where in 1923 he wrote " Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." Robert Frost lived on the property from 1920 to 1928.
A footbridge (above) at 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 Robert Frost Trail (map and guide here) is marked throughout its length by blue painted blazes.
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 passes through a red pine stand planted by Robert Frost and remnants of his orchard. Most of the route is gently sloped or flat, although there are short grades east of the lake.
History of the trail
The trail opened in 2011 after seven years of planning and land acquisition. A side path -- The Shore Trail -- opened in 2012. The Shore Trail runs above the easterly shore of Lake Paran and then beside Paran Creek to the footbridge. This route allows for a two-mile circle walk from the swimming beach to the footbridge and back, and also provides views of a beaver pond and dam on the creek. For a loop hike, we recommend following the Robert Frost Trail from the beach at Lake Paran to the bridge, and then 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.
Access to the trail
The western 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. Parking map here. The trail starts at the edge of the woods just beyond the east end of the sidewalk that leads to the beach.
The eastern access to The Robert Frost Trail was re-routed in the spring of 2015. The new parking lot is accessed off the entry drive to the Robert Frost Stone House Museum from Route 7A. Turn into the museum's drive and then make an immediate left to our new parking lot. The museum parking lot, located farther down the entry drive, is not available for trail use.
Walkers on The Robert Frost Trail should take suitable precautions against deer ticks. Long sleeves and trousers are recommended. No bicycles are permitted on The Robert Frost Trail.
Robert Frost's farm
When Robert Frost purchased the old Peleg Cole farm in South Shaftsbury he was, according to Frost biographer Jay Parini,"most taken by the ancient apple orchard on the property —'as good as they get,' he said." Frost and his son Carol added to the existing orchard in a week of planting in April 1924. The orchard now survives as a dozen or so scattered trees visible along the easterly end of this trail. Click here for more about Robert Frost's years on the farm in South Shaftsbury..
More information about the trail is available from the sources below:
A guide to the Robert Frost Trail, with map
Parking for The Robert Frost Trail
Download printable trail guide and map (pdf)
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 conserved land in the vicinity of the Robert Frost Trail
Robert Frost's farm in South Shaftsbury
The management plan for the trail and conserved lands in the Paran uplands (pdf)
Precautions for avoiding ticks and preventing Lyme Disease
Supporters of the project
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.