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. There, in 1923, he wrote ” Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
A footbridge (right) 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. 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.
Most of the route is gently sloped or flat, although there are short steep grades east of the lake. The Robert Frost Trail is marked throughout its length by blue painted blazes. This is a forest trail, not a well-groomed park path. There may be sections, in some seasons, that are muddy or brushy.
History and route 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 detailed trail guide and map can be downloaded below.
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 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 apples and red pines
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. Frost also established a red pine plantation. Many of the red pines survive along the trail where it turns to the west from the slope below the farmhouse.
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.
- A guide to the Robert Frost Trail, with map
- 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
- Robert Frost’s farm in South Shaftsbury
- A map of conserved land in the vicinity of the Robert Frost Trail
- Precautions for avoiding ticks and preventing Lyme Disease