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Welcome to the Robert Frost Trail

The Robert Frost Trail (RFT) is an approximately 42-mile long distance trail in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts.

It was initiated in 1982 when the Town of Amherst—and then Amherst Director of Conservation Pete Westover—was inspired to create a trail in honor of the poet, centered on the poet’s Amethyst Brook home. The RFT today extends between the edge of Wendell State Forest to the north and Skinner State Park on the Mount Holyoke Range in Hadley to the south.

Explore the Trail

You can explore the RFT using our online guide or viewing a printable guidebook. These guides are based on the content of the printed guide published in 2004. Some updates have been made, but additional updates and improvements will be added in the future.

View of the online story map showing a trail map with points at each trailhead
A view of some pages from the printable guidebook

Trail Rules

  • BE KIND TO THE RFT & ITS HOSTS: Much of the RFT is on public land, but more than a third of the trail is on private land. Please respect the rights of private property owners. Do not open gates, damage fences, leave trash, park or drive on private land, or misuse wet trails. Be a good steward of the trail by protecting wildlife, vegetation, and the trail itself. Your cooperation is necessary! We all rely on the goodwill of private owners in keeping the trail open.
  • Private owners are not liable for any accidents that may result from public use of the trail per Chapter 21, section 17C, of the Massachusetts General Laws.
  • Stay on trail and obey all signs
  • Respect public and private property
  • Check and follow rules for public lands
  • Dogs must be on leash, pack out waste
  • No trash – pack in, pack out
  • No motorized vehicles
  • No camping or campfires
  • Each trail section may have rules specific to that town or landowner; please read all signs
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This guide, website, and its related signs are a Cooperative Trail Project between Kestrel Land Trust and MassTrails.

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The History of the Robert Frost Trail

The wooded hills of the Connecticut River Valley are a beloved place for locals and visitors to wander. One of the most famous explorers of these woodlands was distinguished poet Robert Frost, who worked at Amherst College periodically between 1916 and his death in 1963. While serving as an English professor at the college, Frost lived in a small house overlooking Amethyst Brook and the wooded slopes beyond.

As the 20th anniversary of Frost’s death approached in 1982, the Town of Amherst was inspired to create a long-distance trail in honor of the poet, centered in Amherst and stretching north to Wendell State Forest and south through the Mount Holyoke Range. Amherst Director of Conservation Pete Westover led the project, which received support from municipal and state officials, private landowners, and volunteers associated with The Kestrel Trust (now Kestrel Land Trust).

Today, along with the Appalachian Trail, New England National Scenic Trail, Mid-State Trail, and Bay Circuit Trail, the Robert Frost Trail is recognized as one of the Commonwealth’s five landmark trails offering long-distance recreational opportunities in Massachusetts. From its northern terminus located near Wendell State Forest headquarters, the RFT passes through ten communities: Montague, Sunderland, Leverett, Shutesbury, Pelham, Amherst, Belchertown, Granby, Hadley and South Hadley.

The trail traverses some of the region’s premier recreational areas, notably Mt. Toby and the Mount Holyoke Range, and roams through a rich assortment of public and private lands, rewarding users with a full picture of the diversity of the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts: our rugged ledges and ravines; our streams, ponds, and wetlands; our expanses of forestland; and our farmland.

For Valley residents and visitors, the trail has become a well-loved resource for everything from challenging treks over local summits to pleasant rambles through wooded residential neighborhoods or nearby farm fields. Many locals enjoy a trail connection outside their front doors or a short drive away. By offering a wide array of experiences to choose from, the RFT attracts a mix of users: hikers, trail runners, snowshoers, cross country skiers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, birdwatchers, botanists, dog walkers, and more.

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