Zaphod’s Run View. Photo provided by BATS. 

Welcome to Bennington, Vermont, where nature is woven into the fabric of everyday life. Nestled between the breathtaking landscapes of southwestern Vermont, Bennington is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering an array of trails that cater to adventurers of all ages and interests. In this guide, we’ll delve into Bennington’s trails, combining insights from local experts with must-visit hotspots and essential tips for a memorable outdoor experience.

Bennington Area Trail System (BATS)

At the heart of Bennington’s trail network lies the Bennington Area Trail System (BATS). Established in 2015 by a group of passionate outdoor enthusiasts, BATS has flourished into a beloved network of multi-use singletrack trails. Jim Sullivan, a dedicated member of BATS, reminisces about his early experiences on these trails, emphasizing their accessibility and stunning views. With over 12 miles of interconnected trails, BATS provides a diverse playground for hikers, mountain bikers, and trail runners alike.

Halloween tree. Photo provided by Jim Sullivan.

Sullivan recommends exploring the Halloween Tree Trail, which serves as a backbone of the BATS network. This trail, adorned with its iconic namesake tree, meanders through the forest, offering access to numerous connecting trails. Another favorite is Zaphod’s Run, a recent addition that leads to higher-elevation land on Mount Anthony, culminating in a picturesque lookout over Bennington and the surrounding valley.

Local Insights from Jim Sullivan

Sharing his journey to Bennington after graduate school, Sullivan highlights the allure of the region’s natural beauty and small-town charm. He notes that many residents, drawn by the abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, have found their way to Bennington, especially with the flexibility of remote work. Sullivan’s vivid memories of running through forests and emerging to panoramic vistas encapsulate the essence of Bennington’s trails—an escape to tranquility and natural splendor.

Exploring Nature’s Gems

Zaophod’s Run. Photo provided by BATS.

Beyond the BATS network, Bennington boasts an array of outdoor hotspots waiting to be discovered. Lake Paran, with its serene waters and surrounding woodlands, offers opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and leisurely strolls along the Robert Frost Trail. The Mile Around Woods in North Bennington beckons adventurers to follow in the footsteps of the legendary poet Robert Frost, with hidden gems like the Ninja Path awaiting exploration.

For those seeking further adventure, the iconic Appalachian Trail and Long Trail converge in the Bennington region, inviting hikers to embark on unforgettable journeys through Vermont’s rolling hills and verdant forests.

The Appalachian and Long Trails can strike fear in the hearts of casual hikers, thanks to their notoriety and staggering length, but Bennington is home to some beautiful sections of the famous trails that can easily be completed in a day. Two popular options for those wanting to get their hearts pumping are the Bald Mountain Trail and the Harmon Hill Trail. Both lead to stunning overlooks of the town and offer a climb that is challenging and rewarding. 

Local Outdoor Recreation Hotspots

Uncover the diverse outdoor offerings in the Bennington area, including:

  • George D. Aiken Wildflower Trail/Nature Walk
  • Lake Shaftsbury State Park
  • Woodford State Park
  • Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Area
  • Mile Around Woods and the Robert Frost Trail, with maps available at the Fund for North Bennington
  • Ninja Path, supported by the Bennington County Regional Commission

Local Resources and Services

Bennington trail map. Provided by BATS.

As you plan your outdoor excursions in Bennington, leverage resources like the Bike Hub on Benmont Ave for all your bike needs, and for insights into trail offerings and Vermont’s rules of the road, make sure to check out the Green Mountain Club, as their online site contains a wealth of information. Ensure a safe and enjoyable experience by familiarizing yourself with local ordinances and conservation efforts led by organizations like Local Motion and the Vermont Agency of Transportation Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. Check out local eateries, campsites, and inns, courtesy of VermontBeginsHere.com.

Conclusion

Lake Paran. Photo provided by Bennington Banner.

Embark on your next outdoor adventure in Bennington, where nature’s playground awaits at every turn. Whether you’re traversing the trails of the BATS network, discovering hidden gems around Lake Paran, or tackling the Appalachian Trail’s rugged terrain, Bennington promises an unforgettable journey immersed in the beauty of Vermont’s landscapes. Start planning your escape to Bennington today; visit the VBH directory for an all-encompassing guide to the area’s best recreational activities and attractions. Additionally, explore Bennington’s municipal facilities and parks on the town’s recreation page, highlighting various programs and activities.