Merck Forest & Farmland Center, Rupert, Vt.
Located northwest of Manchester, near the New York border, this forest features 26 miles of trails through rolling farmland and stands of sugar maples. Park at the visitors center, grab a map, and walk through the gate onto Old Town Road. You’ll pass a red barn and grazing horses.
Robert Frost Interpretive Trail, Ripton, Vt.
When there’s snow on the ground in Ripton, Middlebury walkers head to the nearby Robert Frost Interpretive Trail. In 1920, the 44-year-old poet moved from New Hampshire to Vermont. For the next 39 years, he would summer in a log cabin standing on the crest of a hillside in Ripton. The state adopted Frost as a native son, designating him official poet laureate in 1961, and in 1983 bestowing the name “Robert Frost Country” to this section of the Green Mountain National Forest.
Stowe Recreation Path, Stowe, Vt.
This path is popular with walkers year-round. A little over 5 miles, the paved trail starts behind the Stowe Community Church on Main Street and weaves back and forth over the Little River to the foothills of Mount Mansfield. Gradually, the trail becomes more rural, venturing over rolling pasture where cows graze.
Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia, N.H.
Crowded in the summer and fall, this 9-mile trail will be practically all yours in the winter. The trail starts at the Flume, an 800-foot-long gorge with steep walls. Next stop is the Basin, a granite pool 30 feet wide and 15 feet deep. Called a pothole by geologists, this strange cavity was formed by a melting ice sheet 15,000 years ago.
Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
Carriage path trails here offer an unparalleled snowshoeing thrill: the chance to smell the heavy brine of the Atlantic while walking on snow. Forty-three miles of trail head deep into the piney interior, continuing all the way to Northeast Harbor and the ocean. One of the best loops is around Eagle Lake, steadily climbing, only to head downhill when Cadillac Mountain dramatically comes into view.
Beartown State Forest, Monterey
This 12,000-acre forest on the outskirts of Great Barrington and Stockbridge in the Berkshires offers one of the best winter strolls in the region, a 1.7-mile loop around Benedict Pond. Park at the entrance and you’ll immediately understand the allure, with 1,863-foot Livermore Peak and 2,155-foot Mount Wilcox towering above the pond. Walk through the pine forest and you’ll have wondrous vistas around every bend of the loop.
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