Molly Stark State Park

Molly Stark State Park

Wilmington, Vermont 05363

Official Website
Molly Stark State Park trails guide and map

About this Location

Molly Stark State Park is named after the famous wife of General John Stark of the Revolutionary War. The park is located along the Molly Stark Trail Scenic Byway (VT-9), the main east-west route in Southern Vermont that connects Brattleboro, Wilmington, and Bennington.

The Starks hailed from New Hampshire, where John Stark was a respected and successful road builder. Stark was moved to join the cause of American Independence and received a commission in the First New Hampshire Regiment. Stark was influential and persuasive enough to recruit many men to fight for the Continental Army. He attained the rank of general by early 1777. Stark inspired his New Hampshire Volunteers the eve before the Battle of Bennington, fought on August 16, 1777, by proclaiming “Now, my men, yonder are the Hessians! Tonight, the American flag flies over yonder hill or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!”

Elizabeth “Molly” Paige Stark was an accomplished and independent woman in her own right; she raised 11 children, teaching them to read and write. She was strong-willed and social and didn’t bow to her husband’s demands. She was instrumental to the American success at the Battle of Bennington; after the general departed west from New Hampshire, Molly recruited more men for the New Hampshire Militia. She even converted her homestead barn into a hospital to care for wounded from both sides. The approximate westward route that Stark and his Volunteers followed is commemorated by the Molly Stark Trail Scenic Byway.

The area that now makes up Molly Stark State Park was cleared for agriculture and sheep farming by settlers in the 19th century. In 1932 a Civilian Conservation Corps crew built a roadside picnic area here on land owned by the Towns of Wilmington and Brattleboro. In 1939, the towns gave the 100-acre property to the State; later in the same year, Olga Haslund, a Wilmington resident, gave 48 acres. The result was the creation of Molly Stark State Park.

In 1955, the steel fire tower was moved from Townshend State Park to the summit of Mount Olga at Molly Stark State Park. Hogback Ski Area operated partially on park property under a lease agreement from 1955 until 1987. Campground development started in the late 1950s with the park officially opening on July 2, 1960.

There is a play area and a hiking trail that leads to the Mount Olga fire tower.

Notable Trails

The TrailFinder website has a description and map of a hike at Molly Stark State Park.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Entrance fee

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

Content from Official Website

Last updated October 6, 2023