AITKEN STATE FOREST
AITKEN STATE FOREST
Mendon, Vermont 05701
Aitken State Forest is located only minutes from Rutland and can be accessed via the Notch Road in Mendon, just east of its intersection with Wheelerville Road. Trailhead parking serves the Tamarack Notch, Bald Mountain, and VAST trails as well as access for hunting, fishing and trapping. Bald Mountain 2087 is located at its center and provides views in all directions. A state forest since 1912, Aitken has served the areas recreational, firewood, hunting, and timber needs for over 100 years.
In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps CCC had a camp on this state forest and were involved in forest management work at the time including thinning the 192 acres of Norway spruce and white pine plantations planted between 1913 and 1924 following forest fires in the early 1900s.
With Jim Jeffords and Coolidge State Forests nearby to the east, ASF contributes to regional landscape connectivity. These local and regional connections between large forest blocks serve an important role in maintaining long-term health and viability of plant and animal populations.
Aitken State Forest is a popular location for day hikes, dog walking, bird watching and wildlife viewing and wintertime activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, winter hiking and as a connection to the VAST trail network. The Bald Mountain Trail is noted for its vistas, bird watching potential, blueberries and wildflowers. Four vistas located at rock promontories along the trail offer panoramic views of the Green Mountain range, Otter Creek and Cold River valleys, and Rutland City 3.5 miles, moderate to challenging. The Tamarack Notch Trail 0.5 miles, easy begins at the gated entrance north of the Notch Road just east of the Bald Mountain Trail trailhead kiosk. This trail follows an old loop road that was part of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp and later the Tamarack Notch Girl Scout Camp.
VAST maintains a 1/2 mile trail on a portion of the forest. The trail connects the parking area on the Notch Road with the corridor trail.
The history of Aitken State Forest can be traced back to the early 1900s when a significant portion of the land was owned by William Aitken, a prominent businessman from Rutland, Vermont. Aitken himself owned a successful marble quarrying business in the area. He acquired the land for timber production and conservation purposes, recognizing its potential as a sustainable timber resource and the importance of preserving its ecological value.
In the 1920s, Aitken's family showed interest in donating part of the land for public use. Following Aitken's death in 1931, his widow and children gifted the initial parcel of 515 acres to the state of Vermont as a tribute to William Aitken's commitment to conservation and public access to the outdoors.
1. Aitken State Forest offers primitive camping with no designated sites.
2. Campers can set up anywhere, respecting private property and water sources.
3. There are no facilities or amenities provided for campers.
4. Camping is free of charge in the forest area.
5. The park's rules prohibit staying at one site for more than three nights consecutively to preserve nature's beauty.