Mendon; Rutland County
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 area’s 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 ½ mile trail on a portion of the forest. The trail connects the parking area on the Notch Road with the corridor trail.
- Aitken State Forest Recreation Guide
- Bald Mountain Trail (Trail Finder)
- Aitken State Forest Primitive Camping Guide
- Primitive Camping Guidelines
- Information on hunting, fishing and trapping in Vermont
- Aitken State Forest Bird List
The Long-range management plan for Aitken State Forest was developed in 1990. A revision of the plan is expected to be complete soon.