Mount Antone and the Merck Forest and Farmland Center
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12

Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:3270 VT 315, Rupert
Hours:Dawn to dusk
Fee: Free for day use; contact Merck Forest and Farmland Center for camping and cabin fees

Merck Forest and Farmland Center, 802-394-7836,

Bathrooms: At the visitor center
Water/Snacks: At the visitor center

USGS Pawlet and West Rupert quads;

Follow paths and forest roads that meander through farmland and meadows, leading to small mountains with excellent views and backcountry cabins to spend the night.

The pastoral mountain landscapes in Merck Forest and Farmland Center are truly breathtaking.
Photo by: Dan Sullivan

Mount Antone is but one excellent destination at Merck Forest and Farmland Center (MFFC). MFFC also serves as a true, working farm and forest. During your visit to this “land of many uses” you may see any number of activities: timber harvesting, maple sugaring, wildlife habitat restoration and preservation, fruit and vegetable production, livestock production—and of course, recreation. Whether you’re exploring MFFC’s sustainable farm operation or backpacking through the heart of this 3,100-acre site, you will be delighted to learn about the history of this special place, see amazing vistas, and behold a prime example of successful land that is managed for multiple uses. Ages From the visitor center, follow the main arterial trail at MFFC, Old Town Road, for approximately 0.75 mile to the intersection with Antone Road. Along the way, pass the Sap House and a small spur trail up to Page Pond. The route progresses through mixed forests of birch, red oak, and sugar maples. See if you can find evidence of MFFC’s sugaring operation here.

Take a right on Antone Road and follow it steadily uphill for another 1.75 miles to the summit of Antone Mountain at 2,600 feet, 900 feet above the visitor center. The views from the summit are great in all seasons, but for the most wide-open views, continue down the shoulder of Mount Antone to the large grassy meadow. Look back to the north to see the farm lying below you, and the pastoral landscape of Vermont and New York. The patchwork of farms and forests is distinctive to this region.

For your return trip, take an interesting side route on McCormick Trail. McCormick Trail leaves Antone Road on the left (4.4 miles). Follow its contours along the edge of an interesting ravine, staying to the right at every intersection to return to Old Town Road. Take a left on Old Town Road and continue for about 0.5 mile back to the visitor center.

Plan B:

There’s plenty more to do at MFFC. Pick berries, pet farm animals, swim in a pond, or stay in a cabin or shelter. MFFC even allows dispersed backcountry camping in all seasons, so this makes a great destination for winter camping or backpacking. In winter, you may take a sleigh ride or embark on a moonlit cross-country ski through farm fields on Burke Trail. Or, you could put together a family-friendly, multiday trek to a series of cabins, shelters, or campsites.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Nearby Manchester has an excellent collection of restaurants, delis, and pubs to suit any taste.


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