Merck Forest Vermont

The first time I visited Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert, Vermont was in the early 1980s during an elementary school field trip. I’ve returned to the 3,100-acre forest over the years, but never in winter.

On Saturday I stopped by and saw quite a few people exploring the grounds on snowshoes and cross-country skis. At least a half-dozen people were walking their dogs, and a few brave souls were hiking into the woods for some winter camping.

Located off Route 315 in southwestern Vermont, Merck Forest was set aside in the 1950s as a foundation by George Merck of the Merck Drug Company. The non-profit organization’s mission is to teach and demonstrate the benefits of innovative and sustainable management of forest and farmland.

Maintained through donations, Merck Forest is open year-round and offers hiking, camping, swimming, picnic areas, educational programs, summer camps for kids, and more. Since this is a working farm, you’ll also see sheep, chickens and horses. Visit


  • Love the photos! I haven’t been to Merck Forest in so long. I did visit once as an adult and marvelled at the beauty of the surroundings and all of the outdoor opportunities. Strange that my memories of my 8th grade field trip had me recalling the place as dreary and dull, but I guess that’s 8th grade for you. Thanks for the reminder to visit this hidden gem next time I’m in Vermont.

  • Ciao Erica….MAGNIFICIENT pictures…!
    I wonder if the horses…;- the first one is looking so sweet…;- aren’t a little cold…? Probably not; I notice the thicker four…; they pass the night in the stables?

    Lovely countryside; a ride on the sweet horse in the snow wold be just wonderful!!
    ciao ciao elvira

  • Thanks Margs! It really is such a nice spot. You should definitely stop by when you come up to VT. It’s funny how we don’t always appreciate a place like this as kids (especially on field trips). I know exactly what you mean though. On my first field trip to Merck, I was just like, yeah, yeah, yeah…when’s lunch?? I was much more moved by the landscape and scenery as an adult.

    Hi Elvira. The horses had pretty thick fur, so they seemed pretty comfortable out there. The horse in the top photo was very social — he stood by the fence waiting to say hello to everyone who walked by. I hung out with him for quite a while!

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