Camp at Merck

A unique year-round rustic wilderness experience in the Taconic range, featuring diverse landscapes and breathtaking views.

Rustic Cabins are fully enclosed and equipped with a wood-burning stove, wooden bunks, and a nearby outhouse. There is neither indoor plumbing nor electricity. Candles must not be used in or near any cabin or outhouse.

Three lean-to shelters available for overnight rentals. Lean-tos have three walls, a roof, a nearby outhouse and a fire ring. For obvious reasons, candles must not be used inside the shelters.

Most of the land in Merck Forest and Farmland Center is open to “dispersed” camping.

Must-Knows

Reservations

  • Reservations are required for all overnight stays.
  • Payment is due upon reserving a site. We accept all major credit cards.
  • Reservations can be made up to one year in advance on our website.

Cancellations

  • Reservations cancelled 11 or more days in advance of arrival date will receive a refund minus a $20 administrative fee. 
  • Reservations cancelled 10 days or fewer are non-refundable, and will not be rescheduled.
  • Wind, rain, mud, ice, and deep snow or no snow are all part of the joys of rustic camping: no refunds will be issued due to inclement weather or ground conditions. 

Arrival

12:00 pm Check-In

Note: Campsites are remote and campers must hike up to 3 miles with gear to get to their site. All members of your party must be capable of this degree of physical exertion. (A suggestion: pack light!)

  • No vehicles are allowed beyond the Visitor’s Center parking area.
  • Please check in at the Visitor’s Center upon arrival; campers arriving after hours should sign in at the trailhead kiosk.

Departure

12:00 pm Check-Out

  • All trash must be carried out.
  • Please be kind to campers following you and leave a small amount of dry wood and kindling.

Cabins: Please respect our cabins and help keep them clean. Brooms and dustpans are provided for each cabin.

Water

  • For your own safety, all water from our property should be treated.
  • Campsites may have nearby streams or springs, but they are not dependably safe to drink.
  • The water pump located in the Small Animal Barn (at the farm) functions 12 months a year.

Winter Camping at Merck

Winter camping is popular at Merck Forest —
what could be better than venturing into the snowy forest to explore the property by day, and clustering around the wood stove in a warm cabin by night?  

Proper preparation and planning prevents poor performance! 

With thoughtful planning, you’ll have a heck of a lot of fun here. As you venture into the woods, here are some important tips to keep in mind.

  • Check weather conditions at Weather Underground (search “Rupert, VT”) before you leave home.
  • Tell somebody where you are going and when you will be back, leave contact info in case of a late return.

Bring all necessary gear for first aid, survival, and navigation. Do not expect cellphone service on the mountain!

  • Hypothermia is dangerous! Dress in layers, avoid cotton (wool is best), and remove clothes as you exercise before you start sweating. Bring windproof shell and consider a mask and/or ski goggles.
  • Always carry a map and compass. Download & print a map or use the Avenza Map App and your smartphone to navigate through the woods.
  • Always carry multiple fire sources in waterproof containers. Always.
  • Bring water or plan on filtering it from streams shown on the trail map.
  • Bring traction: micro spikes, skis or snowshoes.
  • Know how to use the stove and be careful to shut down the stove when away from the cabin. Instructions are posted in each cabin.
  • Pre-cut firewood is for the stove only, not the outdoor firepit.
  • An emergency in the backcountry is a serious event: due to our remote location, it could be over an hour from the time of your call for help for emergency responders to arrive. Download and study Merck Forest’s emergency procedures before coming to the property. Copies are posted in each cabin.
  • Cell service is unreliable here — a better option is an emergency beacon, carried on your person. Remember that when you are in the forest, you are on your own; for an emergency extraction, you must contact 911 and engage emergency services yourself.
  • Shut the doors on any cabin and outhouse upon departure.
  • Pack out what you pack in and leave the forest and cabin better than you found it.

    And finally… have fun!

Additional Guidelines:

  1. Carry in and carry out all trash and all personal belongings.
  2. Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed around the farm and Visitor’s Center.
  3. No visitors or pets are allowed in pastures, unless escorted by MFFC staff.
  4. Build fires in fire rings and wood stoves only. For obvious reasons, candles must not be used in or near any cabins or outhouses.
  5. Wood stoves are not for cooking: instead, please use your camp stove for cooking.
  6. From October through April, firewood is supplied for heating the cabins only — not for fueling outdoor campfires. Collect and use downed branches for your outdoor campfire.
  7. No off-property wood may be brought onto Merck Forest property.
  8. Bicycles and other vehicles are not allowed beyond the Visitor’s Center.
  9. Firearms are not allowed at any campsite, shelter or cabin, except for during rifle and black powder seasons, and then only in the Hunting Zone.

Get Packing

Use these suggestions only as a guideline: factor in weather conditions and the length of your stay when packing. Remember that you are not permitted to drive to your campsite, so pack as lightly as possible.