The United States Congress designated the Glastenbury Wilderness (map
) in 2006 and it now has a total of 22,539 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Vermont
and is managed by the Forest Service.
The Glastenbury Wilderness is northeast of Bennington, beginning just north of Route 9. Seen from Route 7, the area possesses a massive and beautifully wild ridgeline that dominates the landscape to the east. Despite the area's proximity to Bennington, it is quiet and remote.
The forestland and extensive stands of mature beech trees provide critical black bear habitat, and claw-marked beech trees are a common sight demonstrating the presence of bears throughout the area. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has identified Glastenbury as a region "supporting relatively high densities of cub-producing females, and an area containing critical habitats necessary to bear survival."
The rich forest habitat of the Glastenbury area is home to a wide variety of birds. The presence of Bicknell's thrush (designated in Vermont as rare and of special concern) has been documented as well as Swainson's thrush, yellow-rumped warbler, Cape May warbler, winter wren, dark-eyed junco, and white-throated sparrow. Glastenbury offers extensive opportunities for backcountry recreation. The hilly terrain of the area includes several summits surpassing 2,000 feet and Mt. Glastenbury is over 3,700 feet in elevation. More than fifteen miles of trails offer access to hikers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers. The Long Trail/Appalachian Trail crosses the entire area from north to south by an old fire tower on the top of Glastenbury Mountain. Hell Hollow Brook, in the southern edge of the area, contributes to the public water supply of Bennington.
The township of Glastenbury is almost entirely National Forest, but for much of the last one hundred years it was owned by one family. The timber magnate Trenor W. Park passed Glastenbury along to his grandson, Hall Park McCullough, whose grandson, Trenor Scott, sold most of his holdings to the Forest Service. A century ago, Glastenbury was completely clearcut to supply vast quantities of charcoal to the iron industry in nearby Shaftsbury and Troy, New York. Glastenbury is now a rich mosaic of balsam fir, red spruce, white and yellow birch, beech, and mountain ash. It is interspersed with patches of ferns, raspberries, blackberries, bluebead lily, and dwarf dogwood. It now supports mature forest.