Recent experimental studies have shown significant alterations of the vascular smooth muscle (VSM) tone when an artery is subjected to an elevation in pressure. Therefore, the VSM participates in the adaptation process not only by means of its synthetic activity (fibronectins and collagen) or proliferative activity (hypertrophy and hyperplasia) but also by adjusting its contractile properties and its tone level. In previous theoretical models describing the time evolution of the arterial wall adaptation in response to induced hypertension, the contribution of VSM tone has been neglected. In this study, we propose a new biomechanical model for the wall adaptation to induced hypertension, including changes in VSM tone. On the basis of Hill's model, total circumferential stress is separated into its passive and active components, the active part being the stress developed by the VSM. Adaptation rate equations describe the geometrical adaptation (wall thickening) and the adaptation of active stress (VSM tone). The evolution curves that are derived from the theoretical model fit well the experimental data describing the adaptation of the rat common carotid subjected to a step increase in pressure. This leads to the identification of the model parameters and time constants by characterizing the rapidity of the adaptation processes. The agreement between the results of this simple theoretical model and the experimental data suggests that the theoretical approach used here may appropriately account for the biomechanics underlying the arterial wall adaptation.