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Appalachian Trail: Big Branch to US-4

An amazing segment through the high country of Vermont, summiting Killington Peak.

Hiking Difficult

48 km
2.4 km
2.2 km
1 day +
Low Point
241 m
High Point
1.2 km
Appalachian Trail: Big Branch to US-4 Map

To begin this segment, take Brooklyn Road east from US-7. As the road winds into the mountains, pass a picnic area and overlook before reaching the trailhead.


To the south, the Appalachian Trail enters Big Branch Wilderness. To the north, it heads into the Green Mountains towards Little Rock Pond. Known for its fishing and swimming, a campground also lies on the east side of the lake.

Pair the AT (LT) and the Green Mountain Trail together to form a popular loop, with the option to camp at the pond.

Heading north, the trail makes its way through White Rocks National Recreation Area. Known for countless camping, hiking, and even snowmobile opportunities, this area encompasses a vast amount of land, including 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail.

As you reach Sugar Hill Road, the trail passes a picnic area and popular access point to the trail.

Head due north, and pass over Bear Mountain and into the Clarendon Gorge, another popular destination for a day hike. A suspension bridge crosses over the gorge before reaching a small parking area along the road.

If thru-hiking and in need of supplies, this is the best opportunity to walk or hitchhike into a town until reaching the northern terminus.

As the trail heads north, it crosses a couple of roads before climbing its way to the second highest peak in Vermont—Killington Peak. A spur trail leads to the summit and can also be accessed from the top of the K1 Gondola at the resort. A lodge at the summit also makes for an opportunity to buy food or beverage and enjoy it with a view.

Rounding out the segment, you will reach an intersection with Sherburne Pass Trail, a popular way to form a loop from US-4. For an overnight camping opportunity, look for the adjacent Pico Camp Shelter along Sherburne Pass Trail. For more killer views, make your way to the summit of Pico Peak. Though there is no defined vista, in the summer the resort is typically vacant and the views from the top of the lift can be phenomenal.

Leaving the alpine forest, the trail heads down the west side of Pico Mountain to the AT/LT trailhead along US-4. If you are thru-hiking and need supplies or want to stay in town, head into Rutland.

Alternatively, a small market with a deli lies a few miles east on the road and carries most essentials. It can also be accessed when the trail reaches VT-100.

Sources: https://andyarthur.org/explore/other-states/vermont/green-mountain-nf/white-rocks-national-recreation-area https://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/cs/recarea?ss=110920&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=FSE003738&navid=110240000000000&pnavid=110000000000000&recid=64975&actid=50&ttype=recarea&pname=Little%20Rock%20Pond%20Trail



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between June and November


  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area