Visit the “Beast of the East” this summer and explore one of these five classic day hikes near Killington, Vermont.
Known for having the longest ski season in the east, Killington is a hub for a surprising amount of summertime hikes full of vistas, wildflowers, waterfalls, and even birdwatching opportunities. These are best as summer hikes, though all are accessible year-round with the proper gear. Snowshoeing some of these routes is a popular option during the winter—warming huts and abandoned cabins even located along the trail at times.
If you’re visiting Killington Mountain Resort, the Sherburne Pass Loop and Deer Leap Rock hikes are the places to start. Sherburne Pass is an epic backcountry hike pairing the Appalachian Trail and Sherburne Pass Trails around Pico Mountain Resort. 9.5 miles total, this route is a locals favorite and the longest on the list. Some hikers opt to camp near the summit and make this a two-day adventure, while trail runners can usually complete the loop in under 3-hours.
For those looking for a shorter and/or family-friendly hike with views of both Pico and Killington Mountains, Deer Leap Rock visits a popular overlook towering over the Inn at Long Trail. In addition to several rooms, the Inn serves traditional pub food, hosts live music, and pours "Vermont's Best Guinness on Tap," according to their website.
Just around the corner, the Bucklin Trail is a western approach to Killington Mountain by foot. This challenging trail climbs 2,500 feet in 3.6 miles, then returns the same way. Expect to spend upwards of 5 hours to complete the hike, though you may factor in some extra time to soak in the stunning views from the summit. A lodge at the top of the mountain is also available to visitors, so remember to bring your wallet along for the hike.
Another popular summit hike that's less visited, the Canty Trail leads to the summit of Blue Ridge Mountain. Aptly named, the main peak offers partial views in most directions, though a side trail leads west to an even better view towards Rutland. Just 1.6 miles from the trailhead, you’ll even discover another spur that leads to a stunning waterfall just off the path.
Whether you’ve explored everything on the list or are simply staying in Rutland for the night, the Bald Mountain Trail is a great short hike near town with four prominent vistas, summer wildflowers, wild edibles, and plentiful birdwatching opportunities. Located within Aitken State Forest, this hike is one of the easiest on the list and perfect for the entire family to explore.
Not listed but worthy of note, Vermont’s 273-mile Long Trail shares a route with the famous Appalachian Trail from the MA/VT State Line until Highway 4 near Killington. After passing the summits of both Killington and Pico Mountains, the trails part ways—the Long Trail bound for the US/Canada border, the Appalachian Trail bound for Mount Katahdin in Maine. Our section-by-section guidebook of the AT may be the only comprehensive guidebook with both descriptions and photos for every segment of the 2,200-mile trail!