Via: The Bucklin Trail, The Long Trail/Appalachian Trail, and The Killington Spur Trail: 7.4 miles round trip
Killington is known by skiers as “the beast of the east” as it features a large ski resort, gondola, restaurant and lodge on the mountain. For hikers it is more well known as the last 4,000 footer south bound on the Appalachian Trail before Virginia. It is also the second tallest peak in Vermont and has a summit with incredible views in all directions.
The Long Trail/Appalachian Trail in Vermont come within .2 miles from its summit, and there is also a shorter approach via the Bucklin Trail. This trail is located on Wheelerville Road, Mendon, Vermont, in the Brewer’s Corner parking lot. To reach the Bucklin trailhead from US-4 W/Woodstock Road drive 10.1 miles and turn right onto US-4 W/VT-12 N/Pleasant Street. Continue on Route 4 West for 26.2 miles and turn left onto Wheelerville Road. Drive 4 miles until you see a parking lot on the left side of the road. Wheelerville Road is unpaved but in good condition, the parking area is a sharp left turn from the road and is unsigned. Vigilance will help you locate it. No fees are collected and no facilities are present.
For the first two miles the trail is a pleasant walk in the woods as it follows Brewer’s Brook slowly up the mountain. There are three water crossings but they are all bridged and well maintained. There is virtually no challenge in this moderate gain. You will know when you have reached mile three as the grade becomes steeper along the way up to Cooper’s Lodge. Built in 1939 this is the highest elevation shelter on the Long Trail, and while it lacks heat, windows and basic “lodge” comforts it provides a historic and basic shelter for thru hikers of both the Long Trail and the A.T. Beyond the lodge, the trail, while more difficult is still quite moderate as far as mountains go. There is solid footing and the path is well defined. From the lodge the top is another .2 miles of rock scrambling up, this is the only hard part of the hike, but it is short and the views are amazing once you gain the summit. There is a tower and some out buildings on the summit that detract from the pristine mountain feeling but to the west the Adirondacks are viewable, as are the serpentine spines of Vermont’s Green Mountains. To descend, retrace your steps down the steep at first but gradual path back to the parking area.
Killington is a gorgeous summit, especially considering the effort it takes to accomplish the hike. There are other ways to the top as well, one can climb a ski trail or travel either north or south on the Long Trail to get to Cooper Lodge and the spur trail. There is reliable water on the way up, and there are no difficult obstacles that would inhibit pretty much anyone from enjoying this peak.
Distance from parking area:
Junction with Long Trail/A.T.: 3.3 miles
Summit: 3.7 miles
Round Trip: 7.4 miles