Rutland County Highpoint Trip Report
Killington Pk (4,235 ft)
Date: October 2, 2005
Author: Chris Gilsdorf
After starting college in New Hampshire, I decided to start getting a feel for
the surrounding peaks. When my father visited, we decided to try out Killington
and Pico Peaks in nearby Vermont, opting for a longer traverse of the Coolidge
Range instead of the gondola or shorter trails from the west.
We departed on a beautiful October day (incidentally, my birthday) from the
parking lot at Sherburne Pass on US 4 west of Killington. The lot is obvious
and located at the crest of the pass opposite a shorter mountain with an exposed
rock slab near the summit. We took the Sherburne Pass Trail (blue blazes) from
the lot, which grew steeper as we gained elevation on Pico. After a brief
stretch up a ski run, the trail contoured more or less at the same elevation
clockwise around Pico and, 2.5 miles after the trailhead, we reached a shelter
with the spur trail up to Pico's summit (0.4 mile each way). If you have the
time and energy, it's worth a visit, even though the human impact from the ski
resort is almost painfully apparent. It does, however, offer a nice view of
Killington and your starting point.
From the shelter, it was another easy 0.5 mile to the junction with the Long
Trail/AT. We headed south, following the ridge between Pico and Killington on a
surprisingly easy trail. The various ski lifts climb up the eastern slopes of
the ridge but the trail stays on the relatively pristine western slope.
At 2.4 miles past the junction with the Long Trail and after some moderate climbing,
we reached another shelter and the spur trail to the summit of Killington. The
remaining 0.2 mile was, to say the least, intense. The trail basically heads
straight up the steepest side of Killington at a slope closer to vertical than
horizontal but large rocks are a-plenty and the trail will not be a big deal for most.
We at last made our way to the bare, rocky summit of Killington, with its
radio antennas and fire tower (which was locked).
There are 360-degree views but you have to wander around the summit area a bit
to get them. The weather on top was spectacular for being October, sunny and in
the 70's. After a short walk to see the gondola station, we returned the way we
had come, making excellent time and finishing the hike in a little over 6 hours.
If you have a half-day's opportunity to climb Killington, I highly recommend