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 this trail.