Killington Peak-Bucklin Trail

Mendon, Vermont

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6 Reviews
4 out of 5
A five- to six-hour round-trip to the second highest summit in Vermont.
Hiking Vermont: 60 of Vermont’s Greatest Hiking Adventures


Hiking Vermont: 60 of Vermont’s Greatest Hiking Adventures

by Larry Pletcher (Updated and revised by Tom Seymour) (Falcon Guides)

A five- to six-hour round-trip to the second highest summit in Vermont.

© 2008 Larry Pletcher (Updated and revised by Tom Seymour)/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Mendon
Distance: 7
Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 5-6 hours
Local Maps: USGS Killington peak, Pico Peak, and Rutland quads.
Driving Directions: Directions to Killington Peak-Bucklin Trail

Recent Trail Reviews


This trail is NOT like Camel's Hump or Mansfield. It's a meandering stroll through a meadow-like path with seemingly no elevation gain for what seems like 1 1/2 to 2 miles. When you hit the blue arrow blaze on a rock pointing you to the right and up you'll start to feel the gain and it will be steady and straight until you reach the top. You don't have the luxury of up and down trails to rest your legs and no switchbacks to frustrate you. Just you and a straight line to the top. The trail was relatively dry for having rained a couple of days earlier and if had more recently or had been raining then this might be far more taxing; and slippery. When you reach Cooper Lodge you've intersected The Long Trail by a tenth of a mile and water is a short distance away. The lodge obviously sees it's share of cheaters coming down from the peak via the Gondola and wears the scars to prove it but it was decent and you can't beat the location. After passing the tent pads you've got two tenths to go and you'll staircase climb on your hands over large rocks almost the entire distance until you reach the over-crowded summit. Holiday weekend, foliage season, beautiful (if mid twenties and windy can be beautiful) weather had the peak crowded from K-1'ers. Overall a great hike on a great day but not as draining as I would have liked. I only get to Vermont once a year for these trips and I like to remember them as exhausting. Agree - Radio/Cell/TV equipment detracts from the peak. Agree - Trekking poles would be useless but my 5 foot hiking stick was VERY helpful. Agree - Could be nasty at the top AND bottom in rain. Agree - Book has this at 5 hours and that's accurate, if you're very fit this can be done in 4 hours or less.


Surprisingly easy hike compared with Mansfield and Camel's Hump. Nice easy first mile (meadows, but thankfully no sign of poison ivy). Uphill climb from the lodge was strenuous but only a real burn for the last 0.2 mi. Very beautiful hike and striking views from the top. Several groups of tourists on top from the gondola, which was surreal because we became part of the wildlife attraction for them. Ended the day thinking the hike was a great idea.


I arrived just after the last of the thunderstorms ended in Rutland that day and was seriously thinking about postponing till later inthe week. The trail is very flat for close to 2 of the 3.4 miles. The last mile and particularly the last .2 miles are nasty, especially on wet rock, except for a short merge from Bucklin to the LT/AT. The peak spur is included at something near 70 degrees and trekking poles are all but useless on that portion. The top is a nice wide bare spot but the TV/Radio/Fire towers detract from it. I was in the middle of a cloud bank and could barely make out the towers except for a few brief openings. The wind was blowing hard and I was expecting more thunder heads so I made a quick retreat after pointing an AT hiker to the lift/lodge area below on the ski/north side. Book time is around 5 hours but I made it in 3:45 due to hustling to avoid sunset, bad weather at the top and the ease of ascent/descent over at least 4 of the 6.5 miles. Of all the VT 4000+ footers this was the easiest I have climbed/hiked. The trail is extremely quiet, only saw the one hiker all day. It's very narrow and damp down at the bottom sections due to lack of foot traffic and fairly flat surface. Stream crossings were simple (unlike some early reports) due to two recent bridges constructed on the trail. The trail head is a bear to find. If you're heading north from Rutland and you reach Pico you've gone too far by 2 right hand turns.


Very nice trail, beautiful view from the top. We've completed this trail in 6 hours, and it was pretty easy, the last 0.2 mi climb - difficult, but the view was totally worth it.


I had I great time on this trail. I would say that it has @ least 20" of powder on it so, snowshoes are a good Idea if you are going anytime soon after this is posted. The view @ Killington Peak was'nt that spectacular but, it was very hazy from cloud cover. All in all I would do it again. RJL

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Apr 2018