Explore Summer 2017 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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We liked it sooooo much! We went on the 25th, and seriously, it was amazing. We were all beginners, so it was a feat for us, but we fell in love with the peaceful landscape at the top. What a fulfillment! I would suggest this one for anybody that would like to start hiking.

trail running
1 month ago

Nice trail with sone steep section was icy on march 8

Really nice trail although we didn't make it to the top. Right now the first half of the hike is mud and ice. The second half has enough snow to use short snowshoes, and most of us just wore microspikes the entire time. Well marked and great for dogs and people. :)

Monday 2/19/2018

Weather: trail entirely snow-covered, beautiful and sunny, some strong wind at peak but trail until peak was below treeline so wind was generally minimal to moderate, very spotty light rain starting around 3:00 pm

9:45 am - 1:20 pm ascent from Bucklin Trailhead to Killington Peak Lodge
1:50 pm - 3:45 pm descent from Killington Peak Lodge to Bucklin Trailhead

The Bucklin Trailhead is accessible via an easily drivable dirt road that seems unlikely to become difficult to drive even in moderate snow or rain. There are no bathrooms at the trailhead, but there is a board with some trail information and maps.

We followed Bucklin Trail (blue blazes) for about 3.4 miles. Our time on Bucklin Trail was entirely under tree cover and the snow on the trail was generally powdery but packed down enough that big hiking boots would have been sufficient footwear (we wore micro spikes which was also fine). The incline for the first 30-40 minutes was slight, but increased suddenly to moderately strenuous after we crossed the last of a series of bridges.

We turned right on the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail (white blazes) and followed it for 0.2 miles to a wooden cabin with tarp-covered windows. After passing the cabin and some snowboarders who pointed us onward up the Long Trail, the snow became very powdery and the trail was not nearly as packed down as it had been. We continued on the Long Trail for about 100 steps until we hit the sign for the Killington Spur where we turned left (really more like continued straight) following blue blazes. The Spur was short (0.2 miles) and required moderate scrambling up a steeper slope. We sank a bit in the powdery snow, but the slope was steep enough that snowshoes might have been hard to use. The last 200 steps to the summit were a bit icy and required the use of our hands, but the trail was still surrounded by trees which we grabbed to anchor ourselves as needed. Only when we finally reached the summit did we emerge from the trees. There was a set of utility buildings at the summit, but the views off into the distance in all directions were excellent. We continued straight across the summit for about 0.2 miles (past the top of double black diamond Catwalk run) until we hit the Peak Lodge which had a large cafeteria, bathrooms, water, and comfy couches where we rested for 30 minutes while eating divine egg and cheese sandwiches from our B and B (shout out to Hartness House!).

On our descent, we butt slid down the Spur from the summit most of the way to the cabin. Having returned through the most powdery part of the snow cover, we stopped briefly in the cabin to change into dry socks before continuing downward.

All in all, an excellent, not-too-difficult winter hike with beautiful scenery throughout!

trail running
2 months ago

Super view but not enough km

Beautiful trail, perfect for snowshoeing. Gradual ascents for the most part and very picturesque. A little confusing at the top where the trail ends and you need to navigate the ski trails to the summit as the walkway traverse was closed. The ski trail I went up was extremely steep and sheer ice but nothing like a good burn at the end to make you appreciate the view, and the excellent chowder in the summit lodge. Don't get that on every 4K peak for sure!

snowshoeing
3 months ago

1/10/18 Snowshoed up Bucklin Trail carrying our skis and boots (my pack was 32# I'm sure my friend's weighed considerably more). Came out at the North Ridge Triple lift, traded for ski gear and glided down to our car at the Skyship Gondola parking lot. Planned to go over the top to Peak Lodge but it took us longer than expected to make the trip up and we were running out of daylight. The whole trek took us almost 6 hours. Snow conditions were PERFECT! Forecast said high of 25degrees, we didn't have a thermometer with us. Trail was soft enough for grip and no ice. Step off the packed trail and it dropped at least a couple feet. The alpine forest is dreamy!

It was an easy hike overall, very nice and well marked trail. We went to this hike at 29th, Dec with my 11yo daughter , the temperature was -5F may be lower. My daughter didn't like the idea of winter hike but she did well. It took us around 3hs to get to the peak, because we had to talk to my daughter couple times when she wanted to give up. We took it slow as you expected when hiking with kids. the trail had a lot of snow and was really cold but we didn't need to put crampons on. the peak was beautiful but wind was very strong, we had a quick lunch in the lodge and warmed up. it helped. i didn't like the view with so many lifts and people in the background. won't consider to do it again.

Coming down the trail was easy. It took us around 1h or so. We basically ran down together. Overall it was a beautiful winter hike. 

I've done this hike tons of times within the past 5 years. They've recently redone the trail and now have a different route, which has thrown me off a little bit due to my familiarity with the old trail but if you figure out the new trail it's fairly easy to follow.

Great trail with amazing views! Great camping!

Beautiful.

Wow, what a challenging winter hike! You will walk through 2 miles of well maintained wood trails, which is a great warm up for the immediate and continuous steep ascent to the summit. It also has its advantages as a good cool down on your way back to the parking lot. You see a stream running through, you will cross it a couple of times as well. There's snow over the mud at the base of the trail now, so you will get a bit dirty. The ascent begins with snow covered ice for a while, then into the snowy woods where the temperature dropped quite a bit. Where the trails intersect near the summit, there's a cabin and a ski trail that goes around it, so you might see people up there even now. The summit was steep and a scramble and in the ice it was much more dangerous that I had planned on. There were no views on this day, but I imagine w/out snow, it's quite beautiful. After our hike, we discovered that there is a warming shelter and/or ski lift restaurant not far from the summit, which would have been great to know about in advance. Anyway, I'd hike this again in the summer or fall for sure & plan to spend more time at the summit.

Incredible views once you make it to the top! We hiked in the middle of December and would recommend crampons and/or walking poles. There was plenty of ice once you start climbing the ridge.

Incredible hike. Snowy, not much ice. Beautiful.

Pretty icy towards the top and above the tree line. Would have been easier with microspikes and poles. But if you’re willing to take your time and risk a few butt slides you’ll be fine. Views were incredible even with the clouds we had.

I thought there was an incredible view at the top. I went up when it was snowing and the view of Lake Willoughby and surrounding mountain ranges was breathtaking.

Everybit as breathtaking as the reviews suggest. Mid november there was considerable ice on the trail, and was glad to have brought some strap on spikes. The hike itself was pleasant enough, although not as difficult as it is rated. It has a few short sections where you need to be mindfull, but no real consequences to speak of.

The days started clear but was cloud covered when we summitted, so will trya nd make it back to spend some time on the long trail when visibility is better.

Highly recommend this hike. Its a real gem.

Ascended Laura Cowles and Descended Sunset Ridge in mid-November. There was considerable snow even at lower elevations. And a fair amount of ice once you get above about 3,000’. Definitely recommend spikes at a minimum due to the trail conditions. Poles would be helpful, too.

As far as rating difficulty level, I would say this is pretty much right in the middle of moderate on a scale of easy to difficult. Much less challenging than many of the New England 4,000’ers I’ve done. But would certainly be strenuous, though definitely doable, for someone in average physical condition who isn’t accustomed to alpine hikes. I would say this is a very good introductory test for someone looking to evaluate their fitness and interest in mountain hiking as a pass time. Once you get to the top and get that payoff in the way of awe-inspiring views, you will get the bug. No doubt.

Laura Cowles, with the fresh snow cover, was beautiful from start to finish. Some beautiful and interesting rock formations, as well as some very cool ice formations at various places along the way. Portions of the trail are actually a small stream. Like, you’re walking IN the stream. At least at this time of year. Maybe it’s intermittent. I can’t say for sure. But be sure to have proper footwear.

The summit is beautiful. We were fortunate to have done this hike on a crystal clear day with the added benefit of fresh snow cover on the surrounding area. It made for gorgeous views. Could clearly see Champlain, the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains, and the Whites, all from the rock bluffs at the summit.

I wish I could give it something between the 4 and 5 star rating. It is worthy of 5 stars, for sure. It is visually interesting, mildly challenging, and quite serene. I only give it 4 stars because comparatively speaking, having done some otherworldly trails in the Whites, this one falls just a bit short for me. Again, this is strictly comparatively speaking. It doesn’t fall short of being incredible by any measure. I will absolutely do it again. And I look forward to it. Highly recommend this as a visually beautiful and satisfying day hike that is very much doable in a relatively short day, as opposed to some of the longer trails in the Whites that make for a very long, but very gratifying, day in the trail.

So in summary, do it. It’s fantastic.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike. Did it with my 20 lb terrier a Saturday morning in October. The dog loves it and was able to ascend off leash as we didn't see any other hikers until just below the summit. Unfortunately can't speak for views as it was overcast when we went but the immediate views around the trail still pleasurable.

Also a Great less trafficked alternative to other area hikes

Fun rock scramble at the end. Little icy and muddy.

Great hike Rocky at top. Crossing the Long Trail cool sites!

We hiked up Laura Cowles trail and down Sunset. Laura was more brutal than I expected. Be prepared to stop periodically and let your heart slow down! Lots of stretches of wet rock staircases. Very windy at the top. Sunset was not difficult to get down.

Great trail! Great view!

Drove up from Cleveland for this. I am not an experienced hiker by any means, and this tested my mental and physical abilities. When I got to the top, it was all worth it. Amazing view.

Last hiked in 1990 and stayed at the youth camping area campground. Took Sunset Ridge Trail to Chin, and down Laura Cowles Trail. Took a group of teen and younger kids who enjoyed it.

hiking
5 months ago

The Trail was steeper than anticipated, but a great hike and it was a beautiful day. Our pocket beagle did great on the trail as well. Very dog friendly! Not a huge view at the top, but still worth it.

Did this trail in the rain (which became snow as I got higher). There were no views whatsoever because of the weather. With that said, it was still an amazing hike. Solid workout. 360-degree view at the top. Can't wait to come back!!

Great hike!

Starts out easy and then gets much more difficult. Beautiful view from the top!

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