hiking

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With its location at the base of Killington and Pico peaks and close proximity to the Appalachian and Long trails, this park is a favorite of hikers. Many through-hikers pass the park on their Appalachian Trail journey from Georgia to Maine. The park is also a popular destination during the fall foliage season for its dramatic autumn colors. Established in 1931 when the state purchased 13 acres of land from Lee Pearsons, the park grew over the next two decades with a land donation from Walter K. Barrows and various land purchases. Mr. Barrows noticed that many passing motorists stopped at the spot to admire the large old trees growing on his property and decided that it should be protected by adding it to the newly established state park. Today, Gifford Woods contains one of the few old-growth hardwood tree stands remaining in Vermont. The stand has many grand-sized sugar maple, beech, yellow birch, white ash and hemlock. The understory is rich with native wildflowers. In 1978, seven acres of forest in this area was designated the Gifford Woods Natural Area. An additional 13 acres was designated as Gifford Woods National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1980 because of the exemplary quality of the old-growth forest. To preserve the natural state of the Natural Area, no trails or development of any kind is permitted. Development of Gifford Woods State Park began in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a nation-wide public works program created during the Great Depression of the 1930s to provide jobs and training for thousands of unemployed Americans. In 1933 and 1934, CCC crews constructed the park office and rangers quarters, picnic area, stone restroom building, trails, the park entrance and parking area. In 1939 the CCC constructed a camping area. A new section was added to the campground in 1959. The park continued to grow throughout the 20th Century, and reached its current size of 285 acres in 2003, when 171 non-contiguous acres were acquired from the Green Mountain Club to protect the Long Trail corridor. The town of Killington was chartered on July 7, 1761. Settlers to the Killington area were primarily subsistence farmers, raising crops and tending sheep in the valleys. Logging and milling were the prevalent industries in the area, with several saw and grist mills established. Tourism had its beginnings in Killington quite early. The first tourist resort at Killington was built in 1880, well before the region was developed as a ski resort. The original Summit House accommodated hikers and naturalists that came to Killington for the fantastic summit views. Most of the local families that remained in the area rented out boarding rooms to tourists, and a number of small inns and hotels were scattered around the town. There are 4 cabins, 22 tent/trailer sites and 20 lean-to sites situated in two camping loops. Each loop has a rest room with modern plumbing and hot showers ($). There is a trailer sanitary station, but no hookups. Fire and ice are available for sale. A wooded picnic area is located behind the ranger's quarters with a play area. Day hikes are available and there is an easy hook up with the Appalachian Trail.

Really nice!!

Hiked it in rainy conditions but still not that difficult while also not the best negotiating without good boots. View from the top is well worth it and lots of little fun changes of scenery and natural environment. Go Birds.

Hiked this trail a few days ago and there was a LOT of mud but we kept going to the summit. My husband and I have been doing mainly moderate rated hikes during the few months we have been in VT so wanted to try our hand at a Hard rated hike. Some of the moderate hikes we have done were more difficult than this one (Mt.Ascutney for example) but with that said, the last half mile or so to the summit and back down was hard. If you were to go only to the point where there is an open area and you run into the service road for the first time (maybe 2 mile mark) and no further, I would rate this as a true moderate hike. And there is a lovely view at that point. This is also where we could not figure out the next part of the trail ( the blue blaze is to your left on a lone tree in the middle of an open batch) and wasted time going up the service road. Once we got back on track, we entered a lovely forest setting which felt ancient and a bit creepy and that led us to the cabin where we met a young gal into mile 100 of her LT journey. That is where the path goes up to the summit and you hit the service road a few more times before the true summit. In my opinion, the view at the first open area is equally as good but if you are like me and just wanna finish what you started, you will get a good workout that last push. The overall experience-muddy conditions, length of trail, moderate with hard section-resulted in a great hike. I will also add that my husband has lung issues and knee issues but did this hike. But he also had hiking poles, proper footwear and clothing. We saw several folks who had regular footwear turn around because of the mud and because they had no idea what was up ahead. Just keep in mind that this is a ski mountain. You might hear construction on the way up and there will be ski lift equipment at the top. But none of this interferes with the overall experience in my mind. I even enjoyed the mud-especially going down when I no longer cared about getting dirty!

Love this app and this place there was a coyote

The trail is muddy, but worth it!

Maybe I’m just super strong (lol) but I’d rate this as more of a moderate than a hard trail. The Appalachian trail part is definitely fairly easy, elevation change is gradual and the forest is beautiful. Lightly trafficked. Cross Rte 4 from the trail head to take AT North and when you get to Willard’s Gap, stay right to keep on the AT. The Deer Leap trail is steeper and more populated, and also... muddy! Hiking poles would come in handy for this section. The overlook is made up of some large rock faces, a great place to rest with amazing views.

Great hike...trail was nice and dry! Couldn't imagine doing this when it's wet!
Parked at Pico, hiked up to the top, then took this trail back to Trailhead at Inn at Long Trail...walked back to Pico...7.3 miles.
Hiked with my ski poles, highly recommended!

this will always be a favorite of mine. it's a good hike. not too long, not too short. the views are awesome at the top.

A little more strenuous than moderate in some sections. The overlook is beautiful....worth the extra .4 miles.

Crossed paths with many people on the way up and down, covering all skills and fitness levels. The reward is the view and an appreciation for a beautiful part of the planet - and so accessible. I rarely hike with a walking stick but chose to on this day - the best decision! I was ever so grateful for the walking stick in the wet conditions on the way down.

Short nature walk with a lot of streams. Good for kids. 60-90 minutes. A quick hop to Kent pond.

Wow!! This trails gives “a lot of bang for your buck!” It’s the right amount of workout when you need a quick hike!! The view from the overlook is awesome!!

Fun and easy hike with great views at the top. I did this in combination with Killington Peak for my NEHH, the trail to Pico is fairy direct but doesn’t gain a lot of elevation, so it’s quite easy, especially compared to hikes in the Whites. As with most trails in Vermont, it was pretty muddy for a couple sections, especially with the recent rains. After the switchbacks you pass a cool cabin with a couple of bunks, as well as lots of thru hikers names carved in the walls. From there the trail climbs quite steeply to the peak, but with no technical sections at all. The summit has great views of Killington and the Southern Green Mountains. If you want to continue on to Killington like I did, it’s just a few easy miles on the Long Trail with virtually no elevation gain until you reach Killington Spur. The peak is spectacular and definitely worth visiting if you want something longer.

Excellent Family trail. Amazing views!

Nice hike. Steep in a few places but never too bad. Overlook rock had a nice vista.

Nice family hike with great views!

Lovely hike, terrific view.

Great view at lookout and like others have said, it’s a cardio workout on the way up till it levels out. We enjoyed it.

I completed this hike in the first week of June, starting at the Appalachian/Long Trailhead located on Hwy 4 rather than at the Shelburne Pass Trailhead. Although the hike ascent is a bit longer than the Shelburne trail, I believe it is much easier, gentle swaybacks with a beautiful path along the Long trail through mixed forest. Starting early will give you a great head start to the day arriving at PICO peak around 10:30 -11:00 at a steady 30 min/mile pace. Once you arrive at Jungle Junction simply follow the old AT trail to the service road and take the road up until you see blue flash for the 0.7 mile climb to the summit. The views from the top are a nice 360 vantage-- although the towers and ski equipment take away from the overall experience. Be careful of the porcupines-- they are having a problem with overpopulation on the summit. Make sure you leash your dogs otherwise your hiking trip might turn into a nightmare if your pooch decides to tangle with one. have fun!

Would have been 4 stars but for the traffic noise at the beginning/end.
Once you get away from the road after 600 yards or so it is a peaceful and beautiful walk.
First 600-800 yards are the steepest - a bit of a cardio workout - then it levels out until you get to the overlook rock.
Views from there are very good.

Le sentier en lui même était très beau, et très bien indiqué. Cependant, la piste suit l'autoroute alors il y a le bruit une partie de la montée ce qui est un peu pénible étant donné qu'on sors pour être au grand air loin de la civilisation. Ensuite la vue n'est pas terrible car il y a l'autoroute (et le bruit qui va avec) et un village de ski énorme qui gâche vraiment le paysage d'un côté de la vue, l'autre côté est très beau. C'est une belle promenade si on habite à côté et qu'on le fait le dimanche mais pas pour visiter et venir juste pour cette randonnées

The trail itself is nice, well indicated, and the forest is beautiful. But the view was disappointing, with a ski village and the highway in the middle (that you could hear). If you just want to take a walk into the forest, and you’re around, it’s ok. But in my opinion it’s not worth coming just for it, or to take landscape picture.

Peaceful, well maintained trails with abundant blazes and an incredible overlook!

Nice moderate hike, up to the top. We had lots of ice and were glad we brought poles to help support.
We took the ski runs down, which led to a 0.4mile walk to our car, but it would have been too dangerous going back down the trail with that slick ice.

5/5/18: Beautiful trail with varied terrain. A great hike in killington.

snowshoeing
7 months ago

short hike with beautiful views. one of my favorite local hikes. top pick when driving back to the area from boston. can make the hike longer by hiking north or south on the AT. great pub at the bottom to end the hike. very deep snow today. track was broken up to deer overlook. had to break trail along the AT and it was difficult because very little use over the winter

Absolutely gorgeous winter hike! I went with a local friend who hikes this trail frequently. The trail was still very well marked aside from the very top .5 mile where it crosses some ski runs. I would say it is mostly of moderate difficulty, with only the top section being "hard". As always in winter be prepared with plenty of layers, it got quite warm in the forest on this sunny March day but at the summit we needed our heavy coats. We needed poles and wore Yak Tracks or similar traction devices the entire hike, switching to actual spikes/crampons once at the cabin as from then on the trail is solid ice.

Watch out for stray skiers and have fun!

Fun and challenging trail. Had no problem finishing with a large group of friends. A few of us never even hiked before so we had to take our time but the challenge was well worth it!

hiking
10 months ago

super fun! beautiful views & awesome scenery on the way up. we went while it was lightly snowing & 30 degrees, so it was a tad icy. we took our dog and he loved it! can’t wait to hike it in the spring or summer!

Lovely short hike. Beautiful place to get engaged!!! :)

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