Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Green Mountain National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Challenging hike on a wet day, but well worth it. Hope to do it again but in nicer weather.

2 months ago

It was a fun winter hike and bushwack as we head towards completion of the 100 highest in New England. Not extremely difficult except for the bushwack. But we are experienced hikers. I highly advise taking the high road to avoid the water crossings.

2 months ago

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!

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!

4 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. 

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.

I did this yesterday 11/18. Soft light snow covered the trail. Very little ice. Lots of fallen trees and detours that can be hard to see in the snow. Overall an amazing run.

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

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

6 months ago

Steep enough in places to make it fun. Can't wait to go back and do the loop!

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

7 months ago

One of my favorites, Part easy, part tough, awesome views. Check out our full write up which includes directions and other things to look out for.

Echoing previous reviewers; easy hike to start then the climb becomes moderate/hard during the last sections. We found heavy clouds during our ascent leading to poor views but that’s legit the course at this elevation! Easy to follow & well marked trail. Parking gets full but plenty of on road options. Plan on a 5 hour round trip in good weather. FYI gondola and lodge is open and also in area of summit leading to increase in foot traffic. One water spicket available near summit.

Trail hugs a stream with several waterfalls, culminating in a serene mountain pond.

7 months ago

Many options for hiking between roads and trails. To experience everything you need to make several visits.

Great hike --- well marked moderate trail. I took trail upward from cabin (on left) so avoided inadvertently any scrambling; instead just walked up gondola steps to top. My dog hated the metal steps though -- caught a toe nail in them. Too bad gondola was running.

Small view at the top - nothing spectacular

Great hike,moderate most of the hike but strenuous towards the last .25 miles. A good 5 hour round trip. Finally when you crawl to the top you are not the only ones there, the Gondola riders are there looking down at you. Will do it again

It's a nice trail, but what's left unsaid is that after the Cooper cabin marker, there's another 1.4 mile hike up to the top of the mountain. That makes it 4.8 miles up not the 3.4 advertised. The last mile and a half is strenuous even though it's a moderate trail.

beautiful views at the top but a bit disappointing to hear trucks, cars and machinery down below. still nice to be in nature but a bit of a letdown

awesome hike. my wife and i did the whole loop. tons of climbing but well worth it. beautiful and quiet. almost saw no one. definitely recommended.

This was a great hike. Long incline with some fun rocks to climb right at the end resulting in a perfect view with a bar at the top. Good time. This was the first peak for the North End Mountain Club.

Extremely well kept and maintained trail overall. Deceptive at the beginning and can get quite strenuous the last half. Absolutely beautiful views from the top, though was quite crowded when we arrived.
I would give yourself some time for the hike. Atleast 3-4 hrs total for intermediate level hikers.

Amazing views at the top of Vermonts second tallest mountain. Again I don't know who rates these things but I would have rated this hard. The first two miles are a pleasant stroll through the woods as the trail loosely follows the brook. The rest of the way is brutally uphill particularly the last 0.2 mile stretch which almost resembles rock climbing from Cooper Cabin (which is sadly in poor shape due to skiers vandalizing it in the winter according to one journal entry). The biggest downside is lots of people at the top mostly from coming up the gondola.

Wonderful Trail! We hiked this trail just by running across it. It rained/poured on us. The rain really helped us endure the uphill climb. Near the end of the trail, it reminds you of a spooky haunted forest. Very cool. We went in and out in one day- got back just in time for night fall.

We took this with our 7 year old and started in an off grid cabin on Wheelerville Road. It is as everyone says, nice, long warm up and then just at the opening by the waterfall, about 2 miles in, it turns up, and once it turns up it continues steeply until the summit. Once you reach Cooper Lodge you are almost there, just the scramble left, which our kid went at with great energy after being a little tired on the way up. Tons of people at the top, mostly Gondola people, so don't expect tranquility, but it's an amazing vista none-the-less. On the way down stop at the opening again and take a dip just up stream in a nice deep pool.

Great trail with some fun challenging points. I went with my girlfriend for her first backpacking trip. We arrived at 16:00 on a Saturday and made it up past Cooley shelter on the first day going the reverse of the typical route. Found a decent camp site. Too many dead trees for my comfort, but none particularly menacing or large. Second day broke camp late and made it to the overlook. Pretty nice view from there. Finished by coming down the Emily Proctor trail back to the parking lot about 1700 on Sunday. Light to moderate traffic on the trail. Conditions were muddy and night time was cold. Only major note is the limited water opportunities on the ridge line. I average 4-6 liters/day of water while backpacking and would have packed 4 liters instead of the 2 I normally pack. Otherwise a good fun trail challenging enough for a sense of accomplishment without breaking ankles.i

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