Bucklin Trail to Killington Peak

HARD 128 reviews

Bucklin Trail to Killington Peak is a 7.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Rutland, Vermont that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2470 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

scramble

snow

washed out

This is a hike up to Killington Peak where there are far-reaching panoramic views to the Green Mountains of Vermont, the Adirondacks of New York, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

6 days ago

Great hike!! Not for the weak though! Beautiful views!

hiking
7 days ago

The first 2 miles are a stroll through the woods, the next mile and a half to summit is a pretty steep incline. Good workout, did it under 3 hours but didnt spend much time on summit.

7 days ago

Lovely hike on rolling terrain. Would disagree with some others opinions about how difficult the ascent was. Yes, climb was steady but not grueling or too taxing. Scramble at the top wasn’t long enough to get you winded before emerging into an open summit. Good amount of friendly people up there today. Enjoyable hike. 4:05 with stop for waterfall, summit pictures and my hiking partners asthma attack.

hiking
11 days ago

Excellent, well-maintained trail with amazing views. I purposely hiked it on a day the gondola was not running, so I had the summit to myself for a (very windy) 5-10 minutes. The first 2 1/4 miles is basically a walk in the woods. The next 1 1/4 mile is a steep climb up to the Long/Appalachian Trails, gaining roughly 1,800 feet. The climb moderates along the short Long Trail stretch, but the final 0.2 miles along the Killington Peak Spur is a near-vertical scramble, the upper part of which is exposed. The round trip took me about 4.5 hours, including half an hour at the summit. 2.5 hours of that was going up, 1.5 hours of THAT in the last 1.8 miles. The round-trip distance as measured by my GPS is 8 miles (4 each way).

This trail was DIFFICULT, not moderate. The last 0.2 miles to the summit is a near-vertical scramble, though it is supposedly possible to avoid this by using a ski trail from the Cooper Shelter. The bypass may make it the upper end of moderate. You will want a jacket for the summit, as it was VERY windy and cool at 4,230 feet even though it was nearly 80 degrees at the base. If one desires, this could be an overnight trip as the Cooper Shelter is close to the summit.

hiking
11 days ago

Took us 5 hours, this is including a long break at the mini waterfalls and a long lunch at the top. A walk in the woods for the first half of the trail which was a nice warm-up. The last quarter mile was a steep rock scramble, essentially climbing stairs. The rock scrambles were in the shade which was nice. The bare summit on a clear day made for amazing views. A few other people were at the summit enjoying the weather and view. A quiet, polite, and friendly group. My calves and glutes were very sore the day after. Hiked in trail runners. Be careful on the way down.

hiking
18 days ago

This was a beautiful trail.
We climbed it on a June morning in pleasant sunshine.
Started relatively flat for the first half then progressively steeper.
The last couple of hundred feet were a rock scramble and was too steep for us (58 & 63) particularly as the peak was by now above the cloud-line, so with no prospect of views and some regrets we turned back.
Rained most of the way back but we still felt elated by the hike.
Definitely recommended.
Aching cheek muscles from smiling so much!
Did not realise there was a cafe at the top. Should have researched better.

Amended to add.... Having done a few more trails now (this was my first) - it is NOT moderate. It is HARD.
Anything as steep as this was in the final stages (a near vertical rock scramble) is HARD (Particularly taking into account the length of the trail - 4 miles each way)
Up until then moderate was a fair rating.

snowshoeing
3 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. :)

hiking
3 months ago

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!

snowshoeing
5 months ago

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
5 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!

5 months ago

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. 

hiking
6 months ago

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.

hiking
7 months ago

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

hiking
7 months ago

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

8 months ago

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

hiking
8 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.
http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/killingtonmountain

hiking
8 months ago

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.

hiking
8 months ago

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.

9 months ago

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

hiking
9 months ago

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.

9 months ago

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.

hiking
9 months ago

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.

hiking
9 months ago

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.

backpacking
10 months ago

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.

hiking
10 months ago

This was my favorite hike to date! Did this on a gorgeous summer day, with temps in the high sixties and full sun! Couldn't have asked for better conditions. As others have noted, the first part is a walk in the park (clocked at 2.5 miles on my handheld GPS). The second mile and half section is intense, with the last quarter mile requiring the use of your hands! It was an amazing ascent, with incredibly rewarding views at the top. I would label this one a must do for any avid hiker. It was also my first high peak!

10 months ago

The last mile was brutal! Took 1 hr 40 min to reach the summit and it kicked my ass. Fun workout and awesome view. Also: Stumbled upon a moose about 10 yards to the right of the trail. Casually crossed right in front of us, almost posing for our pictures. Can't beat that!

hiking
10 months ago

trail it self didn't have a view it wasn't very interesting really just the same until you get right to the top then BAM straight up scrabble to the top. View at the top is very nice but has a ski lift that's quite loud and tourist who are just walking around and not really a hikers vibe. There is a nice ski lodge that is open on weekends that you can get food at by the ski lift (go straight once out on top of the mountain go though the woods follow that trail) it closes at 3 ish tho.

hiking
10 months ago

Very well kept trail with lots to see. The first 2 1/2 miles are very easy going, with the last mile being more technically difficult. Gorgeous views from the top!

hiking
11 months ago

This one goes through stages. The first 2 miles or so are easy...fairly flat. You'll eventually come to a small waterfall, then BAM, elevation shoots up. That last mile is pretty steep...makes for a fun climb. The last 0.2 mile of it is a straight up scramble to the peak, easily the best part of the whole trail.

Downside is that you learn there's a gondola that people can take to the peak, and that makes for a crowded and somewhat mixed reception...felt real touristy up there. The view is breathtaking though and definitely worth hiking on up to see it. Just try and go when there'll be less commotion and keep the man made structures to your back.

hiking
11 months ago

Would have given it 5 stars except for the rain at the peak and the crowded restaurant at the top. First 2 miles are pretty simple but the last mile is quite steep. A few times we came to some forks in the trail and I guess we went the right way as we made it to the peak ! I do prefer a peak without access by a ski gondola .

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