Time on the Trail: Pico and Killington

The view from Killington looking towards the summit of Pico.

I love summer, however it usually doesn’t leave me a lot of spare time. Between the busy summer season at the restaurant/inn where I cook, and the list of chores my wife has, it can leave me with little time and energy. My days off are Tuesday and Wednesdays but lately the weather has been iffy. I’ve still been able to get out for some rides and runs but not some of the longer ones that I’ve wanted to do.

This past Tuesday was setting up perfectly! I was pumped all week looking at the weather forecast! My plan was to drive up to Killington and leave from Sherburne Pass running the AT/LT to the summits of Killington and Pico.

When I arrived at the trailhead around 9 there were numerous tents, socks, and hiking boots spread out in the grass soaking up the sun. I’m not a morning person, and having been up since 6:15 I was tired. Working nights in an upscale restaurant or any restaurant for that matter takes a lot out of you. Between the heat and stress it can really drain you.

I started out on the trail still kind of groggy with my legs feeling a little heavy. I didn’t really have time to settle in when I was greeted with some uphill technical goodies. The first two miles were rutted out, rocky and steep. After that I was cruising along starting to wake up and feeling better. I passed Pico Camp shelter with two hikers having breakfast, and unaware I missed the spur for the Pico summit trail. The weather was ideal, sunny but not humid, and the trail was well shaded from tree cover. A little less than a mile after the shelter I came upon some trail signs and realized I had missed Pico. I was originally planning on descending down the actual AT to the parking lot and running up Route 4 back to Sherburne Pass, but now I had to do an out-and-back hitting Pico. The next two or so miles were fairly tame and I was able motor along. The trail was rolling with no real climbs until about a half-mile from the spur trail to the summit of Killington.

Once you pass Cooper Lodge the .2 miles trek to the summit of Killington is “rugged, steep, and rocky.” If you’re a thru-hiker I hope your stashing your pack in the woods at the bottom. The summit was perfect and about 10 degrees cooler with spectacular views. I wasn’t planning on spending any time at the summit but the views and weather were so amazing I ended up spending around 10 minutes taking pictures and soaking it up. I could see Pico and roughly the route I had come. Now it was time to head back and summit Pico.

I slowly and carefully descended down from the summit of Killington, stopped to eat a Clif bar near Cooper lodge and then was off again. It didn’t take me too long to reach Pico camp and the trail to the summit. My legs were still feeling pretty good but the last little pitch to the top definatley put me in the hurt box a little. I think the trail was around .4 miles long and although it was pretty steep, it was nowhere near as technical as Killington. The  trail connected to a work road and took me to the summit. I took a couple pictures ate a Gu and then was headed back to the truck.

Doing this has been on my list for a long time, and I was lucky to of had such great weather. The total distance was 11.2 miles with around 2,953 feet of elevation change. Killington is a great peak with with spectacular views. If your ever in the area I highly recommend it.




Greg Rems

Avid Vermont enthusiast, be it telemarking, cycling, running, hiking, or anything outside. Chef de Cuisine the Inn at West View Farm in Dorset, Vt. Living in Arlington.