Killington has an endless array of possibilities when it comes to summer fun, and we got to spend three days taking in the magic. From hikes, to bikes and everything in between, Killington Resort holds the secret to summertime fun.
I, Rachel, and my daughter Aria visited Killington this summer. Our main objectives during our time on the mountain were to visit the summer-specifics attractions and activities that Killington boasts like learning the basics of mountain biking, and along with experiencing their amazing hiking trails.
Day 1: Hikes, Hot Tubs, & Hamburgers!
After doing a little research online about the trail system at Killington, we settled on an afternoon hike on upon arrival. The Pond Loop and The Morain Trail made for a fun afternoon adventure and a great way to stretch our legs and release some pent up energy after the car ride. With hiking trails at every level, Killington has something for every one from easy and meandering trails and the exercise track with gorgeous views, to more advanced hikes with sprawling views of the surrounding mountains.
What’s the best treat post-hike? The salt water hot tub and pool which were a huge favorite! The salt helped to sooth sore muscles and the view from the pool of the mountain was incredible. As we watched the mountain bikers snake down the mountain and back up the lifts, we were all the more excited about what was to come the next day: mountain biking lessons for the both of us. But first we had to fuel up for the next day.
Food for Days
There are tons of food options at the resort and surrounding area, so we took a recommendation from the friendly and knowledgable staff at the Grand Resort Hotel and visited Casey’s Caboose in Killington (about 5 minutes from the resort). The burgers at Casey’s did not disappoint and our meal came with a cool side of history. Casey’s opened in 1981, is housed in a 35 ton 1900’s railroad snowplow car which kept the snowdrifted tracks of New England clear and safe until is was sidelined by a derailment.
While off the resort, we also made a quick stop at The Killington Market & Deli. This is a great little spot to pick up essentials that you may have forgotten and has a little of everything. From groceries and meats for use on the grill pits at Killington, to beer and Vermont specialty products, Killington Market & Deli has it all. For more Killington food tips, check out our Killington Mountain Eats round-up.
Day 2, Mountain Biking 101: A Little Ripper and Magic Mom Moment
Killington has a fantastic mountain bike group lessons program and the staff in the rental shop are attentive and skillfull. Lessons are two hours in length and are available for ages 6+ daily from 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Since Aria and I are 40 years old and 6 years old repsectively, I wondered how Killington might handle the instruction given that we were at such different skill levels. The answer: Brady and Mike.
Kids Mountain Bike Lesson
While I went with Mike and joined a group lesson with another new adult rider, Aria was given a separate block of instruction (still within eye site of our group) with Brady. An important note about mountain bike lessons with young kids: Make sure that your “Little Ripper” is ready to ride. They should begin with a clear understanding of balance, turning, braking, and strength before heading out to the mountain. They should also be prepared to wear a full face helmet as well as knee and elbow pads. (Something to note for kids with sensory needs).
Brady was a wonderful and patient instructor who helped Aria gain confidence in her riding ability and develop a sense of accomplishment as she learned the basics. He also kept things fun for her by trying out different types of terrain in the mini-park. Killington also has a Youth Bike Park Camp. Youth camps are open to ages 7-17 years old of all ability levels, from first time mountain bikers to seasoned rippers. They run from from 9:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. daily with lunch included.
Mom’s Mountain Bike Lesson
For the adult lesson, Mike, a seasoned instructor and fellow Army veteran was a wonderful mix of fun and direct in his instruction. He had me and the other rider in attendance ready to get up on Easy Street after just a short (and thorough) block of instruction. We learned to turn, modulate the brakes, and try different riding positions.
Mike also introduced us to the several terrain features we’d be exposed to before we went up on the mountain. Berms, bridges, rises, and turns became like well-known friends, and Mike didn’t skip the small stuff. We were even taught simple things, like how to load the bike on the lift and how the trail system works. All of these little details had this mama feeling ready to rolle. After a couple of runs down Easy Street, I had officially caught the mountain bike bug and was already looking to visit some of the more rugged and technical trails on my own.
Side note: Killington Resort also has childcare for parents that want a little down time or to get in a couple of extra runs. The hours of operation are Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday & Peak: 7:45 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. They accept kids 12 weeks up to 12 years old.
Following the lesson, we took a recomendation to visit the local bike shop at the bottom on the access road to learn more about bikes. The folks at Base Camp are an absolute wealth of knowledge. Run by Ben Colona, Base Camp is a one stop shop for Outdoor clothing and equipment in Killington. From bikes and skis, to basics for the nearby Appilacian Trail, the folks at Base Camp have you covered. Robbie, one of the resident bike gurus told us the basics of bike buying with a couple of key takeaways:
- Where you ride determines what kind of bike you should get. Start with a basic hardtail bike. Suspension type and wheel diameter are two key attributes that determine the type of terrain a bike is capable of handling. You’ll also want to consider things like frame material, number of gears and type of brakes as you narrow down your bike choice.
- Buy what’s best for your needs, not just the hottest tech on the market.
- Everyone starts somewhere. You don’t need to be a pro to get out there and shred.
Day 3, Endless Possibilities
For our final day on the mountain, the possibilities were endless due to access to the Adventure Center. We checked the rider requirements to help us plan for the day and began with a trip to the Amazin’ Maze. Using a punch card system, the mission of the maze is to find and complete all of the checkpoints as quick as you can. We completed the maze in just over 10 minutes, all the while enjoying the view of the aerial trekking park above our heads.
The Sky Ropes Course
The Sky Ropes Course is a multi-level user guided static ropes course. Once harnessed and connected to the system, climbers traverse different elements up in the air. Think jungle gym but four stories high and with 42 climbable elements. Overall the elements weren’t too difficult and it gave us a great sense of accomplishment!
Trampoline Jump & The Beast Mountain Coaster
The trampoline jump was a favorite of the day with plenty of room to jump and flip, but it was the Mountain Coaster that took the top spot for fun and adventure on our last day. The Beast Mountain Coaster is a 4,800-foot-long roller coaster with awesome views on the way up. The trip down offers up twists, turns, and a thrilling corkscrew. You can control your own speed and choose to ride doubled-up, allowing you to control the thrill level for you at the kids. It’s great for kids who might be a little nervous.
Tips for Enjoying Summer at Killington
With so much to do in the summer at Killington, here are some pro tips for navigating the mountain:
- Research ahead of time. Check out the rider requirements and availability of the Adventure Center activities before deciding.
- Check out our Take a Hike at Killington post for tips on where to hike and how to plan.
- Don’t forget your swim suits. You won’t want to miss the hot tub and pool at the Killington Grand, a great central spot for your stay.
- Grab a mountain bike lesson. You’ll be ripping down the hill in no time with their clear instructions.
- Stay sweet. Killington makes its own honey. With the honey hive right in the Grand Cafe, you can watch the honey bees hard at work and get something sweet to take home.
Rachel is the Owner/Transformationalist at Rachel Hailey & Associates Consulting, a firm which deals directly with the outdoor industry to foster DEI in organizations. Her main objective is to transform the outdoor industry into a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible space. Rachel is committed to creating an industry where anyone can experience, thrive, and lead in the out of doors no matter their circumstances, and has a focus on underserved and underrepresented communities. She has served and inspired over 100 organizations in the creation of actionable systems aligned with creating diversity, equity, and inclusion in outdoor spaces. She is a frequent writer for industry publications like Adventure Park Insider and Ski Area Management, and has given talks on DEI & Social Justice on international platforms.Outside of her endeavor to bridge the gap between racial and ethnic diversity in the outdoors and social justice, Rachel can be found hunting fairies in the woods with her daughter.