The Mamas are on a mission to hike at each of our favorite resorts across the state. The Green Mountains of Vermont do not disappoint when it comes to hiking adventures, and with fall just around the corner, we jumped at the chance to get one more adventure in before the school year begins. Next up: Killington.
Mapping Out Your Hiking Plan
Killington is home to several beautiful and well-maintained hiking trails with a network of mountain biking, ski, and hiking trails. After doing a little poking around online, we found the Killington Trail Map and selected two possibilities for our Summer see-you-later hike: The Morain Trail (Trail “H”) & The Pond Loop (The “I” Trail). I recommend downloading the PDF version from the website and grabbing a paper copy at the front desk upon arrival. It’s nice to have a paper copy along for the ride if you want to limit screen time. We also turned our map into a bit of a journaling treasure map as we found different items along the trail; A “mushroom that looked like a fairy house here,” “saw a woodpecker there,” etc.
The staff at Killington were friendly and knowledgeable, and they directed us to the trailhead at the Grand Resort Hotel along with a reminder to grab any essentials we might need from the Grand Cafe, which was right next door to the front desk. Our little hiking party was made up of just Aria and me. At 6 (going on 7) and 40 years old and with varying skill and endurance levels (always the challenge as a single parent), we planned to give the Morain trail a go with The Pond Loop as a backup. With scattered showers heading our way upon arrival at the mountain, we decided to jump on the Morain Trail with our rain layers just in case.
The Moraine Trail
The Moraine Trail is 1.3 miles long with 580 feet of elevation gain. Starting at the Snowshed Lodge and rising up to the top of Snowshed Slope, the trail ascends a gentle slope from Snowshed Pond before joining the Wildlands Trail. True to its name, the trail passes through gorgeous wooded and glacial moraine. Given the difficulty rating (we used this handy calculator to get a sense of what was to come) and weather constraints, we decided to do an out-and-back on the Morain Trail rather than link up with the Wildlands Trail. The trail itself was well-marked with signage, so we never got off track. There was also ample signage where the trails overlapped, and the terrain was very friendly; hardpacked, well-mulched trail with very few roots or rocks.
The Pond Loop
Following our jaunt on The Morain Trail, we descended back down to try out The Pond Loop. Killington boasts The Pond Loop as their exercise trail, making it for a nice cool down after The Morain Trail. The Pond Loop is 0.7-mile rolling exercise trail around Snowshed Pond. Aria loved the walking bridges, and there was no shortage of berries along the trail to snack on as we took in the fantastic views of the Green Mountains surrounding us. Following our hikes, we ended the day with a long soak and a swim in the saltwater pool and hot tub near the base of the trailhead at the Grand Resort Hotel. Two words: pure heaven.
More Hikes at Killington
Killington has a whole range of hikes for everybody. From more arduous terrain to mellower hikes and low elevation gain. One trail that we wished we had visited was the Summit Trail. This is more of a walk than a hike; clocking in at 0.2 miles and 200 feet, this trail looked lovely. We will definitely be returning for a ride on the K-1 Express Gondola and a trip on the Summit trail, which is home to the panoramic views of the Adirondack, Taconic, Green, and White Mountain Ranges. Be sure to check for gondola closures if you are visiting midweek.
- Plan, plan, plan. – Killington’s trail system has many moving parts between mountain biking, ski trails, and hiking trails. Take some time to get to know the trail system and ask questions upon arrival.
- Weather-appropriate clothing. As the saying goes, “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing…,” so don’t forget to pack rain layers if the weather looks iffy.
- Check the weather! Know before you go and make sure the way is clear. We used rain.alarm (to track weather formations), weatherbug spark (for lightning), and NOAA weather for a more general view of what the day holds.
- Snacks & water win the day! Be it a hydra-pack or a water bottle, make sure you have plenty of liquids and snacks for the trail. (We also use peanut M & M’s for when we needed a little extra incentive to make it to the next trail marker.)
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.