While there are plenty of scenic overlooks with amazing views that are accessible by vehicle, we’re going to focus on the views that you get after a nice hike. It just seems more gratifying when you hike in and are rewarded by a spectacular view than if you just drive up in your car. If you like to hike, you certainly have heard of the Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail, but you may not have known that both of these famous hiking trails go right through Killington. You really can’t go wrong with hikes along with either of these two trails, and both trails have plenty of overlooks and scenic viewing spots along the way as they cut over and through the mountains. That said, here are our five favorite spots for gorgeous Vermont views in the Killington area, some a part of these two famous trails, some not.
Leffert’s Pond and Chittenden Reservoir
Leffert’s Pond is an impoundment and wetland area on the southern end of Chittenden Reservoir in the Green Mountain National Forest in nearby Chittenden. Both the pond and the reservoir act like a huge mirror, reflecting the blue sky and the surrounding trees and mountains. When the foliage turns in the fall, it is truly a beautiful site. There is a trail roughly surrounding the pond that is a pleasant way to spend a few hours. The 2.8-mile loop trail crosses a wooden footbridge, wanders past an old milldam and cuts through the forest. You can enjoy the scenery by hiking on foot or kayaking. An amazing birdwatching and wildlife viewing spot, the reservoir is a great place for fishing and has a swimming beach too.
If you love waterfalls and enjoy short, scenic hikes, the hike to Thundering Falls is for you.
Killington is home to some of the most scenic spots along the Appalachian Trail, and the hike to Thundering Falls is one of many. This multi-use, out-and-back trail is less than half a mile and is favored by bird watchers as well as hikers, bikers, and joggers. One of the best things about this popular hike is that it is fully accessible with a boardwalk to the falls. Older and younger hikers, parents with strollers, as well as mobility challenged hikers will be able to easily make it to the falls. Along the hike, you’ll enjoy the lovely Vermont views of the surrounding mountains and green valley—and then there are the falls, 140 feet of cascading water splashing and tumbling down through a rocky, narrow cataract. Don’t forget your camera!
Deer Leap Overlook Trail
Deer Leap Overlook Trail is the typical Appalachian Trail hike, as it climbs up through the forested mountain side. This rocky, picturesque trail is a popular out-and-back trail and is rated moderate. But again, this hike is worth the climb to Deer Leap Rock at the top, overlooking Pico Peak and the Mendon Valley. The views are breathtaking! As you climb up the rocky trail through the woods, there are plenty of open spots where you can enjoy the view. The trail narrows a bit near the top, then opens up at the rock overlook. Spread out on the rock, enjoying your picnic and the gorgeous view.
Sherburne Pass Trail to Pico Peak
This beautiful trail goes from one section of the Appalachian Trail to another and cuts through Pico Mountain (the sixth highest peak in Vermont). When the leaves begin to turn colors, this trail gets pretty popular. This 6-mile, out-and-back trail is rated moderately difficult, but the scenery on the way and the view from the top of Pico Point make it worth the trip. The hike winds through grassy meadows filled with wildflowers (when the season is right) and passed small mountain streams at the start, then come the switchbacks cutting through the mountain. Remember, switchbacks are steep on the way up, but the way back down is easy. Plus, the views from switchbacks are great. It’s just a short, steep climb to the top after the switchbacks. Once at the top of the peak, all your hard work will be rewarded with panoramic views of the Adirondacks and other Green Mountain peaks.
Killington Peak Loop Trail
Killington Peak, the second-highest peak in the Green Mountains, is a point on the Long Trail and shares this portion of its route with the Appalachian Trail. The Killington Peak Loop is a little over 4-mile loop trail near Killington, rated moderate, with the typical Appalachian Trail forest setting. The trail is used for hiking, walking, trail running, birding, and wildlife viewing. The trailhead begins at the foot of the mountain and grassy, open fields. As you climb, the trees close in, and the trail becomes steeper and narrower. Once you reach the top of the mountain, high above the tree line, the Vermont mountain views are stunning, with amazing panoramic views of the Green Mountains and the Adirondack Mountains. Of course, if weather allows, you can take the easy way up with the gondola to the top of Killington Peak!