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Killington's peak experience

Killington Peak climbs to 4,226 feet above sea level. It's the second tallest mountain in Vermont-only Mt. Mansfield is higher. But Killington can at least claim no. 1 status as the highest peak in the Coolidge range of the rugged central Green Mountains. And the mountain is the loftiest of the six peaks that make up the world famous Killington Resort complex.

You don't need skis to make an assault on Killington-at least during the summer months. There are several steps to the summit this time of year by a combination of foot and gondola car.

Killington isn't hard to miss; it's located east of Rutland at the junction of Routes 4 and 100 in Killington. From the Killington sign on Route 4, drive 3.6 miles up the Killington Road to Snowshed Base Area located on the left. Continue straight to reach the base of Killington Peak.

Vermont's Long Trail comes within 0.2 miles of the summit. The Long Trail inspired the creation of the Appalchaian Trail. As luck would have it, Killington is the highest point of the Appalachian Trail in Vermont.

I took the gondola ride to the end point and then hiked on to the peak. The cost was $10 one way for each adult, but for those that want the roundtrip ride it's only $15 per adult. The gondola was a relaxing and exciting 1.25-mile ride.

At the top, you can eat your picnic lunch as you enjoy the Coolidge range and pine-fresh alpine heights surrounding you. The views from Killington's summit are impressive. On a clear day, looking north, you can see the Adirondacks; looking east, you can see the distant White Mountains.

Leaving the peak, I hiked down the mountainside on the Ramshead Trail (a nicely graded ski trail). Over the course of my descent, I spotted numerous frogs and toads, butterflies and birds, even an harmless snake.

Including the gondola ride, picnic, and hiking to the peak-including the descent-the whole trek took approximately 5 hours. The trip was worth every minute.

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