Things To Do In Killington, VT: Top 15 Most Unique Spots | Stanton House Inn

One of the ski trails at Killington Ski Resort, perfect for hiking in warm weather

Killington, Vermont, home to the “Beast of the East,” is most famous for an impressive summit and six mountain peaks. With 21 lifts and 155 trails, Killington Ski Resort features the highest vertical drop in New England at 3,050 feet. Renowned for its après-ski scene and vigorous nightclubs, the resort is a favored weekend destination for skiers. The town is roughly three hours from Boston and four and a half hours from Manhattan. Killington, VT, is accessible via day-trip buses departing from Union Square before dawn.

 

But beyond its bustling winter season, the summer season in Killington is full of activities like:

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking

 

The lake offers a spot for relaxation. Don’t miss exploring the Killington Adventure Center. Plus, the Killington area is home to attractions such as Ben & Jerry’s Factory, Billings Farm & Museum, Quechee Gorge. Autumn brings a stunning display of foliage, with leaves turning vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. And breweries, wineries, and maple syrup producers round-out the experience anytime of year.

 

Ready to explore the best things to do in Killington, VT? Let’s get into it:

Quick hits

  • Killington, VT offers year-round outdoor activities such as skiing at Killington Resort and Pico Mountain, hiking at Killington Peak, and Killington Adventure Center.
  • The area boasts a lively dining and nightlife scene, featuring taverns, upscale restaurants, and après ski venues. Visitors can also attend special events like the Killington World Cup and various summer festivals.
  • You’ll find a range of options, from ski-in/ski-out lodges to family-friendly hotels and quaint bed and breakfasts.
  • Nearby towns like Woodstock and Rutland add to the charm and attractions of the region.

 

A Brief History of Killington, Vermont

Old photo of skiers, back when Killington was off the beaten path

Killington was founded on July 7, 1761, in the Green Mountains. It’s now a beloved ski haven. The town’s affinity for winter sports sparked with the first ski ascent of Killington Peak in February 1917. Preston “Pres” Smith was instrumental in developing the ski school and facilities. His vision shaped Killington into a renowned destination.

 

In 1954, Perry H. Merrill envisioned a ski resort on Killington Peak. He partnered with Preston Leete Smith, and together they launched Killington in 1958. The resort saw rapid expansion in the 1960s. The resort added numerous trails and installing snowmaking equipment to combat low-snow seasons.

 

Killington introduced the ticket wicket in 1963. The innovation detered lift ticket sharing without damaging ski attire. The resort has since moved on to plastic cards and sensors at the lifts.

 

Killington residents have twice cast symbolic votes to secede from Vermont and join New Hampshire. Locals cite tax inequities. That said, actual secession would require approval from the legislatures of both states and the U.S. Congress. So, not going to happen.

 

The Best Things to do in Killington VT

Kent Pond in the fall

Killington is a small village near the largest ski resort in the East. As such it has a humble charm with a few shops and a gas station. Strip development lines the resort’s access road, yet the panoramic views from Killington Peak are still breathtaking and well worth the journey. The town offers historic allure and year-round attractions. The list includes ski runs in winter and scenic hiking trails in warmer months. Lively summer celebrations and diverse shopping experiences add to Killington’s appeal. For every season, there’s an adventure waiting, such as bike rentals in summer and terrain parks in winter.

 

Killington Resort

Skiing at Killington Resort

Killington Resort is the East’s mightiest ski haven, boasting 145 trails and 16 lifts, fit for every kind of skier. You’ve got 21 lifts, 155 trails, and 1,509 acres to carve your path – whether you’re just starting out or you’re the sort that laughs at danger. Killington Ski Resort has got a good mix of runs: 17 percent for the newbies, 40 for those feeling a bit bolder, and 43 for the ones who know no fear. And if you’re not into the whole barreling-down-a-mountain thing, they’ve got terrain parks and a halfpipe that’s a real sight. Whatever your skill, there’s a trail with your name on it, and you can even take a lesson if you’re looking to improve. They’ve got all sorts – group, private, even specialty camps.

 

Killington Ski Resort Peaks

The peaks at Killington Ski Resort are:

 

  • Snowshed is the spot for beginners. It features a double lift and a welcoming open slope. At the base, you’ll find a lodge, a restaurant, an adult ski school, and the Killington Grand Hotel.
  • Ramshead Mountain caters to both beginners and intermediates. It’s equipped with an express quad lift and a platter lift for racing training. At the base lodge, the Ski School welcomes children and teenagers.
  • Snowdon Mountain offers trails for all skill levels, from beginner to expert. Notable are the double black diamond “Conclusion” and Great Northern. Two chairlifts service the mountain: a Heron-Poma triple from K-1 and a Detachable Six-Pack with blue bubble chairs from the end of Caper.
  • Killington Peak is the tallest of the six peaks, featuring challenging terrain in the “Canyon Area.” Trails like Cascade, Downdraft, Double Dipper, and Big Dipper Glade are double black diamonds. The peak, at 4,229 feet, is also a hub for hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. The Skyeship Express Gondola offers a scenic ride for those who prefer not to hike or ski.
  • Skye Peak presents a variety of terrains, including the trails upper Vertigo, Ovation, and Superstar.
  • Bear Mountain is the venue for large-scale competitive racing and freestyle events. It boasts terrain parks, complete with a superpipe.

 

Pico Mountain Ski Resort

Scenic Beauty of Pico Ski Resort

Pico Mountain Ski Resort offers a serene retreat, tucked away from the lively Killington Resort. With 57 trails across Pico Peak, the resort spans 19 miles and includes seven lifts. Trails range from beginner-friendly to advanced, with names like The Pike, 49er, and the daring Giant Killer. Pico Mountain is within reach by car or bus from the main base, though far enough away to maintain a quaint charm.

 

It has a storied past, having been rescued from bankruptcy by the American Skiing Company, and is currently operated by Powdr Corp. Plans to physically connect Pico to Killington have started and been abandoned over the years.

 

Lift tickets are valid at both mountains, providing access to a combined 1977 acres of skiable terrain.

 

More winter activities near Killington (besides skiing)

Waterfall over a wintry pond

Find yourself in Killington, Vermont, in winter, but not a fan of skiing or snowboarding? Not to worry, there are few options to keep you entertained:

 

  • Glide swiftly over the snow on a snowmobile without the need for skis. Snowmobile Vermont provides tours that last either one or two hours, and they even include kid-friendly options. They equip you with helmets and boots. And for an additional fee, you can rent a warm snowsuit.

 

  • Snow tubing isn’t just child’s play. At Killington Tubing Park, located near the base lodge, you can race friends down the slopes. You can reserve one-hour tubing sessions in advance at this tubing park.

 

  • To soothe sore muscles, visit Spa of the Woods, a full-service wellness center. They offer a gym, dry sauna, eucalyptus steam room, indoor pool, and hot tub. Choose from a variety of treatments, including Himalayan salt massages and acupuncture.

 

Things to do in Killington, Vermont, in Spring, Summer, and Fall

Mist rising over Kent Pond in the fall

Killington, Vermont shines not only with snow-laden winters but also with warm, breezy summers that turn into cool nights. The town invites a variety of activities: hiking, biking, sightseeing, and shopping. Come fall, the foliage transforms into a stunning display of reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s an ideal spot for families seeking activities and scenery that captivate the eye and stir the soul.

 

Killington Adventure Center

Family Fun at Killington Adventure Center

For family-friendly fun, head to Killington Adventure Center. Here, you can enjoy a variety of activities, including:

 

  • Roaring Brook Mining
  • The Beast Mountain Coaster
  • The Zip Line Racer
  • The Skye Ropes Course

 

There’s something for everyone at the Killington Adventure Center!

 

Green Mountain National Forest

Tranquil Setting of Green Mountain National Forest

If you’re a nature lover, a visit to the Green Mountain National Forest is a must. Covering over 400,000 acres, the forest is home to diverse wildlife and offers a myriad of recreational opportunities. The Green Mountain National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a vast network of hiking trails, camping spots under the stars, and tranquil landscapes to enjoy.

 

Gifford Woods State Park

For a more tranquil outdoor experience, head to Gifford Woods State Park. This natural haven is home to one of the few old-growth hardwood tree stands in Vermont. Gifford Woods State Park offers a serene escape, with opportunities for hiking along its trails, fishing in the streams, or enjoying a picnic under the ancient trees’ shade.

 

Thundering Brook Falls Trail

No trip to Killington would be complete without a visit to the Thundering Brook Falls Trail. This scenic trail offers:

 

  • A 140-foot cascade, making it the sixth tallest waterfall in Vermont
  • Striking views and a tranquil environment
  • A rewarding outdoor experience for seasoned hikers and casual walkers alike

 

Calvin Coolidge Historic Site

Desk in the Presidential farmhouse of the Calvin Coolidge Historic Site while on tour

Step back to olden times at the Calvin Coolidge Historic Site. It’s where Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of this country, started his life. Wander the grounds and look over the same hills. Peer through the windows of buildings unchanged since the early 20th century. Here stands his homestead, the summer office of his presidency, a general store, and the community church. They remain as they were, simple and honest, much like Coolidge himself.

 

The tours are enlightening. You leave with a deeper understanding of the man who journeyed from a small Vermont village to the White House. It’s a slice of history, a piece of Vermont, and a part of the American dream.

 

Shopping in Killington, Vermont

After a day of adventure, indulge in some retail therapy in Killington. Explore the town’s shops and boutiques for a range of local products and unique souvenirs that will serve as perfect reminders of your trip. Whether you’re in search of outdoor gear, handmade crafts, or Vermont specialties, Killington’s retail offerings cater to various tastes and needs.

 

Darkside Snowboards is a standout local business in Killington, Vermont, known for its top-notch selection, stellar service, and competitive pricing. The staff, including the owner, are known for their friendliness and professionalism, creating an inviting atmosphere for shoppers. They ensure that the gear available is the latest and best maintained. It’s a go-to destination for both rentals and purchases.

 

Dining and Nightlife in Killington, Vermont

Killington boasts an energetic dining and nightlife scene. There are cozy taverns for comfort food and upscale restaurants for fine dining experiences. The scene largely revolves around American food, though. This place needs another burger restaurant as much as this writer needs a hole in the head.

 

  • At the Lookout Tavern, enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, tasty food, and sweeping views of the mountains.

 

  • The Foundry at Summit Pond is a refined eatery serving American and international dishes made with local ingredients. Set in a rustic post-and-beam building by a pond, it offers a charming dining experience with options like beet salad with burrata and rack of lamb.

 

  • Choices Restaurant caters to all palates with its selection of hearty steaks and fresh salads. For a homey feel and comfort food, the Rivershed is the place to be, offering burgers and tacos.

 

  • Domenic’s Pizzeria satisfies pizza lovers with a variety of toppings and styles, from the classic margherita to creative specialty pies.

 

  • Yama Ramen is an authentic noodle house with a range of tasty broths and toppings, perfect for ramen aficionados.

 

  • The Garlic serves generous portions of Tuscan-inspired dishes in a festive, pub-like atmosphere, complete with hanging garlic braids.

 

Après Ski and Nightlife

Walking home for a fun, though cold, night

During our trip, we crossed with people who were clearly not there to ski. By which, I mean, they were already day drinking. Killington is a hub for après ski enjoyment. And apparently for some, it’s become a destination for just the après ski experience, no skiing required. And on a recent wintry weekend, the lines outside these establishments rivaled those of New York City nightclubs.

 

  • Mogul’s Sports Pub is your classic ski-town dive bar. It features pool tables, affordable beer, and walls decorated with well-worn dollar bills.

 

  • The Pickle Barrel has been a staple since the 1960s. It continues to draw fun-loving crowds and is known for its long lines.

 

  • Killington Resort owns the Wobbly Barn, which is a mainstay in the town since the 1960s. It hosts live bands and DJs on weekends and boasts a (pricey) steakhouse on the lower level.

 

Special Events and Festivals

Killington knows how to throw a celebration throughout the year. Winter attracts athletes and spectators to the World Cup and Ski Bum Series at the Beast of the East. In the warmer seasons, music festivals and outdoor concerts showcase the mountain’s beauty. Notable events include:

 

  • The Vermont Holiday Festival, a highlight of the winter with its ‘Festival of Trees.’ It features 100 decorated trees, live music, sleigh rides, Santa’s Workshop, and the chance to win a tree. It’s recognized by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce as a Top Ten Winter Event.

 

  • The Killington Wine Festival is a signature summer event. It showcases over 500 wines from more than 40 wineries, set against the scenic backdrop of Killington Peak and the Vermont Green Mountains.

 

Directions to Killington, VT, from Greenwich, CT

Planning a road trip from New York City (or our home turf of Greenwich, CT) to Killington, VT? The journey can be as much a part of the adventure as the destination. We took the Merritt Parkway from our New England bed and breakfast up to New Haven, CT. From there, we rode I-91 through Hartford, Connecticut, and the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts to Route 103 in Vermont.

 

 

We stopped for lunch at the Southern Pie Company in the adorable town of Chester, Vermont. And the food was so good, we took a pie and a quiche to-go for our New England winter weekend getaway.

 

 

On the way home, we stopped into Woodstock, VT, and Quechee, Vermont, before hopping onto I-91 again through the Connecticut River Valley.

 

 

Hotels, Inns, and Places to Stay in Killington, Vermont

Bouquet of wildflowers at one of the Killington lodges

While some people do make the trek to Killington on a day trip (hence those buses from Union Square), it’s a bit of a trek for this writer. And personally, after a long day of skiing, getting back in the car for more than half an hour or so seems almost painful. Plus, there’s nothing like the comfort of a welcoming place to rest your head. Preferably with a fireplace. Fortunately, Killington offers ski-in/ski-out lodgings to charming bed and breakfasts.

 

Ski-In/Ski-Out Lodging

Ski-in/ski-out places offer the utmost convenience, placing you directly on the slopes without any hassle. And no fighting everyone else for a parking spot at one of the busiest ski resorts in the Northeast.

 

The Killington Grand Resort Hotel stands as the mountain’s only full-service hotel. It features a large heated outdoor pool, hot tubs, a gym, and a spa. Guests can choose from 532 units, which include cozy studios for two, as well as spacious penthouses that accommodate up to 10 people and come with private saunas. Each unit is designed to reflect the traditional aesthetic of the mountains.

 

Family-Friendly Hotels

Killington is a family-friendly destination. Its hotels offer spacious rooms, special menus for kids, areas for play, and pools. They even provide babysitting services for kids of all ages. For golfing enthusiasts, these hotels are close to area golf courses.

 

The Mountain Inn Killington boasts modern rustic charm with:

  • Its own liquor distillery
  • An inviting bar
  • A restaurant
  • A heated outdoor pool

 

The rooms, practical and clean, feature shiplap headboards and bedside lamps with USB chargers. Each room also offers a terrace that opens to mountain views. Guests are treated to a complimentary continental breakfast and can enjoy the pet-friendly amenities.

 

Less than two miles from the slopes, the Killington Mountain Lodge welcomes pets in its lobby and boasts a 20-person outdoor hot tub, a well-equipped gym, and cozy lounge areas. As part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection, the lodge ensures a stay that is both luxurious and comfortable.

 

Bed and Breakfasts

Killington’s bed and breakfasts are cozy sanctuaries. They’re the place to go for warm hospitality and delectable home-cooked breakfasts.

 

Nestled close to Green Mountain National Golf Course, The Trailside Inn offers rooms that are both simple and inviting. You’ll find the pine floors and handcrafted wooden headboards you expect in a Vermont ski lodge. For more space, the inn provides suites with kitchenettes and two apartments that feature:

  • Private entrances
  • Full kitchens
  • Living areas

 

The inn’s wooden design elements make it an ideal starting point for various outdoor adventures.

 

Mountain Valley Retreat is a picturesque bed and breakfast tucked into the mountains. It is renowned for its inviting atmosphere, breathtaking views, and exceptional breakfasts. These establishments make Killington a perfect destination for a romantic escape or a serene retreat.

 

More Nearby Cities and Towns to Explore Near Killington, VT

Scenic view in the Killington region

 

Killington and its eponymous ski resort are more than enough for a long weekend getaway. But then you’d miss out on so much of the Green Mountains of Vermont! Extend your visit and poke around a few of the more charming towns nearby.

 

Start with a town that’s frankly less cute and more full of the shops and stores you need to provision for your trip. Save the others for when you want to feel quaint, charming, and classically Vermont.

 

Rutland, VT

Rutland offers a mix of cultural attractions and recreational opportunities. Its downtown boasts a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries. And its parks and outdoor spaces offer ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and fishing. And with its close proximity to Killington, it makes for an easy and worthwhile trip. Especially if you forgot your ski gear, for example.

 

Woodstock, Vermont

Charming street in downtown Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock, a short drive from Killington, enchanted this visitor with its historic charm, boutique shopping, and array of outdoor activities.

 

With its quaint downtown, picturesque farms, and scenic trails, Woodstock offers a delightful excursion from Killington.

 

Quechee, Vermont

 

Hot air balloons over QuecheeLast but not least, Quechee is a must-visit for nature lovers. Home to the Quechee Gorge, known as Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon, this small village offers stunning views and a range of outdoor activities.

 

Its quaint downtown area also boasts a number of unique shops and restaurants, making it a charming stop on your Killington adventure.

 

Tl;dr

With its legendary ski slopes, scenic hiking trails, vivacious dining scene, and charming accommodations, Killington, Vermont is a trove of year-round adventures. It caters to all preferences, whether you seek a winter sports getaway, a summer escape, or a relaxing weekend retreat.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is Killington VT worth visiting?

Killington merits a visit not only for its acclaimed ski resort and Vermont’s signature powder but also for its diverse array of attractions that ensure year-round delight.

 

How long is the gondola ride at Killington?

The gondola ride at Killington is 1.25 miles long, providing visitors with the full experience of the summit. It takes approximately ten minutes to reach the top, and on a clear day, the view is quite beautiful.

 

Is Killington beginner friendly?

Killington ski resort is very friendly to beginners. An entire slope the size of some other ski resorts features a moving carpet and easy green slopes. That entire slope is a “slow zone”. Plus, this skier found green slopes throughout that offered the same amazing views usually limited to the more challenges ski trails.

 

What is the best time of year to visit Killington, Vermont?

The optimal time for a trip to Killington, Vermont, is either during the busy ski season from November to April or over the summer when the town comes alive with outdoor pursuits and hopping festivals. Make the most of your stay!

 

What kind of activities can I do in Killington if I’m not into skiing?

Killington offers a diverse array of activities for non-skiers, including hiking, biking, shopping, and dining. Visitors can also enjoy local events, festivals, historical sites, and natural attractions.

 

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