Trail Distance: 3.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 600 ft
Terrain Rating: Easy/Moderate
Time In: 10:31AM
Time Out: 12:28PM
Conditions: Slightly muddy, melted snow
Trailhead: The trail sits behind the Inn at Long Trail on Route 4 near Killington, VT. You can park to the right of the parking lot. Be sure to lock your belongings in the trunk as cars have been broken into as of September 2014.
The Deer Leap Trail goes to an overlook to Killington and Pico Mountains. It's a great option for a short morning or afternoon hike. It's well marked with Blue Blazes and intersects with both the Appalachian and Long Trails (marked by White Blazes). As with most of Vermont, it is a dog-friendly area but try to keep your dog on a leash until at least 100 yards from the parking lot. The traffic going on Route 4 is frequent and fast. We were recommended this hike from Mitch at the Paw House Inn.
Starting from the trailhead, the path is muddy and rocky. The 40 degree weather only added to the mud. The first mile or so traverses the mountain with minimal elevation gain. You will see the junction to the AT and Long Trail about a mile in. Take a left to follow Deer Leap Trail, or follow the Long Trail right if you want to take a detour like we did! We passed a few tree trunks with porcupine droppings and kept a lookout but never found its home.
After the junction, you will start a steady climb up to evergreen and birch trees. PRO TIP: if you're ever on a long hike, collect birch bark for a quick and easy fire starter. Try to collect only the bark that have fallen off the tree though. Peeling live bark will eventually kill the tree.
There's some nice wildlife here too - pileated woodpeckers, ravens, deer. The trail was more solidly packed down with snow further up which made it easier to hike on. Once you're in amongst the evergreens, the lookout is only a few hundred yards away. Continue to follow the blue blazes down some wooden stairs and out to a rock outcropping. The wind was around 30mph on the rock, so we only stayed out there for a few minutes. The view was pretty (albeit tarnished by a giant road and traffic noises) and made for some nice pictures. To get back to the lot, just retrace your steps back. Remember to hang onto your dogs before the lot!
- 2L of water
- Granola bars and chex mix
- Wool socks
- 1 baselayer shirt and a snowboarding jacket
- Salomon Anka CS WP
- Athleta Power Lift pants
- Recommended: Gaiters
- Emergency Gear: Map & GPS, Headlamp, reduced First-Aid Kit, Swiss Army Knife