If you live on the East Coast, you’re never too far from the water—namely the Atlantic Ocean. But even in the heat of summer, the ocean has its downsides when compared to central Vermont’s idyllic H2O hotspots.
Take sharks and other toothy creatures of the deep, for example. And seagulls, which will snipe a baby’s french fry with the guts and guile of a fighter pilot. And let’s not forget about the beach bros, with their big muscles, bigger attitudes, flat tops and baby oil. Think Real Housewives of New Jersey meets New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach. Not to mention the hordes of other beachgoers scrambling to claim a few square feet of sand.
What Vermont lacks in coastline and crowds it makes up for with serene rivers, lakes, swimming holes and secret spots to splash and chill. The state has over 800 lakes and approximately 7,100 miles of river. Whether you’re looking for an idyllic place to kayak or SUP or bigger water to boat and blow off some steam, the Killington region sets a high-water mark.
Here’s where the locals head when summer heats UP.
Lake Bomoseen is the largest body of water located entirely in Vermont. It’s narrow and long—it feels small but runs nine miles, north to south. A lot of winter enthusiasts from the area spend time at the lake in the summer. It’s got a lot of character—from older, minimalist fishing camps to a private island to multi-million dollar homes.
Growing up in Rutland, we’d spend a month there at a time. It’s a great place for families. We like to get out early and waterski when the water is calm. You see a lot of wildlife, including loons and bald eagles. As it gets later in the day and the wind picks up, we’ll get on the sailboat. When the wind is blowing from the north or south, it makes for a really nice day on the water. —Mike Aicher
On a warm summer day, Silver Lake simply begs passersby to jump in. Many people will do so from the lawn opposite the Barnard General Store, where a handful of picnic tables sit roadside next to a small parking area. About a quarter mile up North Road lies 34-acre Silver Lake State Park, known for its sandy beachfront. At the waterfront, boat and SUP rentals are available, and Silver Lake offers pike, perch and bass fishing. Want to soak it in for a few days? The park includes 39 campsites and seven lean-to shelters and, like with all Vermont State Parks, there’s a nominal day-use fee. —Tyler Cohen
I drive by Kent Pond in Killington to and from work, so it’s easy to squeeze in morning and late-day paddles. On warm, sunny days, I’ve been known to hit four or five ponds around the region. I call it “pond hopping.”
During one late summer sunrise on Kent Pond, a friend and I watched an osprey catch a fish right in front of us, and then we sat in awe as a bald eagle tried to steal it away. I’ve seen adult snapping turtles wrestling while a blue heron stood above watching. —Barb Wood
Woodward Reservoir has a public boat launch that makes it pretty easy for people to load and unload kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, small fishing boats and whatnot. But it’s also really nice because it’s a “no wake” lake, so the max speed that someone can travel in a motorboat is like five miles an hour.
There are multiple coves along the shoreline that you can meander in and out of. For a smaller lake it’s fairly deep but very, very clear, and by July it’s really nice for swimming. So if people want to pop off their paddleboard or kayak and go for a little swim, the water is crystal clear. It’s definitely one of the clearest bodies of water in central Vermont. —Randy Elles
Larger than Woodward Reservoir but not as big as Lake Bomaseen, 721-acre Chittenden Reservoir is surrounded by Green Mountain National Forest and offers idyllic views of Pico and the surrounding area. The reservoir was developed in 1909 by Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) by damming East Creek. The dam was installed for power generating purposes. CVPS owns the lake and because it’s surrounded by National Forest, there is little lakefront development with the exception of a handful of private cottages along its heavily-wooded seven miles of shoreline.
A small area near the dam serves as a parking area and boat launch site. The parking area serves both Chittenden Reservoir and adjacent Leffert’s Pond. Watercraft with motors up to 15 horsepower are allowed on Chittenden Reservoir, but there is a 5 mph speed limit. —Buttery
Stocked annually with trophy trout, the Black River is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Thanks to deep holes and large rocks there are lots of places for these monster trout (ranging from 16-22”) to hang and hide. I would recommend fishing in the late spring and early summer as the river tends to flow low and warm in the heart of summer. —Justin Cash
Mill River and Clarendon Gorge are ideal for swimming and chilling and soaking in the Vermontness. The nearly 18-mile stretch of river is a tributary of Otter Creek. Just before the town of Clarendon it passes through Clarendon Gorge, where it is crossed by the Appalachian Trail, creating an ideal pitstop for day hikers and thru hikers alike. —Buttery
Whether hunting for secret swimming holes, fishing or paddling, visitors will appreciate the recent upgrades to the former Gaysville campground site, just downstream from the bridge. The improvements include a small parking area, a walking path and two new river access trails. —Buttery
On September 15, 2022, some of the world’s best mountain bikers will descend on Killington.Read on
Don’t dread the downhill: master mountain biking the Killington way.Read on
How do locals beat the summer heat? Drop in and discover Central Vermont’s water world.Read on
There are at least eight trail networks within 25 miles of Killington. Welcome to the epicenter of Vermont’s mountain biking universe.Read on
One of snowboarding’s cultural icons and master of style, Danny Davis is all about bringing snowboarding to the people. His signature Woodward Peace Parks, including one at Killington, have opened up a whole new world for riders of all ages and abilities.Read on
Imagine an eerily quiet, cold, crystalline world high in the mountains of Vermont, where everything—everything—is encased in two inches of glassy, impenetrable ice. We take you there in this multimedia feature story, and explore an otherworldly landscape witnessed only by a frozen few. Filmed and photographed on location at Killington Resort.Read on
Aspiring olympic skier Hannah Soar and olympic gold medal winner Donna Weinbrecht are cut from the same cloth - or moguls, as it were. This rich media feature explores the passion that drives them both to greatness, while also reflecting on the mountain where it all began.Read on
NCAA athletes Nina O’Brien and Paula Moltzan are the only skiers - besides Mikaela Shiffrin - to score points at the Killington Women's World Cup. Here, they talk about balancing their education with ski racing, and why there’s nothing quite like skiing in front of the home crowd.Read on
Not all rules are made to be broken. In this animated feature story we dive into the do’s and don’ts of skiing and riding in our Woodward Mountain Park.Read on
After last year’s COVID-driven cancellation of the World Cup, the Killington community is ready for its triumphant return. Plus: racers with Vermont roots including Mikaela Shiffrin, Nina O’Brien, and Paula Moltzan speak to the excitement of returning home.Read on
The pursuit of powder and transcendent turns alters the trajectory of people’s lives. Why? Immerse yourself in this interactive feature and find out.Read on
The builders of the East's longest ski season always rise to the challenge. In this collection of profiles, we go behind the scenes with three of Killington’s most valuable players.Read on
Mountain forecasting is its own beast. In this interview with Chief Meteorologist Mallory Brooke, we learn that she knows that beast better than anyone.Read on
Pico may lack bourgeois base lodges and six-pack lifts, but it’s as rich in culture and community as any mountain destination in New England. Here, we explore the character that defines the Pico experience through a multimedia lens.Read on
Who knew there were so many words for snow? Here, writer Tyler Cohen takes a deep dive into the snow slang lexicon.Read on
Mountain biking has never been more fun.Read on
Vermontress Peggy Shinn takes us to her happiest place: springtime at Killington.Read on
Love is in the air … and in the gondola. Liven up your Valentine’s Day with Peggy Shinn’s primer on mountain love.Read on
Some New Year’s resolutions are doomed before the new year even begins. But not this one….Read on
Columnist Peggy Shinn’s guide to giving the gift of stoke this holiday season.Read on
Longtime 4241’ writer and contributor Peggy Shinn is a ninth-generation Vermonter and a member of the Vermont Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame. This is the debut of her column, “Vermontness.”Read on
4241’ columnist Peggy Shinn knows what it takes to win the Killington World Cup - as a spectator and an athlete.Read on