Before I moved to New England, I made a point to ride at Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vt., once per year. Now that I live just a half hour away, I bought a season pass. Why? Because the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s designation is right—it’s epic.
Where It Began:
In 1994, business leaders and residents dreamed of a trail system in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom that was ecologically sensible, promoted recreation and displayed the area’s natural beauty. Today, the area known as Kingdom Trails offers visitors legal access to over 100 miles of non-motorized trails on private land. Open all season long, trails can be traveled on by bike, foot, skis or snowshoes. (Mountain bike season is May through October.) To explore the immaculate, well-mapped trails, visitors are required to purchase a Day Member Pass or a Membership.
Just Plain Fun:
Kingdom Trails offers a multitude of options sure to please mountain bikers of all ability levels. Looking for a challenge? Kick it up a notch by increasing your speed—trails are fast and flowing. Miles of twisty singletrack makes its way over roots and rocks, winding through a thick forest of green. You’ll find rollers, doubletrack, switchbacks and technical downhill sections here, too. Several trails—Sidewinder, Webs and Kitchel come to mind—are so well-thought-out, well sculpted and, well, just plain fun, I rode them twice in a row before continuing on my planned route.
Bring Your Camera:
Sure, the climbs are arduous and often, but they’re always worth it. Views of Lake Willoughby and rolling, rural hillsides greet mountain bikers at the top. Belted cows, maple syrup tubing and sugar shacks dot the landscape and make the experience truly one of a kind. Yes, this is New England mountain biking at its finest.
Where To Stay:
Choose from camping, cabins, houses or condos. Lodging is abundant in and around the town of East Burke—whether you prefer to cozy up next to an outdoor campfire, or curl up next to an indoor fireplace. The Kingdom Trails Web site has a pretty extensive list of lodging options as well.
From Southern Vermont, Central Massachusetts, Connecticut or New York—Take I-91 north to Exit 23 (Lyndonville). Make a right off the ramp onto Route 5 north. Take another right onto Route 114 north to East Burke (5 miles).
From Boston or New Hampshire—Take I-93 north to end at I-91. Keep following it north to Exit 23 (Lyndonville). Make a right off the ramp onto Route 5 north. Take another right onto Route 114 north to East Burke (5 miles).
From the North (Newport or Quebec)—Take I-91 to Exit 24. Make a left onto Route 122. Follow 122 for two miles (3 KM) and continue straight through the street light onto Route 114 north. Follow 114 to East Burke Village.
From the West (Montpelier or Burlington)—Take 1-89 to Route 2 west through Montpelier to St. Johnsbury. Then take I-91 north to Exit 23. Make a right off the ramp and follow Route 5 north two miles. Make a right onto Route 114 north. Follow 114 for 6 miles to East Burke Village.