Taking advantage of long weekends to explore new mountains is what summer is all about! East Burke in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, is truly a paradise of mountain biking, with over 160km of rolling, ripping singletracks.
Located on one of the more picturesque hills in Vermont, Darling Hills is were most of the singletrack trails are located. The trails are for all levels of riders, whether it’s the double tracks for beginners or tight, fast and flowing singletracks for riders of all abilities. A lot of cross-country trails and many climbs but there is nothing quite rewarding as crushing a tough climb to rip down some sweet singletrack. For the more adventurous riders, there is Burke Mountain with some fast downhill trails.
Day one, we all met in the parking lot beside Mike’s Tiki Bar, as most trails start from the village. We made our way towards the west trails thru Uptown and Riverwood and then the south west trails for some more challenge. We took Eastbranch to Jaw. Jaw was simply awesome for all its bridges. Long, short and narrow. It’s a double diamond trail but easily accessible to intermediate riders. From Hog Back we then took the famous Sidewinder. A huge gully run with massive walls for a fast and fun rollercoaster. Adrennaline pumping, it was a thrilling ride down, hearing everyone’s excitement. From there, we split into two groups, one using the road to get back to the main village and the others took the Connector and Kitchel. The Kitchel is a blast! This one-way run has head-high berms, jumps and it’s a great way to finish any ride from the Darling Hill area.
For the second day, we parked at the Village Sport Shop and then took Bemis to Tap & Die. Although fairly short, Tap & Die is known as one of the best downhills in the Kingdom network. Fairly fast, tight, with berms, small jumps and a couple gully turns toward the bottom, this trail is a lof of fun. It was fun for me till I hit a tree. It scared me more then it actually hurt but it was an eye opener to start listening to my own limits. That morning I decided to switch my bike pedals for clips and choosing Tap & Die for my first run being clipped, was a bit silly on my part. However I follow the motto “We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges” so I continued riding that day, simply being more cautious. It’s such a beautiful area to discover and I wasn’t ready to quit just yet.
We then discovered Tody’s Tour, River Run to Old Web’s, a fun curvy downhill with a neat forest of bent pine. A picturesque trail! The group once again split into two, while some decided to call it a day, others took their cars to the other side of the mountain and discovered Moose Alley, with plenty of switchbacks and technical features. Then ended the day with Jester, a trail with larger jumps, gaps and drops.
A great weekend discovering Kingdom Trails in beautiful Vermont and already looking forward to my next visit to discover the rest of the trails ..
The daily fee for a day pass is $15. Burke’s Bike Shop as well as the Village Sport Shop have bike rentals. There are plenty of options for lodging in the area from camping, inns to rental properties.