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Riding Beyond Stowe Pt. 2: Kingdom Trails

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If you haven’t been already, Kingdom Trails needs to be added to your Vermont mountain biking

to-do list. Tucked away in the sleepy Northeast Kingdom, you’ll find endless singletrack, great

terrain, and an incredible riding community just an hour and forty minutes from the Stowe

village. This network is entirely made up of privately owned land that landowners have

generously allowed the Kingdom Trails Association to build trails on. There aren’t many other

places in the world where you’ll find anything like this. It’s also one of the few networks in

Vermont where you can truly find something for everyone. You could easily spend the better

part of a day on beginner doubletrack and rolling singletrack, but there is also more than enough

techy trail for the most advanced riders in your group. If you’re new to mountain biking, this is a

great place to go to make sure you have a good first experience.

You do have to pay to ride at Kingdom trails, but you’ll quickly learn that that money goes right

back into the trails. I typically buy a season’s pass because I typically make a few trips up there

each summer and it’s a very reasonable price, especially with the Vermont Mountain Bike

Association member discount. That being said, a day pass is only $15, so if you’re just checking

it out for the first time there’s no need to sweat over whether or not to buy a pass.

Once you’ve bought your ticket the best thing to do is ask for a little advice. With around 100

miles of trails to ride, it’s best to approach your ride with a few suggestions from someone in the

know. The maps of the area are great, but I would strongly recommend getting a route

suggestion or some advice regarding which trails you should definitely seek out because it’s

hard to know where to start.

The Darling Hill trails are the most accessible. They are very straightforward and easy to get to

from the East Burke Village. A quick climb up Herb’s which leaves from the left side of Darling

Hill road offers a stout, but reasonable start to a day of riding at Kingdom Trails. Personally I

prefer to pedal right up Darling Hill Road to get the biggest climb of the day out of the way. Once

you’ve reached the top of Darling Hill the Poundcake trail will take you right into the heart of the

trail network where you’ll find everything from beginner double track to techy downhills. If fun

downhills are what you’re looking for, look no further than Tody’s Tour, Tap and Die, or Troll

Stroll. All three are located in the same area and are relatively easy to lap using the Burrington

Bench climb. If you venture further into the network you’ll find the iconic Sidewinder trail which

rides a natural halfpipe-like ravine. After riding this trail, you can easily access Bear Back, a flow

trail similar to Florence in the Cady Hill Forest in Stowe.

Riders looking for more of an adventure will enjoy starting their ride closer to Burke Mountain.

The ski resort is home to a lift served bike park and a handful of trails that are worth pedaling up

to. If you happen to be meeting a friend and have to two cars there, you can leave one at the

Mid Burke lodge and cut out the long climb on the road from the village. Using the Camptown

trail from the Burke parking lot you can access much of the downhill terrain including J-Bar, one

of the first downhill trails built on the mountain. After your descent, a trip across the access road

will take you to Burnham Down, a trail full of bridges that will guide you back to the Darling Hill

Trails. Those looking to pedal out a little further will find Moose Alley, a long downhill that will

connect you with White School, which will also lead you back to Darling hill. If you head out this

way you will definitely need to take a peek at the map to help you get back because there are a

couple of intersections where it will be helpful.

After a long day of riding, Kitchell is the best way to finish off the day. This trail is made up of tall

berms and rollable jumps and it dumps you out about a minute away from an ice cream cone or

a cold beer back in the village.

More information, maps, and conditions can be found at http://kingdomtrails.org/

Remember that you can always rent a bike from Mountain Ops and take it up there!

Taking a break at the top of Moose Alley

Derrick takes the harder route

Plenty of swimming opportunities on some of the lower trails!