A Complete Guide To Mountain Biking The Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont

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Mountain biker riding on trail at Kingdom Trails in Vermont with pasture and mountains in background
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The Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont is the Moab of the east. It’s where everyone flocks for long weekends and festivals and big days out on the trails followed by lots of beer and swimming in the river. With nearly 100 miles of singletrack, including a lift-served downhill bike park, and dozens of miles of cross-country trail for all levels of riders, the Kingdom Trails has become a mecca for mountain bikers all over the world.

Aside from the awesome trail network, there are also incredible views from the top of Darling Hill, a half-dozen food trucks, a tiki bar, riverside swimming, and just an awesome overall mountain bike feel to the town. If you haven’t been to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom to ride, it’s time to start planning your trip!


Why Mountain bike at the kingdom trails?

The vast network of singletrack in East Burke, Vermont is spread out through a big swath of valleys, hills, and ridges. The riding varies from legit DH in the lift-access Burke Bike Park to slow and mellow hard-packed trails through beautiful forest and along riverbanks.

In between, there are fast and flowy machine-built descents, raw old-school singletrack, and rocky, rooty technical climbs that will have you daydreaming about an ice-cold beer.

In short, the Kingdom Trails is home to a bit of everything.

But it’s not just the riding that makes this place so great. There’s often live music, really good food, a fun mountain bike town vibe, and beautiful Vermont views.

Mountain biker rolling down rock feature at Kingdom Trails in Vermont
Image credit: Katie Lozancich

Things to know before Visiting The Kingdom Trails

It gets busy

If you’re visiting the Kingdom Trails, VT over a beautiful summer weekend, expect to share the trails with lots of other riders. It can get super busy. Personally, I think it’s kind of fun to have so many riders enjoying the trails! Please be respectful and share the trails.

You are riding on PRIVATE land

You may have heard the sad news a little while ago about several landowners revoking mountain biker access to their private land. I’m not sure what happened (rumor has it that some mountain bikers were rude and disruptive…), but PLEASE remember that you are biking on PRIVATE land. It is a PRIVILEGE to ride here. Don’t screw it up for the rest of us. Here are a few ways to stay respectful:

  • Don’t litter
  • Don’t cut trails
  • Don’t be overly loud and disruptive
  • Stay on the trails
  • Leave Fido at home (no dogs allowed)

E-Bikes are NOT allowed

Electric bikes of any kind or class are not allowed on the trails in East Burke.

Trail networks are spaced far apart

While it is possible to ride between all of the trail networks, it’s important to note that they’re spaced pretty far apart. If you plan on riding to East Haven and back, prepare for 30+ miles. That goes for Darling Hill, too. There’s a pretty massive hill to get up to the ridge. Just plan your rides accordingly and shuttles are always a good option ?.


Kingdom Trails Tickets

All mountain bike visitors to East Burke and Kingdom Trails need to purchase a Membership to ride. Memberships options are:

  • Annual ($100 individual/$175 family)
  • Monthly ($20 youth/$40 individual/$70 family)
  • Daily ($12 youth/$20 adult)

This money goes back into the trails and ensures that trails are well-maintained, safe, signed, and fun! KTA (Kingdom Trails Association) is a non-profit organization and without these Membership fees, they wouldn’t be able to offer such an amazing network of mountain bike trails.

Please be respectful and purchase a Membership before you ride.


5 Mountain Bike Networks To Check out

With nearly 100 miles of singletrack, the options for riding in Kingdom Trails is almost limitless. Below are the different trail networks to check out:

  1. Darling Hill
  2. East Haven
  3. Central East Burke Trails
  4. Burke Mountain (non-bike park)
  5. Burke Mountain Bike Park

1. Darling Hill

Darling Hill is the western-most network in East Burke and it’s also the zone that got sliced up several years when a few landowners decided to close their trails to mountain bikers. But even though some of the trails have been lost, there’s still a ton of terrain to ride and more singletrack is being built every year.

I’d say that the west side of Darling Hill has the ‘easiest’ trails in East Burke, so it’s a great place to spend your first day or bring the kiddos. There’s also a really fun skills zone with some drops, small jumps, and a short flow trail if you want to work on your skills.

There’s also a bike rental shop up on Darling Hill with a beer garden, food truck, and incredible views out over the rolling hills. I highly recommend ending at least one ride at the Village Sport Shop Trailside Hub Brew Counter.

Group of people sitting around tables under tent at Kingdom Trails with beautiful view out over rolling hills and pasture
A post-ride drink or some food at the Village Sport Shop on Darling Hill is a must!

2. East Haven

East Haven is hands down my favorite area to ride at Kingdom Trails. It’s a bit of a drive (or pedal) from the town of East Burke, but the trek is worth it. Black Bear will probably be one of the best rides of your week. This trail is completely machine-build and has amazing flow.

Parallel to Black Bear is Stormin’ Norman, which is just as rad. The only ‘bummer’ about East Haven is that the climb up to the top is on a steep access road that is quite a grind, especially if you do several laps. Just put it in granny and get it done.

Man sitting next to bike in wooden gazebo in Vermont with pasture and rolling hills in background
Stop for a snack at gazebo at the top of the East Have climb

3. Central East Burke Trails

For lack of TrailForks nomenclature, I named the area between Darling Hill and East Haven Central East Burke Trails.

These trails are mostly old-school with lots of roots and steep climbs. I wouldn’t recommend spending your entire day here, but there are some fun trails and loops like Good n’ You and Ware’s Davis.

4. Burke Mountain (non-bike park)

On the other side of the Central East Burke trails is Burke Mountain. There is a Bike Park on Burke Mountain (see below) but there are also several trails that are accessed via leg power (or shuttle!). Moose Alley is a must and Flower Brooke is a fun trail that connects into East Haven.

5. Burke Mountain Bike Park

And if all those trails and networks weren’t enough, Kingdom Trails is also home to a lift-served bike park.

The Burke Mountain Bike Park has thirteen downhill and seven cross-country trails suited for all levels of rider from beginner to pro. The lower trails are accessed via lift while the upper three DH trails (Upper J-Bar, Rude Awakening aka DH Trail, and Freeride) require a shuttle or leg power.

Burke Mountain Bike Park Map
Burke Mountain Bike Park

The Best of Kingdom Trails Mountain Biking

10 Best Mountain Bike Trails

Here are what I consider to be the best mountain bike trails at the Kingdom Trails:

  1. Webs (Darling Hill, Beginner)
  2. Sidewinder (Darling Hill, Beginner+/Intermediate)
  3. Ware’s Davis (Central East Burke, Intermeidate)
  4. Black Bear (East Haven, Intermediate)
  5. Kitchell (Darling Hill, Intermediate)
  6. Stormin’ Norman (East Haven, Intermediate+)
  7. Ridge to Rim (Darling Hill, Intermediate+)
  8. Jaw (Darling Hill, Intermediate/Advanced)
  9. Sky Dive (Central East Burke, Intermediate/Advanced)
  10. Moose Alley (Burke Mountain, Advanced)
Sidewinder mountain bike trail at Kingdom Trails in Vermont
Sidewinder is giant slalom course for bikes!

7 Route Recommendations

1. West Darling Hill Loop

ROUTE STATS

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Trail network: Darling Hill
  • Highlight trails: Webs, Sidewinder
  • Mileage: 8.6 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,141 ft
  • Route directions: New T > Webs (ride clockwise) > River Run > West Branch > Old Webs > Border > Bear Back > West Branch > Sidewinder > West Branch > Hog Back > Piggy Back > Violet’s Outback> Fox Run > Flow Trail
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks
Screenshot of mountain bike route map at the Kingdom Trails in East Burke Vermont
West Darling Hill Loop

This loop covers all the best descents on West Darling Hill including Webs, Bear Back, Sidewinder, and Piggy Back.

Webs is a beautiful flow trail through the woods and Sidewinder is one of the most popular trails in East Burke. It’s basically a slalom course for two wheels!

This climb back out at the end is a bit of a grind, but the route is worth it.

Make it shorter

There are three descents on this loop:

  1. Bear Back
  2. Sidewinder
  3. Piggy Back

You can cut out Bear Back and/or Piggy Back, but I recommend doing Sidewinder.

Make it longer

Head over to the other side of Darling Hill and do the Ridge to Rim route below.

2. Ridge to Rim

ROUTE STATS

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate/Expert
  • Trail network: Darling Hill
  • Highlight trails: Jaw, Ridge, Rim
  • Mileage: 4 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 601 ft
  • Route directions: Jaw (double black because of skinny bridges) > Maxilla > Ridge > Rim > East Branch > Sugar Hill > Heaven Bench > Darling Hill Road
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks
Screenshot of mountain bike route map at the Kingdom Trails in East Burke Vermont
Ridge to Rim

If you want to add on to the above loop or just do a quick, fun ride head over to East Darling Hill to do a Ridge to Rim run. This is one of the best link-ups at Kingdom Trails! It’s super fast and flowy.

Jaw is rated double black for its skinny bridges, but there’s nothing overly technical on it.

Make it longer

You can continue on Darling Hill Road to Kitchel, which is a fun descent, but it will end you in town, so you’ll either need to climb back up East Darling Hill Road (which is steeep), Herb’s (also steep), or Beat Bog (steep and technical). Or the best option is to leave a car in town and simply end at Mike’s Tiki Bar.

3. Poundcake, Coronary Bypass, Fenceline

ROUTE STATS

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate/Expert
  • Trail network: Darling Hill
  • Highlight trails: Pastore Point, Coronary Bypass
  • Mileage: 6.4 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 783 ft
  • Route directions: Cupcake Connector > Poundcake > Coronary Bypass > Pastore Point Loop > Pastore Point > Coronary/Loop/Coronary > Fence Line > Bog Meadow > Loop > Cupcake Connector
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks
Screenshot of mountain bike route map at the Kingdom Trails in East Burke Vermont
Poundcake, Coronary Bypass, Fence Line

This loop hits all the best descents in the north Darling Hill network. Truthfully I don’t love this area as much as the west Darling Hill stuff, but it’s still worth checking out if you have the time.

The Pastore Point Loop is really beautiful with great views out over the river.

4. East Haven Two Laps

ROUTE STATS

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Trail network: East Haven
  • Highlight trails: Black Bear, Stormin’ Norman
  • Mileage: 7.8 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,252 ft
  • Route directions: Haul Road > Hawk Eye > Black Bear > Haul Road > Stormin’ Norman
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks
Screenshot of mountain bike route map at the Kingdom Trails in East Burke Vermont
East Haven Two Laps

If you’re looking for maximum downhill fun, this route is for you! Two laps at East Haven are worth it despite the steep fire road climb. Black Bear is a super fun and flowy descent as is Stormin’ Norman, which has a bit more pedaling and also bigger features.

Just take your time going up the Haul Road and have a blast on the downs.

Make it shorter

If I had to choose between a Black Bear or Stormin’ Norman descent, I’d go with Black Bear.

Make it longer

There’s a short loop you can do at the top of the Haul Road by taking Swamp Donkey to BFR back to Swamp Donkey. This will add about a mile.

5. East Haven To Town One-Way

ROUTE STATS

  • Route difficulty: Strong Intermediate/Expert
  • Trail network: East Haven/Burke Mountain/Central East Burke
  • Highlight trails: Black Bear, Stormin’ Norman, Flower Brooke, Moose Alley, Sky Dive
  • Mileage: 20.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3,017 ft
  • Elevation loss: 3,081 ft
  • Route directions: Haul Road > Black Bear > Haul Road > Stormin’ Norman > Haul Road > Links > Flower Brook > Moose Alley > Pinkham Road > Butter Tubs > Moose Alley > VAST > Farmjunk > Skydive > Nosedive > White School
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks
Screenshot of mountain bike route map at the Kingdom Trails in East Burke Vermont
East Haven to Town

My favorite way to ride East Haven is as a one-way shuttle. Park a car or get dropped off by the shuttle (see shuttle information below) at East Haven and ride Black Bear and Stormin’ Norman (see above route).

Then, pedal halfway back up the Haul Road to Links and connect into Flower Brook which is a meandering trail back in the direction of town and actually quite a nice pedal.

For more downhill fun, use Pinkham Road and the Butter Tubs Access Trail to get to Butter Tubs, a really well-built climb. Then bomb down Moose Alley.

From there you can choose to add bonus miles on Farmjunk and Skydive or head straight back to town on White School.

This is a big day, so be prepared with lots of water and food!

Non-shuttle option

If you don’t have a shuttle, you can pedal out to East Haven by taking New School trail from town to White School Road to Marshall Newland Road. This will add about 6 miles of pedaling, but not a whole lot of elevation gain.

6. Central East Burke Loop

ROUTE STATS

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Trail network: Central East Burke
  • Highlight trails: Sky Dive, Nose Dive, Ware’s Davis
  • Mileage: 14 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,563 ft
  • Route directions: Ridge Run > New School > Pinkham Road > Butter Tubs Access > Butter Tubs > Moose Alley > VAST/White School > Farm Junk > Good n’ You > Sky Dive > Nose Dive > Swan Dive > White School > Upper Pond Loop > Ware’s Davis
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks
Screenshot of mountain bike route map at the Kingdom Trails in East Burke Vermont

The Central East Burke trails aren’t the most exciting singletrack at the Kingdom Trails, but they’re working checking out if you’ve already ridden Darling Hill and East Haven. Butter Tubs and Moose Alley definitely make this route a bit more interesting and there’s tons of options for modification.

Make it longer

At the end of Ware’s Davis, cross the road to connect into Herb’s. Climb Herb’s for a fun descent down Kitchell.


Kingdom Trails Mountain Bike Shuttle

Kingdom Trails has partnered with Rural Community Transportation to provide a 15-person mountain bike shuttle in East Burke! The shuttle will run on weekends (Friday-Sunday) as well as Monday’s later in the summer.

The shuttle can deliver riders up to Darling Hill, out to East Haven, and up to Burke Mountain.

You can find the shuttle schedule here or download the Transit App for realtime updates.

(I couldn’t find any info on shuttle fees, so I’m assuming it’s free if you have a Kingdom Trails pass/membership, which you need to ride the trails anyway.)


Best Time To Visit East Burke & The Kingdom Trails

East Burke is actually a year-round destination thanks to its groomed cross-country ski trails (open to fat biking, too!) and the Burke Mountain Ski Resort. But if you want to mountain bike the best times to visit are the summer months, roughly between June and October.

Personally, I love riding the Kingdom Trails in the fall when all the leaves are ablaze and the crowds have (kind of) thinned.

Elevated boardwalk trail through the woods at the Kingdom Trails during colorful fall foliage season
Fall is a great time to visit the Kingdom Trails to see the fall colors and avoid big crowds

What Gear to Pack

For a complete list of what mountain bike gear to pack for your trip to the Kingdom Trails, head over to my Complete Mountain Bike Trip Packing List and Mountain Bike Pack Essentials posts.

Kingdom Trails Essentials

Tubeless tire kit for mountain bikes

Tubeless Tire Kit

There are lots of rocks and roots in East Burke, so be prepared for flats with a tubeless tire kit and a tire boot.

Osprey hydration pack for mountain biking

Hydration Pack

It’s easy to do a 20+ mile day at the Kingdom Trails, so be prepared with a hydration pack filled with water or a fanny pack.

Patagonia Houdini jacket

Lightweight layer

It can be hot and humid in Vermont, but it can also be cold and rainy especially if you’re visiting in the spring or fall. Pack a lightweight layer like the Patagonia Houdini jacket (men’s version here) just in case.


East Burke Bike Shops, Rentals, & Tours

East Burke Sports: This is a great bike shop right in the center of East Burke village. They are a full-service bike shop and they also rent high-end bikes like Santa Cruz and Juliana | (802) 626-3215

Village Sport Shop: Located up on Darling Hill, this bike shop does mostly rentals but they can also tune up your bike if needed. Village Sport Shop is also home to the Hub Brew Counter, so be sure to stop in and grab a pre-ride coffee or an adult beverage at the end of the day | (802) 626-8448

Large red barn turned bike shop at the Kingdom Trails in Vermont
The Village Sport Shop on Darling Hill also has a beer counter and food trucks

VTMTB Tours: If you want a private tour around the Kingdom Trails, professional racers Alex and Ella have got you covered. Choose from day tours or custom packages or let them help you level up your skills with a few hours of 1:1 coaching.


Where to eat & drink in East Burke

Despite its tiny size, East Burke has no shortage of good places to eat and drink. There are food trucks, a tiki bar, restaurants, and cafes. Below are a few of my favorites:

  • Mike’s Tiki Bar: This is a must. Located right next to the main parking area in the village of East Burke, Mikes Tiki Bar serves up cold beer, cider, and wine on an open patio. It’s the perfect place to end a ride.
  • Burrito Food Truck: Located right next to Mike’s Tiki Bar is a burrito food truck that serves awesome (and filling) burritos as well as other fare like salads and fries
  • Hub Brew Counter: Located inside the Village Sport Shop on Darling Hill, the Hub Brew Counter serves coffee, beer, wine, cider, and snacks. There’s also a beautiful outdoor patio with seating that overlooks the majestic hills of Northeast Kingdom. I highly recommend ending one of your rides here. There’s usually also a food truck right outside serving more filling fare.
Becky sitting next to niece on swinging bench chair while eating lunch
The Hub Brew Counter at Village Sports
  • Junipers: This is a great restaurant inside the Wildflower Inn. They serve filling and tasty comfort food like burgers, mac & cheese, and steaks. If you just want a drink or lighter fare, check out the SpokeEasy Lounge and Beer Garden also located at the Wildflower Inn.
  • Cafe Lotti: An awesome coffee shop located just a short distance outside the village. They serve delicious specialty coffee as well as pastries, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast plates, and lunch sandwiches.
  • Auntie Dee’s Homemade Baked Goods: This place is a hidden gem. A tiny little bakery/deli, you can get amazing sandwiches, salads, pastries, and other baked goods. Grab a lunch-to-go before heading out to East Haven!

Where to stay in East Burke

Kingdom Trails Camping

  • Main Parking Lot: You can actually camp overnight in your vehicle in the main parking area located conveniently by Mike’s Tiki Bar. And wait for it… there are FREE showers! It gets super busy during peak mountain bike season, though, so don’t expect to have a ton of privacy.
  • Burke Mountain Campground: This campground is located up on the mountain by the bike park. It has 26 sites and a few lean-tos. Reservations include access to the hot tub and swimming pool. No RV’s are allowed (max 20’).

East Burke Hotels

The Wildflower Inn is a quaint little B&B up on Darling Hill with a place to store your bikes and a bike wash station. The nearby Inn at Burklyn is a major splurge if you’re looking for a bit of luxury in the Northeast Kingdom.

Booking.com

Additional Resources


Have you ridden the Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont? What are your favorite trails and loops? What questions do you still have? Leave a comment below!

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Learn the best tips about mountain biking the Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont including the best trails, how to link them up, & more.
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One Comment

  1. I feel that there should have been a mention of the East Burke volunteer fire department which has a special unit to rescue injured mountain bikers on kingdom trails. other than that a great article.

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