Video: TrailLove Episode 4: East Burke, Vermont

Aug 18, 2015
by ridebmc  
Views: 27,171    Faves: 101    Comments: 9


Each episode of this series has started off with the same sentence: #TrailLove is an exploration of the people and the stories behind the trails we ride everyday. That is a rather broad description of this series, as the title can mean any number of things to any number of people. It's a question we've asked everyone we've spoken with throughout the project, and every answer has had it's own nuanced interpretation. But, there's a unanimous theme of a community's connection to the trails found in their own backyards, and the tremendous value that people see in developing more trails to bring riders in.

Trail love is something that certainly exists all around the world, but you'd be hard pressed to find a place on the planet that loves their trails more than the town of East Burke, Vermont. This small town is in the middle of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, and is home to the legendary Kingdom Trails, an enormous network featuring over 100 miles of sinewy, dark and glorious singletrack. These trails represent the town's biggest commercial expectation, and are open in some capacity throughout the year. Burke has one of the East Coast's best bike parks, as well as a pumptrack in the center of town, and if you know the right people (which is easy enough here), some of the most beautifully sculpted dirt jumps you'll find anywhere.

But it's the singletrack that draws people in, and for good reason: the same trail can offer up a variety of riding options for a variety of riders. Beginners and pros alike can derive an equal amount of joy while sharing these trails, and that's due to the advocacy, trail work and land management by the Kingdom Trails Association. The greatest example of trail love can be found amongst the private landowners, whose properties hold 96% of the trails found throughout the network. In an increasingly litigious world, it's reassuring to find so many people who encourage the building of trails on their own private property, and without any incentive other than knowing that their decision is for the greater good of the town and of the trails. We couldn't think of a more appropriate place to bring the series to a close than here in East Burke, Vermont; the epitome of #TrailLove. Enjoy.


Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
Willoughby Gap and Canada lay to the north of town, with Burke mountain bordering the east, and the Green Mountains to the west. This corner of the country is among its finest.

Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
The Kingdom Trails Association office sits smack in the center of town.
Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
Lilias and Brice take a breather midway through a ride on Darling Hill.

Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
Berms. The Kingdom Trails have a lot of 'em.

Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
Lilias Ide is the Operations Manager for the KTA, and that can often mean a lot of quality control work on the trails.

Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
It's really easy to go really fast on the Kingdom Trails. It's also easy to assume that this place is the result of a lot of machined work. But the truth is, there's a dedicated crew of builders who use their hands, shovels and picks to shape and maintain these trails. That's love.

Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
Once you drop in from atop Heaven's Bench, it's game on. High speed berms, roots and off-camber sections await.

Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
You're welcome to ride through the root gardens, or you can just float over them. Brice opted for the latter of those options here.

Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
The West Branch of the Kingdom Trails is home to many of its most popular slices of singletrack, including Old Web, Sidewinder and others. The KTA has partnered up with the Vermont Land Trust to help protect the133 acres of land that make up this corner of the trail network. Check below for a link and lend a hand!

Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
These trails may attract upwards of 1,700 riders on a weekly basis from May through October, but there is still plenty of solitude to be found in the Kingdom.
Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
Even in the summertime, you'll find a soft white blanket covering the ground.

Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.
The beauty of #TrailLove is that the definition can be as complex as it is simple; and the experience is as personal as it is shared. What does it mean to you?



Episode of 4 #TrailLove would not have been possible without support from:

The Kingdom Trails Association
The Wildflower Inn
The Vermont Food Truck Company
The Burke Publick House
Terrific Tutus

Help the KTA and Vermont Land Trust preserve one of the Kingdom Trails' most popular sections by clicking here.

Want to join the BMC Trailcrew?
BMC is searching for local riders; the men and women who are on the trails riding, digging, and shooting every chance they get. These individuals are the core of their local crew. They organize the rides, are a regular at their local bike shop, know the best lines, and always have cold beers ready at the end of an epic day. Interested? Find out more at:
www.bmc-switzerland.com/bmc-trailcrew-program


Photos from Episode 4 of the TrailLove series presented by BMC Pinkbike Trailforks.com and in association with Pearl Izumi.


If you like what you see then please support our friends at the Kingdom Trails Association and earn some Trail Karma while you're at it.





MENTIONS: @ridebmc / @briceshirbach / @mtbvt



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69 Comments

  • 20 0
 Make no mistake this place is a properly awesome place to ride, videos and photos dont do it justice. leave your big bike home, KT is trail riding at its best!
  • 2 0
 Burke mountain is right beside Kingdom, so you can bring your big bike. but I agree, KT is my favourite place to go!
  • 3 6
 Yeah the kt are great, but I agree this video didn't really capture that for me. It's one of the most crowded networks for sure, as it is so popular. Worth checking out for anyone that likes smooth flowy single track.
  • 5 1
 Its crazy how many of those trails still stay the same and how many have changed... also all the added trails on Burke Mtn. oh man. Its honestly some of the best riding, EC or WC you'll experience. Here's an older edit from myself and my friend ripping around, featuring Webbs, Tody's Tour and Sidewinder in 2006ish... you think Anthill is good at filming? pshhht Wink BTW you guys/gals were hauling through that edit.

www.pinkbike.com/video/27750
  • 2 0
 Can ride the bike park easy on a proper trail bike. Upper J-bar to Lower-Jbar to cut across trail to end off on Jester on a trail bike is ALL TIME. Tech, Flow, berms and Jumps all in one super run. Moose alley ain't so bad either Smile
  • 16 1
 Troll Stroll may be the most fun run ever made. Just wish there was 5 more miles of it!
  • 12 1
 This is all about a trail network built and earned on private property. Amazing work! And this is what our sport is about, trails and people.
  • 5 0
 The only thing that kills the vibe is the new ownership at Burke Mountain. Having to coordinate the tickets between the KT and Burke Mountain by paying full lift ticket prices (per the Burke Mtn. employee at the gate + the KT pass) even if you shuttle for one run to the top of the mountain, all that in addition to the toll at the gate is just crazy. I'll pay to ride the trail but I'm not paying for an all day pass for one run when we shuttle ourselves to the top, I'll just stick to the KT stuff which is awesome.
  • 1 0
 Wait, they were telling you you needed a bike park lift ticket PLUS a separate KT day pass to ride from the top? That can't be right.
  • 1 0
 The kid at the toll road gate who was a Burke Mtn. employee (mind you we were staying at the campground and left from there) straight up said, "you need to have a mountain pass to ride the mountain trails" (which makes sense and I don't fault them for that) we said, we are just shuttling up to ride upper J-Bar and he was like "yeah, you need that and the KT pass". My problem was that they previously had a shuttle run fee which he said they didn't do anymore. So on Saturday and Sunday you have to pay the $35. The website clearly lists a "$5 per person trip or $15 per person all day access" Summit shuttle but I think they are forcing you to use their shuttle from the lodge. Maybe this kid mis-spoke but we just said "f*ck that. we're not paying 35 bucks for one run."
skiburke.com/mountain-biking/tickets-and-passes/day-tickets
  • 1 0
 Indeed gets tricky, KT is a nonprofit and Burke Mountain is obviously for profit.
  • 3 0
 Burke certainly isn't doing themselves any favors. Each year since the new ownership there has been less reason to go to the mountain. Previously, they had the only bar in town. Now Mike's Tiki Bar (which is awesome) is open there was even less reason for us to visit the mountain.
  • 6 0
 can anybody ID the trail(s) at 1:20, 1:40 and 1:47? I wanna make sure I hit those next year at nembafest.
  • 10 0
 Yeah @bad-andy, that entire group segment was filmed on Moose Alley. In fact, the trail work you saw being done was on Moose Alley as well. There will be a much improved bottom third of that trail next time you're up
  • 3 0
 Thanks Brice, it's on the hit-list for next year for certain!
  • 4 0
 Love all their fast flowy trails.. bad thing for me is I want to puke by the end of the day from all the climbing to do them.
Moose alley, Troll stroll, tap&die and Side winder are my favorite trails.
I'll be back up there in a couple of weeks..
  • 1 0
 the bottom section is rideable now... it's great but kinda takes away the thrill of going mach 10 on the open area... that, and the middle section of MA is getting beat but still the best trail up there
  • 1 0
 Going straight for Moose Alley next time I'm up there.
  • 10 2
 fuck the Q
  • 1 0
 Qool!!!
  • 3 0
 Great edit and pics here boys! It's nice to see a video where every helmet isn't a Red Bull/Monster helmet. Makes us old heads with the beat up bodies want to get out and ride even more. haha

Our shop lucked out this year and were able to hit up NEMBA FEST at East Burke! WOW AMAZING! Forget how epic the trail system is, it's the the people/town that make that place special! So kind and welcoming! Hats off to the Land owners, NEMBA heads, Trail Crew, and all the little shops! They have created something truly special, and should start a business turning towns into an epic Outdoor/Recreational/Mountain Bike Town. If the ocean was near by, it would be my home!
  • 4 0
 all natural flow and all natural hits..nothing to groomed just a good o'l fast trail...would like to go here and rip it...maybe next year
  • 3 0
 WOW, this place looks awesome. I have heard about these trails and always wondered what they were like. This is a great piece that helps to get a better picture. I might have to stop there on my way to Highland one time.
  • 2 0
 This place is awesome. The trail network and the little bike park are just plain fun. In a single weekend you can enjoy a whole bunch of incredible XC trails (Sidewider !) and go crazy on an insanely fun jump line (Knight Slayer !). Been there in 2013 and going again on Labour day weekend in 3 weeks.

Question: the only trails I didn't have a chance to ride are the those at the top part of the bike park: Freeride, Upper Jay and DH trail. Anyone can tell me if those trails technicality/difficulty justify bringing a DH bike ? Would they be enjoyable on a AM bike with 160mm travel for a averagely-skilled rider ?
  • 4 0
 Jbar and DH are ok on AM bikes... DH is always wet, and JBar is usually too. Jbar gets the most love and makes for an awesome descent all the way down to the base lodge. DH trail takes you out into the lookers left and is ok, but doesn't get much love. Have not ridden FR trail yet, been on the bucketlist for so long...
  • 3 0
 The 3 trails from the top are old school Gnar. I rode upper J-bar which is the easiest, and was glad I had my DH bike. DH trail is pretty hard.. expert for sure. Free Ride has big drops and no go-around and is the most difficult of the 3.
  • 1 0
 Thank you !
  • 2 0
 DH trail quite technical and physical on an AM bike, especially the repeated wet off camber roots and rock sections.
Went ok through all but came out of it of a lot more tired than I expected. Expert only, definitely.
If you bring you DH bike in there you'll definitely enjoy the upper part but you will regret it as much in the lower part.
An enduro bike is the "best" bet in there I would say.

I have heard from very good downhill riders that Freeride trail on an AM bike is quite insane. DH bike and all the gear suggested...
  • 5 0
 waaawwwwwwww that place looks sweet
  • 1 0
 Would love for somewhere like that in Ireland / NI
  • 3 0
 Thanks to my family's cabin in central VT, I'll be hitting up these trails one weekend and then Highland Bike Park the next. Can't wait to go back!
  • 2 0
 So we're all invited then?
  • 4 0
 That's what it sounds like, @bishopsmike. Geez, thanks @jasonlongbmx!
  • 1 0
 I live in Vancouver, which is not a bad place to live if you mountain bike. But I visit KT every summer when I head back East to visit the family. I was there twice last week. The riding there is just plain fun and worth checking out.
  • 1 0
 Did a northeast 8 stop 2 week bike trip, KT and Burke Bike Park where my favorites. Us being AM riders we spent 4 days there and just love the diversity of trails.
from tons of fast flowing single track, straight up old school shuttle worthy DH off the top, pump tracks, dirt jumps, to chairlift freeride/flow trails and the best VT Maple Sundays in town
  • 1 0
 grew up in the NEK and absolutely loved it. was just there in june and hit the KT with my sister and nephew, had a blast. just wish I had more time to spend there. will maybe make it a yearly thing.
  • 3 0
 Awesome network of trails! Can't wait to head there next month!!
  • 1 0
 Kingdom Trails is soooo sweet. Bring your climbing legs and leave the DH bike at home. All those downhill trails are incredible but you will work to get there.
  • 1 0
 Unless you ride the lift or shuttle. The shuttle runs off the top are some of the best DH runs in the east.
  • 1 0
 My family lives near there, definitely plan to hit these trails up on a visit someday! Let's see some video of the double-blacks!!
  • 1 0
 Been there a week ago. One of best weekends of my life. Moose Alley, Troll Stroll and Sidewinder just blows me away. wish they were a loop you can ride all day long...
  • 1 0
 troll stoll and sidewinder have a good loop to them but no moose alley
  • 4 0
 CFN forever!
  • 7 6
 KT is alright. A lot more tastier trails in VT than KT. Perry Hill. Pittsfield. Ascutney. Stowe Loops. Fellowship.
  • 13 0
 What is the point of comparing? Each of those trail systems are a different kind of experience and are awesome in their own way. VT riders are blessed to have them all.
  • 3 0
 Agreed. Vermonters are very lucky people indeed and lets not forget the variety of extremely tasty beers they have access to.
  • 2 1
 Agreed, don't compare! I live in Connecticut and love the fact that I drive up and hit all these great, well maintained trails systems. I've yet to find any tecky riding up there that's as good as the Gnar around my local area.. but I'm sure there is plenty up there.
  • 3 0
 Head to the mountain for the tech. Upper Jbar and DH trail have plenty of gnar. The run from upper to lower Jbar is the best at kingdom imo, one of the best on the east coast.
  • 4 0
 You want tech? Head to Millstone. Miles and miles of exposed granite, giant boulders, insane wood features and some really really sketchy lines. Its great fun!
  • 2 0
 You want tech @mbiker35?. Hit up Boston Lot in Lebanon NH. uvmba.org/Lebanon
Just make sure you ride with a local unless you pay for a membership which gets you access to the online map.
  • 2 0
 I haven't done too much riding in ct, but what I did ride had a lot of rocks and roots everywhere. If that's what your looking for in vt, try out hinesberg town forest.
  • 2 1
 yeah there is some silly techy trails in Vermont. Most though still have flow. mbiker35 I can show you several spot with in 30 minutes of Stowe that I think will blow you away. PM if you are heading this way.
  • 2 0
 @ninerrip9 How can you even compare some of those places to kingdom? Pittsfeild is pretty boring there attempts to build berms are pretty sad, ascutney is full of supper tight trees that stop what flow they could have. I mean the other places you mentioned are legit but kingdom is still rad.
  • 3 0
 People just like to hate on KTA. KTA is really good and overal its hard to argue against it but I totally agree with build-n-ride that Pittsfield is not actually flowly, and STAB handlebar catchers kill it. With that said.....

Perry has arguable the 2 best hand built long descent in the state. Only 10 miles of main trail there but you get about 2000 feet of downhill, that is tech and flowly and just good.

Hinesburg Town Forest, Carse Hill, and Sleepy Hollow is actually the largest trail system in Vermont, it is never really super tech but it has everything from some buff stuff to big freeride style features. Its the hidden Gem near burlington.

CFN(Aka Cadys Falls Nursery) has some of the flowiest trails in the state, and also some of the most tech, sometimes at the same time. CFN is like KTA but more raw, and more confusing. CFN and KTA are my 2 favorites in the state. Flowly hand built trails with natural hits and berms everywhere. If you like sand/hardpack go to KTA, if you like Loam go to CFN.
  • 1 0
 I'm curious about the trails in Perry that you mention? We make it down to KTA 3 to 4 times a year form Quebec. love the area! But your post made me think I'm missing something worth riding?
  • 1 0
 @Thomaswalker, Perry Hill in Waterbury. The trail head is on River Rd, a short dead end road that has an ice rink at the end. The parking area for the bike trails is very easy to spot. Ride through the tube under the highway to get on the trails. Great network. Not huge, but some of the most fun trails around. Its about an hour and a half from the KT, but you can go through stow to get there, and hit up CFN on the way. Then you could even head into Waitsfield (another 15 min from PH) where there are a lot of trails, and lift access at Sugarbush Resort. Make sure to go to The Mad Taco for food if you head in to Waitsfield.
  • 2 0
 See you Friday! Yehahhhhhhhhh
  • 3 5
 better than Tahoe!? yeah right! The Tahoe basin is home to so many good single track trails,truckee bike park, south lake bike park and lift access at northstar. Add in the iconic high sierra kayaking and skiing and it is pretty unbeatable. There's a reason all my tahomies are VT and NH transplants.
  • 2 0
 noone said burke was better, just that it had everything to offer.
  • 3 0
 Vermont RULES!
  • 2 2
 KT for me was just ok. A little bit too much of the xc type riding. If you're in the area I think millstone, Waterbury and Stowe were a lot more fun.
  • 1 0
 what were the trail featured in this???
  • 5 1
 The big group: Moose Alley

Lilias and I: Fox Run - Old Webbs

Just me: Heaven's Bench - Ridge - Rim
  • 1 0
 Gotta hits those next time
  • 1 0
 Ridge-Rim was definitely the highlight of last weekends Kingdom ride for me.
  • 2 0
 Loving the trail love!
  • 1 0
 we seriously need this kind of trails in Poland
  • 1 0
 Dirt Bunnies!!
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