The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is not particularly close to anybody. Vermonters just call it "The Kingdom", and it's tucked neatly away in the northeast of America's 2nd least populous state; wedged into a corner with Canada to the north, the Connecticut River to the east and the Green Mountains to the west. Sitting squarely within these boundaries you'll find the small hamlet of East Burke, a community that may easily be mistaken for just another typically quaint and picturesque Vermont town; at least to the casual passerby. But the odds are far more likely that if you're anywhere near this town, your bike is likely with you and you understand that East Burke is anything but typical. East Burke is home to the heralded Kingdom Trails and the Kingdom Trails Association, and is a town with almost as many miles of singletrack as it has residents.
The New England Mountain Bike Association held it's 18th annual NEMBA Fest in East Burke for the 4th consecutive year, with the expo area and hub of the weekend's activities taking place off of Darling Hill Road at the Wildflower Inn. This year, over 2000 riders showed up to celebrate mountain biking in in Vermont, and on the Kingdom Trails in particular, where a unique relationship exists between private landowners (95% of the trails are located on private land) and trail users. Vendors arrived Thursday to set up and ride some trails, before their respective branding responsibilities kicked in and chained them to the expo area. The crowds arrived Friday and Saturday, and were able to enjoy some glorious northern New England summertime weather, with a light rain Thursday night into Friday morning tacking up the trails before giving way to sunshine and blue skies. Demos, guided rides, delicious grub, a massive expo, an obstacle course, live music, and some truly stunning trails were just a few of the many allures of the event, and Pinkbike was on hand and happy to capture as much of it as possible.
|My favourite part was seeing all the families this year. Lots of Dads with kids too for Fathers Day weekend. I also love seeing my two girls being there all weekend in such a healthy environment. - Tim Tierney, Director of the Kingdom Trails Association|
|I wanted to keep everyone moving in the same direction for the demo loop. It's a pretty ideal demo loop, with a little bit of wide double track, fast descending singletrack, and a nicely graded singletrack climbing trail. The rider gets a good feel for everything and I wanted it to be as uncrowded and congestion free for anyone demo-ing a bike. Otherwise I let the masses ride everything else at their discretion. I haven't heard any horror stories yet of riders getting in each other's way - CJ Scott, Trails Manager for the Kingdom Trails Association|
|KT offers a wide range of singletrack that is fun for all levels of riders. Paired with the bike park at Burke and the pump track/skills park in town, East Burke is a great place to be or a mountain biker! The community surrounding KT is one of the best and most inviting places I've found yet! - Ella Skalwold, guide for IdeRide MTB Tours|
|I've been coming to ride the Kingdom Trails since I first started mountain biking as a young kid. I have seen it grow to support an entire economy based on mountain biking! The proximity of awesome lift access, singletrack, and the great people that live here make it an ideal place for the die hard mountain biker! - Alex McAndrew, professional rider and guide for IdeRide MTB Tours|
For more information on the Kingdom Trails Association, click here.
For more information on the New England Mountain Bike Association, click here.
For more information on IdeRide MTB Tours, click here.
In early 2015, a 133-acre property-known as the West Branch land came on the market. There was a risk that it could be sold to a private individual and that recreational access to the land would be lost. The property contains several popular trails including Sidewinder, Old Webs, Hogback, West Branch, West Bench, Meadow Wood, and Border. You can help the KTA preserve this land and these trails by clicking here.