Check your brakes and read on.
Since 2008, I think I’ve done about 5 trips to Vermont’s, Kingdom Trails.
In the early days, it was a small, sleepy village with a decent set of trails. A lot of the trails had fun design but there was a niggling sense that there were lots of small issues. As the place was growing in popularity and gaining a lot more bike traffic, any spots that had trail construction issues were highlighted. It was good, it was big, it was fun, but it had a few rough edges.
Anyhow, over the years, the place has improved dramatically and now, delivers on all its promise. It’s a busy fat-tire resort which is highly polished. It’s well worth the trip. They even have Iced Vermont Coffee Company coffee in the General Store!
This post isn’t about that.
After a lot of rides here, I finally cracked the code on this east coast destination. Hiding here is a, top-secret, Big Mountain-style ride. It’s there, lurking right out in the open. But it’s completely off the radar for some reason.
Here’s what I mean by “top-secret”. In all the previous rides on the network, the staff at the trail center have talked a lot about the Darling Hill portion of the trails. And if you hang out in the village for a few minutes, it’s abundantly clear that this is the “main area”. There is a steady stream of knobby tires heading up the west side hill. And every person I know who has been there to ride has talked exclusively about the Darling Hill trails. Sure, the map shows some other sections, but…you will typically ignore all that. Here’s what you will end up with:
Total time: 03:43:16
So I’m here to tell you: ignore what you know. You don’t care about Darling Hill. You will ride Mountainside, and be instantly transported to Washington’s Cascade range.
Total time: 02:36:58
This exact loop might not please everybody. It’s a typical westcoast approach. Climbs are on doubletrack, pavement and XC ski trails, and steep as hell. But you will get your elevation set as quick as possible. (Don’t like that idea? There are shallower trail options.)
Descents are all black diamond or double-black.
I started the ride from the village, and rode up to Burke. The very first section of singletrack that your tires touch is straight into a burly double-black descent. The next major section is another mild rise to traverse over into the main river valley. Then you’re on a long chain of black diamond trails which are all covered in long sweeping turns, rock gardens…
…and poppy natural obstacles…
All of the difficulty compounded by the fact that you are ripping this all out at Mach-1. For 20km. There is nothing else this long and fast on the east coast.
Go there. Go there now!
These bretheren totally get it!