Biking on the roads in CT is nothing compared to some Vermont scenery and nicely groomed bike trails. That is all you will get in East Burke Vermont at Kingdom Trails.
The trails is a 501c3 non-profit ran by volunteers and a board of directors composed of local businesses and residents looking to preserve the ecologically sensitive landscape while encouraging the recreational use. Founded in 1994, the trails are used year round with winter fat biking, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.
If you are looking for breakfast, you might be looking for a while. It was not obvious where to get some fresh breakfast and coffee other than the gas station or leaving town. I was a bit surprised the staff at the resort did not have many suggestions either! We stumbled across East Burke County Store luckily and I am glad we did! They had breakfast made fresh from muffins and homemade bread to eggs and breakfast sandwiches along with local organic coffee.
After breakfast your first stop is to visit the Welcome Center to get your pass. The staff was super helpful and will map out a trail path for you based on your skill level, distance preference and landscape. This was great because if you are unfamiliar with the trails, you could easily find yourself on the black more difficult and steep trails fast. But not to worry. There are plenty of beginner and intermediate trails to be had if the faster and more difficult trails are not your thing.
When we arrived to get our bikes out of the car and gear up, we could not help but notice how many french Canadians were visiting from Canada all making the trek for this breathtaking bike mecca. We knew this most be a most special place if people came from another country just to ride!
We also saw a lot of families with kids just showing how diverse the terrain is and how you can find a bike trail at everyone’s skill level.
Our first objective was to do a 3/4 mile uphill bike. Not how I wanted to start the trail, but it is the main entrance to start on the trails. Once you are on the top of the hill, you have options as to where you would like to bike next. It was hardest part of the ride for someone like myself that has not worn in my biking legs yet!
We proceeded to stay on mostly blue trails which are flat and hilly. The views along the first parts are of the trails are quintessential Vermont. Cows, silos, big green fields and beautiful ski’s.
The part I enjoyed the most was when we were in the woods. Lots of small hills, some a bit fast if you do not control your bike and plenty of roots. Watch the roots! I have a hybrid bike so was not putting the pedal to the metal and biking more conservatively. The ideal bike for these trails would be a full suspension mountain bike. You can rent them at the bike shop which is a great option if you do not own or want to spend the money on a high-end bike. Rentals run from $70-150 depending on the model you rent.
One of the nicest spots was Heaven’s Bench. An open part of the trail filled with yellow dandelions and picturesque views of pastures and hills. Worth taking a minute to have a snack, water and take in the moment. Once you get there, you can descend back into the woods and take several different trail options.
All in all I believe we biked almost 4 miles. It does not sound like a lot, but when you are in the woods and going over small hills, mud and other obstacles, it takes a bit more time than usual to get through. An important thing to consider if you visit is attire. Please, PLEASE do yourself a favor and purchase biking shorts. Yes the ones with the padding. Your bum will thank you for it! Gloves are also essential in helping with grip and avoiding calluses. Lightweight breathable clothing layered is best. Don’t forget the sunscreen an eye wear and of course, a helmet!
After 3 hours of trail riding we were looking forward to checking out the bike shop and The Hub Trailside for some libations and views. The Hub offers beer, cider, wine and snacks overlooking a beautiful landscape. Grab an Adirondack chair and drink and relax your legs while taking in the scene.
Just up the street from The Hub is a beautiful Chapel. The Chapel is open to the public and offers an outside area for rosary as well as bathrooms for weary bikers. I found a beautiful poem inside offering prayers and safety for bikers on the trails and a breathtaking cross right outside. Worth the ride up the long driveway to take some gorgeous pictures.
After visiting the East Burke bike shop and glass of wine it was time to indulge in some ice cream. It is hard not to stop at Ruby Lee’s. Right at the start of that uphill road to the trails is Ruby Lee’s Ice Cream. All the bike riders seem to end up there for some much deserved treats. Locally made and homemade, this was just what we needed after working so hard and a great way to cool off. But get ready to wait in line for your ice cream. It was packed!
If you are an avid biker and haven’t experienced Kingdom Trails in East Burke Vermont, it is a must for any adventure seeker. For more information on Kingdom Trails log onto http://kingdomtrails.org/