Monday, July 12, 2010

Trip Report (MTB): Kingdom Trails in East Burke, VT

After riding my road bike all last summer, I felt I needed to blow a ton of money on a mountain bike.  So I did.  Ace, not wanting to be upstaged, followed by blowing a ton of money on a mountain bike for herself.  We've been on about 8 rides so far, but this past Sunday at the Kingdom Trails was most definitely the best.

The closest place for us to ride is "The Stables" up near Skidmore College in Saratoga.  It's pretty sweet, but I think "challenging" would be an appropriate word.  Lots of roots, rocks, and technical climbs.  This means that we are spending a lot more time than we would like off of our bikes.  After a couple of afternoons there, we tried to branch out a little.

We tried Moreau State Park off of exit 17, but we didn't really know where we were going or what trails were good, so we kind of did a uphill hike with our bikes, followed by a hairy, technical descent.  We found some nice trails later in the day, but we were pretty spent from negotiating the rocky uphills and steep downhills earlier.  Next, on the way back from Buffalo (where we spent the July 4th weekend), we tried the Finger Lakes Trail at Letchworth State Park.  That was some fun riding.  Nice singletrack, fast and flowy, with a couple of technical stream crossings (some we made, and some we didn't).  Definitely a nice place, but the terrain is slightly limited.  There's only one trail, and it's an out and back route (meaning we rode the same trail twice).

The Kingdom Trails are a world apart.  There were so many options, we didn't know where to start.  There's a big ridge (Darling Hill) in the center, so we rode the East Darling Hill Road up to the top to decide where to begin.  We wanted to warm up a little, so we rode Loop (a green).  We had two options from there, the green Cupcake or the black diamond Poundcake.  I wanted to see what the diamond was like, so we rolled down Poundcake.  The trail was beautiful, and I almost made the whole thing, but I got tripped up at this beautiful stream crossing towards the end:
We found ourselves back on Loop, and from there, we rode River Run along the West Branch of the Passumpsic River.  Once again, it was beautiful.  Perfect singletrack, and awesome scenery:
We did a quick jaunt on Webs, which was our favorite trail of the day.  It was fast, sweet singletrack through a nice hardwood forest:
After another nice section of singletrack along the river, we took Westbranch to Hog Back to Violet's Outback back to the Road.  We rode along the road until we reached the Wildflower Inn, where we saw some goats before dropping back onto Bemis:
After a Chicken Burrito, a Gatorade, and a water refill, we took off on Loop again to find some challenging singletrack.  We found it on Tap & Die:
It was really fun.  Fast, nice banked turns, a couple of challenging sections, but mostly just plain sweet.  After that, we did another run on Webs to Violet's Outback, a loop on Old Webs (where we fueled up on cookies at the top), and a nice section of singletrack on Border.  I was pretty beat by that point, so we just took VAST back to town (with a quick singletrack sidetrip on Culvert Cut).  After a nice rinse in the river and an ice cream cone, we started the long trip back home.  We stopped at the Inn at Long Trail near Killington for a Burger, a Reuben, and a couple of pints of Guinness.  A perfect end to my first "epic" mountain bike day.

1 comment:

  1. I've been to the NEK many times in winter, but never during mtb season. Thanks for the pix, looks great.