Dirt Rag Magazine

Featured Ride: Darling Hill Loop at Kingdom Trails in Vermont

Scenic Photos courtesy of MTB Project.



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Kingdom Trails is one of the premier mountain bike destinations on the east coast, if not the entire United States. Sure, it doesn’t have the epic scenery of Sedona or Moab, but the riding is world class and the quaint little town of Burke, Vermont is very welcoming to cyclists. Much of the area’s economic growth revolves around its status as a mountain bike destination.

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The 13-mile Darling Hill Loop is the perfect tour for folks who haven’t yet visited Kingdom Trails. This highlight-reel ride will be particularly scenic this time of year as the leaves begin to change.

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The Kingdom Trails Association (KTA) stewards the public and private land on which Kingdom Trails is built to provide summer and winter recreation as well as to conserve the area’s natural resources.

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For me, Kingdom Trails offers the perfect balance of technical and flow riding. There’s plenty of speed to be had and enough technical features to keep you on your toes.

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Kingdom Trails is a pay-to-play destination. The $15 day pass supports the KTA’s mission and helps fund trail building and maintenance.

A Kingdom Odyssey from T-Bar Films on Vimeo.

Dirt Rag Contributor Rob Whelan wrote about his trip to Kingdom Trails earlier this summer. Read his story here.

If you haven’t yet made the trip to Kingdom Trails, put it on your bucket list. And, be sure to sample the Darling Hill Loop while you’re there.

Scenic Photos courtesy of MTB Project.



Readers Write: Kingdom Trails Summer Roadtrip

Editor’s note: We love hearing stories from our readers, so if you have an experience you’d like to share, send it to [email protected] with “Readers Write” as the subject line. 

Words and photos by Rob Whelan

This is a story about three dudes from the flat city of Kingston, Ontario. A story about riding bikes with the bros and breathing mountain air. And one thing more that was unexpected: community.

Everyone has visited ski towns and experienced what it’s like to be among a real crowd of enthusiasts who keep the town’s economy alive. The experience at Kingdom Trails in Vermont was the same, except this town is kept alive by mountain bikers. This was the first time I’d ever experienced a town so mountain bike-centric. Yeah, it was pretty great.

Young families and work obligations meant that the trip had to be a quick one, but we could get a few days away without causing too much resentment. So we packed up the Subaru with enough bike gear to last a few rides, a whack of Clif Bars and, most importantly, an appetite for adventure. Five hours later after an uneventful border crossing into the U.S. we pulled into Easte Burke, Vermont. As soon as we rolled down East Darling Hill Road into the heart of the town, it was clear that we were in the right place. Bikes everywhere! Like, nice bikes! There might have been a little bike envy going on.

From this point on, the story is pretty simple. Ride, eat, ride again, drink good beer and sleep. Repeat.

With the simple plan we had the days passed at a mellow pace. We stayed at the Village Inn, which just like the rest of the town, is built for riders. It has bike storage, a hot tub, ample rooms and best of all, the property sat along the river’s edge, the perfect spot for post ride brewskies.

So, what about the trails? There’s a reason many have said this is the best trail network in North America. Really, it’s pretty unbelievable. Big berms everywhere, flow and Velcro soil. The trails range from greens to double blacks and possibly the best feature was the lemonade stand at the drop-in for one of the most fun trails I’ve ever laid rubber to, Sidewinder.

So that’s it. Call up your friends, pack the car and hit the road.


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