Everyone knows the Kingdom Trails in East Burke are the Mecca of trail riding in Vermont. Hell, the readers of Bike Magazine went so far as to vote them the best trail network in North America. There are over 100 miles of trails here from gentle, family-friendly scenic rides to balls-out downhill blasts, shuttle services through Ideride, campsites mid-trail and sweet swimming holes.
What you may not know is that John Worth, the owner of East Burke Sports, is an awesome dude and you need to get his autograph the next time you’re there. Or at the very least have him touch you and then don’t wash for a month.
John has lived in the Kingdom since the early ’80s and is one of the founders of the trail systems here. He’s a busy guy these days considering the trails see over 40,000 visitors annually and his shop equips and services a lot of them. Not to mention the fact he generously donates his time maintaining and building the trails here.
Despite this, we rucked up to his shop unannounced, asked him if he wanted to ride and he said, hell ya! He then spent the rest of the day with us, showing us the sweet spots including the new downhill trail Upper J-bar, off Burke Mountain. He even offered up his truck so we could shuttle.
He says the area has seen a lot of changes since he first started building rogue trails over two decades ago and that, thanks to the foresight of Doug Kitchel, who envisioned Burke as a recreation destination back in the ’90s, the Kingdom Trails are now drawing visitors from all over New England, New York, Quebec and Ontario. (Kitchel was in his 70s when he first took an interest in the trail network and he died a few years after the Kingdom Trails Association was formed in 1994. The super-fun berm trail Kitchel is named for him.)
John has continued on the Kingdom legacy so the next time you’re down in the area, drop by East Burke Sports and buy him a beer or 12. He deserves ’em.