Burke Mountain Bike Park is nestled just adjacent to the famous Kingdom Trails, and few seem to know that this great downhill park is so close by. Burke runs a high speed quad to the mid mountain and a shuttle to the top, and if you’re looking for something a bit more challenging than Kingdom, look no further than Burke.
Let’s start off with the lift access trails. The first thing you will notice riding over on the high speed quad is the bottom of Jester, with some giant sized wood features. The above picture understates how big that wooden ramp is.
Then you see a few other wood features, including this massive dirt berm with an even more massive wooden wall on top of it. I’d guess the top of that wall to be about 20′ above the bottom of the berm. It takes a while to get used to, but it’s very well built, and super fun to make laps too.
But Burke isn’t all park, either. There are some great other trails with a variety of flavor. There is a super fun set of descending berms leading up to Jester, even if you don’t want to hit the park features, I’d recommend checking it out. If you are looking for a more cross country ride, you might want to check out Black Forest, which is a fun descent through the forest with a mix of roots and flow that keeps you on your toes.
Regardless of your skill level, I highly recommend one trail: Roly Grail. The top half takes you across the mountain and then has an overlook of the new Burke Mountain Hotel. Once you get below this, the real fun starts. The bottom half is the most fun I’ve ever had on a green trail. For those of you who know Killington, think a smaller but just as fast Sideshow Bob. Beginners will have fun starting to get into well built berms, and the advanced riders will find plenty of transfers, bump to bump gaps, and fun ways to exit the berms to keep them entertained. Seriously, most fun green trail ever!
Now, the real challenges on this mountain are not lift access. For 5$, you can buy a shuttle pass which takes you all the way to the top, where one can access Upper J-Bar, DH trail, and Free Ride. Experts only.
Before you take off down the hill, make sure to take a look at the valley from the top of the ski chair. If you are adventurous, head up behind the top of the Mid-Burke Express, leave your bike and climb up 100 feet to the top of the mountain to climb the fire tower. If you don’t like heights or it’s windy, skip it. But it’s a great view.
We only had time for two shuttles and chose to do Upper J-Bar and then DH Trail. Upper J-Bar is one huge super technical rock garden. See the featured photo at the very top of this post. Full face helmet and pads a must. If you don’t know if you are ready for it, don’t do it. It’s very hard, remote, and it’s a long hike out. But if you’re ready, it is very rewarding. DH trail is the same, but is more rooty than rock. There are a few long sweeping descents down ski trails through large fern gardens that are gorgeous.
We went up to ride the day of the Burke Bike & Brew and decided to check it out. If you’re reading this site, than I’m guess you’re into bikes and beer and therefore, you need to go next year! Great selection of VT brews, and you get a pint mug with the Burke Mountain Bike Park logo to carry around and get your tastings in. Plus, the whole scene was full of mountain bikers!
And what happens when you mix mountain bikers and beer and a super fun event organizer from Burke? You get talented mountain bikers showing their skills on… pink kid bikes. Trust me, this was more fun that it even looks.
And when it’s all over for the day, I’d highly recommend the Burke Mountain Hotel, just recently constructed. The rooms are very nice, and conveniently located in the middle of Roly Grail. It’s ride in ride out! I would think about it if you’re riding Kingdom, too.
Perhaps the coolest part? Off the parking lot, in the bottom of the building, is a massive, card access room for bike storage. Hoses are also just outside if you want to wash your bike. It’s awesome to have a secure spot to put your bike!
Burke mountain was an awesome experience, both daytime and night. I highly recommend you consider going next time you’re heading to Kingdom, but it’s also totally worth going up for just Burke itself! And don’t forget, if you have a VMBA membership, you have a free pass for the bike park.