I’m visiting New England this summer from the UK, and it’s a family holiday, but visiting friends in Boston as well. the idea is to travel about, and give the kids a good idea of all aspects of that part of America – cities, small towns, beaches, mountains and so on. Holiday of a lifetime etc. My ten year old son (11 by then) and me both want to fit in at least one day of trails though. My daughter (13 by then) isn’t so keen, and my wife is tolerant. But I’ve no idea where to go.
The obvious place is East Burke, going by reviews, but I can’t get a feel for scale or difficulty. It’s also probably at the very outer limits of where we can get to (we are trying to limit hours on the road and number of days travelling too). Ideally I need a place that allows for an easy family trail in the morning and an more knarly father and son trail in the afternoon. Pitching up to find that the easy trail terrifies my son isn’t going to be good. And we need to be able to hire bikes, and helmets etc for a day too, preferably in advance.
In UK parlance, (green, blue, red, black, black being hardest) I usually ride red trails. My son usually blue or easy reds though can cope wth hardest. My daughter is ok on blue and my wife…lets just say I’m hoping she ducks out and reads a book, she’ll enjoy it more.
So – does East Burke work, and is there anywhere further south worth adding to the shortlist?
Yeah, second Jeff comments. Kingdom is massive. I rode there over the summer saw -many- families with children (the ages of your children and younger) out riding a variety of trails. – and everyone had a big smile on their face. :- )
The Kingdom Trail association also has super helpful volunteers manning tables outside the main store (where you purchase your trail passes). They will assess your needs and tell you which trails are best….I cannot stress how helpful these folks are.
My only caveat is that East Burke is truly in the middle of nowhere and getting there from Boston will be at least 3.5 hours each way – so, personally, I would suggest planning on a minimum of two days there.
Hope you enjoy your visit to New England, I was born and raised there. Many if not most New England trails are known for roots roots, some rocks and more roots after that. I consider most of the trails around Massachusetts where I started riding to be more on the technical side.
On the flip side, Kingdom trails overall are just a load of fun and I’d classify the majority of trails as green and blue. As Jeff mentioned, tons of families with kids. I think it’d be worth the 3.5 hour drive up there. You could even take your wife and daughter as that part of Vermont is beautiful. Send them over to Burlington for the day while you and your son ride.
I realize this is probably outside of your drive limit, but….If you are considering E Burke (Kingdom), you seriously need to consider Carrabassett Valley, Maine (Sugarloaf Ski Resort). While not as well known as Kingdom, these trails are on par with Kingdom Trails network in terms of quality and quantity (IMO better in some regards). As someone says above, Kingdom is remote, however Carrabassett is even more remote. There are services available in the area, and you do have access to most of the amenities at Sugarloaf Resort to give you some sense of civilization. Plenty of outdoor adventures to be had in the area with spectacular scenery abound. If you are serious about making the trip, look into Maine Huts & Trails (amazing off the grid accommodations in truly unique settings) as the bike trails can be connected to the Hut Trails.
If you can’t fit the long drive to East Burke, VT into your plans, Highland Mountain Bike Park in NH, a lot closer to Boston (about 1.5 hour drive), might be a good alternative. I have not been there, but the people I know who have been there LOVED it. And they have all the gear you need available to rent.