Kingdom Trails


I heard the Knox crew before I saw them

I have become quite fond of the East Tennessee crew so it was easy motivation for me to hop on a flight from Denver to ride with them for a few days. Their vacation agenda is perfect for me - ride, eat, drink, have fun, repeat steps 1-4.

The SoKno limo is quite an attraction wherever it goes and rolling into East Burke was no different. I heard the Knox crew before I saw them as the limo blares a custom horn that sounds like a commuter train. At 28 feet long, the vehicle carries a lot of people and up to 8 bikes. I might be biased, but I think it is the coolest shuttle vehicle. Ever.

After lots of hugs and unpacking gear, a small group of us ripped a hot lap right from our condo on the flanks of Burke Mountain. Nestled between the bottom of the lift-accessed trails and the top of the main trail into town, the location turned out to be the perfect hub for all the trails in the area.

mountain bike
kingdom trails

After lots of hugs and unpacking gear, a small group of us ripped a hot lap right from our condo on the flanks of Burke Mountain. Nestled between the bottom of the lift-accessed trails and the top of the main trail into town, the location turned out to be the perfect hub for all the trails in the area.

bike
mob
mtn bike
kingdom trails mountain bike

The Kingdom Trails has remained a mainstay for mountain biking

Despite the explosion of trail development all over the East Coast, Kingdom Trails has remained a mainstay for mountain biking, boasting over 100+ miles of routes. It has something for every age and ability. In my two days of riding there, I got a healthy sampler of what could have easily been a week’s worth of riding. I found everything from traditional singletrack to steep and gnarly downhill routes.  

On day one we dove deep into the forest and concentrated on classics like Tap n Die, Troll Stroll, and Tody’s Tour. All three are fun, fast descents with plenty of twists and turns. In between we had our work cut out for us with a stout climb to get to the next downhill. The combination is one of many things that makes Kingdom Trails unique. You don’t have to “earn your turns” everywhere, but you can be assured that your legs will be plenty tired. Thankfully, the area is well equipped to recharge you along the way. A mid-afternoon stop had us enjoying trailside beers and espressos at The Hub, conveniently located on top of Darling Hill.

We capped off the day with a shuttle run on Burke Mountain. It was both a limit tester and a preview for the next day’s riding. Joining us were some experienced locals, who showed us the best lines and some of their East Coast skills. I passed on the big jumps but enjoyed watching a small train of people fly through the forest.

The second day of riding had us back exploring more of Burke Mountain. The forest is more expansive with a mix of tech and flow. After a warm up on Trillium and Moose Alley, we covered the northern reaches of Darling Hill before a midday swim in the river. Afterward, we rallied back to the mountain to climb and descent on the lower section of the well-known J-Bar trail. The pedal up was well worth the effort to get to a descent that would carry us all the way back into the center of town. We celebrated with beer and pizzas at Mike’s Tiki Bar, a fine establishment to celebrate a long day of riding.


And just like that, I was on a plane back to Denver. I fell into my seat, happily tired from riding and found myself wondering where I might meet the SoKno limo for next year’s summer vacation?




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