One cold morning, a week or so back, I took a drive from my cottage, just a mile from the Canadian border, to visit a little place I had only ever heard of in the past. This spot, a ski mountain, and town have graced past NBC or ABC Olympics screens as I watched haplessly from my Mesoamerica abode.
Burke Mountain, Vermont… Burke Mt., or just Burke. As a snowboarder, I’ve heard it mentioned in reference to competitions and sweet powder days. What I find is totally cool…
A little known gem nestled on the fringes of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Burke Mountain boasts some of the region’s best-kept secrets. The town of East Burke has the charm and quaintness of any Vermont ski town and is home to Burke Mountain, where over 50 Olympians have made their home throughout the years.
Burke offers many lodging and dining choices, all with the air of what a true north Vermont experience is about. Located on the Vermont/New Hampshire border, the area offers moderate to challenging terrain for all winter sports disciplines.
In the winter, East Burke is home to two distinct nordic centers, both open to snowshoers and cross-country skiers.
Dashney Nordic Center
The Dashney Nordic Center, located at Burke Mountain Resort, offers almost 12 km of beginner-friendly groomed winter trails. All trails except for the Sugarwoods and Shortcut trail welcome snowshoers.
In partnership with the Northwoods Stewardship Center, the Dashney Nordic Center provides nordic ski lessons and snowshoe rentals for kids and adults, along with snowshoe tours. Dogs are also allowed at Dashney Nordic Center, and please be sure to follow all pet policies.
To access the trails, purchase a full day pass or season pass.
Kingdom Trails Network
A short 15-minute drive from the Dashney Nordic Center and located on Darling Hill is the Kingdom Trails Network. The Kingdom Trail Association maintains over 35 km of groomed winter trails on the grounds. Snowshoers have access to all trails in the network at Kingdom Trails if the conditions allow.
With the variety of trail options, this trail network is worth your dollar in your search for a northern Vermont snowshoe excursion. The Kingdom Trails network is 25 percent green, 60 percent blue, and 15 percent black. It’s enough terrain for the family to be happy and meet beginner or advanced activity levels.
Be sure to bring your own snowshoes and skis because rentals are one thing Kingdom Trails doesn’t do. For that, we will send you down the street to East Burke Sports, where you will find a complete line of rentals for the whole family.
You may bring your equine partners along during the summer months, but when the snow starts to fall, it is off-limits for horses until the next mud season. Sorry, Seabiscuit.
Sparky and Fido also have some concerns. While canine pals are permitted on most Kingdom Trails at Burke, there are a few trails marked “No Pets” or, more specifically, “No Dogs.” This means you could technically put that webbed harness on the cat, clip on a leash, and hit the trails. No worries…
Memberships & Passes
The Kingdom Trails Association offers memberships to the Kingdom Trails network for both the summer and winter season. These coveted little admissions can be purchased in several ways: daily membership, monthly membership, and annual membership. However, kids 7 years and under and adults 70 years and older are free!
Kingdom Trails also offers fat biking, which is the art of riding a bike on the snow and terrain. That is pretty gnarly.
Furthermore, catch events offered at the Kingdom Trails network. For example, each year on these trails, watch one of the northeast’s best sled dog races. Using the far northeast trails of the Kingdom Trails network, the mushers and their teams will compete for prizes and the title of champion.
Getting To East Burke, Vermont
You can get to Burke by road, which is pretty cool. It’s only a couple of hours from Boston and New York on the highway. Just follow I-91 into Vermont and exit in Lyndon.
Coming from the north, I-91 south from Canada to Lyndon. Follow the signs for Burke, and before you know it, you will be in East Burke, which is where all of the magic happens. Burlington International Airport and Manchester Airport in New Hampshire are about 75 minutes away.
For more information about East Burke, including activities, accommodations, and more, you can contact the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce website or call them at 802-626-4124.
Now, sit back and enjoy easy access to all the true northeast kingdom snowshoeing and cross-country skiing experiences your special little soul might desire.
Have you enjoyed snowshoeing or skiing in East Burke, Vermont? What recommendations do you have? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
This article was originally published on Jan 28. 2013, and updated with new additional information on November 11, 2020.
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