Welcome to Burke Mountain!
In the 1930s, when the Darling family donated Burke Mountain to the State of Vermont, Vermont Governor Robert Stafford remarked that there is no more beautiful setting in the world than this one on Burke Mountain; “It is God’s Cathedral.”
Burke Mountain and the surrounding area in Burke the Northeast Kingdom are special places to visit year round, offering natural beauty and activities to suit virtual everyone’s bucket list, including skiing, snow boarding, mountain biking, snow making, fat biking (cross country biking in the winter), hiking, fishing, ice climbing, golf, paddling, swimming in Lake Willoughby, a five-mile long glacial lake, and some of the best breweries in the world.
Planning a Trip
Two of the best ways to plan your visit to Burke Mountain, in any season, are by visiting the websites of the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce and the Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism Association, which is located right in East Burke. Both websites provide detailed information on what to do, where to stay, where to eat and where to sleep. Additionally, Trip Advisor has listed the top 60 attractions and activities in the Northeast Kingdom.
Winter at Burke Mountain
A great place to review all of the activities available during the winter is by watching this video produced by the Vermont Area Chamber of Commerce. Burke Mountain has been called a “hidden gem” of a ski area by the Boston Globe. If you want some of the best skiing in the East, in true Vermont style, far away from the crowds and miles and miles of parking lots at other Vermont ski areas, Burke is your place. Burke Mountain, with a summit of 3,267 feet, has the 7th highest vertical drop (2,011’) of all Vermont ski areas. The Mountain, which is smartly divided into beginner trails on the Lower Mountain, and some of best technical skiing trails on the Upper Mountain, offers 36 trails, 14 glades, and 3 terrain parks over 178 skiable acres. Mountainvertical.com rates Burke as one of the best ski areas in New England.
Perhaps the thing that sets Burke Mountain apart from any other ski area in the U.S. is Burke Mountain Academy, the leading ski racing academy in the United States, having produced numerous national team members and Olympians along the way. BMA’s alumni include:
- 2014 Olympic slalom gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin
- 117 U.S. Ski Team members
- 137 national team athletes
- 33 Olympians
- 5 competitors at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games
BMA, a one-time owner of the Mountain, offers coaching and instruction to the Mountain’s junior ski program. In addition, the Mountain’s own ski and board program, for children beginning at 3 years of age, offers outstanding instruction, from one-time learn-to-ski and board lessons, to the weekly Explorers program.
During the winter, the Mountain has offered dining in two cafeterias (at the Base Lodge and Mid-Burke Lodge), with fine dining and drinks at the Tamarack Grill at the Base Lodge. A favorite après ski spot for generations has been the Bear Den, located at the Mid-Burke Lodge.
A spectacular new 116 room hotel and conference center at the base of the upper mountain is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. The hotel will offer restaurants and easy access to the Mid-Burke lift.
For more information about Burke Mountain, visit skiburke.com.
Other Winter Activities Around Burke Mountain
In addition to alpine skiing and snowboarding, the Burke Mountain area offers cross country skiing, fat biking, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, ice climbing, and ice fishing, just to name a few activities.
Kingdom Trails offers some of the best cross country skiing in the East, with 15 kilometers of beautifully groomed and maintained trails serving beginner to intermediate skiers. Day passes for adults are just $15,kids pay $7, and children under 7 and adults over 70 ski for free. Year-round passes, well worth the value, are $75 per person and $150 per family. Kingdom Trails is a nonprofit organization and we urge Friends of Burke Mountain to ski at Kingdom Trails and to support the organization with tax deductible contributions.
Kingdom Trails, which is rated one of the best places to Mountain Bike in the U.S., is also home to the growing sport of fat biking. If you haven’t tried cross-country-biking on fat wheels, you really should. Learn more about Kingdom Trails winter biking.
The VAST trail network (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) offers 3,549 miles of trails with its home base at Island Pond in the North East Kingdom. You can buy your pass or book a guided tour with the information below.
According to NEClimbs, Mt. Pisgah, located on one side of Lake Willoughby, offers “the biggest ice this side of the Canadian Rockies. Generations of New England ice climbers have cut their teeth on the huge ice that forms here every year. Imagine 30+ climbs, some up to 600’ high, lined up for a mile and a half like huge dominos.” For more information about ice climbing, visit the Vermont Area Chamber of Commerce’s website.
Warmer Months Activities
The Burke area is famous and perhaps best known as one of the best mountain biking destinations in the East. And, it’s all thanks to Kingdom Trails which offers more than 80 miles of cross country mountain biking trails. Each summer more than 80,000 bikers visit the Burke Area to ride the trails and the beautiful country roads.
If you’re interested in biking in Burke, read just some of the great coverage of Kingdom Trails from reliable media sources:
And, during the summer, Burke Mountain turns into a world class mountain bike park with lift service and some of the best downhill trails in the East. Read what GrindTV had to say about Burke Mountain’s Mountain Bike Park (full body armor required for newbies).
Here is one of our (and the world’s) most popular YouTube videos about mountain biking at Burke Mountain.
While you can explore the trails on your own, if you are looking for a guided mountain biking experience from a local company look no further than IdeRide Mountain Bike Tours. You will even notice that some of the trails on Burke mountain are named after the founder of this company Knight Ide. (Knightslayer). IdeRide mountain bike tours can provide and cater a tour to your groups needs.
Activities – Swimming, Hiking, Fishing and Water activities
Yankee Magazine rated Lake Willoughby, just miles from Burke Mountain, as the third best lake in New England. The Lake, which is the second deepest in Vermont, is a glacial lake situated in the gorgeous Willoughby Gap between Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Hor. The lake offers excellent canoeing and kayaking, with rentals available, fishing, swimming at a public beach, and rope swings!
The hike up Mt. Pisgah is not to be missed with views of the Lake and the White Mountains and Green Mountains and down sheer cliffs of 600 feet or more. And, the fishing in the Lake is great.
If fishing is your thing there are numerous local streams, rivers and lakes with variety of fish. Don’t forget that besides one day in June, you must purchase a fishing license.
There are also guided tours for kayaking trips in the area.
Activities – Golf
There are a few golf courses in the area. The two closest are St. Johnsbury Country Club and Orleans Country Club. St. Johnsbury is a little hilly and challenging; Orleans a little straighter and open. Jay Peak, which is about an hour away, also has a championship course.
Finally, if the weather is not cooperating during your stay, you can head to Jay Peak’s Pumphouse indoor water park.
Activities – Brewery Tours
For breweries, about 30-40 minutes northwest of Burke Mountain, located in Greensboro, is Hill Farmstead Brewery. Hill Farmstead has been voted best beer in the world the past couple of the years by RateBeer. You may buy growlers and bottles there, as well as full size tastings while you wait for your growlers to be filled. They usually have food trucks in the parking lot so that you can snack while you wait. When the weather is nice, it’s a really great spot. It’s really difficult to find Hill Farmstead beer anywhere outside of the Northeast Kingdom.
Besides Hill Farmstead the Northeast Kingdom offers a large collection of other great breweries all within an hour drive including:
There are many dining options in the Burke Mountain Area. Visit the Burke Area Chamber of Commerce website to see what’s cooking.