This past winter, there was a pretty heated voting competition on Facebook for the IMBA Bell Built Grant. Burke and Kingdom Trails ended up being the winner of the grant in the “flow trail” category. So what happened with that $30k that they won? It took a little longer than I had hoped; but, in the end, we got a complete version of Roly Grail.
Any description of a trail is going to be inadequate compared with riding it, so forgive my weak attempt here. The trail measures just over 1.5 miles in length and drops slightly more than 500 ft., according to GPS data and various Strava segments. It starts from the top of the lift access in the Burke Mountain bike park and descends wide around the north side of the Burke bike park. It starts off with some pretty deeply banked corners near the top of the lift and then opens up onto one of the mountain service roads. Near the Burke mid-mountain lodge, it turns back onto actual trail with some gentle banked corners and small rollers. It winds around the edge of the field below the lodge in a way that prompts you to ignore your brakes and let the bike fly. After the field, the trail crosses a dirt road, enters the woods, and the flow really kicks up a notch or two. Many big banked corners and rolls that discourage contact with the ground.
After this wooded section, the trail crosses the road by Burke Mountain Academy and roughly follows what used to be the old Lodge Trail. This final section of the trail was only completed at the end of August. Where there used to be a pretty direct trail following some doubletrack now has been redirected all over the woods. It noodles around with numerous perfectly banked corners which undulate up and down before dumping out at the base lodge and lift area.
The trail is designated as a beginner trail but it’s definitely not the kind of terrain you’d want to bring a comfort bike down. As far as downhill trails go, it is not technically demanding in any significant way. That does not mean that it is boring. Not at all. While I’m more of a cross-country type of rider, I will make the climb up the mountain just to work it into my loop – and that’s with a fully rigid single-speed bike. I know a few guys who are seriously into downhill riding and still like Roly Grail just because it’s a blast to ride. The crew who built it really did a great job of making it fun. My only complaint is that it doesn’t continue for a couple of more miles all the way down to the village.
A few youtube videos might give you a better idea of the ride: