Mountain Biking the England-Idlewild Trails

Located just 20 minutes from Cincinnati, Ohio in Burlington, Kentucky, the England-Idlewild trail system, or EI as the locals call it, is an absolute local favorite. Well-planned and well-built singletrack of varying length and difficulty await in the forests of the Southeast. 


The term “fun for the whole family” is an overused claim, but it really does apply to the England-Idlewild park. The EI trails are just part of a much larger outdoor recreation complex. This 290-acre area features three large picnic shelters with power, a water fountain, a grill, a 24–hole disc golf course, baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts, a dog park, three ponds that are stocked for fishing, a playground, and a paved hiking/cycling trail with fitness stations.


The park opened in 2000 and a bike park opened up in 2015, both quickly became favorite destinations for locals and visitors alike. Local mountain bike clubs regularly maintain the trails, so they are well taken care of. 



What Makes It Great


The choose-your-own-adventure nature of the England-Idlewild trails truly allow riders tailor the ride to the group, their fitness, and time allowed.


What’s really nice about the EI trails is that while riders are never too far away from civilization, the trails themselves definitely have a remote and backcountry feel to them, not bad for only being 17 miles from downtown Cincinnati. It’s also nearly impossible to get lost, as signage is excellent, and all intersections are well marked.


What the terrain lacks in elevation change (there are no huge climbs or descents), the trails make up in sheer smile factor. The trails are incredibly well built, made by riders, for riders. They range from tight and twisty, to fast and flowy, with plenty of options for technicality and obstacles. Ride through deep hardwood forests, then pop out into open meadows, cross over a creek on a skinny wooden bridge, then dive back into the woods. When done, ride the same trail in the other direction, it’s just as fun and somehow feels like a whole new trail.


If that wasn’t enough, the area also sports a bike park with two pump tracks, a dual slalom course and some dirt jump lines, perfect for progressing to the next level, honing those mad skills, or just a fun afternoon with the kids.



Who is Going to Love It


Beginning riders find it easy to progress on these trails, quickly gaining the skills and confidence needed to step up to the intermediate tracks. Advanced riders have plenty to do as well, with banked wooden berms, jumps, doubles and even a teeter-totter.


And since the trails are all so close to each other, riders of different speeds and fitness can basically ride together. Mom and dad can rip around while junior rides the shorter loop, never really being too far from each other.


One visit and it’s easy to see why locals keep coming back to this place. It stands on its own as a destination ride, not just a “if passing through” kind of place.



Directions, Parking & Regulations


From the I-71/75 junction in Florence, take exit 181/KY Rt. 18, and head west for four miles to Burlington. Turn right onto Idlewild Rd/KY Rt. 338, the park is on the right. Parking is ample and free.





Difficulty: (3)
With seven different trails to choose from, EI has options for every rider and every mood, from full beginner to advanced.


Time to Complete: (Varies)Distance: (up to 12 miles)
The EI trail system is an exercise in efficient use of land. Tight loops and switchbacks on themselves pack an impressive amount of mileage in a small area. Numerous options exist, make it as long or short as time allows.


Seasonality: (All seasons, may be closed after serious rain/snow)
Spring is nice with wildflowers blooming, summer shows off Kentucky’s impossibly lush, greenery, but can be hot and humid, get an early start. Fall brings cooler temps and kaleidoscopic foliage that has to be seen to be believed. Winters are hit and miss, it is possible to ride year-round, but be prepared for snow and ice. 


Fees: None


Dog Friendly: (On Leash Only, though there is an adjacent fenced dog park.)


GPS Coordinates: (Parking: 39.0017000, -84.6490300)

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