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North Wales mountain biking - Gogledd Cymru's finest

Barney Marsh

North Wales mountain biking - Gogledd Cymru's finest

Mountain Biking Collection by komoot

7

Tours

22:10 h

135 mi

20,450 ft

It's difficult to overestimate the impact that the mountains of North Wales have had on mountain biking in the UK. Long revered by much of the UK mountain biking population, Wales still exerts a powerful lure on both expert rider and novice alike. Even now, there is still something in Wales for every stripe of mountain biker. The very first trail center in the UK was in Wales, at Coed y Brenin just north of Dolgellau. It was built over 20 years ago, and it's led to a huge surge of other trail centers around the country — and indeed around the world. They offer tailor-made riding experiences, they've highly helped Wales' economy, and they're a lot of fun. And yet there's so much more that Wales can offer.

Here are a selection of trails which range from gentle green lane ambles through to mountain-top carries (with screaming descent rewards). Some of them are relatively easy to get to, and some of them require a little more focus and commitment. But for all their differences, their varying lengths and technical requirements, they all take place in some of the most stunning scenery the British Isles can provide, and they'll all leave their mark long after you've finished riding them.

Perhaps the most well-known route here is the trip up Snowdon. There is a voluntary ban on bikes between 9 am and 5 pm in the summer, but don't let that deter you; either head up very early or very late, or wait until it's out of season. Honestly, in the summer, Snowdon is so busy that you'll not want to ride it in the daytime at any rate — but if it's quieter it's really not an experience to be missed.

The other Snowdonia Tours, Pont Scethin and Cadair Idris, are also high-level routes, offering wonderful descents and tough climbs (honestly, if you can make it to within 320 feet (100 meters) of Cadair Idris' summit then you need to be on some sort of Olympic team) but that's not all there is here: as the Tours head east, the terrain eases somewhat, and although they're no less challenging, the rides here offer different riding experiences. And there are one or two spins for those easy days, too — the Cilcain to Clwydial Range Tour has some spectacular views for all its 1,000 feet (300 meters) or so of climbing, and The Three Villages Tour offers some excellent scenery and refreshment options!

Few other places south of Scotland can offer the truly remote sensation that riding some of the trails here bestow, the need for preparation and the true isolation that proper mountain riding can bring. But just a few miles down the road, Wales can offer idyllic tranquility and space. There truly is something here for everyone.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    04:25
    26.7 mi
    6.0 mph
    4,500 ft
    4,500 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    This one is a cracker. Most people head to Llangynog for the Revolution Bike Park just south of the town, but for those who are searching for less adrenaline-fuelled mountain biking, there's plenty to be found in the area too. This ride is long, and there's loads of climbing in it, but the rewards are great if you can stay …

  • Intermediate
    01:29
    12.3 mi
    8.3 mph
    1,050 ft
    1,025 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This is a grand, low level spin around some gorgeous villages in between Old and the Clwydians. Gorgeous scenery, green lanes, quiet roads, forest tracks and a smattering of singletrack weaves you through a variety of picturesque villages.

    The route starts with a track, and some quiet roads to Nercwys, the first of our villages. Built along the road, this …

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  • Intermediate
    01:10
    7.75 mi
    6.6 mph
    900 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    This is a great little ride which is in no way technical, has (for the most part) only shallow gradients but affords riders an excellent view from the top of the Clywydian Range all the way over to Snowdonia.

    It's mostly on smooth and open tracks, including the initial climb up from Cilcain - there are a couple of slightly …

  • Intermediate
    04:06
    30.6 mi
    7.4 mph
    2,500 ft
    2,525 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    If you're not feeling up to a hyper-technical gnar-fest, but you still want to get a few Welsh mountain bike miles in your legs, then this is the Tour for you. It's quite long, but not particularly technically challenging, taking in as it does the tracks and trails around Clocaenog Forest and Llyn Brenig.

    There are a few climbs here …

  • Difficult
    05:02
    29.7 mi
    5.9 mph
    4,875 ft
    4,900 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    The trails above Barmouth are often overlooked in favour of much more glamorous affairs in deepest, darkest Snowdonia, with Cadair Idris just to the south and the mighty Snowdon to the north. But, of course (this being Wales) there are gems here, too.

    The Tour starts at sea level, and therefore there's a substantial haul up into the hills. Thankfully, …

  • Difficult
    03:06
    15.7 mi
    5.1 mph
    3,050 ft
    3,075 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    There's only one bridleway to the top of Cadair Idris, which of course means that there's only one legal way for bikes to get to the top of the mountain - and back down again. Don't let this deter you, though; this is not a Tour to be underestimated. Sure, there are points where you'll be carrying. There are also …

  • Difficult
    02:51
    12.8 mi
    4.5 mph
    3,575 ft
    3,575 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    This is a glorious Tour, and probably the one Big Mountain ride that everyone thinks of in Wales. It's worth reiterating at the very start that there is a Voluntary Cycling Agreement which bans mountain bikes from riding up Snowdon in the summer, from 1 May to the 30 September, between 10am and 5pm.

    Essentially, if you want to ride …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    135 mi
  • Duration
    22:10 h
  • Elevation
    20,450 ft

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North Wales mountain biking - Gogledd Cymru's finest

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