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 kind of mountain biker.
The very first trail centre in the UK was in Wales, at Coed y Brenin just north of Dolgellau (komoot.com/collection/1066212/ride-the-uk-s-first-trail-centre-coed-y-brenin-mtb-trails). It was built over 20 years ago, and it's led to a huge surge of other trail centres 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 10am and 5pm 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 metres) 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 Clwydian Range Tour has some spectacular views for all its 1,000 feet (300 metres) 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.
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…
This is a lovely low level spin around some gorgeous villages in between Old and the Clwydian Range. 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…
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
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 Clwydian Range all the way over to Snowdonia.
Enjoy mostly smooth and open tracks, including the initial climb up from Cilcain. There are a…
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…
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…
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…
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…
Mountain Biking Collection by Katherine Moore
Mountain Biking Collection by komoot
Bike Touring Collection by komoot
Hiking Collection by Flims Laax Falera