The Trossachs occupy a special place in Scotland's generous pantheon of mountains - they are rich with the country's history, they are unutterably gorgeous at pretty much any time of year (although variously the weather or midges may do their best to disabuse of you this) and they're surprisingly close to Glasgow. This last means that for the majority of the UK, they're the easiest Scottish mountains to get to.
The riding in the Trossachs spans the gamut from wide open forest tracks, with expansive views, all the way to tight, nadgery singletrack, with everything in between. These Tours reflect that diversity. There are a couple which head up mountains – Ben Lomond is – well – less of a ride, and more of a carry up, and a light-speed thrutchfest down, whereas the Ben Ledi loop is arguably rideable much of the way up the back of the mountain, although the descent certainly shouldn't be underestimated. There are rides which, although they're not technically terrifying, offer extremely stiff climbs and staggering views, and there's even a low-level ride with some scintillating sculptures and a soupçon of singletrack around Loch Ard.
There are a couple of things to note, of course. Firstly, some of these Tours are properly, genuinely remote, so prepare accordingly. Take a map and a compass and know how to use them (phone signal won't necessarily exist so download your Tour offline before setting off). Let someone know your route, even if it’s just the landlord at the pub you were in last night, take a small first aid kit, emergency snacks, waterproof clothing, safety blanket and anything else you may need. And choose your time to visit carefully. Summer is a great time for the weather in Scotland for the most part (or at least it's less rainy), but you're probably better off heading there in late spring to avoid the midges.
Access is pretty straightforward – Callander and Aberfoyle are relatively easy to get to from Glasgow, and are probably your best bets as fast as bases go (although of course there aren’t any train lines there any more), but if you want to get out of the urban environment there are campsites and little villages scattered all over this startlingly beautiful part of the world.
One of the best things about Scotland is that the access laws are different from the rest of the UK. Any track or trail is fair game on a mountain bike unless it’s expressly forbidden – although that doesn’t mean that everything is rideable, of course – and so the scope is much greater for summits and singletrack. That said, most of the trails in the Trossachs are firmly old school, wide open paths with amazing views, but there’s always something new and tempting just around the corner, and of course, you’re allowed to ride it! It’s well worth just getting out and exploring.
This is a stonking little ride of two parts, just a few minutes drive from the town of Callander. It's pretty technical in places and while there's scope to miss the technical trail down Stank Glen, the descent of Ben Ledi is pretty much unavoidable – although it's the less tricky of the two – so be…
Despite appearances, this is a fairly straightforward ride. Yes, there's a spot of climbing, but it's all on good solid doubletrack, and there's only one grindy bit as you approach Creag Mac Ranaich. The rest of the ride is either descending or cruising on disused railway path.
From Lochan Lairig Cheile…
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
This Tour is a cunning mix of gravel tracks and singletrack, the latter displaying a fine blend of scenic and technical features.
From Aberfoyle, also known as #Gravelfoyle for its abundance of gravel tracks, an immediate climb on a good track is the order of the day, until the route turns to singletrack…
Ben Lomond is Scotland's most southerly Munro, so if you're in the mood for a spot of Munro-bagging, then this will fit the bill nicely. It's best saved for out-of-season or early morning riding, as it can get very busy with walkers also on the path during peak times.
A lot of this climb is preposterously…
This Tour has the lot - open spaces, forest tracks, stiff climbs, woodland, hike-a-bike, thrutchy singletrack and, as you'd expect, ridiculously good views.
From the start at Lock Chon, the route heads up Gleann Dubh – quite gently to start with, but getting somewhat steeper as it climbs up to Gleann…
This is something of a local classic. It's a big ride, requiring plenty of leg power, but it's not especially technical. The primary drivers for riding this loop are the wonderful views, although that's not to say that the riding itself has no appeal – it's hugely fun – and it doesn't require some carbon…
This is a terrific Tour which takes in the tracks and trails to the south of Loch Ard.
The route is not hard, and would be suitable for a family spin; there's very little in the way of difficulty, and even when the trails are at their steepest they're only a short push to the top if you've not got the legs.
Mountain Biking Collection by Scotty Laughland
Mountain Biking Collection by Katherine Moore
Bike Touring Collection by GIANT Germany
Hiking Collection by Top Trails of Germany