photo: Ray Wood
Snowdon photo: Ray Wood

Mountain Biking in North Wales

Mountain biking in North Wales; where to start? How about that there is just about everything that any fat (or thin) tyre enthusiast would want in abundance, and then some! For a relatively small area with modestly sized hills, North Wales contains an astonishing wealth of trails and cycling routes; from open grassy mountain top epics, fast forest roads and disused railway lines, through to some of the very finest singletrack in the world. Trails vary from easy, wide dirt or gravel road climbs and descents, smooth grassy singletrack with the odd rock thrown in, right through to rough and tumble rocky doubletrack and singletrack. Well-mapped bridleways and byways can take the explorer deep into wild, high country, with far reaching views, whilst the area also boasts several mountain bike trail centres. At these centres a network of clearly waymarked trails of differing lengths and difficulty weave along gradual forest road climbs leading to breathtaking descents on purpose built singletrack. The riding in North Wales almost inevitably, tends to be hilly, but it is possible to tailor rides to suit fitness, inclination and technical ability. There are huge 50km epics or 1 hour thrashes, all easily accessible to the visiting mountain biker.

Antur Stiniog

Landegla, © Simon Panton

Trail Centres

World Class and quite simply some the best trail centres in the UK.

Coed y Brenin is the biggest and most famous of all the Welsh Mountain Bike trail centres. This vast forestry Commission-managed woodland forest is situated north of Dolgellau just off the A470 road. Within the woodland is a network of celebrated mountain bike trails - about 150km in total.

The Penmachno Trail is situated in a delightful part of the Snowdonia. It is an excellent trail with steady climbs on forestry roads and absorbing single-track. Expect fast technical sections, tight switchbacks, bridge crossings, elevated wooden sections, stream crossings and technical ascent sections, plus some fine scenery.

Opened in 2012, the excellent downhill and freeride centre Antur Stiniog is based in the dramatic setting of a disused slate quarry above Blaenau Ffestiniog. There are blue, red, black and double black trails sporting some superb big trail features.

And then there's Llandegla - with its range of dedicated trails satisfying thrill seekers and families alike plus skills courses to practice and hone the finer technicalities of mountain bike riding.

The Gwydyr Forest near Betws y Coed contain the Marin and the Machno trails - altogether almost 60km of purpose made singletrack trails through forests and across moorland with awesome scenery over towards the hills of Snowdonia.

Wild Mountain Biking

For bike adventures a little on the wilder side, the Romans, sheep farmers and travellers created a vast network of ancient routes long before the invention of tarmac! Some of these routes form the basis for current highways but many remain as bridleways and byways crossing remote and rugged terrain – perfect for XC Mountain Biking. Mix in a vast network of forest roads and the result is some of the most outstanding XC biking in Britain.

In the hill country surrounding Llangollen and the Clwydians near Ruthin are loops and journeys to challenge the most experienced riders and more than enough for riders who prefer something less challenging. On Snowdon itself the gruelling challenge of biking up to and down from the summit must rank as one of the great rides on a bike to be had anywhere - but it's not for the fainthearted.

From the attractive village of Betws y Coed the Roman road of Sarn Helen can be linked with circuits in forests and across open country and can be made as tough or comfortable as desired. Where the mountains meet the sea in the north there are wild and remote mountain bridleways and farmers tracks and around the Anglesey coastline are forest trails for all to savour and enjoy - whatever your age and fitness level!

Need someone to Show you the Ropes?

Centres, Instructors, Coaches & Guides

North Wales has the highest concentration of outdoor activity instructors, coaches & guides anywhere in the UK. They’re professional, proud, passionate and pioneering and ready to take your adventure to the next level.
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Top Mountain Biking Venues in North Wales

Pick of the Pops

Family & Fun

  • Llandegla Widely being acknowledged as a prime destination for bikers of all abilities and ages keen to test skills, not only on the wide gamut of singletrack but over big drops and into big air. Continual development will assure its' high ranking place among the elite biking centres.

photo: Simon Panton

50 Shades of Great

  • Pont Scethin a 25km romp over the south western flanks of the Rhinogydd mountain range. The riding is good and the views are exceptional; together they make this ride an unforgettable day out.

photo: Ray Wood

Out There

  • The Black at Antur Stiniog. Carved turns and berms, big tabletops, rocky descents and double jumps. Gnarly indeed!

photo: Ray Wood