The Top 7 Mountain-biking Routes in the Lake District, Cumbria

mountain-biking routes in the Lake District

The Top 7 Mountain-biking Routes in the Lake District, Cumbria

With a vast range of open countryside, lakeside trails and woodland routes, mountain-biking routes in the Lake District offer ideal cycling holidays. Our top 7 places to go mountain-biking in the lakes include:

Ambleside and Loughrigg Fell

Loughrigg, Elterwater, Hodge Close, Iron Keld is 17 miles long, and includes bridleways, including a hair raising descent from Iron Keld, and an optional extension which continues along the mountain road from Iron Keld. Another route is the Loughrigg Circuit, which is 8 miles in length. Most of the climbing is on tarmac, while most of the descents are off-road with some tricky sections.

Grizedale Forest

Coniston to Lawson Park route is 8 miles long, and includes a long, gradual climb into the forest, which is rewarded with magnificent views over Coniston Water, and a scenic descent past an abandoned farm at Lawson Park. The Rough Ride is 15 miles long, and consists of smooth-surfaced forest roads, followed by tricky bridleways.

Why not make the most of your stay in the Lakes and book into aWindermere spa suite with hot tub and sauna?

Claife Heights

Popular mountain bike routes from Claife Heights include: Hawkshead, 13 miles, Bowness via the ferry, 10 miles and Ambleside, 16 miles. Narrow country lanes provide a great warm up for off-road tours of Claife Heights, and there are some excellent descents.

Kentmere and Troutbeck

Kentmere and Troutbeck offer classic mountain bike adventure trails. The legendary Garbun Pass is one for the brave, and you can enjoy some delicious refreshments at Wilf´s Café, which is famous in these parts. Mountain bike routes include the foothills of the Eastern Fells. Some tracks are high and exposed so come prepared, with proper clothing. Staveley to Longsleddale is 16 miles, and is a superb route with an open moorland crossing to Longsleddale, and three great descents. Gaburn Pass from Windermere is 16 miles long and is a tough but rewarding route (albeit a bit of a slog in places). Ambleside to Troutbeck is 10.5 miles, and is a hilly bike route with some tough climbs. Staveley to Long Houses is 7 miles long, and most of the off-road riding is downhill.


The Grand Tour of Borrowdale is 18 miles long, and the views are matched by the quality of the mountain biking, which is challenging on the bridleway sections. If you fancy a shorter alternative, the southern part of the above route is a more manageable 14 miles long, and misses out the road sections around the lake. Another trail around Derwent Water is 13 miles in length, and offers fantastic views of local countryside.

The Old Coach Road

The Old Coach Road at Glenderaterra covers 28 miles, and traverses the deep mountain valley. Keswick Railway Cycle Track offers riders a gentle warm up for the tough bridleway ahead. The route is fast and enjoyable with a moderate level of difficulty, and culminates in a thrilling 300m descent. A shorter version of the route is 17 miles, and starts at Threlkeld instead of Keswick.

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The route from Skiddaw House to Keswick is 18 miles in length, and includes some easy on road cycling before getting tougher on the land track to Skiddaw House. The return to Keswick follows more narrow tracks with plenty of off-road interest. Skiddaw Summit is 12 miles in length, and offers the longest bike descent in England. A surprisingly smooth, furiously fast freefall towards Keswick makes this ride worthwhile, but remember it also includes the longest uphill push!

If you want to try out mountain-biking routes in the Lake District, why not book to stay a few days in a Windermere Boutique Spa Suite? That way you can relax your muscles in your private hot tub, or have a massage at the nearby spa facilities.

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