Mountain biking trails in North Wales

Without a doubt, North Wales has some of the best off road riding in the UK. With a fantastic selection of dedicated trail centres and natural off road trails there really is something for everyone. From our bike friendly holiday cottage in Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog all the suggestions below are easily accessible and would make a great itinerary for a mountain biking holiday in North Wales. You will be guaranteed to be grinning after riding these. If you want to check out the best mountain biking trails in North Wales then read on.
 
Where possible, we have indicated places with easier riding for novice riders. But to be clear, most of the routes below will need a good level of fitness and a decent off road bike. I ride with our two children (currently 9 and 11 years old) and they have ridden most of these trails, however they have been riding off road for a number of years. Coed y Brenin and Llandegla are good choices if riding with younger children or less experienced riders. Also check out our trip report from our visit to Bike Park Wales which is about 3.5 hrs drive away from the cottage but well worth the trip.
 

Llandegla – Oneplanet Adventure – near Llangollen

Let’s kick off with our local trail centre at Coed Llandegla. This is only about 30 minutes away from our holiday cottage and its easy accessibility from the North West means it is always a popular place for riders.
 

Trails

Llandegla has a great range of trails. There is a really easy green run around the reservoir which is great for young kids. For more experienced riders there are nice blue, red and black runs. Even though it is really popular, the trails never seem that busy and there is lots of parking.
 

Facilities

There is a great cafe that dishes up huge portions of biker friendly food like beans on toast, burgers etc. There is also a great bike shop which also does bike hire. It costs about £5 to park for the whole day. There is also a bike wash.
 

Getting here

Llandegla is just north of Llangollen on the A525.
 

Gwydir Mawr & Bach (formerly Marin Trail) – Llanrwst

I had never ridden here before so headed over to Llanrwst recently to check it out. It is about one hour away from our holiday cottage.
 

Trails

There are only two trails, both red. Gwydir Mawr is the longest at 25km and Gwydir Bach is just under 9km. The trails run through the Gwydir Forest and have some pretty nice scenery along the way. I rode it with my kids and we had a blast and will definitely be back. The only bit I didn’t like was the big drag up the hill at the start, it just seemed to go on for ever up a forest road. But once you have ridden up hill, there is only one way down!
 

Facilities

There are no facilities, just a car park. There are various shops in Llanrwst for food (however I suspect nothing will be open on a Sunday) and a toilet in the car park in Llanrwst.
 

Getting here

Park at the Saw Bench car park which is just outside Llanrwst. Just be aware that the car park is not very big. We went on a Saturday and parking was limited. However, you could actually park up in Llanrwst and ride to the start of the trail – probably only 5 minutes.
 

Coed y Brenin – near Dolgellau

Probably my favourite place to ride, Coed y Brenin was the first forest to be developed for mountain biking and it still manages to put a grin on our faces whenever we get there. It is about one and a half hours drive from the holiday cottage so is the longest journey out of the recommendations on this page. But it also has the added advantage of being one of the best driving roads in North Wales.

 

Trails

As well as being a keen mountain biker, I also love getting out in the hills and checking out the views. The scenery at Coed y Brenin really makes it a winner for me. Whichever route you take you are guaranteed some stunning scenery. So for me that is a double bonus – great trails with great views.
 
Like Llandegla there are a really good mix of trails which make it fantastic for riders of all abilities. The green trail is great for small kids and novice riders and takes you along a river with some pretty cool waterfalls and even a disused gold mine. There are a range of red and black trails for more experienced riders and a blue for intermediate riders.
Head towards the back of the top car park and you will find the Foundry which is a skills area and freeride area. Even after riding all day, the kids always want to end up there.

 

Facilities

There are great facilities at Coed y Brenin, this is how trail centres should be. There is lots of parking (can’t remember the price as we just buy an annual pass). The cafe is really nice but space is a bit limited inside, however they have a big veranda looking over the forest which is a cool place to sit on a nice day. The onsite bike shop is really good and also does bike hire. Downstairs below the cafe is a shower room if you want to get cleaned up.

 

Getting here

Coed y Brenin is just north of Dolgellau on the A470.
 
Coed y Brenin MTB with kids

Llyn Brenig and Alwen Reservoir

Bit of a curved ball this one. I had never heard of it or ridden it until I headed over there a couple of years ago for a walk and realised it would be worth coming back to with my bike. It is in a hidden corner of Wales that most people seem to bypass while on the way to Betws-y-Coed. It is about one hour away from the cottage.
 

Trails

The trails are a mix of forest road, tarmac road and off road sections. Depending on how much time and energy you have, you can just cycle around one of the reservoirs or combine both into a longer ride.
 
Starting from the car park at Llyn Brenig, you head over the dam and for most of the riding you are on quiet tarmac roads which make it a great place for young kids. Only once you reach the top end of the reservoir do you hit any off road sections, then it is forest roads back to the visitor centre. To make the ride more of a challenge (which I presume you will want to do if an experienced rider), extend the route to take in Alwen Reservoir as well and then back to the car park at Llyn Brenig. This will take you up onto the moors which are really remote and I can’t remember ever seeing another rider up here.
 

Facilities

Great cafe at Llyn Brenig, toilets and bike hire. There is nothing at Alwen Reservoir – other than trees and water.
 

Getting here

Just off the A5 which runs between Betws y Coed and Llangollen.
 

Penmachno Trails – Betws-y-Coed

The Penmachno Trails are in the Snowdonia National Park. So as you would expect, as well as some great riding you also get some stunning views thrown into the mix as well. What I like about Penmachno is that it is not a big fancy trail centre, instead it is managed by a local community group. Leave a donation when you ride as the money is ploughed back into the trails and local community groups.
 

Trails

There are two trails that can be ridden individually (Dolen Machno 19km and Dolen Eryri 11km) or combined into a monster 30km ride. Both are graded red.
 

Facilities

There is not much in the way of facilities, so it is best to head to Betws-y-Coed which has lots of cafes and food options and it only about 10 minutes away by car.
 

Getting here

Just outside the village of Penmachno which is close to Betws-y-Coed.
 

The Beast of Llangollen

We really should include a trail which you can ride straight from the door of our holiday cottage, so here goes – the Beast of Llangollen. It is about 40km long, but there are plenty of alternate route around the valley if you want to shorten the ride.
 

Trails

You will find various interpretations of this route on the internet, but it essentially takes in a circular route around the Ceiriog Valley. This is the best version we have found http://flattyres-mtb.co.uk/route-guides/north-wales-mtb-routes/the-beast-of-llangollen/
 

Facilities

There are two great inns in Llanarmon, a pub and a shop in Glyn Ceiriog and a pub and a shop in Pontfadog. Other than that – you are on your own. Go prepared as we are pretty remote and you could easily ride all day without seeing anyone else.
 

Getting here

Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog is about 20 minutes from Llangollen in the next valley south.

Nant Rhyd Wilym (The Wayfarers)Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog to Llandrillo

Another ride you can do straight from the cottage which follows the Wayfarers route between Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog and Llandrillo. This article explains a lot of the history behind the route and I think it is a really cool story. The official name for the pass is Nant Rhyd Wilym, but everyone knows it as the Wayfarers.
 

Trails

Ok let’s kick off with a safety talk. Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog is pretty remote (that is one of the reasons we bought the cottage in the first place. And when you head up over the Wayfarers I can pretty much guarantee you won’t see anyone else all day. Come prepared, you are a long way from anywhere. Oh – and mobile phones don’t work round here.
 
The Wayfarers is a trail running between Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog to Llandrillo across the top of the Berwyn Mountains. It is not a circular route, so you will end up doing it both ways – so double the fun!
 

Facilities

There are two great inns in Llanarmon and a shop and pub in Llandrillo. There is also a Michelin star restaurant in Llandrillo, but I suspect you may get some funny looks if you try to get in there in your cycling gear.
 

Getting here

Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog is about 20 minutes from Llangollen in the next valley south. From Llanarmon head up the road to the left of the West Arms and cycle as far as you can go on the road (about 4 miles I would estimate). Then head up into the hills.
 

Antur Stiniog – Blaenau Ffestiniog

Based in Blaenau Ffestiniog which is about one hour twenty minutes from the holiday cottage, Antur Stiniog is an uplift powered, downhill centre in Snowdonia.
 

Trails

Last time I checked they had seven trails open to ride, mostly black and red and one blue. Some guys I have spoken to say it blurs the lines between pure downhill and trail riding and looking at videos on You Tube of the blue that seems to be the case. So I may swing over there when the kids are a little older.
 

Facilities

Facilities look spot on. Cafe, showers, bike hire, bike shop and bike wash. It does look like pre-booking is a good idea.
 

Getting here

Antur Stiniog is just by the Llechwedd Slate Caverns outside of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Llechwedd Slate Caverns is also the home of Zip World (zip lining centre).
 
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Revolution Bike Park – Llangynog

Really easy to reach from our holiday cottage, it is only about 25 minute drive away in the next valley. Revolution Bike Park is an uplift-assisted bike park set in over 120 acres of private woodland.
 

Trails

From memory there are about 9-10 trails here, mostly expert or pro lines with a couple of reds thrown into the mix.
 

Facilities

There is bike shop for repairs, bike hire and van doing drinks and food. There is a pub in Llangynog and a shop a little further along the road in Penybontfawr.
 

Getting here

Llangynog in on the B4391 north of Lake Vyrnwy. The bike park is just on the edge of the village.
 

One Giant Leap – Llangollen

We are really are blessed for places to ride around Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog. One Giant Leap is a tractor powered uplift and downhill centre. It is membership only, but it only costs £20 for the year to join and riding the trails is free. They even throw in lunch for free.
 

Trails

One Giant Leap currently had five trails at the time of writing
 

Facilities

Bike wash and lunch provided.
 

Getting here

Just a five minute drive south of Llangollen at Tan Y Graig Farm.
 

Map of mountain biking trails in North Wales

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