Borrowdale Mountain Bike Routes

About Borrowdale

Borrowdale

This picturesque valley in the Lake District is probably the finest example of a steep sided glacial valley in England. The higher southern end, the 'jaws of Borrowdale' is overlooked by steep imposing cliffs on each side. The River Derwent runs its length and empties into Derwent Water at the lower and wider nothern end of Borrowdale. At the far northern end of the valley is tourist favourite Keswick with its pubs, cafes, bike shops and museums. To the south, the road begins to rise as it lifts you up over Honister Pass.

The valley is home to several settlements. The largest of these is Rosthwaite, which has a couple of pubs and a shop for refreshments. Also in the valley are Stonethwaite, Seatoller and Seathwaite.

Borrowdale, as you might expect, is riddled with mountain bike route options. Bridleways, in some cases clinging to the rocky precipices, run the length of the valley as well as descending off the surrounding fells. One of the more well known routes is the Borrowdale Bash but its worth exploring because some of the other trails offer fantastic mountain biking.

Map of Borrowdale Routes

All Routes for Borrowdale

Overlooking Derwent Water from the Borrowdale Bash route
Distance: 17mi / 27km
Ascent: 774m / 2,539ft
Offroad: 38%
Difficulty: 67%

This classic Lake District mountain bike route starts and ends in Keswick and performs a full loop around the picturesque Derwent Water and Borrowdale valley. Despite being reasonably easy effort wise, the Borrowdale Bash includes several miles of wonderful technical singletrack and beautiful views across Keswick, Derwent Water, Skiddaw and the fells beyond.

As mentioned the route starts in Keswick (making it easy to access directly from the A66). The first leg takes the road south along the east bank of Derwent Water before climbing into the fells past Ashness Bridge and towards Watendlath Tarn. Birkett's Leap then drops you back into the Borrowdale valley and climbs the other side where it descends once again, flanking High Scawdel and returning north to Keswick via the Allerdale Ramble high above the west bank of Derwent Water.

Stake Pass
Distance: 18mi / 29km
Ascent: 1,236m / 4,055ft
Offroad: 82%
Difficulty: 82%

This difficult route, crossing two mountain passes in the central Lake District, starts in the stunning Great Langdale valley. It climbs out of the head of the valley over tough, rocky terrain to Angle Tarn, after which it levels out and passes Sprinkling Tarn and Styhead Tarn. From here it enjoys the northern descent of Sty Head to Seathwaite in the Borrowdale valley.

The return leg sees you following the scenic track along the banks of Langstrath Beck before the terrain jerks skyward as it follows the Cumbria Way for a killer climb of Stake Pass. This soon pays for itself however with the technical, but wholly rideable and enjoyable descent back into Great Langdale.