Keswick Mountain Bike Routes

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About Keswick


Keswick is a bustling community and self-proclaimed outdoor capital of England in the north of the Lake District. It is a highly popular spot for tourists, owing probably to its proximity to the A66 - one of the main routes into the Lakes.

There are a wealth of pubs, cafes, restaurants and museums to name just a few attractions. There's something for everyone. For the mountain biker, Keswick Bikes offer a very friendly service and stock pretty much anything you might need, they also provide hire bikes for those that don't fancy transporting their own rig halfway across the country.

As a base for mountain biking Keswick is perfect too, it is surrounded by a probably unparalleled amount of excellent mountain biking terrain. You have:

  • NorthSkiddaw, Skiddaw Forest and Lonscale Fell. Some amazing bridleways here, particularly the trail that skirts Lonscale Fell which has a truly alpine feel with a vertical drop off one side.
  • North-east – the mighty Blencathra. There's no legal bike route to the top (I don't think, correct me if I'm wrong) but you can do a circuit of the whole mountain for spectacular views and this route also takes in the Lonscale Fell trail.
  • EastMatterdale Common is packed full of riding opportunities and for those a little fitter, this direction takes you to the Helvellyn ridge (although usually you would begin a Helvellyn ride from a little closer).
  • SouthBorrowdale which again offers ample opportunity for exploring and is famous for the Borrowdale Bash route.
  • WestWhinlatter Forest where you can get your fix of man-made waymarked mountain bike trails.

Map of Keswick Routes

All Routes for Keswick

On The Edge
Distance: 32mi / 51km
Ascent: 1,567m / 5,141ft
Offroad: 73%
Difficulty: 97%

Not for the faint-hearted, this route combines two of our most popular Lake District routes - Glendaterra & Lonscale Crags and Back o' Skiddaw - and mashes them together into a killer loop. This route is for those looking for a full day out, if your fitness is up to it!

We begin innocently enough with a gentle spin along the old railway route from Keswick to Threlkeld. We then climb onto the flanks of Blease Fell, ascending to Skiddaw House. This sets up nicely for the long descent, following the Cumbria Way to Mosedale.

A road section gets us to the next climb, to the old mine workings north of Skiddaw where we're treated a lovely descent to Branthwaite, followed by an undulating trail taking you to Peter Head Farm, which marks the start of the stunning Whitewater Dash waterfall climb.

Once the tough climb to the waterfall is dispensed with, it's time for the epic descent of exposed Lonscale Crags trail, followed by the ever-popular descent of Latrigg.

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.

Distance: 10mi / 16km
Ascent: 599m / 1,965ft
Offroad: 82%
Difficulty: 59%

This is a fairly easy route by Lake District standards and yet still manages to give you a true feeling of remoteness in parts. It has one particularly technical section around the flank of Lonscale Fell, with a tasty looking drop off one side.

This route is OK for beginners, although you may be pushing around the Lonscale Fell area, but it's also a good route if you're more advanced but are looking for a shorter ride, as it squeezes some great terrain into a relatively short distance.

The route itself begins in Keswick, and starts off on the old railway route to Threlkeld. It then climbs onto the flanks of Blease Fell and follows the contours before crossing Glenderaterra Beck and returns to Keswick via the Alps-like track around Lonscale Fell.