White Side (Helvellyn Range) Mountain Bike Routes

About White Side (Helvellyn Range)

Cairn, White Side

White Side is a fell in the Lake District which is part of the Helvellyn mountain range, situated between the Thirlmere and Glenridding valleys. Standing at 863m (2,831ft) above sea level, White Side sits between Raise and Lower Man and forms part of most Helvellyn routes.

Bridleways stretch out in four directions, with the main rocky trail that follows the ridge leading to Raise to the north and Lower Man and Helvellyn itself to the south. The westerly bridleway descends steeply via Brown Crag to the Thirlspot car park on Thirlmere. The eastern trail is also a steep descent dropping into Keppel Cove and leading past the youth hostel and eventually delivering you into Glenridding.

Both north and south directions make fast descents followed by a climb, and in the other direction make for perfectly rideable ascents. The easterly bridleway drops down very steeply for some very technical riding, and as an ascent requires shouldering the bike. The westerly bridleway is fast and steep but should be rideable at a push as a climb too.

Map of White Side (Helvellyn Range) Routes

All Routes for White Side (Helvellyn Range)

Distance: 17mi / 27km
Ascent: 1,338m / 4,389ft
Offroad: 80%
Difficulty: 82%

Our second Helvellyn route (the first is here) takes a slightly different approach. We tried to consider which of the many bridleways on the ridge are actually the most ridable, and this is what we came up with.

This route starts one the Thirlmere side of the Helvellyn range, from the car park at Thirlspot. We climb from here on an old pony track onto the ridge, a lot of which is surprisingly rideable. After a quick there-and-back of the summit (ok then, maybe not quick!), the route follows the whole ridge from south to north before descending from Great Dodd on grassy singletrack. Finally, a blast along the Old Coach Road and a short road section gets you back to the car.

Distance: 12mi / 19km
Ascent: 936m / 3,070ft
Offroad: 83%
Difficulty: 75%

This is a technical and strenuous route taking you to the summit and back of England’s highest peak legally accessible by mountain bike, Helvellyn.

Although this shouldn't be attempted by the faint-hearted, the promise of 954m of descending offers enough motivation to make all the climbing worth it. This combined with the breathtaking views across the Lake District and as far as Scotland on a clear day should be enough to put Helvellyn firmly on any serious mountain biker's to-do list. So what are you waiting for?