River Mountain Bike Routes

Photo of a mountain bike by a river.

Who could resist the chance of a scenic riverside mountain bike route? Listed here are routes for all abilities with one thing in common, at least part of these routes run by a riverside.

All River Routes

Ambleside & Little Langdale

Ambleside Ride
Distance: 
15mi / 24km
Ascent: 
916m / 3,005ft
Offroad: 
73%
Difficulty: 
71%

A medium-difficulty route in the heart of the Lake District with enough technical riding to keep it interesting and some stunning scenery along the way.

We start in Ambleside and initially head south, keeping to the west of Windermere before veering right and heading west to Hawkshead. The route then takes you across the rocky crags of Furness Fells into Little Langdale.

Then, passing Elterwater and traversing Loughrigg Terrace, you'll be spat out on the banks of Rydal Water ready for the short blast back to Ambleside.

Bowderdale Classic (Howgill Fells)

Howgills
Distance: 
23mi / 37km
Ascent: 
1,103m / 3,618ft
Offroad: 
65%
Difficulty: 
83%

A difficult mountain bike route that takes in both the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria. Start with a killer climb out of Sedbergh, one which takes you right to the top of The Calf at 676m (2,218ft). It’s tough but once you’re here you can rest assured that the rest of the route is predominantly downhill, and it starts right now with an awesome 6km (4mi) long descent of Bowderdale.

The return legs climbs again but this time nowhere near as much as earlier, you pass between Harter Fell and Knott before descending again on some cracking singletrack right the way back to Sedbergh, roughly following the River Rawthey. Look out for the wild horses that roam around this area!

As an extra bonus, try and find time to visit Cautley Spout, England’s highest waterfall, as it’s not far off the route but only accessible on foot.