Scenic Mountain Bike Routes

The view across to Grasmere from Hammerscar Plantation

For me the scenery on a route is one of the major reasons for riding it. For this reason most if not all of our routes will be listed here in the scenic section. We are lucky enough here in the north of England to have four national parks, as well as other areas of natural beauty, all offering a variety of eye pleasing scenery.

We have the Lake District with its mountains and lakes, the Yorkshire Dales' vast rolling hills and dales, the vast tracts of moorland in the North York Moors, and the tranquil solitude of the remote Northumberland National Park.

For these routes it's worth stopping now and then to chill and take in the views. You don't get a real appreciation for your surroundings whilst moving at speed, and it would be a shame to miss out!

All Scenic Routes

Ullswater & Boredale Figure of Eight

Hause Crag above Boredale
Distance: 
20mi / 33km
Ascent: 
1,034m / 3,392ft
Offroad: 
67%
Difficulty: 
79%

This route is a variation on our Ullswater & Bannerdale Figure of Eight route and takes in some of the best Ullswater, in the Lake District, has to offer. From our preferred starting point in Patterdale, we start the ride with the climb of the mountain pass, Boredale Hause, before we drop into the fast singletrack descent into Boredale.

A section of road brings us to the next part of the ride, a climb to The Cockpit stone circle and then the amazing Cockpit to Howtown descent.

But the fun never stops! Up next we have yet the infamous Ullswater Lakeside path, you will either love it or hate it, but this is a section of trail you really must do. The trail roughly follows the lakeside from here, with lots of undulation, and it is an absolute rock-fest!

Ullswater & Bannerdale Figure of Eight

Into Bannerdale
Distance: 
21mi / 34km
Ascent: 
1,130m / 3,707ft
Offroad: 
60%
Difficulty: 
81%

This Lake District route is a variation on our Ullswater & Boredale Figure of Eight route and takes in some of the best Ullswater has to offer. From our preferred starting point in Patterdale, we start the ride with the climb of the mountain pass, Boredale Hause, and traverse of Beda Fell, setting us up nicely for the fun and fast descent into Bannerdale.

A section of road brings us to the next part of the ride, a climb to The Cockpit stone circle and descent of the popular and awesome natural singletrack descent to Howtown.

But the fun isn't over yet, we have yet to tackle the infamous Ullswater Lakeside path, the marmite of mountain bike trails... will you love it or hate it?! Although this trail follows (roughly) the lakeside, don't be fooled, there are plenty of undulations to keep you entertained, and lots of rocks!

Askham Fell & Ullswater

Ullswater Mountain Biking
Distance: 
15mi / 23km
Ascent: 
481m / 1,578ft
Offroad: 
57%
Difficulty: 
59%

This is a fantastic route starting at Pooley Bridge in the Lake District. Despite relatively little climbing (for the Lake District!), this route delivers amazing scenery and one of the best natural descents in the country, from The Cockpit stone circle to Howtown, offering breathtaking views across Ullswater for its entirety.

The climb from Pooley Bridge onto Askham Fell is the toughest of the two climbs and is followed by a crossing of Moor Divock and a nice descent to the south through open moorland. A brief road section leads to Askham and the start of the second climb back on to Askham Fell, forming a figure-of-eight as you drop down onto the main descent from here to Howtown on some combination of loose rocks and singletrack all the way. Oh, and did I mention the incredible views?!

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.

Sty Head & Stake Pass

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.

Esk Dale Railway

Distance: 
22mi / 35km
Ascent: 
768m / 2,519ft
Offroad: 
39%
Difficulty: 
72%

This route in the North Yorkshire Moors follows the valley of Esk Dale. It is a fairly strenuous route but is technically quite easy and therefore ok for less advanced riders, so long as you have a fair fitness level. It is a one-way route rather than the usual loop and uses the Esk Valley Railway to return to the start. For this reason be prepared and make sure you are aware of the train timetable.

It is best ridden west to east, starting in Kildale and ending in Sleights. You will pass through Commondale, Castleton, Danby, Lealholm, Glaisdale, Egton Bridge and Grosmont along the way. Each of these places have shops and pubs making refreshments available pretty much anywhere on the route. You could even turn it into a giant pub crawl!

Hole of Horcum & Cropton Forest

Distance: 
17mi / 27km
Ascent: 
724m / 2,375ft
Offroad: 
74%
Difficulty: 
70%

This is a relatively easy route in the North Yorkshire Moors that takes in the impressive Hole of Horcum as well as Cropton Forest. You will find yourself at times crossing open moorland and at times passing through deep forest on a variety of terrains.

Most intermediate mountain bikers should have no problem with this route as there are no really difficult technical sections to overcome. Just nice clean fun mountain biking. Well, perhaps not clean, this is the moors afterall! Enjoy.

Glendaterra & Lonscale Crags

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.