Yorkshire Dales Mountain Bike Routes

Yorkshire Dales

Muker Flower Meadow

The Yorkshire Dales, sometimes referred to as The Dales, is the largest of Yorkshire's two national parks. As you can imagine this means a huge wealth of mountain bike routes are available in the area.

The Dales is predominantly a collection of river valleys, eroded into limestone rocks in previous glacial times. Green pastures and dry-stone walls with sheep and cattle grazing are most characteristic of the area.

We have the following routes in The Dales, so get out there and explore and discover!

Map of Yorkshire Dales Routes


All Yorkshire Dales Routes

Distance: 22mi / 35km
Ascent: 707m / 2,319ft
Offroad: 63%
Difficulty: 73%

This scenic route takes in Masham, Nidderdale and most of the surrounding moors. The route starts in Masham, home of the Black Sheep Brewery and crosses several moors to the head of the Nidderdale valley. From there it takes you northerly to Steel House Moor where a descent of Steel House Gill and a short road section deposits you back at the start.

Navigation is fairly easy for the most apart from one point, but you just need to keep your eyes open at this point and you should be fine.

Distance: 21mi / 34km
Ascent: 1,076m / 3,530ft
Offroad: 84%
Difficulty: 83%

This is a tough route deep in the Yorkshire Dales wilderness so don't expect it to be easy, good navigational skills are required. That said, if you go prepared and know what you're doing you'll find this route is an amazing way to explore the northern part of the Yorkshire Dales. The fact that it ends at the Tan Hill Inn just makes it all that more perfect.

As mentioned, the route starts at the famous Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in England. From here it takes you across the moors on clearly defined doubletrack. This doesn't last long though, the trail becomes less clear as you head out into the wilderness. After crossing the moor, the route drops you into Gunnerside Gill and on into Swaledale, before climbing back onto the moor for a final crossing on the return leg to Tan Hill.

Distance: 28mi / 44km
Ascent: 1,301m / 4,268ft
Offroad: 75%
Difficulty: 91%

This route in the Yorkshire Dales can be a completely different animal depending on what time of year you do it. On a clear summer day, breathtaking views stretch out as far as the eye can see in all directions. In the winter these high moors can become an inhospitable place and civilisation may seem at times to be miles away, so preparation is the key.

The route is suited to fitter riders and those with a fair to good skill level. It's a toughy but it's also one of the more rewarding routes of the Dales. You will cross three valleys and back again, taking in Nidderdale, Coverdale and Scar House Reservoir on the way. If your legs are feeling up to it, then what are you waiting for!

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.