Mountain Bike Routes Maps & Guides



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Mountain Biking in the Lake District by Ian Boydon

lake district mountain biking routes

24 Routes which aim to show off the best of the Lake District. A good variety of route lengths and technical difficulty ensuring there is something available to suit the amount of time you have available, your fitness and your MTB experience.

Ordnance Survey maps plus easy to follow route directions.

See below for route details

Book Details:
ISBN: 978-1852846442
Written by Ian Boyden Published by Cicerone, 2011
192 pages
Book Size is a compact 12cm x 17.5cm

Great Value


RRP £12.95

Fast Despatch

The Mountain Biking Routes

Map showing the approximate recommended starting points for each route as indicated in the book.
Click on a marker for route information.

Routes are graded medium,hard and very hard. Novice mountain bikers with reasonable bike-handling skills should be able to complete the medium routes, while experts should be challenged by the hard and, more so, the very hard routes.

In the guide each route includes a map with the route highlighted and clear text directions.

lake district mountain bike route photo 1

Short Loops

Route 1. Tour of Loughrigg Fell

Distance 12km. Grade: Medium

A circumnavigation of Loughrigg Fell, which is sandwiched between Ambleside and Elterwater. Very picturesque route with excellent descents, including a lovely long one along Loughrigg Terrace.

Route 2.  Spark Bridge

Distance 16.5km. Grade Medium

In the  South Lakes near Ulverston this is a route away from the crowds along deserted bridleways and quiet lanes. It is not for the adrenaline junkie but for those looking to improve their bike skills or get away from the crowds and enjoy a scenic ride in solitude.

Route 3. Borrowdale and Whinfell

Distance 11km. Grade Medium

This route is around the lesser known Borrowdale near to Kendal and is arguably one of the best kept secrets of the area. This is a short route with good mixture crammed in, climbs, descents and valley floor riding.

Route 4. Kendal and Brigsteer  

Distance 9.5km. Grade Medium

Quiet byways, bridleways and lanes to the east of Kendal. An easy technical route on rolling pasture landscape making it an ideal loop for new riders to gain experience, or old hands looking for an easy fast blast on good tracks around lovely countryside.

Route 5. Hawkshead and Hodge Close

Distance 21km. Grade Medium

This route lies in the area north of Hawkshead & Coniston, and south of Skelwith Bridge. A good mix of trails and with enougvh interest for the experienced rider, yet is not too technically tough for the newcomer. Excellent for year round riding as trails drain well.

Route 6.  Howtown and Askham  

Distance 23.5km. Grade Medium

South of Pooley Bridge and east if Ullswater this is a terrific ride that offers some of the best vistas in the book. The riding is good too with height gained through steady climbing on wide tracks. No really steep descents but that said the descents are fast, furious and fun.

lake district mountain bike route photo 2

Route 7. Elterwater and the Langdales 

Distance 18km. Grade Medium

A shortish ride that punches above its weight in the enjoyment factor. The first half is a relatively easy warm up until arriving at Tilberthwaite. A cracking decent over large and loose rocks, a scenic tour along the valley floor, a climb then a sweet descent on sinuous sublime singletrack, packed with roots and rocks to keep the adrenaline pumping.

Medium Loops

Route 8. Muncaster

Distance 11km. Grade Medium (or Hard if rode in reverse direction)

In the western Lakes in sublime scenery. This route incorporates plenty of singletrack forest bridleways.

Route 9. Winster

Distance 22.5km. Grade Medium

This route lies south of the town of Windermere on quiet and low fells. Nothing too technical but some of the descents contain enough interest to keep you on your toes. A good intermediate ride.

Route 10. High Newton and Cartmel  

Distance 27.5km. Grade Medium

This route is in the south lakes, north of Grange over Sands. Peaceful rolling hills and expansive views over Morecombe Bay. An easy route for intermediate riders or a good choice to initiate novices.

Route 11. Tour of Claife Heights and High Wray

Distance 20.5km. Grade: Hard

This area lies between Hawkshead and Windermere and has some particularly good descents and along with the quality of the tracks makes for an outstanding tour.

Route 12. Kentmere Special

Distance 22.5km. Grade Hard

Starting at Staveley, situated half way between Kendal and Windermere this is a top mountain biking area with a good network of bridleways. This route has steep, rocky, technical feasts and singletrack heaven.

lake district mountain bike route photo 3

Route 13. Cleator Moor

Distance 24km. Grade Hard

On the western side of The Lakes and a few miles from Whitehaven this area is seldom visited by tourists yet there is very good riding to be had. This is a figure of 8 loop on a rich variety of fun tracks all set in a stunning landscape.

Long Loops

Route 14. Torver and Kirkby Moor

Distance 32km. Grade Hard

Starting a few miles south of Coniston this route has plenty of ups and thrilling downs to keep riders of all abilities entertained. For those wanting a longish day in the saddle but without any arduous technical riding.

Route 15. Grizedale Grunt

Distance 26km or 29km Grade Hard

A fantastic route that takes the best that Grizedale Forest has to offer. Testing, but manageable climbs, as well as four cracking descents, from twisting smooth singletrack through to full-on technical rock gardens.

Route 16. Loadpot Hill

Distance 28km. Grade Hard

Starting at Pooley bridge, this route contains two of the best descents in the north Lakes. At just over 5km, the sheer length is unusual for the region and the drop to Howtown is an absolute delight.

Route 17. Blencathra and the Old Coach Road

Distance 41.5km. Grade Hard

This route links two of the best trail sections in the north Lakes. To do this there is a longish section of road spinning, mostly on quiet but pleasing back lanes  with views of stunning scenery.

Route 18. Garburn and Longsleddale

Distance 32km. Grade Very Hard

The Garburn Pass is one of the must do descents in the Lake District. It has a reputation of being one of the longest and fiercest descents that can be ridden in the national park. Besides that this route also has fine bridleways and a further two classic descents before the finish.

Route 19. Haweswater and Gatesgarth

Distance 29km. Grade Very Hard

Includes Gatesgarth Pass descent, one of the least known but one of the best descents in the Lake District – steep , rocky and technical.

lake district mountain bike route photo 4

Route 20. Dunnerdale Enduro

Distance 33.5km. Grade Very Hard

A real humdinger of a ride , open scenery, quiet bridleways and fast , technical and rocky descents - there are no fewer than five memoreable descents

Full Day Loops

Route 21. Parkamoor, Satterthwaite and Hawkshead Monster

Distance 33.5km. Grade Hard

With a bit of everything this is one of the best rides in the Lake District. Six great descents, six manageable climbs amidst spectacular scenery.

Route 22. Tour de Windermere

Distance 64km. Grade  Hard

With six individually memorable sections of trail linked by quiet tarmac lanes this behemoth of a challenge ride is stacked with plenty of thrills. An excellent big day in the saddle.

Route 23. Mealbank, Borrowdalen and the Breasthigh Road

Distance 38.5km. Grade Very Hard

An outstanding ride in a beautiful area of Cumbria. The riding is a good and despite a couple of short pushes that may be required, the effort is more than worthwhile for the sheer joy experienced on coming down the other side.

Route 24. Longsleddale, Kentmere and Troutbeck

Distance 40km. Grade Very Hard

An all day killer loops on fantastic trails.


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