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North Dales Mountain Biking

North Yorkshire Dales Mountain Bike Routes Guide

This guide includes twenty four excellent routes in the North Dales. Kirkby Stephen, Langthwaite, Gunnerside, Marske, Sedbergh, Howglls, Reeth...

Clear route descriptions and maps.

Among a big list of highlights the North Dales includes the eye-popping descent from the top of the Howgills, the long grassy plateau of Lady Ann Clifford's Highway to the northwest of Hawes, the fast grassy descent along the Cam High Road, the atmospheric ruins of the old lead Mining industry in Swaledale, like ghost towns left abandoned, and the long charges across heather moors on grouse shooting tracks between Langthwaite and Marske.

See below for route details

Book Details:
ISBN 0-9548131-5-4
Written by Nick Cotton, one of the most experienced route guide authors in the country.
Book Size is a compact 12cm x 17.5cm

Great Value


RRP £15.95

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.

In detail:


Fairly short rides that tend to pack a punch. Onces to do when you are short of time or are building up your fitness before tackling something longer.

Route 1. The Valley of Marske Beck

Route Grade: medium. Distance: 8km

A thoroughly satisfying short route, tough climbs, great views, fine descent, grassy bits and woodland bits.

Route 2. Over Great Pinseat from Langthwaite

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 12km

A remote area with testing climbs and “roof of the world” cruising

Route 3. Two Short Rides from Hardraw

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 10 and 12km

Two short routes. Do them together, separately or link them to the Hawes route: the choice is yours.

Route 4. East from Langthwaite onto Hurst Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 15km

A stiff climb, a cruise over heather clad moorland, a fast descent to Schoolmaster Pasture, a climb tat then sets you up for one of the Dales’ Top Ten Downhills!

Route 5. Gunnerside & Melbecks Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 12km

Tough climbs, stone tracks, grassy tracks, tracks through old mining ruins and finishing with a fast stone and grass descent to Swaledale.

Route 6. West of Marske to Fremington & Marrick Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 20km

The route has two sections alongside the lovely River Swale, a steep climb up onto Fremington Edge, a short plateau cruising section, a climb and then a final stone a grass track descent which is a belter.

Route 7. Limestone Plateaux between Kirkby Stephen & Crosby Garrett Way

Route Grade: medium. Distance: 20km

This route links together quiet lanes, tracks through lush pasture, a climb over Smardale Fell and a wonderful breezy descent down to Crosby Garrett.


These are going to take you a few hours, nothing to be too scared of but routes that need to be respected. Tend to include large hills and some great trails some of which may be technical.

Route 8. Howgills Summits north of Sedbergh

Route Grade: extreme. Distance: 16km

This bike route starts with a tough climb to the top of the Howgills that then leads you into a mountain biking heaven of smooth tracks and a mind blowing descent.

Route 9. Sedbergh & the Upper Rawthey Valley

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 23km

This ride skirts rather than climbs the smooth bulk of the Howgills which lies to the west. Tarmac turns to track followed by a variety of surfaces, fine stone tracks, some overgrown narrow sections and tricky stream crossings.

Route 10. Sedbergh south-east to Dentdale

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 26km

This bike route is an exploration of the western end of Dentdale, one of the softer more wooded valleys of the Yorkshire Dales. There’s a ford of unknown depth, some easy and some tough lane riding, a long section on a contouring green lane and a bone shaking descent.

Route 11. Reeth & Reeth High Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 20km

A loop around Leeth High Moor that takes you to a height of 570 metres before a descent that is first rough stone then a smooth stone beauty.

Route 12. South of Reeth onto Harkerside Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 23km

A warm up section (lane, stone track, grass track and a new cobbled section) is followed by a big climb to the highpoint of the ride. Then its predominantly downhill over the next 10km.

Route 13. South of Reeth to Apedale

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 23km

You have to work hard for your enjoyment, with a tough ascent from Grinton to Greets Hill. The most technical bits of the ride come after crossing the Askrigg road – a steep, rubbly descent where you hope the front end of your bike knows what it’s doing!

Route 14. Castle Bolton & Apedale

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 24km

The first 10km is one of the longest unbroken sections of off road in the whole of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It climbs and dips pas farms and broadleaf copses, old mining ruins and between drystone walls. Then after a steep road climb followed by the second off road treat; quintessential Yorkshire Dales mountain biking on an excellent stone track.

Route 15. Askrigg & Thornton Rust Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 22.5km

Climb steeply on picturesque lanes to reach the start of the off road – a wide stone track turning to rough grass. Descend to Caperby then it’s a climb up onto the moorland, skirt around Addlebrough and then it time for the descent on grass then stone tracks back to the start.

Route 16. Hawes, a tour of Dodd Fell & Burtersett

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 21km

A wiggly lane takes you to the start of a steep grassy climb. You won’t be spending much time in the saddle until the summit, but from there on the trail is a gem perched on the edge of the exceedingly steep hillside.

Route 17. Bainbridge, Raydale & Stake Allotments

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 26km

Raydale has the feel of a forgotten valley. The cobbled crossing of Crooks Beck is one of the memorable challenges of the day. This is followed by a steep climb and a fain track that gently descends a vast grass plateau, eventually turning to stone as it drops towards Thoralby.

Route 18. Thoralby, West Burton, Carlton Moor & Melmerby

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 22km

A tough circuit route with an extremely challenging climb to the summit of Burton Moor/Carlton Moor. The descent gets better and better, then a tarmac climb sets you up for 5km of off road fun with the most exciting stuff on the descent towards West Burton.


Full day rides. These are challenges and you will need to be fit and a capable mountain biker.

Route 19. Bainbridge, Langstrothdale & Cam High Road

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 35km

A big breezy ‘roof of the world ride’ twice climbing to over 550 metres on fine stone tracks, linked by a beautiful lane.

Route 20. Lady Ann Clifford’s Highway, northwest of Hawes

Route Grade: hard/extreme. Distance: 33.5km

One of the finest stretches of plateau cruising in the Dales with fantastic views, it comes at the cost of a 30 minute hard slog but its well worth it.

Route 21. North from Muker to Tan Hill

Grade: extreme. Distance: 28km

The first half of the ride stays along the side of the River Swale then it climbs through woodland above the valley. The return lies away from the valley and includes a steep climb up Kisdon Hill and a grassy descent back to the start. Route

Route 22. Castle Bolton, Broomber Rigg & Redmire Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 21.5km

A castle, a tearoom, two pubs, Aysgarth Waterfalls, strange signs for tanks on Redmire Moor, ghostly mining spoils and enough climbing to keep you fit.


Big, big rides. You will need plenty of time and to go prepared.

Route 23. Marske to Arkengarthdale

Route Grade: extreme. Distance: 47km

The scenery becomes wilder the further north you go, climbing eventually to 550 metres. There is pasture, woodland, stretches along the river, steep climbs and wondrous descents, tow fine pubs and a long spell of high moorland cruising.

Route 24. Bainbridge to Horton

Route Grade: extreme. Distance: 58km

This long tough mountain bike ride has five major climbs. What goes up must come down and the hardest climbs seem to lead to the most satisfying descents. Pubs a café, the highest road pass in the dales and one of the fastest off road descents in the dales, and you have a ride of superlatives.




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