Mountain Bike Routes Maps & Guides



Home > Yorkshire Dales > South Dales

Yorkshire Dales

South Dales Mountain Biking

South Dales MTB

Twenty three routes in one of the best UK mountain biking destinations. Kirkby Lonsdale, Embsay, Kettlewell, Malham, Settle, Austwick, Ribblehead ... See map below for all route information.

We have only a few copies of this book in stock - it is not being reprinted as it has been superseded by Yorkshire Dales Mountain Biking: Classic Pennine Trails. However there are 8 routes in the South Dales Mountain Biking that are not in the new book. Therefore we would still recommend this book if you are keeping to the South Dales area.

Varied trails in stunning scenery. Routes are graded medium, hard or extreme.

Happy riding!

See below for route details

Book Details:
ISBN 0-9548131-6-2. Vertebrate Publishing
Written by Nick Cotton
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. Kilnsey, Mastiles Lane & Arncliffe Cote

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 19km

South Dales MTB Photo1A tough climb at the start followed by a long undulating section on the historic drovers’ road, another climb and a dream descent on easy grassy tracks.

Route 2. Easy tracks around Austwick

Route Grade: medium. Distance: 14.5km

One of the easiest mountain biking routes in the guide, this nevertheless gives a good taste of all that is typical and best about off-road riding in the Yorkshire Dales.

Route 3. A Tough Circuit above Kettlewell

Route Grade: extreme. Distance: 9km

A small but perfectly formed mountain bike route that will have your lungs and legs screaming on the climb and whooping with delight on the downhill!

Route 4. Ingleton, Kingsdale & North End Scar

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 16.5km

This is quintessential Dales scenery: limestone and drystone walls, sheep and rough pasture, narrow lanes and enclosed tracks – and this route encompasses them all.

Route 5. Clapham, Feizor & Thwaite Scars

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 18km

South Dales MTB Photo2In many ways the perfect short Dales mountain bike route with two attractive villages and two small hamlets linked by a series of tracks that range from broad stone to singletrack and from high grassy plateau in amongst a sea of limestone pavement.

Route 6. Horsehouse & Scar House Reservoir

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 16km

The challenge up and over the moor at the start is followed by an easy circuit of the spectacularly set reservoir and then what was a tough climb at the start becomes a blistering downhill on the return.

Route 7. Kirkby Lonsdale & Brownthwaite Fell

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 20km

Four off road sections linked by quiet lanes running along the east side of the Lue Valley


Route 8. Settle, Malham Cove & Gorbeck

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 22km

Not hugely technical, but with some good fast sections and tough climbs, this route explores some stunning Dales scenery.

Route 9. Kirkby Malham, Malham Tarn & Weets Top

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 23.5km

A mountain bike route of two halves, the western all on quiet lanes and the eastern almost entirely off-road. Includes a tremendous downhill from Weets Top on improved track then grass then stone zigzag.

Route 10. Embsay, Bolton Abbey & Embsay Moor

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 30km

Starting at Embsay the route includes stretches of tarmac split into three by off road sections. The long off road blast from Barden Moor/Embsay Moor offers some f the finest plateau cruising in the Dales

Route 11. Gargrave to Mastiles Lane & Hetton

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 30.5km

There’s a real sense of linking lowland to highland in this ride. Starting in Garburn, which is accessed by the busy A65 the route takes you away and up to 400 metres right in the heart of the craggy limestone scenery of the Dales and what seemingly seem a million miles away from the start.

Route 12. Buckden & Littondale

Route Grade: extreme. Extreme: 20.5km

South Dales MTB Photo4The climb up Bucken is amongst the toughest in the Dales (boggy conditions higher up and best avoided in winter). Technical downhills, a blast along a road, a tough track climb a moorland crossing and a descent that is long, steep with short, flat, slippery limestone slabs – be warned!

Route 13. West of Kirkby Malzeard

Route Grade: medium. Distance: 30km

The first section of off road is one of those secret tracks – a little gem that drops to cross two tributaries of the river Lune. Then its climbs, descents and blasts across the moors.

Route 14. West from Masham towards Nidderdale

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 31km

This mountain bike route gains all its height on tarmac leaving you with a dream return leg on fine tracks.

Route 15. Grassington, Mastiles Lane & Hetton

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 32km

A superb mountain biking route, crossing Malham Moor, along part of stone highway known as Mastiles Lane, to highpoint on Kilnsey Moor, onto Weets Top and down to Winterburn Reservoir and onto a final long off road section that has all sorts; narrow stone tracks, to patches of rough moorland, to recently rebuilt tracks and old established trails.


Route 16. Horton, Langstrothdale, Horse Head & Foxup

Route Grade: extreme. Distance: 30km

The outward route from Horton; a climb on the Pennine Way on a broad stone track then an easy forest section, presents no real problem. The next stage is quite different; it starts with the hardest, roughest and steepest climb in this guide and finishes with one of the best descents in the Dales. Finally there is a last challenge of climbing and then descending Foxup Moor.

Route 17. Pateley Bridge & Appletreewick

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 63.5km

South Dales MTB Photo5Highlights of the mountain bike route include a climb up through old lead mining ruins, a 150 metre off-road descent into Appletreewick, a great climb up Skyreholme Bank and a final off-road downhill to Middle Tongue.

Route 18. Stainforth to Littondale

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 41km

The quality of tracks is generally excellent, whether on the climb up towards Pen-y-ghent, the descent to Litton, the grassy climb over High Cote Moor or the newly improved trail over Gorbeck.

Route 19. Tour d’Ingleborough

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 38km

A mountain bike circuit around one of the famous three peaks, linking three long off-road stretches via stunning road sections that just happen to pass several pubs and cafes in Clapham.

Route 20. Pateley Bridge Northwest

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 38km

One of the classic mountain bike routes of the Yorkshire Dales on a mixture of quiet lanes, easy tracks and tough challenges

Route 21. Ribblehead, Dentdale & Great Knoutberry Hill

Route Grade: hard. Distance: 31.5km

This route has variety! From the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct and easy tracks by the railway, to the testing climb up the north east flank of Whernside and onto the grassy plateau over Great Wold. Like rock gardens, try the 6km long, 350 metre descent into Dentdale. Good on road climbs? Test yourself on the savage blast to Dent Station. Then it’s onto superb improved tracks that were once unrideable, and a cobbled masterpiece with hop across drainage channels.


Route 22. Settle to Kinsey via Malham Tarn

Route Grade: extreme. Distance: 49km

This route links thee classics in the Yorkshire Dales. At each stage there are tough climbs, high level cruising and descents to dream of. Plus a final teeth rattler to return to Settle.

Route 23. Appletreewick to Scar House Reservoir

Route Grade: extreme. Distance: 80km

The longest mountain bike route in the guide and with the most ascending and descending. It contains a fine mix of farm tracks, rocky gullies and wide open grouse moor, almost all rideable and fast enough to mean you don’t need to be an Olympic medallist to do this in a (long) day.

Bonus Section

Gisburn Trail Centre


Page Samples

page sample


page sample



Facebook   Twitter