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Mountain biking routes

Horsehead Pass
Photographer: Ben Howarth
Horsehead Pass
The Bowderdale route
Photographer: Ben Howarth
The Bowderdale route
Above Scar House
Above Scar House

Taking a day off?

Ideas for what to do on a day off from riding ...

Types of paths

Find out about the different types of paths and who can use them.

Around Gouthwaite Reservoir

Start/finish: Pateley Bridge
Distance
: 12 miles (21km)

This is a good introduction to Dales mountain biking. A good stone track takes you alongside Gouthwaite reservoir which is famous for its bird life. Then a bit of tarmac down the other side. A more technical section takes you through some old mine workings, before a return to good stone tracks back to Pateley.

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Brimham loop

Start/finish: Stif Cycles, Summerbridge
Distance: 11 miles (18km)

This is a ride of great variety. It starts with a tough but short climb up through woods and then follows quick and quiet roads through Brimham Rocks. More off road follows before another road section leads to stunning views of Nidderdale and a final descent along an ancient packhorse route.

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Tunnels and bridges

Start/finish: Clapham
Distance: 12 miles (19km)

This route really does have a bit of everything that is best about Dales mountain biking: walled lanes, stone tracks, grass tracks, rock slabs, fords and clapper bridges.  To add to it all the view from the top of the route is one of the best in the Dales.

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Booze and Crackpot

Start/finish: Reeth
Distance
: north loop 10 miles (16km); south loop 15 miles (25km)

Two routes in one. The northern loop takes in the great singletrack from Langthwaite back to Fremington, whilst the southern loop takes you up the valley bridleways, before a climb up from Crackpot and a great crossing of Harkerside Moor.

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Tour of Nidderdale

Start/finish: Scar House reservoir
Distance: 15 miles (24km)

An all weather classic with hardly any tarmac. AStarting at the head of Nidderdale, this superb route takes you on stony tracks above the valley before a rubble slope descent to Bouthwaite. Back up the valley and a climb to Middlesmoor, before a superb descent right in to the car park.

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Circuit of Fountains Fell

Start/finish: Stainforth
Distance
: 25 miles (42km)

A long route but on quick surfaces takes you through some fantastic scenery including going past Pen-y-Ghent, the stunning valley of Littondale and Malham Tarn. The two long climbs mean you need to be reasonably fit, but you get to enjoy a great rocky descent to Litton and a final blast back into Stainforth.

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Tour of Wensleydale

Start/finish:Aysgarth Falls, or Castle Bolton or Askrigg
Distance
: 21 miles (36km)

A route on fast stone tracks and quick draining limestone grassland.  There is one long climb up from Cubeck on to the Stake allotments, but the descent to Thoralby is a classic.

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Circuit of Dodd Fell

Start/finish: Hawes
Distance
: 18 miles (30km)

A quick warm up on a quiet back road is followed by one of the classic climbs in the Dales up an old roman road.  A long stone track climb which at a gradient that means it is all rideable. Then a short bit of tarmac before a choice of routes back down.

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Tour of Whernside

Start/finish: Stainforth
Distance: 25 miles (42km)

A long route but on quick surfaces takes you through some fantastic scenery including going past Pen-y-ghent, the stunning valley of Littondale and Malham Tarn. The two long climbs mean you need to be reasonably fit, but you get to enjoy a great rocky descent to Litton and a final blast back into Stainforth.

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Tour of Pen-y-Ghent

Start/finish: Horton-in-Ribblesdale
Distance: 19 miles (27km)

The tour of Pen-y-ghent is a well known classic for good reason. A climb up an excellent rocky track leads to a moorland crossing on a mixture of purpose built track and natural surfaces. A short rocky climb up Dawson Close takes you on to a lovely high level track, before a superb descent from the shoulder of Pen-y-ghent.

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Barden Moor

Start/finish: Grassington or Bolton Abbey
Distance
: 21 miles (34km)

This route takes in the classic route over Barden Moor. A short, steep climb up leads to a seemingly endless rolling descent to Bolton Abbey. There is a great variety of surfaces including a great bit of singletrack down throught the woods.  Then it's a refuel before a road section back.

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Tour of Ingleborough

Start/finish: Clapham, Ribblehead or Ingleton
Distance
: 24 miles (40km)

The tour of Ingleborough takes in a full circuit of Yorkshire’s most famous peak. The first half of the ride is mainly on tarmac following quiet roads, but beyond Ribblehead the tarmac is left behind and the route follows stony tracks and limestone grassland. This section largely follows the Pennine Bridleway.

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Bowderdale Classic

Start/finish: Sedbergh
Distance: 24 miles (39km)

A classic trip that needs to be saved for a good day.  An epic climb takes you up on to The Calf before the fantastic singletrack down Bowderdale. A chance to refuel in Ravenstonedale, before the return route which has a mixture of singletrack and stone trails back to Sedbergh.

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The Edge

Start/finish: Reeth
Distance
: 24 miles (40km)

A classic tour of Swaledale taking in some of the best routes in the area. The highlight for most people is likley to be the two great rocky descents from Fremington Edge and then into Gunnerside Gill.

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Great Greenhow

Start/finish: Pateley Bridge Showground car park
Distance
: 25 miles (42km)

A long cross country route with some prolonged climbs and epic views. More about distance than technical terrain, it includes quiet roads, and remote stone tracks.

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Long Settle Loop

Start/finish: Settle
Distance: 21 miles (35km)

If you've been round the Settle Loop and want to extend it, then here is one option. It takes you across a section of Mastiles Lane, before a loop to Malham past Gordale scar.  It finishes with a testing climb up Stockdale Lane, before a rocky descent to Settle taking in an extra off road section.

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Tour of Malhamdale

Start/finish: Gargrave
Distance: 18 miles (31km)

A great route through the south of the National Park. After a warm up on a road section to start, there is hardly any more tarmac.  Great variety of terrain and surfaces, some big climbs and flowing descents make this a top ride.

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A grand day out

Start/finish: Horton-in-Ribblesdale or Buckden
Distance
: 36 miles (59km)

Don't be put off by the 60km distance - this is do-able.  The route includes a lot of quick stone tracks as well as a few minor roads, so you should be able to do a reasonable average speed. But it is a full day out - so pack plenty of food!

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Dales classic two day tour

Start/finish: Stainforth or Fremington
Distance (total): 116km (72 miles)
Distance (Day 1): 58km (36 miles)
Distance (Day 2): 58km (36 miles)

A superb two-day adventure which has a bit of everything - grassy tracks, long climbs, walled lanes and fast rocky descents. A good level of fitness is needed for this epic trip which takes you through classic Dales landscape. Be sure to pack plenty of food, a repair kit and spare clothes.

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Please note that due to the length of the route it is not possible to provide a very detailed map for printing. Although you can zoom in to view details on the map on your computer, it prints to a single piece of A4 and as such does not show the route in sufficient detail to use it for navigation when on the route. You should therefore research the route fully and ensure that you have all of the necessary maps before setting off.



Settle Loop

Start/finish: Settle
Distance: 10 miles (16km)

The first section of the Pennine Bridleway to be opened in the Dales. It takes in a variety of surfaces: gravel, natural grassland and stony limestone sections. There are also great views over the southern Dales. It may be a short route, but it takes in a big climb, so expect to earn your cake.

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Malham Moor

Start/finish: Grassington
Distance
: 10 miles (17km)

A good all weather route which takes you from Grassington up a quiet road to Kilnsey. After starting up Mastiles Lane you head out across Malham Moor on a mixture of grass track and purpose built trail. The final descent to Threshfield through the old coal mining area is a superb descent of a rough gritstone track.

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Brimham blast

Start/finish: Stif Cycles, Summerbridge
Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Although this route is short it should not be underestimated. It starts with a warm up on the road gently climbing towards the first of the off-road sections. However after this it becomes an intense ride with spectacular views and challenging uphill and downhill sections on rough bridleways.

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Taking a day off?

Ideas for what to do on a day off from riding ...

Types of paths

Find out about the different types of paths and who can use them.

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