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Tour de France, Yorkshire Tour de France comes through Cray, Wharfedale


It’s great to explore the Yorkshire Dales by bike! We have a network of minor roads and mountain bike-friendly byways, bridleways and ‘green lanes’ that cross the area. You also get to see more and feel more in touch with the countryside when you’re on a bike.

So the cycling here may not always be on the flat, but any effort in climbing hills is always rewarded with the best views of the Dales landscape. Need to walk? No problem! Just take your time and enjoy the stunning surroundings.

At the end of the day you’ll have earned that piece of cake or pint of locally brewed beer, plus you’re helping to protect this iconic landscape by moving around it in a sustainable way.

The Swale Trail

The Swale Trail is a 20km (12 mile) easy mountain bike route running the length of Swaledale from Reeth to Keld. You can complete the route in a number of sections with Gunnerside providing a good break in the middle with its pub, cafes and toilets. The route is aimed at people with older children and those with some cycling experience and links together stone tracks and trails with quiet tarmac trails. This is a great way to explore this stunning valley.

The Viking Challenge is a fun way to complete the Swale Trail, especially if you’re biking with kids. You can download it as a PDF here or pick one up from one of our National Park Visitor Centres.

The route is not just for cyclists – you’ll also meet walkers and horse riders – remember to share the trail. Call out hello, and pass wide and slow.

Cyclists by waterfall
Some cyclists taking on the Swale Trail, near Keld

On the road

We’ve a huge range of routes for road cyclists from family-friendly short valley bottom routes to the world famous Tour de France, Tour de Yorkshire and UCI World Road Cycling Championship routes that cross Buttertubs, Kidstones and Grinton Moor, as well as the challenging 210 km (130 mile) Yorkshire Dales Cycle Way.

If you’re an experienced road cyclist, you could base yourself in one of the main villages and pick off a few routes over a weekend? Grassington and Settle are easily accessible from the south, while Hawes or Reeth will take you to the heart of the Northern Dales, and Kirkby Lonsdale and Kirkby Stephen open up the western part of the National Park.

For more on road cycling see the Cycle the Dales website.

Mountain biking

The Dales are known as one of the UK’s finest adventurous mountain biking areas. We have more than 900 km (600 miles) of bridleways, byways and green lanes to explore, often taking you up into remote moorland. Take on tough climbs and technical descents, all in remote, unspoilt countryside.

Our trails are a heady historic mixture of Roman roads, monastic highways, mining tracks and drovers roads. Most are on gradients that keep you in the saddle rather than off and pushing! Check out the routes on our Mountain biking section.

Cycling in the Yorkshire Dales Films

You don’t have to be a world class Athlete to Cycle the Dales. Anyone can do it. Watch this!

So you get the idea, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is just a great place to cycle. Even the Tour de France and world-renowned cycling commentator Phil Liggett agrees. Watch this!

In fact, we have a whole playlist of great cycling videos on our YouTube channel. Check them out here!

Stop the spread

Invasive Non-Native Species and diseases threaten the landscapes and wildlife of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and can impede access to and enjoyment of our wild places.  Some species such as Giant hogweed pose a direct threat to your safety and non-native tree diseases threaten the character and integrity of our native woodlands.  These species can easily be spread from site to site via tiny fragments or seeds, or as spores in mud and leaf litter caught up in treads and on frames of bikes or clothing. Please help to stop the spread of these species to and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park by making sure your bike, footwear and clothing is clean before you come, and using the Check Clean Dry protocol at the end of your ride. Find out more about non-native species.

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