Cairngorms Mountain Biking & Cycling

Cairngorms Mountain Biking & Cycling

Breathe in the crisp Scottish air, get your heart pumping, and surround yourself with dramatic landscapes, beautiful scenery and captivating wildlife, when you go on a Cairngorms mountain biking and road cycling adventure. 

The Cairngorms, located in the heart of Scotland, is home to five of the six highest mountains in the UK, and is the UK’s largest national park, with over 1,500 square miles of unspoilt countryside (twice the size of the Lake District National Park), and an abundance of majestic lochs, wildlife, and fast flowing rivers, making it a truly stunning location to cycle. 

Whether you’re a mountain bike (MTB) enthusiast, or you are just looking for a light cycle as you explore the beautiful attractions of the Scottish highlands, there is an abundance of stunning Cairngorms cycle routes for you to choose from. 

 

Short Cycling Routes for Families

Cycling in the Cairngorms is something that the entire family can enjoy. There are countless scenic routes, under 15 miles, that can be explored by individuals of all biking skill levels, on easy, well-maintained, mostly paved trails. Perfect for families wanting to immerse themselves in the beautiful Scottish scenery without the risk of your little one’s legs getting too tired.

Loch an Eilein Circuit Cairngorms Bike Route

Source: https://www.wildernessscotland.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Top-5-Walking-Routes-in-the-Cairngorms-Loch-an-Eilein-and-Creag-Dubh.jpg

 

Rothimurrie 

Loch an Eilein Circuit

Length: 4.3 miles

Starting/finishing point: Loch an Eilein car park

Difficulty: Easy (perfect for younger children)

Surface: Flat path

 

The Deeside Way Cairngorms Cycling Path

Source: https://f.eu1.jwwb.nl/public/y/p/m/temp-sfccvfffbgcawcfdvtlj/kimzvx/scotlands_finest_deeside_way_geo.jpg

 

Royal Deeside

The Deeside Way

Length: 11 miles

Starting/finishing point: Victory Hall, Aboyne/ Old Royal Station

Difficulty: Easy (perfect for younger children)

Surface: Flat path

 

Glen Doll and Jock’s Road, Cairngorm mountain biking trail

Source: https://visitangus.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/clova-6s.jpg

 

Angus

Glen Doll - Jock’s Road Cairngorms MTB route

Length: 5 miles

Starting/finishing point: Forestry commission car park

Difficulty: Intermediate (recommended for older children)

Surface: Road & Flat path

 

Road Cycling Routes for All Skill Levels

For good simple fun, experience our loch morlich cycling routes, by opting for The Old Lagging Way loop from Aviemore, or the gorgeous road cycling trail that takes you on a three hour long loop from the village of Boat of Garten, past the glistening waters of Loch Uaine and the enchanting slow moving fairy pools. With both routes leading back to The Barn Cafe, you can regain some much-needed energy and grab a quick bite to eat after your adventure.

For something a little less time consuming, in the south of the Cairngorms, you could take the Blair Atholl loop which will take you to the majestic Blair Castle, past the fast-moving Falls of Tarf, then to Glen Tilt where you can experience the tranquillity of its still waters, before you make your way back to Blair Atholl town centre. 

With a mixture of road, cycle ways and steady paths there will be something for every adventurer to enjoy. 

Blair Atholl Castle, Perth And Kinross, Scotland

Source: https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2263263

 

Blair Atholl

Blair Castle - Falls of Tarf - Glen Tilt Loop

Length: 12.9 miles

Approximate time: 1hr 40mins

Starting/finishing point: Blair Atholl Train Station

Difficulty: Intermediate

Surface: Road

 

Old Packhorse Bridge Cairngorms Road Bike Ride

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/22746515@N02/2498231305

 

Carrbridge

Packhorse bridge – Burmoa Road Climb Loop

Length: 24.7 miles

Approximate time: 3hr 30mins

Starting/finishing point: Carrbridge Train Station

Break/refreshment point: The Old Bridge Inn

Difficulty: Hard

Surface: Path & Road

 

Ruthven Banks Mound on Cairngorms MTB Bike Ride

Source: https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/391882

 

Kingussie

Ruthven Barracks - Feshiebridge - Speyside Way Loop

Length: 27.5 miles

Approximate time: 2hr 40mins

Starting/finishing point: Kingussie Train Station

Break/refreshment point: The Barn Cafe

Difficulty: Intermediate

Surface: Road

 

Bridge over the River Dee, Ballater

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bridge_over_the_River_Dee,_Ballater_-_geograph.org.uk_-_2619454.jpg

 

Ballater

The Dee at Ballater – Knock Castle Loop 

Length:  25.6 miles

Approximate time: 3hr 10mins

Starting/finishing point: Deeside Inn/Balmoral Arms

Half-way refreshment point: Brown Sugar Cafe

Difficulty: Intermediate

Surface: Road & Path

 

Lochan Uaine or Green Loch in the Cairngorms

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lochan_Uaine_-_geograph.org.uk_-_943382.jpg

 

Boat of Garten

Ryvoan Bothy - The Green Lochan - Fairy Pool Loop 

Length: 22 miles

Approximate time: 3hr

Starting/finishing point: Boat of Garten Train Station

Break/refreshment point: The Barn Cafe

Difficulty: Intermediate

Surface: Path, Road & Cycle way

 

Cairngorms Loop Bikepacking

For something a little more challenging, thrilling and truly stunning to set your eyes on, you could opt for the tour of the Cairngorms mountain bike loop. Starting at Grantown-On-Spey bus station, you would first cycle towards the stunning views of Loch Garten, then surround yourself with truly dazzling views of the Cairngorms, looking upon the Cairngorm mountains and surrounding lochs. After around 30 miles of exploring the base of the mountain, you will embark on the challenging steep climb up the Cairngorm Mountain, where you will experience views like no other.

Good Fitness Levels Required. Suitable for intermediate - expert skill levels. Some portions of the route may be unpaved and difficult to ride. 

 

See full details here.

For the full Cairngorms bikepacking experience discover the 180 mile route here.

 

Cairngorms Mountain Biking Loop MTB Trail

Source: https://nara.getarchive.net/media/nebo-loop-scenic-byway-mountain-biker-in-lower-payson-canyon-85e89c

 

Grantown-On-Spey

Cairngorm Mountain Loop 

Length: 52.6 miles

Approximate time: 3hr 40mins

Starting/finishing point: Grantown-On-Spey Bus Station

Break/refreshment point: Aviemore Hostel

Difficulty: Intermediate - Expert

Surface: Road & State road

 

 

Cairngorms MTB Routes

The Cairngorms National Park is home to some of the best, and most thrilling, mountain bike routes in Scotland. Challenge the adventurer in you and discover the adrenaline and exhilaration you get from biking in the Highlands. Explore some of the dynamic single track paths, as you set your eyes upon some beautiful lochs, or brave the challenging climb up a hill, to experience the stunning views at every summit.

Loch an Eilein

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/128941223@N02/48199591042

 

Aviemore

Loch an Eilein - An Lochan Uaine – Logging trail Biking Loop

Length: 22.9 miles

Approximate time: 3hr

Starting/finishing point: Aviemore Train Station

Difficulty: Intermediate (appropriate for all skill levels)

Break/refreshment point: Glenmore Visitor Centre

Surface: Single track & Path

 

Summit of Pannanich Hill on MTB Trail Ride

Source: https://s0.geograph.org.uk/photos/54/87/548795_7b12df82.jpg

 

Ballater

Pannanich Hill 

Length: 17.3 miles

Approximate time: 3hr

Starting/finishing point: Pannanich Hill car park

Difficulty: Hard (advanced riding skills needed)

Surface: Single track & Path

 

Loch Morlich in Aviemore, Cairngorms

Source: https://www.outdooractive.com/en/route/bike-riding/united-kingdom/the-old-logging-way-loop/53658159/

 

Aviemore

The Old Logging Way Loop 

Length: 18.3 miles

Approximate time: 2hr 35mins

Starting/finishing point: Aviemore Train Station

Break/refreshment point: The Barn Cafe

Difficulty: Intermediate

Surface: Singletrack & Path

 

Singletrack Mountain Bike Centres

To experience the thrill and adrenaline gained from mountain biking, without the risk of getting lost, a trip to Glenlivet or Laggan Wolftrox is a great option. Simply follow the corresponding coloured pillars, depending on the difficulty of mountain bike ride you are looking for, and enjoy an action packed ride across the unpaved tracks.

Glenlivet mountain bike trails

Source: https://www.moredirt.com/photos/92440.jpg

 

Glenlivet Summit

Blue trail - Easy (perfect for young children)

Orange trail - Intermediate

Red trail - Hard (some experience needed)

Find out more on the Glenlivet Estate website.

 

Laggan Wolftrax Mountain Bike Trail Centre in Cairngorms National Park

Source: https://keyassets.timeincuk.net/inspirewp/live/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2016/12/xlaggan-wolftrax-624.jpg

 

Laggan Wolftrax MTB Trail Centre

Green trail - Easy (perfect for young children)

Red trail - Intermediate

Black trail - Hard (some experience needed)

Orange trail - Expert 

Find out more on the Wolftrax Cairngorms MTB trail centre website.

 

Bike Hire in Ballater, Aberdeenshire

Source: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/cdn.webfactore.co.uk/sr_688642.jpg?1537558108

 

Bike Hire

With an abundance of specialist Cairngorms bike shops nearby, you won’t need to worry if you’ve left your wheels at home. The Cairngorms National Park is also home to a selection of electric bikes and e-bikes for hire, which gives you the chance to not only make your ride less challenging, but also allows you to hop on and off at your leisure, while you take in the spectacular surroundings. 

On top of this, in the majority of towns and villages, our routes start at, there will be specialist mountain bike hire shops, where you can personally select the bike you would like to take on your adventure. 

 

Visit the Cairngorms

Whether you’re looking to tour the Cairngorm mountains, discover the glistening highland lochs or explore the enchanting castles, whilst you cycle, our Deeside Inn in Ballater is the ideal base for your cycling adventure. There is nothing more rejuvenating than going for a long, challenging cycle and coming back to a luxury, welcoming place to stay, just minutes away from several popular Cairngorms mtb routes. 

With plenty more attractions and places to discover nearby, our Deeside Inn allows you to experience the best of Scotland’s wildlife, historic attractions and surrounding mountains.

For more bikepacking holiday inspiration, check out our cycling in Oban and cycling in Glencoe blogs, and book your stay with us today.

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