Mountain biking in the Cairngorms National Park, located in the Scottish Highlands, offers an incredible range of trails and breathtaking landscapes, with the towns of Aviemore and Ballater at the heart of the Mountain Bike action you will explore both the East and West sides of the Cairngorms national park. You will riding through ancient Caledonian forests, picturesque lochs, rolling hills, and rugged mountains. With more ground above 1000m than any other area of the UK the Cairngorms is a spectacular place to ride your bike. The park's diverse terrain provides a thrilling and immersive experience both on and off the bike. Keep your eyes peeled for Golden Eagles and the famous Cairngorm Mountain reindeer herd.
Mountain biking on the Cairngorms plateau is a challenging and thrilling experience that offers riders a unique opportunity to explore one of the most remote and rugged areas in Scotland. The terrain on the Cairngorms plateau is challenging and you will have to work hard to get that Mountain bike trail gold. From Hike a bikes to river crossings and endless descents this incredible destination will keep you on your toes.
The landscape is dominated by vast expanses of heather moorland, steep rocky ridges, and rugged boulder fields, which provide a truly epic backdrop for mountain biking adventures. The weather conditions on the plateau can also be challenging, with sun, winds, rain, and snow being a possibility all in one day in Scotland.
If you ride one trail make sure it is HBR
One of the most popular mountain biking routes on the Cairngorms plateau is the Lairig Ghru pass, which is a 30km long trail that runs from the town of Braemar to Aviemore. The trail is one of the most challenging in Scotland, with steep ascents and descents, technical rocky sections, and river crossings. However, the views from the trail are simply spectacular, with panoramic vistas of the Cairngorms mountains and the surrounding valleys.
Heartbreak Ridge is a popular mountain bike trail located in Ballater, a picturesque village in the Southern Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. The trail is known for its challenging terrain and technical features, which offer riders a thrilling and unforgettable mountain biking experience.
The Heartbreak Ridge trail is approximately 17km long and takes riders through some of the most scenic areas of the Cairngorms National Park. The trail starts with a steep climb that leads to a rocky ridge, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trail then descends down the ridge, with technical rocky sections, jumps, and drop-offs that require riders to have excellent bike control and good technical skills.
The flow of granite down the hill side is perfection
Heading West to the Adventure capital of the Highlands, Aviemore.
Aviemore is renowned as the adventure capital of the Scottish Highlands and situated to the West of the Cairngorms Plateau and the towering peak of Ben Macdui sitting at 1309M high above the Cairngorm ski centre. Ben Macdui is the second-highest peak in the UK and the highest you can sensibly ride a mountain bike down. There is an abundance of natural riding on the Plateau with the right-to-roam laws and some incredible big mountain, chunky, technical mtb descents.
The Glenmore Forest Park and Rothiemurchus have a well-established trail network that caters to a range of abilities. The trails wind through ancient Caledonian pine forests, along rivers, and across open moorlands, providing stunning views of the surrounding mountains and offering some great mountain biking more suited to beginner / intermediate riders. With Green, Blue and Red Trails.
One of the most renowned mountain biking destinations near Aviemore is Laggan Wolftrax. Located about 30 miles south of Aviemore, Laggan Wolftrax features purpose-built trails designed to challenge riders with a range of technical features, jumps, drops, and berms. Something very different to the natural terrain of the Plateau.
Aviemore is a mountain bikers paradise with great bike shops, bars, restaurants and a superb range of accommodations which are becoming more and more bike-friendly with DMBinS (Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland) really stepping up to help all types of businesses get up to speed and provide the correct services and facilities needed to cater for mountain bikers and this growing tourism industry.
Eastbound and down the trail just get better.
If you venture to the east of the Cairngorms National Park you are in for a real MTB treat and something quite different to the purely natural riding of Central Cairngorm Mountain. Aberdeenshire is fast becoming one of Scotland's hot spots for mountain biking and it is for good reason. One of those reasons is the Aberdeenshire Trail Association formed in 2018 with again the help of DMBinS and the vision to increase the quality and sustainability of the region’s mountain bike trail.
There are hundreds of trails all over Aberdeenshire, built by locals and ridden sometime on the grey line of legality. But the Aberdeenshire Trail Association are adopting some of the trails and working with landowners to ensure their future. Locations such as Pitfichie, Aboyne and Ballater and really benefiting from this work.
Alongside, the natural trails such as Heartbreak Ridge in Ballater, Aberdeenshire is seeing a rise in man-made bike parks and the most famous to date is the new Tarland Trails on the outskirts of Deeside village has just sen an investment of 1.1Milllion into its community lead bike park.
Our tours and experience in the area
We have been running multiple tours in the Cairngorms for several years now with a combined knowledge of over 50 years worth of riding in this area. If you have any questions about mountain biking in the Cairngorms please do get in touch. There is so much more to tell about this incredible destination.