With great hills, comes great expectation.
Mountain bikes at the ready, get set for our favourite Snowdonia cycle rides – there’s even a 364km challenge for the really keen among you.
1. Beddgelert Village and Forest
For a short but rewarding mountain bike route, head over to Beddgelert Forest. A full circular route is around 20km but don’t let that put you off – once you’ve experienced the thrill of riding at full speed from the top all the way to the bottom, you’ll understand why it’s a must.
The route can be downloaded from: http://cycleseven.org/cycling-in-beddgelert-forest
2. Lôn Las Menai – (easy)
If you have a spare half hour on your Snowdonia trip then grab your kids and their bikes and complete the Lôn Las Menai route. It starts from Victoria Dock at Caernarfon, making it ideal to combine with a visit to Caernarfon Castle.
The route can be downloaded from: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/lon-las-menai
3. Lôn Eifion – (for all abilities)
For those of you looking for a family cycling route, or as part of a more challenging round, the Lôn Eifion from Caernarfon to Bryncir is ideal. Following the route of the dismantled Caernarfon to Afon Wen railway, the first five kilomentres are surprisingly narrow before opening out into a wider track with far reaching views of the mountains of Snowdonia to one side and Caernarfon bay to the other. There are no facilities at the far end in Bryncir, so you’ll need to turn back or cross country lanes to re-join the route in Llanwnda.
The route can be downloaded from: http://www.mudandroutes.com/archives/582
4. The Snowdonia Cycle Sportive – the Etape Eryri – (for all abilities)
With a choice of four routes (plus a family-friendly route) starting and finishing at Caernarfon Castle, are you up for the challenge of the Etape Eryri? From the moderately difficult 75km Bach route to the insane 364km Xtrem, there’s something to whet all appetites.
Routes can be downloaded from: http://etapeeryri.com/content/route-information
5. Bwlch-y-Groes – Dinas – (for experienced mountain bikers)
It may only be three kilometres long but the 376m climb makes Bwlch-y-Groes a real tough one. Don’t let that put you off; for mountain bike enthusiasts, this challenge is a must and will earn you serious credibility among your friends.
The route can be downloaded from: http://www.climbbybike.com/climb.asp?Col=Bwlch—y—Groes&qryMountainID=7527
6. Penmachno – (difficult)
This red grade mountain bike trail is not for the faint hearted. Boasting 30km of fast descents and technical riding – not to mention spectacular views – be prepared for the 766m climb. Depending on your experience, expect this trail to take up to five hours to complete.
The route can be downloaded from: http://www.penmachnobiketrails.org.uk/trails.html
7. Gwydyr Forest – The Marin Trail – (difficult)
If you’re itching to get out on your bike and experience ‘proper’ mountain biking then try out the Marin Trail. The climbs may be steep but the views from the top and the exhilarating descents make it all the worthwhile. A remote trail like this requires plenty of refreshments and bike repair tools in case of any eventuality. Set aside up to four hours for completion.
The route can be downloaded from: http://www.betws-y-coed.co.uk/feature_pages/item/14671/Mountain_Biking_in_the_Gwydyr_Forest.html
8. 3-Valley Bike Ride – Nant Gwynant, Nant Peris, Nant y Betws
Sample the stunning views across Snowdonia on the 50km cycle ride. Starting and finishing in Beddgelert village, this route passes through Snowdon’s three surrounding valleys. Take the route clockwise for a thrilling descent down Pen-y-pass back to Beddgelert.
The route can be downloaded from: http://cycleseven.org/3-valley-bike-ride-round-snowdon
9. The Mawddach Trail – (for all abilities)
Starting from Dolgellau and finishing at Barmouth, this 15km route winds its way along the southern edge of the Mawddach estuary. For the most part, the path is flat and around three metres wide, making it suitable for cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users. For a longer route, complete the Mawddach Trail as the final section of the South Snowdonia Gateway – a 43km stretch through forests and moorlands.
The route can be downloaded from: http://www.mawddachtrail.co.uk/mawddach-trail.html
10. Snowdon, Llanberis Path, Rangers Path and Telegraph Valley – (moderately difficult)
For a mixture of mountain biking, link Llanberis Path and Rangers Path with Telegraph Valley and climb to the summit of Snowdon. Take the clockwise route up Llanberis Path then leave the crowds behind as you head down Rangers Path where you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular trail. It’s one last uphill push to Telegraph Valley and from there, it’s descent all the way.
The route can be downloaded from: http://hitthehills.com/2011/12/23/the-best-way-to-cycle-snowdon/