In a recent Singletracks survey of mountain bikers in Europe, Wales is the second most popular MTB destination on the continent, beating out places like the Alps and Pyrenees. Sure, Wales might not offer the same scenery or sheer verts as those other places but the quality and diversity of trails more than makes up for a lack of natural advantages.
Much of the mountain biking in Wales is clustered around two National Parks: Snowdonia in the northwest and Brecon Beacons in the southeast. The country–which is part of the United Kingdom–is “largely mountainous” according to Wikipedia, with peaks rising as high as 3,560 ft (1085 m) above sea level. No big surprise, then, that mountain bikers flock to Wales from all over the UK and even mainland Europe.
I’ve never ridden in Wales but if I ever get the chance, here are the five trails I definitely don’t want to miss!
Mountain bikers will find dozens of kilometers of all-weather singletrack branching out from the Coed-y-Brenin mountain bike centre. Singletracks members report that many of the trails are challenging, though fortunately there are still a few beginner-friendly tracks in the area for those just getting started.
I love this trail center. [I] go every year and love it. [G]reat fun with nice sections all around. [Y]ou must try. -epicjames666
Bike parks are always popular with riders so it’s no surprise that Bike Park Wales, which opened in 2013, is already a top draw for travelers. With 27km of lift serviced trails, Bike Park Wales is constantly evolving to serve mountain bikers from beginners to experts.
Let the efficient uplift do (most) of the climbing and choose from multiple blue-red- black (even some ‘pro’ option) routes down. Very well designed and maintained trails, great cafe area for refuelling and big expansion plans! None of the trails are super steep, the difference between the trail designations is largely the amount of flat/pedal sections (quite a few on the blues) and the style of trail (wide gentle on blues to tight, rooty/rocky with small drops and bigger air opportunities on the reds/blacks). Plenty to keep anyone of any skill set happy for a whole day. -Trevor Warne
According to MBWales.com, Afan Forest is the fastest-growing mountain bike area in Britain, and the Skyline Trail is probably the most well-known trail in the area. At last check, the roughly 45km Skyline Trail was partially closed due to the construction of a wind farm, but developers promise the classic route will be back soon. In the meantime, there are still plenty of trails to choose from in Afan Forest Park, including the Y Wal Trail and White’s Level Trail.
Afan is epic on all levels. There are enough trails of intermediate to highish level to keep everyone happy. One hour technical climb on ‘whites levels’ gets the blood pumping. Followed by the black run including north shore then a great descent requiring full commitment.(not for the faint hearted). 15 minute fire track climb to windy point, which descends on superb sweeping single track onto rocky drop offs and air friendly jumps. Don’t get it wrong there is no where to safely fall here! Don’t forget to get in ‘energy’ the most joyful descent of lumps bumps and sweeping forest descent. Head onto skyline for the final epic descent, ensuring your suspension is set for maximum travel. -nickuts
Coed Llandegla is another mountain bike center that offers trails for multiple rider abilities, with about 27km of trails rated from green (easiest) to black (expert). Like many of the mountain bike centres in Wales, there’s a bike shop, cafe, and restrooms on site. Many riders claim this is the best mountain bike centre in the country so clearly it is not to be missed!
This is the place i’ve ridden most in Wales. Why? Because its awesome.
Its got enough technical climbing and weaving through trees to keep the XC fan happy and then some fantastic black graded downhill runs that throw you over jumps, doubles and round berms in a way that leaves you feeling a pro and grinning from ear to ear. -olimoo
Dyfi Forest is but one ride in the Machynlleth area and is notable because it boasts one of, if not the longest, downhill singletrack runs in Wales. In addition to Dyfi, riders won’t want to miss Climachx and Mach 1, 2, and 3 trails. All told, mountain bikers will find at least 80km of singletrack around Machynlleth!
[Dyfi Forest] was technical and [I] can’t wait to get back to this place and try an finish it in the summer. -medavidcook
Of course there are many more great mountain bike trails in Wales we weren’t able to include, so be sure to check out this list of riding spots in Wales. And if there are trails Singletracks is missing, please add them using this form!