From the steep limestone valleys like Dovedale to the stark moorland plateaus such as Kinder Scout, the Peak District is a wild and magnificent wonderland – especially when on two wheels!
One of the “must-ride” locations for mountain biking in the UK, the region blankets a large area in central England that is hugely varied in its undulations, foundations and scenery. Roughly split into two halves, the southern region of the National Park is known as the White Peak, characterised by the aforementioned limestone, while the northern and more wild area, the Dark Peak, is defined by dramatic gritstone ridges. This is some of the best land for mountain biking in the Peak District and the moment you set out on two wheels you will be taking in amazing views and the freshest of air! There is nothing like it.
Our guide chooses five of the best locations in the Peak District for mountain biking – from difficult, hardcore routes to family-friendly jaunts. Make a note of them for your next trip to the region and plan a stay in one of our lovely self-catering cottages which offer the perfect base to return to after days out pedalling mountains…
This is a route that is a little over 28 miles and requires advanced skills and a high level of fitness. It starts at the top of Ladybower Reservoir and heads out through Hope Valley, returning via Edale Valley, and follows some of the best trails that the Dark Peak can conjure.
It will push you to the limit of your stamina and skills with tricky technical climbs and adrenaline-inducing descents to bomb. For more knuckle-biting detail, click here.
Difficulty (out of five): ⛰️⛰️⛰️⛰️⛰️
Bakewell – Beeley Hill
You’ll have earned those Bakewell Puddings after this one. Designed for experienced riders, but not on a par with our first route, this trail covers almost 21 miles. The ride begins in the town of Bakewell in the White Peak, as the limestone hills provide good riding surrounded by fabulous scenery.
Beware, however, as it can get quite muddy, very slippery and dangerous with exposed wet roots. Take care during inclement weather and watch out for those trail fairies.
This is a mostly flat and traffic-free trail that runs for approximately 8 miles along the line of a disused railway. The railway closed in 1967 and the old tunnels have recently been opened and illuminated, which adds great excitement and glorious echoes to the journey! Passing through some of Derbyshire’s most beautiful countryside, and you can uncover some fascinating heritage along the way.
Instagram image by @abradford1996
The Monsal Trail can be enjoyed by anyone who is able to cycle, although it can get very busy in the summer months, so our advice is to start early and stop for refreshments along the way at one of the two cafes.
Carsington Water is a 2-mile-long reservoir where cyclists can complete a circuit that measures 8 miles, perfect for a day trip. It crosses the dam and goes through the villages of Carsington and Hopton, with wildlife viewing points along the way.
There is a large visitor’s centre to finish at, with a children’s play area, a water sports centre, a restaurant and some shops – a great day out for the family and a perfect place to refuel and relax.
Leek, South West Peaks
For absolute beginners through to regular cyclists, routes can be tailored to your needs with True North Adventures in Leek in the South West Peaks. They are a guided biking company for any cycling discipline, including electric bikes, and are the first company in the UK to do so. They have a fleet of full-suspension e-bikes, as they are known, specifically for use off-road.
This would be the perfect solution if you are visiting the area as a family as having a guide take some of the pressure off the adults so you can all just have fun. This way you can enjoy some of the best mountain bike trails and courses in the Peak District before returning home for some well-earned grub!
Difficulty: ⛰️ through to ⛰️⛰️⛰️⛰️⛰️
Mountain bike hire in the Peak District
Don’t have a mountain bike? Don’t worry, there are plenty of places throughout the Peak District National Park that hire out mountain bikes along with every other type of bike. Here are some of the best places for mountain bike hire in the Peak District…
- Upper Derwent Visitor Centre. Fairholmes Car Park, Derwent Ln, Bamford, S33 0AQ.
- Ashbourne Bike Hire. Mapleton Lane, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 2AA.
- Parsley Hay. Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 0DG.
- Manifold Valley Cycle Hire. Hulme End, Hartington, SK17 0EZ.
If you prefer to walk instead of a cycle, have a look at our recommendations for 10 fantastic walks in the Peak District.
Stay in mountain bike friendly accommodation in the Peak District
For those who are already set on an adrenaline-fuelled adventure in the Peak District, check out our Peak District cottages to find a great place to stay at the heart of the action.
With lots of holiday homes dotted throughout the Peak District we have a great selection for you and your friends and family to pick from. With cosy cottages for two to large houses for groups, we are confident we have a selection to cover all types of holidays. The towns of Buxton, Bakewell, Edale and Tissington would all be lovely places to base yourself offering ‘down time’ pottering around historic villages and great places to eat!
Browse the full collection today which would be great for mountain bike holidays in the Peak District.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.