If you’re thinking of a destination for mountain biking, choosing Wales will not leave you disappointed. There are plenty of places to choose from to get your mountain bike adrenaline fix, from dedicated centers with bespoke trails to long routes going across the country to epic hills and plenty of places for one-off adventures.

As a keen cyclist, both road and off-road, I have had the pleasure of cycling some of these awesome routes and wanted to share some information that will hopefully make you want to choose Wales as one of your next cycling destinations.

View from Bwlch Nant y Arian
View from Bwlch Nant y Arian

Bwlch Nant yr Arian

I’m starting with Nant y Arian because it’s located literally on my doorstep in mid-Wales so it’s the most accessible in terms of regular off-road cycling and a place I’ve been to many times.

Syfydrin trail marker
Syfydrin trail marker

I should start by saying that this place isn’t just for cycling enthusiasts (although you will see plenty) but this Natural Resources Wales site offers walking, wildlife watching, bird feeding, and a great visitor center as some of its many attractions.

In terms of cycling it offers the following:

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  • Skills Park: The skills park is located right next to the main entrance of Bwlch Nant yr Arian and is perfect for honing your bike skills or even letting the kids burn off some energy navigating the course and experiencing some of the jumps.
  • A great range of off-road cycling routes for all capabilities. I have included all the important information in the table below.
Route NameDistanceClimb (elevation)TimeImportant Information
Arian Trail7.9km160 meters90 mins maximumA leisure route suitable for all capabilities. Includes one short, steep climb. Fantastic lake views.
Melindwr Trail

Loop 1 & 2: 5km

110 meters60 minutes maximumDesigned as a route to help riders progress their skills, the Melindwr Trail isn’t recommended for those looking for a long ride.


However, it contains a couple of epic descents even though it’s a short course, so if you’re looking for a quick adrenaline fix, this could be for you!

Pendam Trail10.2km200 meters120 minutesThis difficult trail will give you a great ride with some challenging climbs and fun descents!
Summit Trail18.5km440 meters150 minutes+This is the second longest route at Bwlch Nant yr Arian and if you’re a competent cyclist, something you’ll want to tackle!

It has some epic climbs, and fast descents and takes in all the local scenery en route.

Syfydrin Trail36km750 meters300 minutesThe longest of all the routes at Bwlch Nant yr Arian and one that should only be attempted by experienced cyclists.

I have not ridden all of this route, only parts of it but if you do attempt it you can look forward to a magnificent day of riding which encompasses all parts of the Summit trail plus more.

As this is a long and challenging route you need to be prepared for all circumstances so it’s best to bring food and drink, spare bike parts, and clothing.

Looking west from Bwlch Nant y Arian
Looking west from Bwlch Nant y Arian

Traws Eryri

If you’d like to embark on an epic adventure across North Wales, the Traws Eryri route could be something well worth considering. This epic route has been designed by Cycling UK and crosses some of the best parts of Wales, so you won’t be left feeling disappointed.

The route starts in the small market town of Machynlleth and winds through amazing places such as the Mawddach Estuary, Coed y Brenin forests (see separate info on this below), and plenty more. As you make your way through the Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri (formerly Snowdonia National Park) it will be impossible not to be caught up in the magic and history of the area.

In total, the route is 196km long and includes a whopping total climb of over 4,000 meters. It finishes in Conwy, North Wales and you can expect this adventure to take around 5 days, so plenty of planning and preparation will be needed, but it will all be worthwhile when you can look back and say you’ve conquered this challenge.

Coed y Brenin 

Further north you can find the amazing Coed y Brenin which was Britain’s first purpose-built mountain biking center and is still a hugely popular destination for all those who love the sport.

I’ve been to Coed y Brenin on a few occasions but such is the vastness of the site, I haven’t managed to yet complete all the mountain bike trails!

Here’s what you can expect if you decide to visit:

  • Skills area: this comprises four different zones to suit all abilities so you can find your level. Perfect for practicing and building confidence to take on the longer trails.
  • Check out the below table for all the important details of the mountain bike trails.
Route NameDistanceClimb (elevation)TimeImportant Information
Yr Afon10.9km100 meters90 – 180 minutesA fairly gentle route that is perfect for beginners and older children.
MinorTaurLoops 1 – 4: 13km265 meters180 minutes4 loops are available with the longest route encompassing all loops.
Temtiwr9km170 meters60 minutesA short-distance ride with some serious elevation. Perfect for those who are short on time but want to raise their heart rate.
Cyflym Coch12.6km270 meters120 minutesAs we move through the difficulty levels the length of rides starts to increase.
Dragon’s Back30km710 meters300 minutesThis route isn’t far off the longest one in Bwlch Nant yr Arian and there are still three more to come. This route will take you to the highest point in Coed y Brenin.
MBR17.6km410 meters180 minutesThis trail has some serious elevation so be prepared for some tough climbs and some epic descents. It also includes some very technical aspects, so you need the skills to match.
Tarw Du20km460 meters210-240 minutesAnother route that will test even the most experienced of riders.
Beast35km1,100 meters360 minutesLook at that elevation – that’s higher than Snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales), so this one isn’t for the faint-hearted!


Bike Park Wales

Located in South Wales not too far from the Brecon Beacons, Bike Park Wales consists of a network of a whopping 40 different trails that are perfect for every level of rider. I have only been once to this park and am keen to visit a lot more to see much more of the many trails that are kept in tip-top condition for riding pleasure.

As the park consists of a network of trails, all intertwining to combine into longer routes some care should be taken before going to Bike Park Wales so you can work out which routes you’d like to take.

Dyfi Bike Park

This awesome place is located just outside the small town of Machynlleth and is about half way between where I live and Coed y Brenin, so you could say I’m totally blessed to have three world-class mountain bike parks within an hour’s drive.

There are 11 routes to choose from at Dyfi Bike Park, however most of these are for the experienced downhill rider, with a few options of less extreme tracks. It’s also important to note that Dyfi Bike Park is all about the downhill and less about the climbing – there are regular shuttles running to the top of the routes so riders can spend as much time as possible descending!

Here’s what you can expect to find at Dyfi Bike Park.


Route Name Descent time Important Information 
50 hitsAround 8 minutesAdvanced course that is best suited to Enduro bikes
Original DHAround 6 minutesVery advanced / Double Black Diamond course
Race TrackAround 5 minutesVery advanced / Double Black Diamond course
Slab TrackAround 5 minutesTriple Black Diamond
Super SwooperAround 5 minutesAdvanced / Red course
El HippoAround 3 minutesBlack
Oakley – Icon WayAround 5 minutesTriple Black Diamond / short course with lots of jumps
Turns in the fernsUnder 5 minutesRed / shorter course
Fire in the boothUnder 5 minutesTriple Black Diamond / very technical
Lovely DyfiUnder 5 minutesRed / a less technical course for a slightly relaxed ride
Insta360 – FlowstateAround 5 minutesSingle Black Diamond


As you can see from the table from above, Dyfi Bike Park isn’t for the faint hearted and not for those who don’t enjoy or are capable of fast descents.

Brechfa Forest

Located near Carmarthen, which offers great access to nearby towns and cities such as Swansea, Llanelli, and even Cardiff is only an hour away, Brechfa forest offers a good opportunity to experience another mountain biking option in south Wales.

Although there’s only the one route at Brechfa, it’s a decent one – here’s what you can expect:


Route Name Distance Time Important Information 
Gorlech Train20.1km180-210 minutesAs this is the only trail offered at Brechfa it’s important that you can cycle the full distance before heading out. The trail is also graded as a ‘red’ trail, which is classed as difficult.


Afan Forest Park

Again, this epic mountain bike park is located in south Wales, this time near Port Talbot which is only 20 minutes away from Swansea, and 45 minutes away from Cardiff.

When at Afan Forest you can take your mountain bike along some of the 80 miles worth of tracks on offer, which all range in difficulty levels, making it the perfect day out for novice and experienced riders.

We’ve broken down the trails so you can see what to expect.

Route Name Distance Climb (elevation) Time Important Information 
Rookie trail and skills area5.8km158 metres30-120 minsThis is classed as a green/easy trail which means it is suitable for all. There’s also an option to add an additional 2.4km to this ride if you wish to make it longer.
Blue Scar Trail7.1km177 meters90-120 minsThis is classed as a blue/moderate trail which means you have to have basic mountain biking skills and a moderate level of fitness to attempt it. It’s perfect for those wishing to explore a longer route or for those building up their fitness.
Penhydd Trail14.4km353 meters150-180 minsThis is classed as a red/difficult trail and should only be attempted by experienced riders and those with a good level of fitness.
Y Wal Trail18.6km520 meters150 – 240 minsThis is also classed as a red/difficult trail and should only be attempted by experienced riders and those with a good level of fitness. There is also a high level of elevation in this ride, so those attempting it should be accustomed to climbs.


Elan Valley

Situated in the heart of mid-Wales, the Elan Valley, in my opinion is one of the best places in Wales to explore by bike.

A low reservoir at Elan Valley
A low reservoir at Elan Valley

While it’s not technically a bike park, cycling is actively encouraged as a means of exploring the area, which is vast in size and a great way to explore everything on offer.

There are four reservoirs to see at Elan Valley – Craig Coch, Pen y Garreg, Garreg Ddu and Caban Coch – all spectacular and one of the best spots in Wales for photos – there is stunning beauty all around.
One of the magnificent Elan Valley dams
Here are the best ways to explore by bike:

Route Name Distance Time Important Information 
Elan Valley Trail29km150-180 mins plus anything extra for photos!This is a medium level route which will take you all around the beautiful Elan Valley – be sure to stop for as many photos as possible. Because of the distance it should be attempted by people with a good level of cycling experience and fitness.
Elan Epic Mountain Bike Trail60km7+ hoursA serious ride and not for the faint hearted – be sure you’ve packed all the essentials for this ride as you’re going to be out all day!
Black Cottage (mountain bike)30km4 hoursA half day ride that will take you past all the highlights of the Elan Valley. There are some technical sections which means this ride is more suited to the advanced rider.
Wye Valley Loop19km2 hoursClassed as a red route, this is the shortest of the rides at Elan Valley, but it still takes in all the highlights, including the spectacular Wye Valley.


A bridge and farmhouse at the Elan Valley
A bridge and farmhouse at the Elan Valley


Thank you for taking the time to read this article on some of the best places to go mountain biking in Wales. I hope you can see from this article that Wales has plenty to offer – and this article doesn’t even capture it all, but only provides a flavour of the most popular destinations.

Some of the best days can be found not at the main mountain biking locations but in the miles and miles of open countryside and woodland that Wales to offer.

Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed and I hope this article has given you a flavour of what to expect if you decide to take your next cycling adventure in this magnificent country.

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