Lake District Off-Road Bike Routes

Lake District Off-Road Bike Routes

Not surprisingly, the mountainous landscape of the Lake District has some of the toughest mountain biking in the UK. But this is only one aspect of the Lake District as the valleys themselves offer a huge variety of accessible terrain.

There are plenty of challenging climbs and fast descents to get the adrenaline buzzing - though some of them are rough enough to make you glad you invested in full suspension (or to keep your rear out of the saddle!).

But as always, it's up to you how much you choose to walk the ups and downs - and the occasional push gives you an opportunity to appreciate the scenery without your eyes glued to the trail ahead. 

Each route has been chosen for its overall quality - a firm belief that bikes are for riding, the inclusion of technical difficulty for its own sake, or too much pushing or carrying, has been avoided wherever possible.

All are circular, and where possible start at, or near to, main roads or railway stations, to avoid creating extra motorised traffic on the quiet lanes that we are intending to travel.

The direction chosen is intended to provide the best views, and more importantly, to keep the steepest and longest climbs on tarmac or similar surfaces, and the best downhills, off-road. 

The routes are made up as follows:

  • Easy - Almost flat routes, usually around 10 miles in length and on good surfaces that in all but extreme conditions should be 100% rideable. With easy navigation and any real climbs on tarmac, these are particularly suitable for beginners or family groups
  • Moderate - More challenging routes, generally of 12 to 15 miles over more undulating terrain and varied surfaces (possibly including mud when wet). More exciting downhills, and steeper climbs may need the occasional push.
  • More strenuous - Harder and possibly longer routes with significant ascents which will certainly need pushing or carrying. Steep and/or technical, and rough and rocky descents. May cross high, remote moorland, requiring appropriate equipment and experience
Here's a collection of superbly varied and rideable routes to help you discover the best of the Lake District by bike.


1. Skiddaw Round
2. Blencathra
3. Keswick Railway
4. Threlkeld
5. Loweswater ― Mosser & Buttermere and Crummock Water
6. Watendlath
7. Pooley Bridge / Askham
8. Eskdale
9. Coniston ― Banishead Quarries ― Torver & Walna Scar and Broughton Moor
10. Windermere

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