Keswick is a popular choice for many visitors to the Lake District, thanks in part to the charm of the town, its central location, and the number of different Keswick hotels to choose from for your stay. Like the rest of the Lake District area, Keswick is best known for the many Fells and impressive hiking routes that surround it.
However, for those who prefer to explore on two wheels rather than two legs, Keswick and the surrounding area is also home to some impressive mountain biking trails.
Popular Mountain Bike Routes
There are many popular mountain bike route in the Keswick area, each offering unique challenges and splendid views for the riders willing to take them on. The area really does cater to everyone with a range of difficulties covered across the trails and routes in the area. So, whether you’re a seasoned mountain biking pro, or looking to try your hand at the sports, you’ll be sure to find a route that matches your skill level.
Skiddaw, Skiddaw Forest and Lonscale Fell
North of Keswick, the bridleways around Skiddaw, Skiddaw forest and Lonscale Fell offer mountain biking routes with some truly astonishing views. The trail around Lonscale Fell is a particularly popular choice with riders thanks to its alpine feel and the vertical drop off on one side.
For a more challenging route, you can take the Skiddaw House trail which contains over 4400ft of climbing over the 22-mile trail.
While there is no actual bike route to the summit of Blencathra, you can do a circuit around it to take in the magnificent views. Part of this trail will also take you through the Lonscale Fell route for even more opportunities to take in the scenery.
The most common route for Matterdale Common is the one which includes Helvellyn Ridge and the Old Coach Road. Consisting of a number of bridleways on the ridge of Helvellyn which are safe to ride, the Matterdale Common trail is satisfyingly challenging with stunning views along the Old Coach Road as you make your way back towards the Thirlmere side of Helvellyn near Thirlspot – where your journey began.
Borrowdale – the famous Borrowdale Bash route
The famous Borrowdale Bash is no easy ride. Starting and ending in Keswick, the route is an impressive 28km in total with some particularly difficult technical sections along the way. The trail starts off in a rather gentle manner, taking the scenic route along Derwent Water before reaching the first big climb of the route on the way up to Watendlath Tarn. There is yet more natural beauty for you to wonder at as you head towards a rocky bridleway on this trail before the start of a technical 3km descent that will be sure to keep you on your toes.
On your journey back towards the town you will also pass the famous Cat Vells before you begin the final descent, so don’t forget to stop and admire the view.
With four different cycling trails on offer – including the longest purpose-built mountain bike trail in the Lake District – Whinlatter forest is worth a visit for any keen mountain biker. The Altura trail is divided into the north and south loop and rises to an elevation of 500m above Keswick.
There’s also an option to try out mountain bike orienteering, where you will have to navigate the way between control points under a fixed time in order to score as many points as possible.