Top 5 Mountain Bike Trails in Peak District

The Peak District has some of the world’s best, and most beautiful, mountain bike trails. In this stunning national park, you’ll find rides and routes for all. This guide contains everything you need to enjoy a welcome bike break in the Peak District, including our five favourite routes and rides.

Riding in the Peak District

The Peak District packs a serious punch for riders, with wondrous wildlife, spectacular scenery and reliable off-road riding all year round. Aside from its superb quality surfaces, what makes the Peak District so attractive is its location and how easy it is to access.

In recent years, the Peak District has established a reputation as a destination of choice for riders in the know. You might not find the massive mountains of Scotland or Wales, but what you will find are some of the best tight and technical tracks and trails around. Oh, and some of the UK’s most breathtaking scenery too.

If you’ve never been before, do yourself a favour and make the Peaks a priority this year.

Travelling to the Peak District

Located in a triangle of land between Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham, getting to the Peak District is easy. Whether you’re travelling from north, south, east or west, you’ll follow motorways and A-roads for most of the journey. Some of the trails and tracks can be in remote areas, but you should have few problems getting in and out.

If you’ve never driven in the countryside before, take your time, relax your right food and admire the scenery. The roads can be narrow, tight and a challenge if you’re not used to it. Rural roads can often have overhanging tree branches, so watch out for bikes on rooves and racks.

Before setting off, programme your GPS and take a map – mobile signal can be variable, particularly if the weather is poor. IF you do get lost, don’t be afraid to ask for directions. Local-residents are notoriously friendly – even to soft, lost southerners.

Before you head off, check out the Experience Peak District & Derbyshire website for the latest news on what’s happening up north (or down south, depending). It’s worth reading up on some of the rides featured in this guide on the Mountain Bike Rides page dedicated to the East Midlands and Peak District. Finally, you’ll find loads of essential information on the Peak District MTB page.

If you’re travelling to the Peak District, you can find your local Halfords here.


Whenever you’re riding a mountain bike, you should ensure you have everything you need, including all the tools, tubes, food and drink for your time away. While reception isn’t great in remote areas of the Peaks, a fully-charged mobile phone is a must too. Conditions can be changeable, so always wear suitable clothing, a well-fitted bike helmet and gloves too.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding a hardtail, full-suspension bike or electric mountain bike it should be in ideal riding condition before hitting the trails. At Halfords, we have all the tools and service spares you might need, or you can book your bike in for a mountain bike service at your nearest Halfords store before you set off.

Always pack a map or, even better, a GPS tracker, so you don’t get lost. When you’re cycling, stick to the trails and ride within your limits. Don’t attempt to ride too hard and too fast on trails you’ve never experienced before. Lesson over!

Top 5 Mountain Bike Trails in the Peak District

Here are our top 5 mountain bike trails in the Peak District.

The Kinder Loop

The Kinder Loop is a 55-mile circular route that encircles Kinder Scout. Marked out on existing bridleways, this challenging course is the perfect introduction to the Peaks. The tracks are well marked and riding conditions good throughout the year. Expect to see other riders and horses too. It’s a brave (or foolish) cyclist who attempts the entire route in one go, but thankfully it’s broken into sections, including the 16-mile Hadfield to Rushup section, or the incomprehensibly stunning 14-mile Ladybower Reservoir to Trans-Pennine Trail section.

South Peak Loop

The South Peak Loop is an even longer, 70-mile stretch of bridleways, pathways and old railway tracks that are ready and waiting for riders. Again, the loop is broken down into shorter sections, with the Tissington to Middleton by Youlgreave section our favourite. At 24 miles, it’s not to be underestimated, but you’ll be happy you gave it a crack when you enjoy the view of the glistening water on the reservoir. Pack some snacks and sandwiches, and make sure to enjoy the scenery.

Jacob’s Ladder & the Roych

If the loops are a little too gentle, prepare to step up a gear when you ride the Jacob’s Ladder & the Roych. This stone-cold classic provides enough climbing, descending, smooth singletrack and rough stuff across its 13-mile length to make it a firm favourite. Waypoints aren’t marked, so you’ll need to ride with a guide or follow a GPS (download here).

Doctor’s Gate & Cut Gate Path

Described by those in the know as a ‘true Peak District epic, the Doctor’s Gate & Cut Gate Path route takes in some truly stunning views over the Peaks. At 36 miles, it’s a real test of endurance and tackles some exposed sections that aren’t suitable for beginners. The route isn’t marked, but it’s popular so you should meet other mountain bikers along the route. GPS is available here.

Monsal Dale, Brushfield, Hassop and Bakewell Figure of Eight MTB Route

The (impressively titled) Monsal Dale, Brushfield, Hassop and Bakewell Figure of Eight MTB Route is a well established and highly enjoyable White Peak loop. The full route is 35km with an impressive 915m of climbing, but if you’re not up to the whole thing you can ride it in sections. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be faced with greasy limestone, fast rocky sections and the (in)famous Bakewell golf course descent. You can download the route GPS and access a map here. You can also download a printable leaflet here.

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