Take our North to South tour of the land of dragons
Pack the car or van and cross what’s left of Offa’s Dyke for an unforgettable 7-day north-south exploration of the land of dragons.
Road trips rule… there’s just something so liberating about travelling around a place sampling the best trails as well as soaking up some unique local cultures. And you don’t need to travel far to do it.
Wales mountain biking roadtrip Day 1: Coed Llandegla
Llandegla must be one of the busiest UK trail centres, and for good reason, one of the best Black trails going, and plenty of awesome easier options. It’s easily reached when travelling into North Wales from the east, and the One Planet Adventure facilities are second to none, with an award-winning café and a great bike shop. This is the place to get your eye in before you hit the mountains.
Where to eat: Look no further than the excellent café on site. The food is to die for and the cakes mind-blowing.
Don’t Miss: Own brand coffee that brings a whole new meaning to the wheel size debate!
Suggested Trail: The Black is the one to go for – fast and flowing with a few fun jump line options.
Day 2: Snowdon
The highest mountain in the country and by far the longest continuous descent. Snowdon is a must-do for all visitors to Wales but beware, between May and October, there’s a voluntary restriction on bikes on the mountain between 10am and 5pm. So get up early and enjoy the sunrise (plus a rare excuse to get a big ride in before a fry-up!), or go for a sunset special.
Where to eat: The Padarn Hotel is the best of the bunch on the Llanberis side, or Pete’s Eats if you want a fry-up. Up the hill, Lodge Dinorwig is the perfect lunch spot and does great coffee, or on the Snowdon Ranger side, try the Cwellyn Arms.
Where to stay: Lodge Dinorwig gets our vote, but there’s great hostel accommodation at Pen y Pass.
Don’t Miss: Surf Snowdonia for a guaranteed wave.
Suggested Trail: The easiest route is up and down from Llanberis, but a descent of the Ranger Path followed by a hop over Bwlch Maesgwm and down Telegraph Valley is our favourite.
Day 3: Coed y Brenin
Coed y Brenin is the original UK trail centre and still one of the best. Sublime scenery, an absolute plethora of top-notch trails of all grades (including one named after us!), and enough riding to keep you there for a few days. The facilities are great too.
Where to eat: The restaurant on site is excellent, or if you fancy a beer with your grub, the Rhiw Goch at Bronaber is your best bet.
Don’t Miss: Zip World, Blaenau Ffestiniog
Suggested Trail: Well we should say the MBR really, but with the new Y Slab section, the Tarw Du (Black Bull) is our current favourite.
Day 4: Pont Scethin
Probably the best wild ride in North Wales away from Snowdon and a true classic. Can be tackled from the west for a shorter day, or from Bont-ddu in the south for a full on experience. Expect huge climbs, gargantuan views and a couple of quite exquisite rocky singletrack descents.
Where to stay: There’s loads of choice in Barmouth, or perhaps stick with your choice for Coed y Brenin.
Don’t Miss: Fish and chips on the sea front at Barmouth (and a Kiss Me Quick hat!)
Suggested trail: Pont Scethin, Wales route
Day 5: Elan Valley, Mid Wales
Mid Wales has a really wild feel to it, and the riding around the Elan Valley really does penetrate some pretty remote countryside. This is an area of big ups, big downs and even bigger views, with some really quite awesome trails crisscrossing the huge whaleback hills. Note: Best in good weather, if it’s not, perhaps consider Bwlch Nant yr Arian instead.
Where to stay: Ty Morgan has decent rooms, or the Elan Valley Hotel
Don’t miss: This is kite country – keep your eyes open for the huge fork-tailed hawks or go to Grigrin Farm or Bwlch Nant yr Arian for feeding.
Suggested trail: Elan Valley, Wales route
Day 6: The Gap, Brecon Beacons
A true classic that climbs from the picturesque village of Talybont on Usk to a high mountain pass via a couple of impressive ancient roads. The riding’s mixed, with only the very top section and a deep ravine at half height providing any technical interest these days, but the mountain scenery is awesome, and the descent’s huge, even if it isn’t too technical.
Where to stay: There are rooms in the Traveller’s and of course the Usk Inn. There’s also a bunkhouse ate White Hart.
Don’t Miss: OK, more bike stuff, but you’re really not far from the Black Mountains Cycle Centre.
Suggested Trail: The Long Gap, Brecon Beacons route
Day 7: BikePark Wales
You need to book BikePark Wales a long way in advance for the uplift, but it’s worth it – a huge selection of trails and a super-efficient uplift to feed them. Or you can pedal if you like! If you’ve been before, you’ll know you have to go back, if you haven’t, now’s the time to give it a go.
Where to eat: There’s a café on site
Don’t miss: The Penderyn Distillery – yes Wales has whisky too!
Suggested Trail: all of them.