The Peak District is a haven for some of the best mountain biking in the UK. Here we offer you ten great mountain biking routes (with GPX files) to give a try.  These rides offer something for everyone, including those of you that already have some skills, to groups of friends, to families looking to inject a little bit of adventure into their holiday here! There’s a variety of distances and terrain.  From the wild, rugged peat and gritstone of the High Peak, to the gentle limestone hills of the White Peak, we’ve got something for everyone.  And if you don’t feel confident heading out of your own yet, why not consider booking yourself a local guide and letting us take care of you?

Hope Valley Highlights (22 miles/35 Km)

This wonderful Peak District mountain biking trail takes in three whopper hills in order to get in three fabulous flowy descents. None of the descents are overly demanding, though to get the most from them you do need to know a little bit about what you’re doing. If you’re struggling with the hills, you can always miss out the final ascent and not do Shatton Edge. (But it would be a huge shame to miss this out!) By starting and finishing at Bamford Station or Hope Station, this is an ideal route to access by public transport too, which allows you to have a swift pint before heading home and saves the environment at the same time! Learn more here …

This is Cut Gate (22 miles/35 Km)

Who knew? Who knew that a ‘there and back’ ride could offer so much variety, so much flow, and so much interest!? Normally I steer clear of all ‘there and back’ routes, always looking for a circular ride instead. But this gem delivers its charms by the bucketful: it’s  a top quality route that must be sampled by all mountain bikers visiting the Peak District. That said – don’t be too hasty, it rides best in a dry spell only! Learn more here …

Upper Derwent Valley Family MTB Ride (12 miles/20 Km)

Ever since my children have been old enough to sit upright in a chair I have been cycling with them around this lovely route. If you give this easy bike ride a go on a weekend it is also car-free. The ride starts and finishes at Fairholmes Visitor Centre where there is a bike hire centre which will cheaply cater for all your family’s needs including a buggy that you can tow your toddlers around in. Adults could manage this 12 mile circuit comfortably in one and a half hours. With children in tow and a picnic and a dip at Slippery Stones, you could easily make this into a four or five hour adventure. Learn more here …

Lovers Leap, Eyam, High Rake, Great Longstone (17.5 miles/28 km)

This is a White Peak ride that you has plenty of flexibility built into this one super route. This ride leads you through the historic plague village of Eyam, and then descends down a couple of gnarly rocky trails to Stoney Middleton, before ascending the heights of High Rake. From here you’ll enjoy easy descents all the way to Hassop and then onto the Monsal Trail for just a couple of miles before you commence a mighty hill climb back to High Rake from Great Longstone. Learn more here

Chatsworth Gold, Chatsworth Estate (9 miles/15 km)

Over the years I’ve ridden numerous routes in and around Bakewell and the Chatsworth Estate. In this wonderful short ride I think I have just about synthesised some of the best trails and descents into one super bite-size package.  The ride starts and finishes in the beautiful estate of Chatsworth House and almost immediately you’ll be pedalling through green pastures heading for your first high. The aesthetics on this ride are as super as the descents are fast. The only fault with this route is that it doesn’t go on longer! Learn more here

Eastern Moors Cicuit – Extended (19 miles/31 km)

I first learned about the Eastern Moors circuit through an online search, and then again from Vertebrate Publishing’s Dark Peak Mountain Biking guide book. This route has been made available thanks to the work carried out by the Eastern Moors Partnership in conjunction with Ride Sheffield. The Eastern Moors circuit, is fun rather than gnarly. Though, the ride back along Froggatt Edge will offer the novice rider a bit of spice! To lend it even more interest I have added in here a visit to the technical trails at Ringinglow. Even with this addition, it’s all blue, and nothing too hard to worry about.  Learn more here

Ringinglow and Devil’s Elbow MTB Ride (7 miles/12 km)

If you have a couple of hours spare, maybe after work or upon your arrival in the area, this short route on the outskirts of Sheffield will have something to test your cross-country mettle. You’ll get to warm up on the technical trails at Ringinglow (graded about blue) which are always fun and these will lead you onto the Houndkirk Road. You’ll not be on this long before you’ll be sampling a bit of Peak District gritstone firmly rolling around your tyres as you tumble down the Jumble Road. This little test piece precedes things to come – the infamous Devil’s Elbow, before a taxing climb leads you back to more japes on the Houndkirk Trail, tea and medals, and maybe even a pint at the nearby Norfolk Arms. Rock and roll: what’s not to like!? Learn more here

Ladybower MTB Classic (15.5 miles/25 km)

No definitive list of mountain bike rides for the Peak District would be complete without the inclusion of trails to and around the Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs. It wasn’t easy deciding which ride I thought was best for this area, but this selected ride is a smash hit by anyone’s standards. It includes the classic Peak District downhill – (infamously named) The Beast. To balance out that gnarly test-piece, it also includes the wonderful flowing descent to Cut Throat Bridge from Whinstone Lee Tor, and fitting between those two it has wickedly fast Lockerbrook descent. This is a super route, and one that rides well whatever the weather! Learn more here

The Edale Enduro (19.5 miles / 31Km)

The climbs are unrelenting; the descents are fast, rocky, brutal and scary; and the scenery is gorgeous. This is what mountain biking is all about! This is a super ride, and being where it is: just that bit further west, it’s also a route that will take you to trails that are lesser frequented in the Peak District. The ride includes the infamous Jacob’s Ladder, and while it is famed for it’s technical nature in descent, on this ride you will need to climb it. It’s a tough ten or fifteen minutes, but well worth the effort. Also, as great as this ride would be in the clockwise direction, I can’t help but think this is the best direction to take it. And while I describe this ride for the E-biker, for what it’s worth I ride it on my hardtail! Learn more here

East of the Peak, Millthorpe MTB (8.8 miles/14.3 Km)

Green pastures, fast descents & a tasty finish. This is a gem of a ride just east of the Peak. The climbs are on tarmac, and the descents are down super flowy trails – what more could you want from a quick-fix mountain bike ride!? It was only after years and years of riding the trails in the Peak District and Sheffield areas that I discovered this awesome ride. (And that was only because my family bought me the latest edition of the Vertebrate Publishing White Peak Mountain Biking guide book, where a longer version of this route resides!) This is the perfect evening ride, where time is short, and you’re looking for maximum bang for buck. Just 14Km, but with three super flowy descents and wonderful countryside scenery adorning the ride throughout, this is an absolute gem!  Learn more here