Mountain Biking in Snowdonia for Beginners
Wales is renowned for its stunning bike routes which give riders a chance to take in the many wonders that the country has to offer. Snowdonia is certainly no exception to this rule and has been the go-to spot for cyclists for generations.
However, if you’re not the most comfortable on a bike, you may worry that some mountain routes are a little out of reach. But in reality, you don’t have to settle for another mode of transport to see the area’s unforgettable sights. There are plenty of exciting trails across the area that are accessible to novices.
Newbies have a great choice of Snowdonia bike routes that offer a gentle yet fun experience for all the family. Explore our favourite mountain bike trails in the area for beginners below.
Beddgelert Forest is located within the heart of Snowdonia and promises a worthwhile outing with plenty of picturesque spots for taking in the scenery or enjoying a well-earned picnic. This popular route takes in part of the Old Welsh Highland Railway and boasts mountain views in all directions.
Cyclists will find two routes, depending on how long you wish the trip to take. The largest extends for 9.5 kilometres and is a breeze for those less familiar with travelling on two wheels. The climbs are steady and the route is clearly marked, so you’ll never have to worry about getting lost among the towering forestry tracks.
The route lies about a mile to the north of Beddgelert village, meaning local amenities are never too far away. The small village is very welcoming to tourists and offers a selection of quality restaurants and traditional pubs known for their classic Welsh ice-creams and delicious afternoon teas – the perfect place to end the day after a brisk jaunt through the forest.
Plug and Feathers Trail, Antur Stiniog
Antur Stiniog is home to the UK’s first uplift-assisted mountain biking centre, providing the perfect introduction to downhill riding for adults and children alike.
The Plug and Feathers beginners trail contains enough carved turns, rocky descents and flowery berms to keep you on your toes, but there is nothing here that is too scary for first-timers. Plus, the uplift shuttle is super quick and easy to ride, meaning it’s possible to cover between 10-15 descents in a day. So if you fancy getting round to tackling the more challenging trails, you’ll be able to pack in plenty of practice beforehand.
The Antur Stiniog Visitor Centre has all amenities you need to get the most out of your day of riding, including a bike wash, showers, toilets, outside seating area, café and ample parking.
Gwydir Bach Trail, Gwydir Forest Park
Gwydir Forest Park covers an expansive area of over 72 square kilometres and is home to the long-established Gwydir Bach Trail. While there are several big climbs and forestry paths to combat, there’s also plenty of places to stop to take in the fabulous views of the Snowdonia mountains and nearby Gwydir castle.
The route itself runs for 9 kilometres and is a delight to explore. Above and beyond the Conwy valley lies an extensive woodland filled with lakes, rivers and local wildlife that contribute to the dramatic natural setting. Keep an eye out for the variety of animals that call the forest their home, such as buzzards, foxes and black grouse.
It is a truly idyllic place and an ideal spot for a gentle pedal in any season that all the family can enjoy.
Mawddach Trail, Dolgellau
Along the edge of the historic Mawddach estuary in Southern Snowdonia lies the Mawddach trail. Stretching for fifteen kilometres and boasting stunning views over to Diffwys and the Rhinogs, the route is one of the most well-regarded walks across all of Wales.
Managed by the Snowdonia National Park Authority as a primary leisure route for walkers and cyclists. The path is a flat, even surface with plenty of wide pathways, making it ideal for mountain biking beginners. Riders will start at the historic town of Dolgellau, making their way past several historical sites before finishing at the popular seaside town of Barmouth.
The estuary is rich in birdlife and we recommend making time to visit the Arthog Bog RSPB nature reserve to see weird and wonderful animals and over 130 different species of plants.
Lôn Gwyrfai is a pleasant multi-use, low-level track popular with walkers, runners and mountain bikers alike. Those who opt for this trail will find few steep inclines and plenty of tarmacked paths, making it a joy for any beginner rider.
The path leads through various landscapes, including peatland, lakeside and mountain pastures, and is well signposted throughout so you won’t need much help with navigation.
Animal lovers will want to keep an eye out for a variety of creatures along the way, like Herons, Pochards and even the odd Otter.
After a long day riding you’ll have earned a rest, so why not take advantage of one of many pubs and cafes situated along the route? There’s no better way to finish your ride than with a refreshing, locally brewed pint or heart-warming Welsh pub meal.
Coed y Brenin Forest Park
Coed y Brenin Forest Park is home to the first purpose-built mountain bike centre in the UK and is widely regarded as one of Wales’s premier recreation sites.
There are more than enough trails for first-time mountain bikers to thrive on and plenty of wide pathways for those looking to take their ride at a leisurely pace. Beginner riders may first want to try the 5-mile Yr Afon forest road trail – a gentle route which provides some of the most picturesque scenery in all of Coed y Brenin.
In addition to bike routes, Coed y Brenin Forest Park also has plenty of other things to do. Family favourites include a hobby and craft shop, a children’s play area and a café serving up locally sourced and homemade food and beverages.