As Summer gives way to autumn, Wales is a magical place to mountain bike. The forest floors are littered with colourful fungi and the intense red of rowan and hawthorn berries shine out in the morning mist. Now is the time to catch the last shreds of summer and top up your mountain biking motivation for the winter months ahead.

So with that in mind here are Phill and Polly’s top tips for great autumnal Welsh rides:

 

North Wales.

 

Gwydir Mawr and Bach

  • Distance – 25km/8.7km
  • Duration – 2 hours/45 minutes

The Gwydir Mawr has arguably the best views of any trail centre in Wales. On a clear day, the summits of Snowdon, Tryfan and the Glyder range are revealed breathtakingly at different points around the trail.

Big fire road climbs are interspersed with delightfully technical singletrack which varies between rocky and challenging, to fast and flowy. The mountain views and hidden lakes make this trail not only fun but food for the soul.

Find route details over at MBWales.com

Where to eat?

The Alpine Coffee Shop – Betws-Y- Coed

 

Llyn Cowlyd Loop

  • Distance – 27km
  • Duration – 3 to 4 hours

This wild ride is immersed in the mountains far away from the crowds of Snowdon. After a steady start heading up the Ogwen Valley towards Tryfan, the route heads up right towards a saddle above Llyn Cowlyd. A short technical challenge leads you to the edge of the lake on a sinuous and at times, technical singletrack above its shores.

A stiff road climb and a switchback lane down to Trefiw leads up into the beautiful Llyn Crafnant Valley where you’ll head up and over a col before rocking back down to Capel Curig on a fun natural trail.

Find route details over at Flattyres-MTB.co.uk

Our café recommendation:

The Siabod Café – Capel Curig

Polly from Mountain Yoga Breaks rides in Llyn Cowlyd

Polly making her way through the breathtaking landscape of Llyn Cowlyd.

Gwydir Mawr Phill Stasiw looking over the landscape

Phill enjoying views over Gwydir Mawr.

Mid Wales

 

Elan Valley

  • Varied Distances to suit the legs and lungs!

The Elan Valley has some of the best natural mountain biking terrain in Britain. Victorian dams, ancient oak forests, river crossings, wide-open moorlands and quiet trails make this a stunning place to ride. To cover all the possible routes in the area would take two to three days so it’s well worth making a weekend of it and staying in the area.

Find all route details over at MBWales.com

Where to eat?

The Lost Arc Café – Rhayader

The Climachx Trail and Dyfi Forest

  • Distance – 15km +

The Dyfi Forest is just north of Machynlleth and home to the well known Dyfi Enduro which takes place every May. The Climachx trail is 15km long, with 9km of lovely flowing single track. The last descent is one of the longest in Wales with a great mix of rock gardens, rocky drops and swooping berms as well as epic views north towards Cader Idris, and the village of Corris in the valley below. As well as the Climachx trail there are miles of off-piste technical singletrack to test your skills, but you’ll need some local knowledge or a guide to find the best bits.

Where to eat?

Idris Stores – Corris

phill-stasiw-dyfi-mtb

Phill riding on the trails in Dyfi Forest.

South Wales

The Gap

  • Distance – 34 km
  • Duration – 4 hours

The Gap is a classic ride in this area and quite rightly so. A gradual climb up from Talybont on Usk through a mix of broadleafs and conifers leadsto a short challenging rocky climb before it tops out and descends to Pontsticill Reservoir. From there it’s a steady climb up towards the Gap (between Cribyn and Fan Y Big). At nearly 600 metres up the views across the valley below are very impressive. The long descent is loose and rocky to start, then turns into a fast fun rip down to a gate before meandering back to Talybont on Usk via country lanes and a pretty canal path to finish.

Find all route details over at MBWales.com

Where to eat?

Talybont Café and Stores

 

Cwm Rhaedr and The Gorlech trail at Brechfa Forest

  • Distance – 6.7 km / 19km

Cwm Rhaedr is a little known trail set in a remote woodland just 20 miles away from Brechfa. It may be only 6.7km long but it’s well worth a visit. One climb up towards views of the waterfall dropping down from Mynydd Mallaen and a lovely descent with flow in abundance. Do a couple of loops here before heading to the Gorlech trail to make a full day of it.

Find route details over at MBWales.com

Café of choice:

Wright’s Food Emporium

 

Join Polly and Phill on their adventures and book a date for one of their guided tours through Wales here.

group-riding-through-elan-valley

A group making their way through the Ellan Valley.

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