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Image: Mtb (mountain biking) in the Peak District, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire. Buttons (non-functional): Peak District off-road routes.

Off Road Cycle Routes

Mountain bike routes away from the trails

Fancy hurtling down a steep, muddy track on your bike in the rain, dodging ruts and flying off bumps, sending dirty spray flying and skidding to a barely controlled stop at the bottom of the slope? If so, an adrenalin-pumping mountain bike ride in the Peak District is just the ticket, with the tracks and bridleways of the Dark Peak (in the north of the area) providing some of the best routes.

If you fancy a heady cocktail of exhilaration and exhaustion then head off-road on two wheels, but don't forget to match the length and severity of the route to your ability and experience. The bridleway network around Edale, the Hope Valley and Upper Derwent reservoirs provide some excellent circuits, with some great descents (which have to involve ascents, of course!) and really challenging terrain.

There are also a few decent routes on the high ground along the eastern and western edges of the Peak, but wherever you go make sure that you stick to legitimate routes (bikes are not allowed on public footpaths, for instance), be courteous and respect other users (especially if you are travelling at speed on narrow tracks) and remember that fragile surfaces can be easily damaged by reckless riding.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Bakewell, Calton Lees and Edensor CircuitBakewell, Calton Lees and Edensor Circuit

Starting at Hassop Station, the Monsal trail provides a gentle warm up for this short route which packs in a couple of demanding climbs. It includes a variety of terrain including dramatic woodland, farmland and technical off-road downhill.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Bonsall Moor from the Cromford CanalBonsall Moor from the Cromford Canal

Initially alongside the Cromford Canal, you follow the High Peak Trail onto the plateau above the Derwent Valley and break out across farmland to descend steeply into Bonsall and back to Cromford.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Chatsworth CircuitChatsworth Circuit

This tour of 3 rivers and 3 hills offers you the opportunity to ride some of the best off-road terrain in this corner of the Peak District.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Elton CircuitElton Circuit

A circular route through the White Peak taking in parts of the Tissington Trail and High Peak Trail.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Goyt ValleyGoyt Valley

A varied and scenic circuit close to Buxton. Challenging in places but rideable throughout for the fittest and most determined.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Hayfield CircuitHayfield Circuit

Despite taking in a bit of road around New Mills and Hayfield as well as a stretch on the Sett Vally Trail - this is still a route with bite.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Hope and Edale Valleys CircuitHope and Edale Valleys Circuit

At the junction of the White Peak and Dark Peak, this challenging circuit will take your breath away in more ways than one!

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Jacobs Ladder from Barber BoothJacobs Ladder from Barber Booth

This circuit has plenty of climbing and steep descents. Taking in part of the Pennine Way, it's mainly off road and takes no prisoners.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route LadybowerLadybower

From the start at Fairholmes this ride has some interesting woodland sections, some stiff climbs and some great ridge riding along an old Roman Road.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Middleton Top and Minninglow CircuitMiddleton Top and Minninglow Circuit

There are some neat off road sections such as the descent into Grange Mill as well as the section past Minninglow where a short detour will take you on a permitted path (no riding) to the old neolithic burial chambers.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Monsal and High Peak MTB CircuitMonsal and High Peak MTB Circuit

The route links the Monsal and High Peak Trails with some really good sections - but if you'd prefer to stay on these trails for longer please see the Monsal Trail and High Peak Trail Loop as an alternative.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route Pennine Bridleway (Derbyshire Section)Pennine Bridleway (Derbyshire Section)

The first stage of this evolving National Trail is through the Peak District and South Pennines, using existing cycle trails, minor roads and much rougher bridleway sections suitable for mountain bikes.

Bullet point image for Peak District cycle route The Stanage CircleThe Stanage Circle

This loop clips the W fringe of Sheffield before heading around Redmires Reservoirs and a great descent through Stanage Edge and a short road section back with good views of those climbing the famous gritstone walls.

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