My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Mountain biking in Wales: The best trails, views and kit to pack

The Welsh countryside is second to none when it comes to trail riding in the UK. From the luscious green hills of the Brecon Beacons to the imposing mountainous terrain found in Snowdonia National Park, Wales is a treat for off-road riders.

Whether you’re getting ready for your first bikepacking trip or training for an upcoming challenge, Wales makes an exceptional base. No matter your plans, it’s always worth knowing the best routes to choose when you’re going offroad in Wales.

Where are the best trails in Wales?

  1. Idris’s Elbow

Looking for a challenging climb to kickstart your adventure? You can find the route on Strava to prepare you for this short but mighty ride around some of the most beautiful terrain in Snowdonia. Expect remarkable coastal views throughout and one standout, 7-kilometre climb with a breathtaking backdrop. This one’s not for the fainthearted.

  1. The Mawddach Trail

Following a disused railway line for nine and a half miles around the stunning Mawddach estuary. It can be joined at several points, making it a brilliant option for beginners or your first ride for the trip. You’ll find plenty of café stops, picnic areas and campsites along the way, so it makes a fantastic option for the younger riders who might be joining you.

  1. Coed y Brenin Forest Park

A haven for beginners and experienced riders alike, Coed y Brenin Forest Park is home to some of the most fearsome and exciting trails in the country. Its visitor centre open seven days a week, and there’s a café serving food and drinks, plus dedicated cycling trails for you to follow. If you’re staying in the Snowdonia area, this should be first on your list.

What should I pack for bikepacking in Wales?

Whether you’re bikepacking and wild camping or riding from one hotel the next, there are a few things you simply can’t go without. Your list should include:

  • A quality bike

You need a reliable bike to keep the adventures coming for longer. And if you think you’ll need a little bit of assistance on the hills, investing in an electric mountain bike along with accessories and essentials could be the best choice to save on your energy too.

  • Bikepacking bags

Having a quality set of bike packing bags will keep your kit safe and dry. It’s worth doing your research before buying some, and you’ll need to make sure that they fit the frame size on your bike too. Why not take your bike to a bike shop to make sure they fit?

  • The essentials

It can be tempting to overpack for your first bikepacking trip, but you only need the essentials. Sleeping gear, riding kit, clothes for off the bike and your toiletries will be enough to keep you moving. If you’re packing food, try to make it as lightweight as possible – but don’t skimp on the calories, because you’ll need them for the climbs!

Our top three tips for a great experience

  1. Prepare for the weather

Sunshine can’t be guaranteed when you’re staying in the UK. Try to be realistic and pack for every weather eventuality, especially if you’re heading to Wales between seasons. It might be handy to read a quick guide to autumn and winter cycling clothing before you head off.

  1. Pack light

If you’re going to be carrying your kit around with you, try not to pack any more than you need. A change of kit, clothes for off the bike, basic toiletries and a pair of sliders will be sufficient for a few days on the trail. Try to stay somewhere with a washing machine on at least one of the nights if you’re staying more than just a few days.

  1. Get immersed in your environment

Remember that you’re there to explore and discover a new place. Take photos and don’t follow your route or plan too rigidly, treasuring every moment with your ride buddies. Wild camping can be a brilliant way to reconnect with yourself and with nature.