Fiona Outdoor’s 5 great family friendly off-road cycling routes

The Cairngorms is a great place for cycling with the family. We reveal five of the best locations across the area for off-road cyling.

Glenlivet MTB Trails

Glenlivet Bike Trail Centre has great family friendly routes (photo credit: Cycletherapy)

The 9km Blue Trail at Glenlivet Estate is a great route for families, from younger riders to more confident adults.

The trail is mostly undulating and flowing although are a few climbs. It includes 7.7km of singletrack, mostly on a smooth surface, and 1.3km of forest road, which is rougher.

You can look forward to riding sections with great names such as Ankers Alley with its ups and downs, Barrel Run and the fast finish through Copper Worm.

Stop to take in the lovely views, too – and to catch your breath – at places such as Gauger’s Lookout.

For more experienced mountain bikers there’s the thrills of the 22km Red Trail, or why not head off on your own adventure in the wider Glenlivet estate. One great route is to ride the 12km trail to Glenmulliach Viewpoint.

See Glenlivet Mountain Biking

Loch an Eilein Circuit

Loch an Eilein is perfect for little legs

Thee are many trails and tracks to explore on Rothiemurchus Estate near Aviemore and one popular route for families is a circuit of beautiful Loch an Eilein.

The loch set amid stunning Rothiemurchus pine trees boasts a small island with a ruined castle. As you can imagine, the views are superb.

To make this a ride of 7km, with the added attraction of being quite flat, you could take in another loch, Gamhna.

If you fancy a short diversion on foot, you could leave you bikes locked up at the loch side and climb the small hill called Ord Ban, to the north-west of the lochs for superb views of the wider Cairngorms.

Pop into Mikes Bikes for various route maps. There is a charge for parking at Loch an Eilein car park.

Glenshee Mountain Bike Track

Glenshee is an all year round adventure playground

In the summer, from June to September, mountain bikers can enjoy an amazing experience on the Glenshee Bike Track.

Recommended for riders aged eight and over, the track is reached by a single seat chair that ascends from outside the main café to 914m at the top of the Munro called Cairnwell.

The bike goes with you on the chairlift. After that it’s up to you to descend the 2.4km route and enjoy the scenery all around you.

The trail is graded moderate so it’s a good idea to have some mountain biking skills before you go.

Aboyne to Ballater on the Deeside Way

The Deeside Way

A lovely 18km section of the 66km Deeside Way, on Royal Deeside, offers a great ride for families.

It is mostly flat so even younger children should be able to complete the route one-way. Riding out and back will be better suited to slightly older children.

The route starts beside the Victory Hall in the centre of Aboyne and follows a waymarked path through pretty countryside before reaching a more wooded landscape with views of hills and mountains in the distance.

Take your time to visit Burn O’ Vat Visitor Centre and the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve, close to the Deeside Way.

The path also passes Cambus O’ May, where you will see an old station building, and an impressive suspension bridge over the River Dee.

Tullich Kirkyard is worth another short detour to view the old graves and historic stones.

The route finishes at the Old Royal Station, which is currently under renovation.

Glen Doll & Jock’s Road

Glen Doll’s location is remote and stunning, on the south eastern tip of the Park

A series of Angus Route Cards have been developed detailing a number of superb mountain biking routes.

The 8km Glen Doll & Jock’s Road is short but it includes climb of 210m and a fairly tricky but stunning descent so this ride is best reserved for families with older children or for those with a few riding skills.

The route leaves the Forestry Commission car park in Glen Doll, north west of Clova, at the end of a singletrack road.

After passing the Ranger Station you start on a path, keeping the river on your left. After crossing a bridge, you join a forest road the White Water will now be on your right. Heading uphill, the track eventually reaches the top of Glen Doll.

The views up the glen are superb. The descent follows Jock’s Road and can be a bone shaking experience!  You reach the forest road again to retrace the route back to the car park.

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