cycling cairngorms


On your Bike: Cycling in the Cairngorms

The Cairngorms is fast becoming a ‘bucket list’ destination for leisure cyclists of all ages and abilities due to its comprehensive network of cycle paths, estate tracks and trails.

Many of the Cairngorms’ iconic visitor attractions, historic sites and scenic viewpoints are easily accessible by bike, so to help you plan your visit, here are some of our favourite rides:

For the more experienced cyclist

The Lochs & Glens Way (National Route 7) traverses the western edge of the Park. This long distance cycling route between Glasgow and Inverness crosses the dramatic Drumochter Pass, before entering Speyside.

For a family friendly alternative

Family cycling on the Deeside Way. Image: VisitScotland

The Deeside Way (National Route 195), a flat easy route, follows the old Royal Deeside Railway line, linking Aboyne, Dinnet and Ballater. Views over Lochnagar and the peaks of the southern Cairngorms are spectacular!

For those who want to take the high road

Cycling the steep, challenging and exhilirating Lecht Road. Image: Ed Smith

Tomintoul is a great base for experienced road cyclists who can test themselves on the Cairngorms’ steepest ‘snow roads’ climbs, such as the Lecht, the Gairnshiel and Cairngorm Mountain.

Best for wildlife and history

Cycling through the grounds of Blair Castle. Image Sustrans

From Kingussie, follow The Lochs & Glens Way past historic Ruthven Barracks before looping through Inshriach Forest and Glen Feshie, home to ancient Scots Pine, red squirrels, and the elusive cappercaillie! Blair Atholl is home to historic Blair Castle and there are numerous cycling route options in the locality. Visit the Falls of Bruar and the large walled ‘Hercules Garden’ or follow the sculpture trail around the castle grounds.

Best for views

cycling the Cairngorms
Cycling towards the Linn of Dee and Mar Lodge. Image Sustrans

Starting in Braemar, enjoy panoramic vistas of the central Cairngorms as you follow the road to the famous Linn O’Dee waterfalls, before returning via Mar Lodge, a beautiful Victorian hunting lodge built for the Duke and Duchess of Fife in 1895.

Best for families

cycling the speyside way with kids
Cycling the Speyside Way to Boat of Garten with kids

From Aviemore, cycle a short section of the Lochs & Glens Way to Boat of Garten before catching the steam train back to Aviemore. Or refuel at some of our wonderful eateries on the way, like Aviemore’s Route 7 Cafe and The Boat Hotel in Boat of Garten. From Ballater, follow the Deeside Way to Dinnet and beyond. You’ll pass relics of the old railway line, as well as the popular picnic spot Cambus O’May Suspension Bridge.

Are you ready to plan your Cairngorms cycling adventure?

Download our easy to use Cycle Route Cards, complete with maps and route descriptions – and enjoy some of our favourite Cairngorms leisure cycling day trips:

Sustrans Cycle Routes in the Cairngorms
An Lochan Uaine & Loch Morlich4 HOURS 19M/31KM 1083FT/330M
The 5 Bridges Loop4 HOURS 33M/53KM 1364FT/416M
Aviemore to Abernethy3.5 HOURS 18M/30KM 682FT/208M
A circuit of Inshriach Forest & Glen Feshie2.5 HOURS 20M/33KM 1234FT/376M
Grantown on Spey Loop3 – 4 HOURS 24M/39.5KM 1446FT/441M
Tomintoul Loop3 – 4 HOURS 20M/32.4KM 1185FT/361M
Linn of Dee & Mar Lodge2 – 2.5 HOURS 12M/20.5KM 652FT/199M
A circuit of Lower Glen Tilt2 HOURS 5M/9.5KM 640FT/194M

Share this article?

Join our Mailing List

Sign up to get notified of the latest deals, news and all the latest information direct to your inbox.