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Top 17 Yorkshire Dales Cycling Routes (in 2023 + Maps)

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The Yorkshire Dales is one of the most picturesque regions in England, known for its stunning landscapes, quaint villages, and winding roads. If you're a cycling enthusiast, the Yorkshire Dales should be at the top of your list for cycling destinations. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the top cycling routes in the Yorkshire Dales that offer the best experience for riders of all levels.

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Yorkshire Dales Cycling Routes

The Swale Trail

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The Swale Trail is a 20km (12 mile) easy mountain bike route running the length of Swaledale from Reeth to Keld. This is a great way to explore the Swaledale valley, snaking along the River Swale with spectacular views across the unspoilt landscape, with Gunnerside providing a perfect place to take a break in the middle.

Around 70% of the route is on unsurfaced trails following Swale Trail signposting, while the rest of the route follows quiet back roads.

This route is one of the most popular cycling routes in the Yorkshire Dales for aspiring young cyclists and families with older children.

The Swale Trail is about a hour's drive from Long Ashes Park, Threshfield, so you can simply bring along your bikes in the car or hire a bike when you arrive.

Howgills loop

Howgills

If you're looking for good roads with rugged scenery, long climbs and great descents, the Howgills loop is not one to miss.

This route starts at the edge of the Lake District, beginning at Oxenholme railway station near Kendal, and will take you through picturesque local villages and towns like Sedbergh and Kirkby Stephen. Be sure to check the weather predictions before setting off, as the Howgills are beautiful but quite remote. The climbs are steep and at times brutal, but well worth it for the rewarding views.

The Howgills loop is about an hour's drive from Long Ashes Park, and a great excuse to go and visit the Lake District while you're here. It is a perfect Yorkshire cycling route for anyone who doesn't drive, as you can simply catch the train to Oxenholme which can be reached directly all the way from London to Edinburgh or Glasgow. If you're looking for a bite to eat, you'll find plenty of great choices for cafes, delis and picnic spots in Kendal.

Pateley Bridge to Grassington

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Covering 24 miles, the Pateley Bridge to Grassington loop will take you across the top of Nidderdale to Wharfdale, descending the twisting lanes to Appletreewick and Grassington with spectacular scenery throughout the journey.

You'll find everything you need at Pateley Bridge, including some of the best pie shops in Yorkshire. Stop half way at Grassington for a great choice of cafes and picnic spots, otherwise it's well worth a detour about 10 minutes north west for some hearty homemade Yorkshire pub grub at The Gamekeeper's Inn, or a well earned pizza, pasta or light bite at the Woodland Cafe.

Please take care along Greenhow Hill, as it is extremely steep and twisting and can be dangerous if inexperienced.

Hawes to Dent Station

Dent railway station

Hawes to Dent Station is a great cycling route if you're looking for a quintessential Yorkshire Dales cycling experience. This route guides you along tarmac roads to the famous Dent Railway Station.

Dent Station is the highest railway station in England, and by time you get there you'll understand what that means! It sits along the historic Settle to Carlisle line, well known as one of the world's most scenic railway journeys.

Hawes is about a 45 minute drive from Long Ashes Park, or alternatively you can catch the train from Skipton to arrive at Dent Railway Station within the hour.

Buttertubs Pass

Buttertubs pass

When it comes to cycling in Yorkshire, Buttertubs Pass is one of the most satisfying and rewarding climbs.

It can either be climbed from Hawes to the south of the summit, or from Thwaite to the north - although the climb from Thwaite is definitely the harder option! Whichever way you choose, you'll be met with incredible breath-taking scenery.

Buttertubs Pass is one of the best known in the region, featuring in the 2014 Tour de France stage in Yorkshire and the 2019 UCI World Road Race Championships men’s race.

Both Hawes and Thwaite are under an hour's drive from Long Ashes Park, or if you'll be travelling solely by bike you can catch the train from Skipton to Garsdale, then cycle 35 minutes to Hawes.

Fleet Moss climb from Hawes

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If you're looking for a challenging uphill cycle, Fleet Moss is a long exposed climb from Hawes to Buckden reaching just over 600 metres in altitude at its peak.

This picturesque Yorkshire cycling route is as intense as it is rewarding; on this steep uphill climb you'll find some spectacular views and a real sense of achievement.

Cycling this route from Hawes to Buckden is more difficult than from Buckden to Hawes, so you can choose your starting point depending on your ability and confidence (altough this route is only recommended for experienced and confident cyclists). You'll find Buckden just a 30 minute drive or 45 minute cycle from Long Ashes Park.

Settle & Malham Cove loop

Malham cove

The Settle & Malham Cove loop will take you along an easier warm up followed by a much tougher cycle. You can easily split them into two different rides or tackle them as part of the same ride depending on how you feel.

Riding the entire loop, you'll be get to enjoy both the softer green hills of the outer Dales and the Forest of Bowland, and the intense moorland and limestone valleys Malham is known for.

You'll find Settle about 15.5 miles from Long Ashes Park, and Malham Cove just 9 miles.

Yorkshire Dales Cycleway

Settle

The Yorkshire Dales Cycleway is a spectacular but challenging 130 mile circular route, visiting most of the major dales in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

It is designed to be started and finished in Skipton, but you can start at any point you like or divide it into sections to suit your ability. Many cyclists like to complete this tour in a leisurely six days, while others prefer to cover more than one section in a day.

Skipton is an ideal place to start the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway or complete a section of it, located just 9 miles south of Long Ashes Park making this a perfect place to stay. There's nothing more motivating than that refreshing shower waiting for you close by! And you can refuel with a hearty homemade meal at the quaint Yorkshire pub The Gamekeeper's Inn, or chat all about your dales adventures over authentic pizza at the Woodland Cafe.

Tan Hill loop from Reeth

Reeth

Ideal for cyclists with a very good fitness level, the Tan Hill loop from Reeth is a popular Yorkshire cycling route.

There are plenty of ideal places to stop for a rest or a bite to eat, including the Dales Bike Centre Cafe or the Tan Hill Inn.

This route is mostly made up of paved surfaces and well connected with public transport, you can easily start and end the route at Reeth Bus Station.

Clapham to Ribblehead Viaduct loop

Ribblehead viaduct

For a challenging cycling route with incredible Yorkshire Dales scenery, the Clapham to Ribblehead Viaduct loop is a must for experienced cyclists.

This route will take you along truly spectacular examples of Yorkshire countryside, from Ingleton Waterfalls to the famous Ribblehead Viaduct, and amazing viewpoints over unique landscapes.

This 32.6 mile cycling route has plenty of beautiful spots to stop and enjoy the scenery, as well as The New Inn Pub at Clapham for a bite to eat.

This is an easily accessible route by public transport at less than 40 minutes by train from Skipton to Clapham train station.

Burnsall Village to Barden Moor climb loop from Grassington

Burnsall


For an easier road ride, the Burnsall Village to Bardon Moor Climb loop is a perfect cycling route that starts from the quaint market town of Grassington just outside of Long Ashes Park.

Beginning at Grassington National Park Centre, this spectacular cycling route will take you through some of the most beautiful countryside scenery in North Yorkshire, passing through the picturesque Burnsall Village and the impressive Bardon Tower, before providing the perfect viewpoint at the top of Bardon Moor Climb.

As you head back to Grassington, be sure to stop by the beautiful Linton Falls, then finish off your adventure with a well deserved Yorkshire pub meal at The Gamekeeper's Inn.

Mallerstang circuit

Mallerstang

The Mallerstang Circuit is a great loop which will take you through Tan Hill, down through the beautiful scenery of Wensleydale, and finally a climb over and down Greets Moss.

This 57 mile loop is an ideal way to see the very best of North Yorkshire, with plenty of perfect rest stops.

Beginning and ending in Grassington, this is a must-do when you're staying at Long Ashes Park and it's a perfect excuse to end the journey with a rewarding bite to eat at Woodland Cafe or The Gamekeeper's Inn.

Malham Tarn

Malham tarn

The spectacular Malham Tarn, the highest lake in England, offers a short and fairly level cycle route for all all experience levels.

This is a great route to start out on if you're not a confident cyclist. The route follows gravel tracks and quiet tarmac roads, with great wildlife spotting opportunities, a bird hide and nature trail on route.

You'll find lots of useful facilities in Malham village before you set off, and there is a toilet along the way at the Orchid House.

Newby Hall

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Just outside of Ripon you'll find the Newby Hall loop, a moderately hilly 13.4 mile circular cycle route.

This route will take you through picturesque villages and towns such as Bridge Hewick, Marton-le-Moor, Kirby Hill and Langthorpe.

Ilkley to Bolton Abbey

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The back road from Ilkley to Bolton Abbey is one of the most popular routes for cyclists in North Yorkshire.

This pleasant cycling route will take you to the beautiful Bolton Abbey, a large historic estate near Skipton and home to plenty of perfect picnic spots, shops and cafes.

From Bolton Abbey you can travel further up Wharfedale or over to Embsay and Skipton.

Bolton Abbey is just an hour's cycle from Long Ashes Park.

Gargrave circular route

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For cyclists of all abilities, the Gargrave circular route is a relatively short journey with no big climbs. This route takes you from the little town of Gargrave up to some fantastic views of Flasby and Barden Moors.

Gargrave is home to a well known cyclists’ café called the Dalesman, or a 45 minute cycle from Gargrave will take you to the Woodland Cafe in Threshfield which is the perfect rest stop after a day out on your bike.

Skipton to Bolton Abbey loop

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The Skipton to Bolton Abbey loop is a dramatic cycle route along quiet and hilly country roads.

Travelling east from the bustling market town of Skipton, you can enjoy beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside before ending at the impressive ruins of Bolton Abbey.

Not far outside of Skipton you'll find Long Ashes Park, with a great choice of accommodation to suit everyone, a Yorkshire pub The Gamekeeper's Inn, and the Woodland Cafe for delicious dishes and light bites.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Can you cycle in the Yorkshire Dales?

Yes! The beautiful Yorkshire Dales is a well loved favourite of British cyclists, offering a range of challenging cycling and less intense cycle routes and covering magnificent countryside hilly terrains and famous landmarks.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a must-see for cycling enthusiasts, with picturesque landscapes of Swaledale, Wensleydale, Nidderdale, Ribblesdale and Wharfedale.

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Can you cycle on the Dales Way?

Yes. The Dales Way runs for 80 miles from Ilkley in Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria, passing through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, the South Lakes and to the edge of England's largest lake.

This route will take you mostly along riverside paths through some of the most picturesque countryside in the UK.

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Is Yorkshire good for cycling?

Yorkshire is a large and beautiful county with countless enjoyable routes, including some of the best cycling routes in the UK.

Whatever your experience, skill level and confidence when it comes to cycling, there are plenty of ideal cycling routes for you in Yorkshire, from relaxing scenic journeys to challenging uphill climbs with rewarding views of the Yorkshire Dales.

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How high is Yorkshire Dales Cycleway?

The Yorkshire Dales Cycleway reaches an impressive 12,762 feet at its peak!

This popular route takes you through stunning Yorkshire scenery and into the Westmorland Dales, before heading up to Tan Hill, the highest pub in Britain.

Where to stay in North Yorkshire

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Luxury lodges at Long Ashes Park

In the heart of the Wharfedale valley, Long Ashes Park is home to several stylish woodland lodges each with their own unique character, perfect for relaxing breaks with friends and family.

Each lodge features a fully equipped kitchen, comfortable bedrooms and living spaces and a private outdoor decking to enjoy the spring weather.

Your stay includes full complimentary use of the on-site Leisure Club which boasts a heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, air-conditioned gym and the Woodland Cafe. Breakfast at Woodland Cafe is available as an add-on to your stay.

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Stylish en-suite bedrooms at The Gamekeeper's Inn

Formally a gamekeeper's cottage, The Gamekeeper's Inn in Threshfield, North Yorkshire offers cosy corners, the best local ales and hearty homemade food, prepared with locally sourced ingredients prepared fresh by a talented team of chefs. Highlights include Alternative Afternoon Tea, their famous Sunday Lunch and Pie Night.

The Gamekeeper's Inn is also home to 11 beautifully designed en suite bedrooms, perfect for couples, friends and families to escape to the Yorkshire Dales. Your stay includes a homemade Yorkshire breakfast, and you can treat yourself to a Dinner, Bed and Breakfast booking to include your evening meals too.

Full complimentary use of the on-site Leisure Club is included with your stay, so you can relax and unwind in the sauna, work out in the gym or go for a dip in the pool for no extra cost.

With a seasonal menu, delicious vegan options and speciality nights throughout the week, there's something for everyone at The Gamekeeper's Inn.

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Wharfedale Woodland Glamping Pods

The Woodland Glamping Pods at Long Ashes Park are just perfect for a romantic escape to Yorkshire Dales.

These completely self contained, cleverly designed camping pod includes a comfy double bed, bathroom, sofa, high table and kitchen. If you don't fancy cooking for yourself though, just around the corner you'll find The Gamekeeper's Inn, a welcoming Yorkshire pub serving hearty homemade food, or Woodland Cafe where you'll find delicious authentic pizza, pasta, light bites and sweet treats. Breakfast at Woodland Cafe is available as an add on, and full use of the on site Leisure Club facilities is included with your stay.

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Netherside Barn - Luxury Cottage in the Yorkshire Dales

Netherside Barn is a quaint and traditional three-bedroom house with stunning private surroundings. The house has three stylish double bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, a spacious living area and a large outside private patio, making this the perfect getaway for friends and families.

Make your stay even more luxurious and enjoy full use of the Leisure Club facilities on-site included with your stay. And when you don't fancy cooking, you're just a minute's walk from delicious local pub grub at The Gamekeeper's Inn or pizza, pasta and light bites at the Woodland Cafe. Breakfast at the Woodland Cafe is available as an add on.

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