Cycle Routes around Bala & Penllyn, Snowdonia
There are extensive and varied opportunities for cycling either in the Bala and Penllyn area or nearby. These opportunities include quiet local roads for cycling, car-free routes and challenging hill-climbs with passes over 1,000 feet high. Bala is centrally located for several Mountain Biking centres, and there are also many excellent locations close to Bala in the Penllyn Forest and the Berwyn Mountains.
You can hire bikes in Bala and nearby - for more information please go to Cycle Hire
GoBala for bike Trails - on road, mountain single tracks, downhill and through forests
Cycling routes (on roads or car-free trails)
There are many quiet roads locally, e.g. Bala to Llanuwchllyn along the east side of the lake or Bala to Llandderfel and Cynwyd along the Dee Valley. There is a cycle-way along the A494 from Bala to Glanllyn with the option of return by quiet roads through the village of Parc. Bala is the home of the Wild Wales Challenge a demanding tour, of around 80 miles, over mountainous roads held on the August Bank Holiday Sunday, of each year.
Marked “Bike Routes around Bala” on roads (see leaflet from TIC or download):
- 11: Bala - Llanuwchllyn (16 km, 10 miles)
- 12: Bala - Llanuwchllyn - Lake Vyrnwy - Bala (37 km, 23 miles)
- 13: Llanuwchllyn - Trawsfynydd (22 km, 14 miles)
- 14: Llanuwchllyn - Dolhendre - Llanuwchllyn (6 km, 4 miles)
- 15: Bala - Rhyduchaf - Parc - Bala (13 km, 8 miles)
- 16: Bala - Llandderfel - Cynwyd (18 km, 11 miles)
Mawddach Trail: The trail is car free and runs from Dolgellau to Barmouth (18 km, 11 miles one-way). The Mawddach estuary is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the country and is also a bird sanctuary. The trail (tarmac/gravel) was previously a railway line and is therefore flat! Start at Dolgellau and have lunch in Barmouth (cross the estuary via the wooden railway bridge) and then return to Dolgellau. Call at the George III (17th) Hotel Penmaenpool, for lunch or refreshments. Mawddach Trail Guide. Bike hire available in Dolgellau.
CTC Mawddach Trail circuit: this circuit follows quiet roads and the Mawddach Trail to provide a circular ride of 22 miles (36 km). It includes Cregennen Lakes and is described as one of the best short rides in Wales.
Cadair Idris circuit route: Dolgellau - Cregennen Lakes - Dysynni Valley - Abergynolwyn - Tal-y-llyn Lake - Dolgellau. This circuit takes in some splendid scenery including Tal-y-Llyn. Its a challenging ride of 51 km (32 miles) with 1,200m (4,000 ft) ascent on roads and tracks with plenty of climbing- see CTC info.
Lake Vyrnwy: the 12 mile (19 km) shoreline provides one of those rarities in mid-Wales - a long flat, circular road. The journey around the lake is becoming even more enjoyable by the creation of a sculpture trail (Cycling in Rural Wales). There is also a bird sanctuary, bike hire and refreshments available or try the Tower Tavern at the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. Bike hire available in Llanwddyn (near the dam).
Llyn Brenig: a 11 mile (18 km) route around the lake mainly on tracks with a short distance on a road. The CTC route starts at Llyn Brenig and is a 30 mile circuit on quiet roads.
Alwen Trail: a 7 mile (11.5 km), easy, off-road trail round the Alwen reservoir in the lonely Hiraethog moors. Can be extended to Llyn Brenig (see above) making a 14 mile (22 km) "Two Lakes" route.
Various routes suitable for family cycling in the Hiraethog area.
The extensive forest tracks (250 km) and Yr Afon route at Coed-y-Brenin are suitable for hybrid bikes.
The following are more strenuous hill climbing routes, using quiet roads over mountain passes with excellent views:
- Bala to Lake Vyrnwy via Cwm Hirnant (460m).
- Llanuwchllyn to Trawsfynydd via Lliw valley (531m).
- Llanuwchllyn to Llanymawddwy via Bwlch Groes (545m) the highest road pass in Wales
- Lake Vyrnwy via Eunant valley to Bwlch Groes (545m)
- CTC route: Bala to Lake Vyrnwy (34.5 miles, 600m+ ascent) via Bwlch Groes (545m) with return via Cwm Hirnant (460m).
There is excellent mountain biking locally in the Berwyns and Penllyn Forest. Bala is centrally located for many dedicated mountain biking centres and trails, which are easily reachable by car (around 30 minutes from Bala).
Bala is centrally located for several specialised mountain bike centres, including:
- Coed-y-Brenin: internationally known mountain bike centre, with bike hire facilities and cafe, (north of Dolgellau on the A470) where the 250 km of tracks include:
- MBR (18 km)
- Yr Afon (11 km) suitable for families
- Beast of Brenin (38 km)
- Tarw (20 km) formerly the Red Bull
- Dragons Back (30 km) Formerly the Karrimor route
- Temtiwr (9 km)
- Gwydyr Forest Centre: Gwydyr Marin trail (28 km) or extensive forest tracks
- Penmachno (5 km south of Betws-y-Coed) 19km trail
- Llandegla Forest: with bike hire facilities and cafe, (on the A525, 7 miles west of Wrexham) (MBWales link)
- Family Route (blue): 4 km/2.5 miles
- Beginner Route (green): 12 Km/7.5 miles
- Intermediate Route (red): 18 km/11 miles
- Black run: 1 km/just over half a mile, with steep downhills and a wild series of jumps.
Lake Vyrnwy (intermediate, 21 km) start at the visitor centre Llanwddyn (near the dam).
Several routes in the Hiraethog area around Lake Alwen and Brenig area, see also MBWales
The Wayfarer a classic cross-country 48 km ride through the Berwyn mountains.