Mountain Bike Trail Centres
Coed y Brenin is the biggest and most famous of all the Welsh Mountain Bike Trail Centres and is a short 35-minute drive from the hostel.
Within this vast Forestry Commission-managed woodland is a network of fantastic mountain bike trails – about 150km in total.
There are eight way-marked trails with something here for everybody. For example, the new MinoTaur Trail is designed for young children and riders with disabilities. The 8km Yr Afon ‘green’ trail is popular with casual riders, and for those who want something a bit more challenging, try the epic Beast of Brenin (graded ‘black’). Find out more about the trails and facilities at the Centre on the Coed y Brenin website.
The Gwydyr Forest near Betws-y-Coed is 45 minutes away from the hostel and contain the Marin and Machno trails – altogether almost 60km of purpose made single-track trails through forests and across moorland with awesome scenery over towards the hills of Snowdonia.
The famous Marin Trail is a much-celebrated 25km trail which has a perfect combination of forest road ascents and single-track descents. The single-track varies from technical and rocky to some sweeping sections. The trail draws you deep into the heart of the forest but then pops you right out into the open on more scenic ridges. The trails are used by other people too, so please be respectful of this and slow down for walkers and horses.
For more trails within the local area, take a look at Mountain Bike Wales website.
Prenteg Hill is amazingly steep and goes on forever. With lots of super sharp hairpins you will be out of the saddle for most of this climb. Just when you think it is all over there is another steep section to get to the actual summit. Best climbed after some serious training so that your legs, and even more so your mind, are strong enough for the challenge. Try not to stop for traffic – which will take some assertiveness; if you stop you’ll never get going again. You can continue westwards along a very remote track, if you wish, and then loop back round to Penmorfa/Tremadog. Or why not just descend and do it again faster!
Rhyd is a great route which links the Tremadog area to Ffestiniog via the B4410, without using the main road. It is a bit brutal, but rises in a number of steps so you do get a breather at fairly regular intervals. The reward for all that effort is a nice descent eastwards as you approach the main road. If done in a westerly direction, it’s a bit grim and very steep in two separate sections – but if you’re up for the challenge then go for it.
The B4418, which runs up Dyffryn Nantlle, is the hidden gem of Snowdonia’s mountain roads. This superb col gives a good challenge from the west and has a similar feel to the Llanberis Pass side of Pen y Pass. It is rugged, steep-ish, but with undulations so you can recover, yet steep enough to feel like you’re expending energy for a good cause. The views across the mountain landscape are stunning and there is a wonderful sense of remoteness.
You can easily combine this with a long ride from the south or it also makes a great loop from Waunfawr for a shorter ride.
The descent into Rhyd Ddu is good and fast with some dips to get you out of the saddle and sprinting to keep your momentum going. Take care as you enter Rhyd Ddu itself – you can be travelling quite fast and the road suddenly narrows; oncoming traffic is often in the middle of the road too. Taken east to west it’s a steeper, tougher climb. The descent also is good, but with some blind bends.
National Cycle Route Number 8 passes just 200 metres from the hostel. You can find out more about this route from Sustrans website.