Here at Dales Bike Centre we are the gateway to Swaledale and the 'Swale Trail' the Yorkshire Dales only dedicated easy going off-road mountain bike trail. A stunning picturesque ride up Swaledale shadowing the river Swale on easy going mainly off road trails. Ideal route for the not-so-extreme of off road cyclists, MTB'ers and families with children that are confident riders.
Being a linear route riders can take in as much of Swale Trail as they like. For some families with younger or less confident riders 3 or 4km out then back is plenty fun. For the stronger kids and infrequent cyclists we reckon the 12km to the pretty village of Gunnerside and the Kings Head pub for a little refreshment before heading back is a challenge but a great day out. If we were asked to grade this we'd give it a Green/Blue type route.
For those feeling adventurous pressing on from Gunnerside to the village Keld is hard work but is well rewarded with great views. There's a long uphill on very quiet road with two steeper climbs and a tricky descent along with a section you'll probably have to walk. Unfortunately back in medieval times when this route was originally formed it was designed with packhorses in mind not us mountain bikers and cyclists. If we were asked to grade this section we'd give it Blue+ because of the 2 steep sections.
Looking to hire bikes check out our hire page but here's a few tips...
*Tag-alongs are great for the 5-7 year olds, connected to an E-Mtb makes for an awesome ride for everyone but the E-Mtb pilot needs to be pretty confident.
*One way journey - Some families have started their Swale Trail adventure at Gunnerside and ridden the 12km to us here at Dales Bike Centre. There is the small problem of getting the driver back for the vehicle but, if your ride is timed around our local bus service then a half hour bus trip whilst the rest of the family refuel on hot chocolate and cake works a treat. Or, grab a few precious leg miles and pedal back for the vehicle.
*Pack waterproof jackets and plenty of tiny treats for the kids.
*Don't be shy asking us for advice, we've lived and cycled here for 30 years, led school groups and youth groups mountain biking around here for the last 20 years as well as running Dales Bike Centre for the last 10 years. We're not short of experience and happy to offer advice.
*Pick up a Swale Trail map, we've plenty in the bike shop but you can also download it from the Yorkshire Dales National Park website here.
*Check out the Swale Trail Facebook page here.