Shortlist symbol Add to shortlist button.

Search and Shortlist

Shortlist symbol Add to shortlist button.

Venue Type



Keyword Search


image for Cycle Route item typeSkiddaw Loopadd to shortlist



One of the Lakeland classics. Bikers have been enjoying this route since the dawn of cycling. A cycling club called ‘The Rough Stuff Fellowship’ record following this route in the 1920s on their trusty touring bikes. Nowadays we would recommend using a mountain bike. The ride circles the Skiddaw massif, formed by the eruptions of ancient volcanoes which dominate the surrounding area. The entire route presents few real challenges but does explore some of the wilder corners of the Northern
Fells offering a wonderful wilderness flavour. Route finding is straightforward but have proper equipment and supplies, including OS Landranger 90 and a compass, should visibility deteriorate.

Grade: Medium - Challenge.

Route Information

Time/Effort 2 out of 5
Refreshments Keswick, Dodd Wood

Route Essentials

Cycle Route: Keswick, Dodd W ood

Access: Suitable for mountain bikes only

Miles: 17

Route Details

This route is best completed in a clockwise direction. Start at the Tourist Information Centre in the Market Square (GR NY266234) (enquire about prevailing weather conditions before you set off).

1 Head N on Main Street for 0.75km then turn R onto Crosthwaite Road (signed Penrith and Carlisle). After another 400m cross a major roundabout and take the second exit onto the A59.

2 Almost immediately turn R signed Applethwaite, then follow this road through Millbeck before returning to A591.

3 Turn R and ride on the A591 past Dodd Wood (café) for a distance of 4.8km (3m).

4 R turn signed Orthwaite (GR NY234306) skirts around the northern flanks of Skiddaw. Continue along this for 4.5km (2m) and avoid the first bridleway sign that you see after leaving
the main road.

5 At Peter House Farm (GR NY249323) turn R through a gate on to a narrow metalled track. Begin climbing for 1km (0.6m) and pass through 3 metal/wooden gates.

6 A rough track turns R (GR NY252321) and heads SE climbing into the mountains.

7 A stiff climb over 1.5km brings you to a metal gate next to Whitewater Dash; a dramatic waterfall. The track crosses this by a bridge and continues to climb less steeply for another 1km (0.6m) before levelling out in a remote area called ‘Back o’ Skiddaw’. Lonscale Fell and the Glen deraterra Valley This is an ideal mountain bike route if you have limited time. It begins by following the Old Railway Line but then climbs out of Threlkeld into the Glenderaterra Valley for beautiful views over St Johns in the Vale. Old mine workings can be seen below as the ride heads up into the valley, then crosses a beck before contouring high above on Lonscale Fell. The scenery is very dramatic, with only a few sheep for company, and the descent from Latrigg to Keswick will leave you wanting more.

8 A descent of 800m presents you with a ford or a narrow bridge crossing of the infant River Caldew and another short climb levels out at Skiddaw House, an old shooting lodge now used as a Youth Hostel (GR NY287291).

9 Skirt around the lower wall of the hostel following a track past the outbuildings heading S. The track drops to a small bridge and then a gate a short while later. After 1km (0.6m) descending a rocky track look for a smaller track heading R onto Lonscale Fell and the western side of the valley. (GR NY292279).

10 Follow the Route 2 description for the route back to Keswick.

Like what you see? Follow us