Dark Peak MTB

Dark Peak MTB

Take on the best Peak District bridleways on this 61-mile-long self-guided mountain biking holiday, beginning and ending in Bamford.

4 to 5 nights
62 miles
Moderate / Demanding to Demanding / Strenuous

From £485 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

The imposing landscapes of the Peak District’s Dark Peak bristle with technical trails and massive views. On the worn remains of old drovers’ roads and along rocky bridleways, the Dark Peak Mountain Biking holiday involves brilliant trails across wide-open moors, with technical climbs leading to some fantastic descents on rocky trails and through wooded bridleways.

It’s an uncompromising route, circling Ladybower Reservoir and passing beneath Kinder Scout as it hunts out the very best trails in the region, taking in the descents at Jacob’s Ladder, Cave Dale, The Beast at Hope Cross, Lockerbrook, Chinley Churn and more. Every climb awards stunning views over the National Park: the perfect backdrop for long, exhilarating descents over hard-packed earth and stretches of bedrock beneath.

You’re sure to arrive at each overnight stop windswept, muddy, and grinning ear to ear. Our full-route holidays take place over 3–4 days, or you can check out our Dark Peak Short Break option to cram your ride into a weekend.

© Contours Walking Holidays Dark Peak MTB map
62 miles (99 km)
19th March to 31st October

Holiday highlights

Tackling the wide range of adrenaline-charged descents, on rocks, roots natural drop-offs and berms.

Making the most of the ancient eroded roads that crisscross the Peaks and provide endless technical fun.

Stopping for a snack at Whinstone Lee Tor, well up above Ladybower Reservoir, with great views in all directions.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
C-DP-MB1 A circular trail beginning at Bamford 4 nights, 3 days riding Demanding / Strenuous£485
C-DP-MB2 A circular trail beginning at Bamford 5 nights, 4 days riding Moderate / Demanding£605

Dark Peak MTB 4 nights, 3 days riding

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Elevation & terrain
  • Travel info
  • Weather

Travel to Bamford where your first night's accommodation has been booked

Day 1

Bamford to Castleton. 18 miles (29km) / 2799 ft (853 m) ascent

Day 2

Castleton to Hayfield. 21.5 miles (34.5km) / 3412 ft (1040 m) ascent

Day 3

Hayfield to Bamford. 22 miles (35km) / 3333 ft (1016 m) ascent


Depart from Bamford after breakfast

Your Itinerary

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than 2.5 miles from the trail to your accommodation.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

Solo Traveller Supplement
£60.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£45.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£60.00 per person / per night

What's included?

  • 4 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

Book an extra night into your holiday and see the sights, explore the local trails or take the time to rest and relax in picturesque surroundings.
Wondering where to book that extra night?

Book an extra night in Castleton and take a day exploring the local show caves, including the Blue John Cavern and Peak Cavern. These subterranean sites are well worth a visit, showcasing natural beauty and the local history of the area — mining work here revealed several of these deep tunnels. You can also take your time exploring the ruins of Peveril Castle. The keep still stands intact and open to visitors, with brilliant views over the Hope Valley Below.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£60.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 61.5 miles (98.5 km)
Duration: 4 nights, 3 days riding
Minimum daily distance: 18 miles (29 km)
Maximum daily distance: 22 miles (35 km)
Code: C-DP-MB1 Grade: Demanding / Strenuous
Season: 19th March - 31st October
Start of holiday: Bamford
End of holiday: Bamford

Elevation & Terrain

Route profile

Dark Peak MTB Route Profile

Favouring gradual ascents where possible, the Dark Peak Mountain Biking route rises to several long descents and a few more abrupt downhill sections. Flatter trails along the shore of the reservoir offer a good opportunity to catch your breath after the downhills and prepare for the next climb.


  • Rocky, muddy and hard-packed bridleway and byways
  • Low-traffic roads

The Dark Peak MTB route favours unsurfaced terrain along bridleways and byways. Expect a mix of rocky, technical terrain; muddy, rooty pathways across the moors; and some less technical surfaces of grit and hard-packed soil. The trail avoids tarmac where possible, save a few linking sections and the run down into town to overnight accommodation.

We recommend you have experience riding off road before attempting the Dark Peak MTB route. You’ll need a capable mountain bike to ride these off-road trails, especially the more challenging sections.

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air – The most convenient major cities and international airports are Manchester, Leeds Bradford & East Midlands.

By Rail – There is a train station at the start/end of the trail (Bamford).

From London – Trains run from London Euston & St Pancras International stations to Bamford.

Return to the Start – This is a circular route starting and ending in Bamford.

Please note:

Most train lines will allow for bikes to be taken on board. We advise that you check on https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/cyclists.aspx as you may need to book a space for your bike or there may be a limit as to how many bikes the train can store.

Most buses in the UK are unable to store bikes on board, so we would recommend avoiding this form of transport.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.

Routes on this trail

Dark Peak MTB Short Break Mountain biking
3 nights
49 miles
Demanding / Strenuous+
From £370 per person
Ride the Dark Peak on a long weekend with this 49-mile mountain biking circuit, beginning and ending in Bamford.Find Out More