Cycle Routes: Best 7 Bike Trails in Aberdeenshire to Enjoy

Cycle Routes: Best 7 Bike Trails in Aberdeenshire to Enjoy

Cycle Routes: Best 7 Bike Trails in Aberdeenshire to Enjoy

mountain bike trails aberdeenshire

In this post we highlight some of the best cycling routes in Aberdeenshire including well-maintained cycle paths and for the more adventurous, some of the area's best mountain bike trails! Cycling in Aberdeenshire is a great way to explore the county. The scenery is beautiful, and there are plenty of trails and paths to follow. Not only a great way to get exercise, cycling is a fun way to see the countryside. If you're looking for an enjoyable outdoor activity, getting the bike out in Aberdeenshire is definitely worth doing on your visit.

You can start off at the beginner mountain bike routes around Kirkhill Forest, spend an afternoon going around the Tarland Trails or take on a section of the 41-mile-long Deeside Way! 

The Best Cycling Routes in Aberdeenshire!

Cycling Routes
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    The table above lists all the best cycling routes in Aberdeenshire. Click on each name to be taken straight to the part of the blog post for that route.

    There's nothing better than a lovely cycle taking in the sights and sounds of the countryside. Have a look below at the cycle routes listed on the interactive map, and click on the buttons for further information before you travel. The purple icons on the map are local bike shops for hire and collection.

    Discover Aberdeenshire's Trail Views on Two Wheels

    Deeside Way

    Split into 4 main sections, The Deeside Way is a cycling route that runs through Aberdeenshire stretching from the city of Aberdeen to Ballater. It's a great way to see a large chunk of the countryside with the route around 41 miles long. 

    The map above shows the Deeside Way from Duthie Park in Aberdeen to the old Ballater Railway Station with the family-friendly sections being from Aberdeen to the Banchory Lodge Hotel and from Aboyne to Ballater.

    Some facts about the route:

    1. Length and Route: The Deeside Way is a long distance cycling, 41-mile (66 km) rail trail that follows parts of the former Deeside Railway. It forms part of the National Cycle Network (National Route 195) and stretches from Aberdeen's Duthie Park to Ballater.
    2. Terrain: The pathway runs from Duthie Park in Aberdeen to Peterculter, with a few breaks across quiet country roads. It offers a mix of off-road paths and stretches alongside roads, providing varied terrains suitable for cycling.
    3. Historical Significance: The Deeside Way was developed based on the bed of the former Deeside Railway. Interest in using the route for recreational purposes began in 1971, and the current route was developed in stages over the years.
    4. Waymarking: The Deeside Way is well-waymarked, ensuring cyclists can easily navigate the route. It also includes bridges, such as the one over West Cults Road, which was opened in March 2010.
    5. Scenic Attractions: Along the route, cyclists can enjoy attractions like the Dess woods, Dess waterfall, and a scenic view of the River Dee along the way. The path also passes through notable locations like Crathes Castle, Drum Castle, and Scolty Hill.
    bike trails in aberdeenshire

    Formartine and Buchan Way

    The Formartine and Buchan Way is a great way to explore the area north of Aberdeen. The path is well-maintained and offers beautiful scenery along the way.

    The route runs along the former railway from Dyce in Aberdeen to Maud, where it splits with branches headed north towards Fraserburgh and east towards Peterhead.

    There are also many places to stop and rest including the village of Newmacher and the town of Ellon.

    Some facts about the route:

    1. Location and Length: The Formartine and Buchan Way is a long-distance trail in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It extends for 64 km (40 mi) to Fraserburgh, with an additional 21 km (13 mi) spur to Peterhead.
    2. History of the Trail: The trail follows the track of a former railway line, the Formartine and Buchan Railway. The railway closed in 1979 (Fraserburgh) and 1970 (Maud-Peterhead). The walkway was opened in the early 1990s.
    3. Usage and Accessibility: The Formartine and Buchan Way is open to walkers, cyclists, and horse riders. It is managed by Aberdeenshire Council and is listed as one of Scotland's Great Trails by NatureScot.
    4. Points of Interest: Along the trail, visitors can explore various attractions such as the Drinnes Wood Observatory, Strichen Stone Circle, Aden Country Park, Deer Abbey, and The White Horse at Strichen.
    5. Route Details: The total path is approximately 85 kilometres (53 mi) long if both spurs (to Fraserburgh and Peterhead) are traveled. The route is well signposted, easy to follow, and is mostly flat, with undulations only when crossing roads.

    The Tarland Way

    The Tarland Way is a family-friendly cycle trail connecting the Aberdeenshire village of Tarland with Aboyne nearby. The 6-mile-long walking path passes through beautiful areas like the Howe of Cromar, which has been rated as an area of outstanding natural beauty, with evidence of humans living there all the way back to 4000 BC!

    The trail has some changes in elevation which makes it challenging, but also great for hiking and mountain biking. It will take you just over 2 hours to complete this route if your pace is normal or faster than average; however, if you stop to take in some of the scenery on offer you may be a little longer!

    Some facts about the route:

    1. Distance and Route: The Tarland Way is a 10 km (6 miles) cycle/walking route that connects Tarland and Aboyne. The route starts at the entrance to the Kemsley Green housing development in Aboyne and winds down to a bridge across the Tarland Burn, continuing through scenic countryside.
    2. Opening: The Tarland Way was officially opened on 23rd June 2011 by the Countess of Aboyne, with an event promoting cycling and walking along the route.
    3. Terrain and Scenery: The track offers varied landscapes, from scenic countryside to the Tarland Burn. In 2015, an off-road grass path was added alongside the Tarland Burn, providing an alternative to the quiet Coull road into Tarland.
    4. Initiation and Management: The project was initiated by the Tarland Development Group and managed by the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust (COAT), with funding from various sources including Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government.

    More information on the long distance cycle routes can be found on the Aberdeenshire Council website.

    We've reviewed many hotels across Aberdeenshire. Have a look at the blog posts by clicking the buttons below:

    Mountain Biking Trails in Aberdeenshire

    aberdeenshire cycling routes

    MTB: Tarland Trails

    If you're looking for great mountain bike routes not far from the county's whisky trail, the 'Tarland Trails' are well worth a visit. Located in Drummy Woods and the hill of Pittenderich, the trails are challenging and varied, with something to offer riders of all levels of experience. There's also plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy along the way. The tracks have something to offer everyone, whether you're looking to warm up on the pump tracks before taking off onto one of the waymarked trails or just happy to learn the basics with the family at a slow pace, Tarland Trails is a place where an afternoon can fly by!

    Some facts about the trails:

    1. Location and Design: The Tarland Trails are two purpose-built MTB trail centres located on either side of the village of Tarland in Aberdeenshire. The original bike trails in Drummy Woods are designed for less experienced riders, while the TT2 (Tarland Trails Two) on Pittenderich hill caters to more experienced riders with challenging features.
    2. Trail Variety: In Drummy Woods, cyclists can explore three trails and a pump track. These include a family trail (blue) named "The Spikey Hedgehog", a technical run (red) called "The Red Squirrel", and a big jump run (orange) known as "The Slinky Fox". Additionally, there's "The Puddock Pump Track" for skill practice.
    3. Trail Descriptions: The "Red Squirrel Trail" offers a challenging, rocky, and technical ride with berms and rock features. In contrast, the "Slinky Fox Trail" is filled with berms and various jumps, suitable for riders with high technical ability.
    4. Tarland Trails Two (TT2): Opened in 2023, TT2 is built on the steep hillside of Pittenderich, offering trails with challenges perfect for intermediate to advanced riders.
    5. Facilities: The trails have parking facilities, and while there are no direct amenities at Drummy Woods, the nearby village square in Tarland offers cafes, shops, and bars. Mobile phone signal is relatively good along the route, and the nearest cycle repair shops are in Aboyne.

    MTB: Aboyne Bike Park

    The Aboyne Bike Park is managed by volunteers along with Mid Deeside Limited who own the land on behalf of the community! The bike park is a beautiful, well-maintained facility that's perfect for beginner users and experienced bikers alike. The rides are short but worth checking out!

    Some facts about the park:

    1. Location and Establishment: Aboyne Bike Park is situated in Bell Wood, close to the town centre of Aboyne. It was built in 2013 and is the result of the hard work of the Mid Deeside Community Trust.
    2. Trail Variety: The park offers a range of trails including a short black graded downhill trail named "The Rattlesnake", a longer red graded downhill called "The Side Winder", three parallel orange grade jump trails known as "The Spitting Cobra", and a pump track and skills area named "The Python".
    3. Trail Descriptions: "The Rattlesnake" is a short, rocky trail requiring expert skills, while "The Sidewinder" is a steep single track with technical sections. The "Spitting Cobra" trails offer a series of jumps of varying sizes and difficulty.
    4. Facilities: The Bike Park is open at all hours and is free of charge. There's no on-site supervision, but facilities like parking, cafes, and bike repair shops are available nearby in Aboyne.
    5. Community Management: The Aboyne MTB trails are beautifully maintained by the voluntary Aboyne Bike Park Association, ensuring a great experience for riders.

    MTB: Pitfichie

    Pitfichie Forest mountain bike trails are well worth a visit to get the adrenaline going! Lots of imagination and hard work went into making these popular, well-structured courses that flow beautifully through the forest to give you an amazing ride! For more information on the trails before you travel, check out the Forestry Commission's page for further details by clicking the button!

    Some facts about the trails:

    1. Trail Variety: Pitfichie Forest offers mountain bikers a range of trails, including the "Granite Top Trail" which is a fast singletrack with natural rock features. The trail branches off the "Cairn William Trail" and includes challenging climbs, rocky obstacles, and a technical descent named "The Devil’s Staircase".
    2. Location and Access: Pitfichie Forest is located near the village of Monymusk. The entrance to the forest is on the north side of the B993 between Monymusk and Tillyfourie. The forest offers a mix of trails suitable for both beginners and expert riders, with clear signposting and trail maps available.

    MTB: Kirkhill

    Kirkhill forest is a great place for beginner mountain bikers! The mountain bike fun park is within close range of the car park and is an ideal place to practice skills before trying more demanding places in the county. With more challenging unmarked trails throughout the forest.

    Some facts about the trails:

    1. Location: Kirkhill Forest is located to the north-west of Aberdeen, situated on the north side of the A96 between the villages of Dyce and Blackburn.
    2. Recreational Activities: The forest is not only a working forest but also offers a network of paths suitable for walking. Additionally, it features a mountain bike fun park, providing cyclists with a dedicated space to enjoy and practice their skills.
    3. Orienteering and More: Apart from cycling, Kirkhill Forest also boasts a permanent orienteering trail, offering a diverse range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts.


    In this blog post, we have shared some of the cycle routes in Aberdeenshire. With miles upon miles to explore, we hope you manage to see as much of this beautiful region on your bike as possible!

    We write lots of blog posts from each individual area and have a few more from the city of Aberdeen and the county of Aberdeenshire. Have a look at our other blog posts by clicking the buttons below:


    Aberdeen(shire) Blogs


    Cycling Routes in Aberdeen(shire)


    Forest Walks in Aberdeen(shire)


    Things to do in Aberdeen(shire) (Paid entry)


    Unusual things to do in Aberdeen(shire)


    Local Delicacies and Souvenirs in Aberdeen(shire)

    Please note...

    All outdoor activities including cycling involve a degree of risk. The routes are recommended due to the well known features of each route but this may change over time and further research is required before undertaking any activity. The weather can also impact the surface and general conditions of each route so please keep yourself updated with the weather forecast before setting off to enjoy your cycle! Remember to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code at all times.

    • Back to Home

    • Aberdeenshire Blogs

    Crown Copyright, courtesy Forestry and Land Scotland (15/08/22) licensed under the Open Government License.