Bikepacking the Cairngorms – Why you should do it

singletrack path through green forest in a misty Cairngorms

The folks at Glenmore Lodge tell us why bikepacking the Cairngorms should be on your list…

Ok, so we’re sold on bikepacking, but why the Cairngorms? 

We might be bias, being based in the heart of the Cairngorms, but we don’t think there is anywhere that can rival our local tracks and trails. Heading straight from our front door, you can ride your way round the whole Cairngorm mountain range, or take it section by section over multiple trips. The biggest challenge will be tailoring your enthusiasm to the time you have available!  

Tell us more about these tracks and trails then…  

There are routes of varying lengths and difficulty, so whether you’re new to bikepacking or a seasoned traveller you’ll find something to get your teeth into, from open Land Rover tracks, to ribbons of flowy single track, to steep, gnarly, rooty goodness.

Some take you through lush Caledonian pine forests and past fast-flowing rivers, others via dramatic glens and vast, mountainous landscapes. 

Mountainous… that sounds like hard work…  

While the Cairngorms are home to four of the five highest mountains in Scotland, it’s easy to avoid extreme climbs and descents. You never need to leave reasonable tracks either. Sure, you can plot a course that involves pushing your bike for a kilometre or two, but you don’t need to.

Ok, we’re listening… any of those bothy-type places for a snooze? 

Of course, there’s an abundance of bothies located throughout the Cairngorms for sleeping (or even just a nice lunch stop). If it’s not blowing a gale, there’s never usually a problem locating a picturesque campsite spot in the Cairngorms for the night either. It’s amazing staying somewhere overnight so wild, which is why it’s important to Leave No Trace when exploring these awesome natural places.

a bike on a road through very Scottish landscape of green forest and brown-green grass

So, we have five days. We’re looking for a Cairngorms bikepacking route. Go. 

Travelling through some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery, the Cairngorms Loop is a 186-mile route that you can spread over four-six days, depending on how fast or slow you wish to go. Think pristine gravel tracks, forest and loch-skirting singletrack, and exciting hike-a-bike sections – it has it all.  

Ok, ok, we’re in. You’re free to go. 

* Glenmore Lodge is Sport Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre. For more details and to join one of their bikepacking excursions see