Just 90 minutes north of Dublin in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor in Co Down lie some of the island’s most scenic mountain bike trails.
Overlooking the northern shore line of Carlingford Lough, 15 minutes outside of the Newry, you’ll find Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails, where both the views and the terrain will take your breath away.
At a leg burning 27 kilometres long, the Rostrevor trails are Northern Ireland’s premier venue to get down and dirty on two-wheeled pedal power.
Be warned, not for the faint hearted, the trails are geared towards those of an intermediate and above skills level. An aspect we quickly found out as we left the comfort of the trailhead car park for our jaunt into the Mourne Mountains.
Immediately faced with a 10 per cent gradient — 14 per cent at its steepest — the aptly named Lungbuster had us gasping during the first 20 minutes of our ride. The hill cleared was a welcome relief and even though we still had another 45 minutes or so of climbing left to tackle the remaining climb it wasn’t so punishable.
And with impressive views of Carlingford Lough appearing at every turn ensures any pit stop taken turns into an impromptu photoshoot.
Rostrevor’s Bat out of Hell pass is a blast to ride
Once at the top the fun begins as gravity becomes your friend. Kilometre and kilometre, the trails wind their way along the edge of the open mountainside and through some spectacular forestry. Thrilling switchback tracks sees you skimming handlebars between the trees as you tuck your elbows in to squeeze through some of the taunting gaps.
With lots of trail time and plenty of flow to find your comfort zone, it doesn’t take long until you begin to push your limits, power in the pedal strokes between obstacles and find yourself resisting the lure of your brakes in order to carry as much speed as possible.
All-in-all Rostrevor’s Red Trail certainly delivers the goods for us with the highlight being the Bat Out of Hell pass. The initial Lungbuster climb is quickly forgotten about when you find yourself lost in the pines blasting through track after track.
For those chasing a bigger challenge, the shorter but more extreme Black Trail will keep even the most experienced mountain bike riders on their toes. Shorter at 19 kilometres, the trail snakes its way down some steeper descents scattered with bigger and bolder rock steps.
Additionally, for those seeking out further adrenaline kicks, there are also two purpose built, national spec, downhill mountain bike runs to sink your teeth into.
As Northern Ireland’s premier mountain bike trail centre, the Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails boast a fully equipped trailhead that ticks all the right boxes for us. A free hard-standing car park, coffee shop, toilet and shower facilities, bike wash, up lift and bike rental services easily cater for your cycling needs.
Adding in a plethora of nearby camping, B&B and hotel options ensures a great weekend of mountain bike action that lies just 90 minutes north of Dublin.
- All-weather trails
- Spectacular views
- Northern Ireland’s longest red trail at 27km
- Free parking
- Coffee shop
- Bike Wash
- Uplift service available
- Bike rental options
- Lungbuster climb — it’s steep!
- Not for beginners
- A lot of climbing required to reach the fun stuff
- No drinking water stops to refill
- Can be very busy on weekends