It’s Mountain Bike Season!

The joy of the Mournes as a Mountain Bike destination is due to the fact that pretty much every season is MTB season! And although the common thread may be MTB, no two seasons are ever the same thanks to the combination of our unique topographical and meteorological factors. But enough big words for now, simply put, the Mournes are made for MTB!

That said, we’ve decided there are particular seasonal highlights on our Mournes MTB Calendar and in the true spirit of whatever season you find yourself, we felt the need to share them. So, here’s our Top MTB Seasonal Highlights…


Spring on ‘The Great Escarpe’

While some may have the start of Spring as the 20th March, in Northern Ireland, by default of an extra holiday, we tend to kick off from the 17th… St Patricks Day. Brighter, fresher mornings coupled with a more confident sunrise make for great trail days, however, the weather can still throw a wintery punch… so best be on your guard.

Although standout, ‘The Great Escarpe’ on the Castlewellan Black Trail doesn’t stand alone and best experienced after a gentle warm up on the extensive Castlewellan red trails. Perfectly suited to a Full Suspension MTB, this option also lends itself well to an Electric Full Suspension Bike to maximise the limitless short sharp descents that the Castlewellan Trail Centre offers.

Spring’s a great time to be getting out and about again and as a little reward for effort spent, why not treat yourself with an overnight stay – you’ve earned it. You can go from the rough to the smooth within minutes of either of the trails centres with awesome local food and exceptional accommodation, see Killeavy Castle, Hillyard House, Slieve Donard Resort & The Whistledown for ideas!

Three mountain bikers on the red trail at Castlewellan Forest Park near the Mourne Mountains

‘The Fallows’ in Summer

A season that’s often misunderstood in the Mournes, with false expectations of good weather, for which we’ll blame road cyclists! Summer does bring some fantastic weather, but the main and guaranteed benefit of summer when it comes to MTB, is longer daylight hours and much more trail time!

‘The Fallows’ on the Rostrevor Red MTB Trail is genuinely awesome and really has to be experienced to truly understand why it’s on our list. Our preference is from the saddle of a Hardtail MTB, though if you really want to go with the flow, an upgrade to an Electric Hardtail Bike will certainly max one of Irelands leading MTB Trail Centres.

Summer’s the perfect time to just hang out with family and friends after a great day on the trails and with no better destination in which to do so, what’s the rush! The long days don’t last long so make the most of outdoor living at the many cracking little glamping sites popping up around the trails including Willow Tree, Bluebell Lane, Escape, Gorse Hill & Pine Tree Hollow to name a few of our favourites.

Two mountain bikers descending a rocky step on the Rostrevor Red trail in Kilbroney Forest Park near the Mourne Mountains

Autumn in ‘Annesleys Alley’

Having two National Trails Centres located in two of the most stunning Forest Parks, makes this one of the most exciting seasons to be out on the Mourne trails. Autumn brings something new daily and reminds us that there’s much more to MTB than that found in a rider’s line of sight… honest!

Back on track though and ‘Annesleys Alley’ on the Castlewellan Red Trail really does require focus with such a sustained run that’s guaranteed to leave you buzzing. Perfect for a Hardtail MTB or equally suitable for an Electric Hardtail Bike if you want to keep a little energy in reserve for the other National Trail Centre!

Autumn is the perfect season for a quick escape and if it’s biking you’re after, then the Mournes is the ultimate destination. If you need somewhere just that little bit more comfortable to rest, check out the many bike friendly cottage accommodation options including Hannas Close, The Green & Kribben all centrally located between the two Trail Centres.

Three mountain bikers in the forest the the Red Trail in Castlewellan Forest Park near the Mourne Mountains.

‘Boulderdash’ for Winter

Another season that’s often misunderstood, with false expectations of bad weather, and without a shred of evidence, we’ll lay blame with the road cyclists again!  Winter does pose the possibility of bad weather to which a wise biker once said, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just a lack of…” …or something to that effect.

‘Boulderdash’ on the Rostrevor Black Trail is a fitting finish to our seasonal favourites and best combined with a selection of the Rostrevor red trails as you please. Although ideal on a Full Suspension MTB, this option really lends itself to an Electric Full Suspension Bike as once is rarely enough.

Winter brings shorter days, but with that, come longer evenings and no better time to regroup, relax, refuel, and replay from your day or your years bike adventures… then… repeat!

Two cyclists on wooden boardwalk on Rostrevor Red Mountain Bike Trails