17 mountain bike trails in the Isle of Wight

Nestled just off the southern coast of England, discover some of the best mountain bike trails in the Isle of Wight. It’s a true paradise for cyclists seeking thrilling adventures amidst breathtaking natural landscapes.

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This picturesque island boasts a diverse array of trails that cater to riders of all skill levels, from beginner-friendly paths in Freshwater to challenging technical routes in Shanklin that will put your abilities to the test. With its rolling hills, rugged coastal terrain, and lush woodlands, the Isle of Wight offers a unique and exhilarating mountain biking experience. Whether you're a seasoned adrenaline junkie or a newcomer to the sport, this remarkable destination promises to captivate you with its scenic beauty and adrenaline-pumping trails. Discover 17 of the most spectacular mountain bike trails during your next Isle of Wight holiday, each promising an unforgettable journey that will leave you craving more. So, get ready to explore the hidden gems of this enchanting island…

Round the Island cycle route image

Round the Island cycle route

Starting strong with the Round the Island cycle route, this trail offers a scenic and challenging experience. The full route showcases stunning sea views, hill climbs, and picturesque countryside, catering to experienced cyclists. However, the route can be conveniently split into smaller sections thanks to the towns along the way, allowing cyclists to tailor the difficulty.

The well-marked trail features blue signs with a white island shape for the anti-clockwise direction and white signs with a blue island shape for the clockwise direction. Cyclists can access the route from the nearest ferry terminals in Yarmouth and Cowes or Wootton and Nettlestone if arriving via Ryde.

Whatever you decide, this is the perfect mountain bike trail on the Isle of Wight to discover the beauty of the entire island!

Clockwise route length: 65.1 miles

Anti-clockwise route length: 64.8 mi

Difficulty: Challenging

Red Squirrel trail image

Red Squirrel trail

The Red Squirrel Trail offers mostly traffic-free cycling through the Isle of Wight's scenic countryside. It showcases the island's diverse landscapes, including estuaries, woodlands, farmland, downland, and coastal stretches.

The trail is a multi-day cycling tour, so riders can explore the wildlife and visit nearby attractions, cafes, and restaurants.

Stretching from Cowes to Sandown Bay, with a loop through some fantastic countryside taking you back to the main trail at Merstone, you can find the full trail here.

Or, if you want something shorter and more manageable for families, cyclists can opt for a single-day or half-day section, like the popular route from Shanklin through Wroxall, Merstone, and Sandown.

Full length: 32 miles

Shortened length: 14 miles

Difficulty: Moderate - challenging

Isle of Wight: North to South image

Isle of Wight: North to South

East Cowes, Isle of Wight 

The Isle of Wight is a walker's paradise, and this north-to-south route is well worth exploring!

You’ll start in Cowes with a riverside walk along the River Medina towards Newport. The trail then passes by Carisbrooke Castle, Shide, and Blackwater, before ascending near Niton and culminating in a descent to St. Catherine's Lighthouse.

All of this makes for one of the best mountain bike trails in the Isle of Wight where you can enjoy the scenic journey across the island, and get a dose of history on your trip.

Length: 17.7 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Freshwater to Yarmouth image

Freshwater to Yarmouth

Isle of Wight National Landscape (AONB)

The Yar Trail is popular for mountain biking, road cycling, and bike touring, though riders can still find solitude during quieter times. The best seasons to visit are May and June.

This predominantly flat, traffic-free route follows a disused railway from Yarmouth to Freshwater, offering stunning views of the Yar Estuary. It ends at the beautiful Freshwater Bay, which is about a 15-minute cycle from The Bay Colwell holiday park.

Length: 2.4 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Afton, Yarmouth, Alum Bay, and Middleton image

Afton, Yarmouth, Alum Bay, and Middleton

Isle of Wight National Landscape (AONB)

The Freshwater to Yarmouth trail begins at Freshwater Bay and follows the coastal circular path to Tennyson Down and The Needles viewpoint.

You can even explore the historic sites and scenic vistas before continuing through Alum Bay, over Headon Warren, and along the Esplanade Walk to Colwell Bay. The route then crosses farmlands and woodlands to Yarmouth, returning to Freshwater Bay via the riverside cycle path and roads.

Caution is advised on rougher sections, especially in inclement weather and on the road portions, so make sure you bring along appropriate footwear.

Length: 13 miles

Difficulty: Hard

Godshill and Appuldurcombe circular image

Godshill and Appuldurcombe circular

Isle of Wight National Landscape (AONB)

The Godshill circular route near Ventnor on the Isle of Wight is a popular route for hiking and cycling, yet still offers solitude during quieter times, with the best months to visit being April to October. 

Beginning in the charming village of Godshill, the trail leads through Fir Plantation, farmlands, and wooded areas, offering lovely countryside views.

Be careful of some of the rougher sections, especially in wet conditions, as well as when passing through areas with livestock.

Length: 5.3 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Parkhurst Forest image

Parkhurst Forest

Parkhurst Forest

The Parkhurst Forest cycle is an offshoot from the main Red Squirrel Trail, offering cyclists the opportunity to visit the Red Squirrel viewing hide within the forest.

The route follows a well-established cycle track along Stag Lane, crossing the Newport-Cowes Road and continuing on a quieter road leading to the edge of Parkhurst Forest. Once inside the forest, cyclists can explore the extensive network of gravel tracks, as Forestry Commission England permits cycling on all of these trails. Here’s a downloadable map of the forest.

Length: 6 ¾ miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Sandy Hills to Shanklin image

Sandy Hills to Shanklin

Bembridge, Isle of Wight, England

Explore the out-and-back trail near Bembridge, Isle of Wight, a route that’s perfect for those staying at the Whitecliff Bay holiday park, which is situated in Bembridge.

Take into consideration that this is a more challenging route, so more suitable for those who are seasoned walkers.

Ideal for cycling, fishing, and hiking in a peaceful setting, the trail is accessible year-round, offering coastal views, with pubs and cafes along the way for refreshments.

During this scenic route, you’ll find picturesque picnic spots on the beach, so you can a break from one of the best mountain bike trails on the Isle of Wight.

Length: 11 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Chilton Green and Chale image

Chilton Green and Chale

Isle of Wight National Landscape (AONB)

Why not embark on an adventure along this out-and-back trail near Newport, Isle of Wight? Brace yourself for a challenging yet rewarding outdoor experience.

Whether you're an avid birdwatcher, or simply seeking a mountain bike trail, it caters to a variety of outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the highlights of this journey is the solitude it offers, allowing you to fully embrace the tranquillity of your surroundings without the distraction of crowds.

Open throughout the year, you can explore its beauty during any season. From the vibrant hues of spring blossoms to the warm embrace of autumn foliage, or the crisp winter landscapes, this trail promises a visually stunning experience no matter when you decide to venture.

Whether you're seeking a challenging physical endeavour, a chance to spot rare avian species or simply a peaceful escape, you’ll find an unforgettable experience.

Length: 13 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Westover Down circular image

Westover Down circular

Brighstone Forest

Escape into the serene embrace of nature with this amazing circular trail nestled near Newport, Isle of Wight. Renowned for its accessibility, this trail offers an easy-going adventure, allowing you to savour the great outdoors without excessive physical exertion.

You can choose to hike, but for those with a taste for adventure on two wheels, the trail also welcomes mountain bikers, offering an exhilarating opportunity to explore the terrain while embracing the fresh air and scenic vistas.

One of the true charms of this circular route is the tranquillity it offers and that it’s open all year round, so you're unlikely to encounter large crowds. This allows you to fully take in the beauty of your surroundings.

So, whether you're seeking a rejuvenating escape from the stresses of daily life, an opportunity to reconnect with nature, or simply a chance to breathe in the fresh coastal air, this stunning trail awaits.

Length: 3 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Merstone and Sandown circular image

Merstone and Sandown circular

Newport, Isle of Wight, England

Embark on an invigorating adventure, an ideal choice for those seeking a rewarding outdoor experience.

Offering one of the greatest mountain bike trails in the Isle of Wight, it’s perfect for those yearning for an exhilarating ride, as it caters to a diverse range of outdoor pursuits.

This captivating circular route begins in the charming village of Merstone, where you'll follow the picturesque River Yar along a delightful cycle path.

As you make your way to Sandown, you'll have the opportunity to explore the town's charming streets before joining the coastal path, taking in breathtaking views of the Isle's rugged shoreline.

From there, you'll embark on another cycle path, starting at Shanklin Station, allowing you to experience the natural beauty of the area from a different vantage point.

In Wroxall, the trail will guide you northwards, leading you back to your starting point in Merstone, completing the circular journey.

Throughout all of this, you'll be treated to a range of stunning vistas, from the meandering river to the picturesque coastline, making this trail a true feast for the senses.

Length: 15.2 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Ventnor Downs and Luscombe Down circular image

Ventnor Downs and Luscombe Down circular

Isle of Wight National Landscape (AONB)

For a captivating outdoor adventure, try this trail near Ventnor, Isle of Wight - an invigorating yet manageable experience – perfect for those staying at the Ventnor-based holiday park.

As you explore this trail, you'll be treated to a stunning array of natural beauty, with breathtaking views that unfold along the various pathways.

However, it's important to note that some sections of the trail can be steep and rocky, with slick surfaces, adding an element of challenge and adventure to your journey.

Upon reaching the summit, prepare to be awestruck by the panoramic vistas that stretch before you, offering a truly breathtaking reward for your efforts.

Before embarking on your adventure, you'll find convenient free parking and facilities available at the start of the route, ensuring a comfortable and well-prepared experience.

If you’re trying out this mountain bike trail in the Isle of Wight, it's essential to note that after periods of rain, some areas of the trail may become muddy, so proper footwear is highly recommended to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Length: 2.4 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Cowes to Brighstone image

Cowes to Brighstone

Isle of Wight National Landscape (AONB)

Brace yourself for a challenging yet rewarding journey from Cowes for an immersive outdoor experience.

As you embark on this epic trek from Cowes to Brighstone, you'll be treated to a kaleidoscope of memorable experiences, taking you through a variety of environments, offering numerous opportunities to interact with the local flora and fauna and witness the natural world in its full glory.

You’ll notice rolling hills, lush meadows, rugged coastlines, and pristine woodlands, leading to a diversity of landscapes that are truly breathtaking.

It's important to note that some areas along the trail may be slippery and muddy, particularly after periods of rain, so equip yourself with proper footwear and gear to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Embrace the opportunity to reconnect with nature on this breathtaking point-to-point trail. From the breathtaking vistas to the chance encounters with local wildlife, this adventure promises to leave you with lasting memories and a renewed appreciation for the great outdoors.

Length: 14 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Shanklin - Godshill - Niton image

Shanklin - Godshill - Niton

Isle of Wight National Landscape (AONB)

Gear up for an invigorating cycling adventure along this out-and-back trail near Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

This moderately challenging route offers an ideal playground for both mountain bikers and road cyclists alike, promising a thrilling experience amidst the scenic beauty of the island.

Setting off from the charming town of Shanklin, you'll embark on a journey that takes you through the picturesque landscapes of Whiteley Bank and the quaint village of Godshill.

From there, the trail will lead you southward toward Niton, unveiling a tapestry of rolling hills and breathtaking vistas along the way.

Upon reaching the turnaround point in Niton, you have the option to retrace your path along the same route or mix things up by taking an alternative coastal road back to Shanklin. This flexibility allows you to tailor your journey to suit your preferences and desired level of challenge.

Regardless of the path you choose, you can find the freedom to explore the Isle of Wight at your own pace.

So, gather your gear, tune up your bike, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable cycling adventure through the heart of this picturesque island paradise.

Length: 18 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Freshwater to Yarmouth & Thorley Copse image

Freshwater to Yarmouth & Thorley Copse

Isle of Wight National Landscape (AONB)

Take on this rejuvenating journey through nature with this circular trail near Yarmouth, Isle of Wight - an ideal choice for those seeking a relaxing yet invigorating outdoor experience.

Whether you're a hiking enthusiast, a mountain biker craving a thrilling ride, or a runner seeking a scenic path to pound the pavement, this trail caters to many.

This fantastic trail winds its way through the picturesque town of Yarmouth, offering a delightful blend of urban charm, lush countryside, and enchanting wooded areas. As you explore, you'll be treated to a kaleidoscope of stunning vistas and remarkable opportunities to connect with nature on a deeper level.

The diversity of landscapes and terrain along this route creates a truly unique and versatile experience, making it suitable for a wide range of activities.

It's important to note that after periods of rain, certain sections of the trail may become muddy, so make sure that you pack appropriate footwear so you’re fully prepared for one of the best mountain trails on the Isle of Wight.

Length: 2.1 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Colwell Totland Freshwater Bay image

Colwell Totland Freshwater Bay

Isle of Wight National Landscape (AONB)

Whether you're a hiking enthusiast, a mountain biker, or a road cyclist, discover this stunning trail.

Nestled in the southern region of Yarmouth, the trail winds its way around the charming towns of Freshwater and Totland, perfect for the Totland Bay holiday park – The Bay Colwell.

While the majority of the route is paved, allowing for a smooth cycling experience, a section alongside the beach in Totland is set on picturesque paths, adding a touch of variety to your journey.

Along the way, you can explore captivating historical sites, including the old fort ruins in Totland and an intriguing WWII pillbox located at the bottom of the River Yar.

Just after this unique site, you can venture to the All Saints Church, which lies adjacent to the Western Yar, offering a tranquil respite for reflection and appreciation of the area's rich history.

Embrace the serenity, explore the local history, and revel in the picturesque scenery that this enchanting route has to offer.

Length: 6 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Compton Down circular image

Compton Down circular

Isle of Wight National Landscape (AONB)

As you set out on this adventure, you'll quickly find yourself immersed in the serene tranquillity of the island's breathtaking landscapes.

With fewer people sharing the path, you'll have the freedom to fully immerse yourself in the natural surroundings, allowing you to connect with nature on a deeper level.

As you navigate through the trail, you'll encounter a diverse array of scenery, from lush forests and rolling hills to rugged coastal stretches and picturesque meadows.

Each twist and turn unveils a new visual treat, ensuring that your journey is never dull.

Whether you're a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or someone seeking a rejuvenating escape from the daily grind, why not embrace the challenge during your next Isle of Wight holiday?

Length: 6.7 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Mountain bike trails in the Isle of Wight FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding mountain bike trails on the Isle of Wight:

How hilly is the Isle of Wight to cycle?

The Isle of Wight is hilly, but not too hilly, as the highest point is only 241m at Boniface Down above the seaside resort Ventnor. This is why it’s still suitable to cycle within and is a popular one for all types of mountain bikers.

Which mountain biking trail has the most elevation gain in the Isle of Wight?

It is thought that the mountain biking trail with the most elevation gain in the Isle of Wight is the North to South trail, which has a 590m gain.

Is the Isle of Wight good for cycling?

Yes, the Isle of Wight is extremely good for cycling – it’s a cycling paradise!

Blessed with a mild climate and abundant environmentally significant areas, as you try out the many cycle routes here, you'll be treated to wonderful conditions that enhance your exploration.

The perfect Isle of Wight mountain bike trail map to begin your journey…

While seasoned cyclists can embark on a circumnavigation of the entire island in a single day, the Isle of Wight allows for far more treasures to be discovered.

No matter what type of cyclist you are, you’ll be sure to find a route here that’s perfect for you! What makes this even better is that you can find a perfect base with our holiday parks that aren’t far from these routes, so why not find out more and book your next Isle of Wight holiday today?

Now that you’re set for your mountain bike trails in the Isle of Wight, why not use this map to discover just how far you can access these routes while you’re staying with us?

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