Why Ardgartan is mountain biking heaven

Argyll Forest Park

With its vast tracts of forest and mountain, Argyll Forest Park is a top destination for mountain bikers. There are hundreds of miles of well-managed trails and forest tracks to explore, all amid stunning Highland scenery of hill, glen, loch and woodland.

Ardgartan

Ardgartan is the beating heart of this area of natural beauty, offering exhilarating cross-country riding, as well as the opportunity to head off-road and blaze your own trail. The views are incredible, the riding exhilarating and the wildlife superb. Sounds like mountain biking heaven? Why not come and find out for yourself? Ardgartan is just one hour from Glasgow.

Ardgartan (meaning the ‘High Garden’ in Gaelic) sits on the shores of Loch Long at the bottom of Glen Croe. It’s an epic location, with the majestic Arrochar Alps towering to the north and the lively Croe Water tumbling into the loch. The forest of Sitka and Norway spruce is an ideal habitat for red squirrel, roe deer, buzzards and owls, while mixed woodland along the many small rivers and burns is home to otters, and kingfishers and bats. In this fabulous landscape, you can discover some truly exhilarating bike challenges.

  • The 8km Cat Craig loop takes its name from the Scottish wildcat that was famed for roaming the forest. The route may be short, but it packs in some serious scenery. This route winds along five miles of forest path before opening up to reveal stunning views over Loch Long. On a clear day, you’ll even see Ben Lomond. On the return journey, you’ll be treated to spectacular views over Glen Croe and the Cobbler.
  • The 11km Coilessan Glen loop is a fairly easy trail that all the family can tackle. This route takes you along the shoreline and into woodland with a few climbs and descents. Start by following the trail south towards the farm at Coilessan and round by the loch shore – you might just glimpse otters here. Then it’s a climb in the shadow of Cnoc Coinnich before heading back down Coilessan Glen. The view over Loch Long towards the Clyde is a cracker!
  • The 32km Ardgartan Peninsula Circuit is one for the fit and determined. This grand tour requires serious stamina, but you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the Clyde and surrounding mountains.

There’s parking, picnic tables and toilets at Ardgartan. If you don’t feel like following the way-marked trails, feel free to ride where your fancy takes you - through the forest, across the hills or by the secluded loch shore.

From Ardgartan, there are link routes to the other parts of Argyll Forest Park.

  • The 11km Glenshellish Loop in Glenbranter is a good introduction to off-road cycling and you can enjoy splashing through a ford at the head of the glen!
  • The 35km Loch Eck Loop is for those who fancy a challenge. This epic route (with epic views) takes you through the forests fringing Loch Eck.
  • Bishop’s Glen, a wooded, hilly area just behind Dunoon, is quickly becoming a magnet for mountain bikers in the know. You’ll find plentiful flowing, natural single-track and some tricky technical descents to test your downhill skills.
  • For something gentler, the 20k Corlarach Loop starts at Bishop’s Glen and takes you through Corlarach Forest. It’s a great route for all the family along the undulating forest track.

Whichever route you choose, you’re sure to make mountain biking memories in Ardgartan!  

Find out more about Argyll Forest Park.