Bennachie Mountain Biking and Cycle Trails

Bennachie HillBennachie (pronounced ben-a-hee) is probably the best known Hill range in the North East of Scotland, though most people refer to the most prominent hill on the range, Mither Tap, as Bennachie. The iconic shape of the hill, visible for miles around have led to Bennachie being referred to as "The most loved hill in Britain". The Bennachie range is home to a hillfort, ancient myths and legends, hidden heritage, modern sculptures, fascinating wildlife, and a visitor centre surrounded by an extensive network of paths and trails.

The forestry trails and lower paths around the visitor centre offer excellent routes for mountain bikes and they are definitely worth a visit; especially for families and the less experienced mountain biker.
More experienced cyclists will be interested in the trails that go up the steep sides of the Bennachie range and across the plateau. These could suffer severe erosion from mountain bikes, so mountain biking on these is discouraged by the Forestry Commission. However, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code allows for you to cycle these routes, as long as you do so responsibly with respect for other users and care for the environment. Check our page on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code if you intend to venture further than the lower paths.

Trail Descriptions

Bennachie and the its neighbouring hills offer loads of trails, some way marked and some not. The family friendly cycle routes are all signposted and easy to navigate:

Colony Trail

Accessed from the Bennachie visitor centre this 4km circular route passes the ruins of a crofting community that once farmed the local land but were evicted by the local lairds. The Bailies of Bennachie, a registered charity that aims to encourage and stimulate the public's interest in Bennachie, have produced an interesting leaflet on the Colonists which includes a map of the trail. Download it HERE.

Discovery Trail

Accessed from the Bennachie visitor centre. An easy 1km circular trail that meanders around the base of Mither Tap. Very popular with walkers.

Turnpike Trail

Accessed from either the Bennachie visitor centre or the Rowan Tree car park. Out and back on the same route covering 6½km in total. This low level route follows the line of the old turnpike road through the Pittodrie Estate joining the visitor centre and Rowantree. Relatively easy though it does have some challenging inclines with rough surfaces. Not recommended for the very young or complete beginner. The more experienced mountain biker may be interested in tackling the challenging Bennachie Turnpike Circular Trail.

Wild Wood Trail

Accessed from the Back O'Bennachie car park, this 2km circular trail passes through pine and larch woodland, dotted with sculptures along the way. Some of the inclines are on the steep side.

Working Wood Trail

Also accessed from the Back O'Bennachie car park, this 2½km circular trail has interpretive boards along the way explaining the life cycle of trees and the products they provide.

Bennachie Facilities

£3 for all day parking at Bennachie Visitor centre, £2 at Back O'Bennachie.

At the visitor centre during daylight hours and at Back O'Bennachie car park

Drinks, sandwiches and snacks available at the visitor centre

Nearby Facilities

Nearest cafe in Chapel of Garioch. Shops, bars and take aways in Inverurie.

Nearest cycle repair shops are in either Inverurie, or Fetternear.

What have we missed?

If you think we have missed something in our guide to the family friendly Bennachie Cycling trails then let us know. Contact details are on the link at the bottom of the page.

Exploring Further on Bennachie

There are loads of trails, paths and things to be found on Bennachie and its neighbouring hills. If you want to explore further then an Ordnance Survey map is recommended. Two maps that cover the area are:

The OS Explorer Map 421 Ellon and Inverurie which gives a lot more detail and depicts more tracks on the hillside.


Getting to Bennachie Visitor Centre

Bennachie Visitor Centre (Grid Ref. NJ660245) is open 10am to 5pm every day from Easter through to the end of October. Travel north from Inverurie on the A96. Approximately two miles beyond Inverurie take a road on the left sign posted to Chapel of Garioch. At Chapel of Garioch turn left (sign posted to the Bennachie Centre). Follow this road for two miles, and the Visitor Centre is sign posted to the right. AB51 5HY is the nearest postcode if you are using Sat Nav.
See the Bennachie Centre on Google Maps here


Getting to Back O'Bennachie

Back O'Bennachie (Grid Ref. NJ661245). Travel north from Inverurie on the A96 for approximately ten miles. At the "Oyne Fork", turn left onto the B9002, sign posted Insch. Pass through Oyne village, and turn left up to the Back O'Bennachie car park (sign posted) at the far end of the village. AB52 6RH is the nearest postcode if you are using Sat Nav.

Nearby Mountain Bike Trails

Other nearby family friendly cycle routes worth exploring include:

The Deeside Way

The Deeside Way follows the route of the Old Deeside Railway Line from Aberdeen to Ballater

Formartine & Buchan Way

The Formartine and Buchan Way follows the route of the Old Formartine and Buchan Railway Line from Dyce to Fraserburgh or Peterhead.

The Tarland Way

The Tarland Way is a 6 mile route through scenic and varied countryside joining Alford and Tarland