Pitfichie Forest Mountain Bike Trails
Pitfichie Forest mountain bike trails, or as they used to be known - Whitehills Cycle Trails, covering the flanks of Pitfichie Hill and the adjacent Cairn William are a Forestry Commission success. Lots of imagination, and hard work, have gone in to make the Pitfichie mtb trails some of the most popular, and best flowing mountain bike trails in Aberdeenshire.
Big thumbs up to Aberdeenshire Trail Association for maintaining the trail network at Pitfichie through partnership with Forestry & Land Scotland, and volunteer engagement. Top work!
Testament to the challenges presented by Pitfichie, if any were needed, is the inclusion of Pitfichie in both the Aberdeenshire and Scottish Enduro Series competitions and the frequent inclusion of the downhill course in the Scottish Downhill Association's championship series. Check out our mountain bike enduros page to see the events planned for this year.
There are two official Forestry Commission Scotland way marked cross country trails, a suicidal downhill course and nearly 30 unofficial trails and routes to explore. Overall you can expect 12 acess road type trails, 4 blue graded trails, 8 red, 6 black and 1 proline trail. The proline being the downhill course.
Pitfichie MTB Trails Descriptions
The car park at Whitehills is the best start point for the cross country routes. A notice board provides a last minute reminder of the two official routes - however you can either print off a map before you go, or remember to take a photo of the map as you leave the car park.
Pitfichie downhill car park at the opposite end of the forest from the Whitehills car park is the best start point for the DH tracks.
Cairn William Trail
The Cairn William trail is an 11 mile way marked trail around the lower edges of Cairn William and Pitfichie Hill.
Leaving the car park you head up Tillyfourie Hill on a fire break road, and as the hill flattens out the road forks right. Take the right fork and pass the well hidden Whitehills recumbent stone circle on your left before reaching a Tee junction. Here you have the choice of completing the Cairn William route either clockwise, by heading right, or anti-clockwise by heading left.
The right immediately offers great views of Bennachie, the Vale of Alford to the east, and the Don Valley to the west. The left is the shortest way to the start of the red Granite Top Trail.
On this white route you can expect wide firebreak roads, long steep slopes - both up and down, a few grassy sections (especially behind Cairn William) that can get muddy in wet weather, and some exposed tree routes in places.
Pitfichie Downhill Course, aka Pitfichie SDA Track
The recently improved Pitfichie Downhill Course, also known as the Pitfichie SDA Track, is worth the hard climb to the top. The first section is fast, following an old 4WD track over several sections of granite slab and purpose built jumps. It then plunges into the forest via an awesome step down, continuing through a selection of roots, rocks and berms before reaching the new bottom section. This is smoother than the top, boasting several small man made drops before another massive step down brings you to the finish.
DH Track Stats:
Length ~ 600m,
Altitude drop ~ 150m,
Average gradient ~ -24%
The downhill trail starts from the summit of Pitfichie Hill, see below for directions.
Pitfichie Red Trails
There are 3 red routes: the Granite Top Trail which incorporates the Devil's Staircase is the main XC route, the 1.8km access road that passes between Pitfichie Hill and Cairn William Hill, and the short 0.5km access road climb up Pitfichie Hill that passes the start to the Downhill course.
The Pitfichie Red Climb
The Pitfichie Red Climb branches off the Cairn William trail at marker number 16 (signed as The Granite Top Trail), close to the King's Stane - it's primarily a one way route, so don't don't expect too much traffic coming towards you. You are immediately on to a long (approx 1.9km), steady, relatively strenuous climb (approx 90m altitude change), with some rocky obstacles and slabs to negotiate.
The Devil's Staircase
This man made 2km descent leads straight from the trig point on Cairn William and is a great reward for the climb. Expect fast free flowing sections, tight switchbacks, and a few wee drops over its 108m altitude drop. At the bottom you are spat out onto a forest road access trail that the Forestry Commission include as an unnamed red trail. Take a left to do it again, or a right to head back to the car park.
Unnamed Red Trail
This passes between Pitfichie Hill and Cairn William Hill. It branches off the Cairn william Trail at marker numbers 10 and 13 and serves as access to the Pitfichie Hill trail, a way to return to the car park after riding the Devil's Staircase, or if you are feeling energetic a longer way to get to the start of the Granite Top Trail.
The Pitfichie Hill Trail
This is a short sharp climb on a gravel access road that takes you to the top of Pitfichie Hill and the start of the downhill course, and three Black grade routes known as Babay Yoda, Resurrection, and slightly confusingly, Pitfichie Downhill. Forestry & Land Scotland classify this as a red trail - but most would consider it easier.
Facilities at Pitfichie Forest
local_parking Free parking at both car parks.
wc No toilets.
Nearest cafes are in Monymusk - see our page listing Cafes in Monymusk.
Nearest shops, bars and take aways are in Kemnay.
Mobile phone signal patchy in places.
build Nearest cycle repair shops are in Monymusk.
If you think we have missed something in our guide to the Pitfichie mountain bike trails then let us know. Contact details are on the link at the bottom of the page.
Getting to Pitfichie X-Country Trails
Whitehills car park, Pitfichie Forest, post code AB51 7SS.
Take the B993 out of Kemnay towards Alford. About two miles after passing Monymusk turn right at the sign for Pitfichie Forest Cycle Trails. Follow this road for about half a mile to the car park.
Pitfichie is about 20 miles west of Aberdeen
Getting to Pitfichie Downhill Course
Pitfichie downhill is at the opposite end of the forest from the Whitehills car park and is best reached by going through Monymusk. Turn off the B993 into Monymusk and continue through the village to the crossroads about half a mile out. Go straight through the cross roads, continue past Pitfichie Castle to find the car park on your left.
Nearby Mountain Bike Trails
Kirkhill Forest mountain bike fun park and cycle trails, are just a couple of miles out of Aberdeen, making them hugely popular.
Kirkhill offers a good variety of tracks to suit riders of all abilities and degrees of fitness, and even features as a venue in the national SXC series .
Tarland Trails is a small mountain bike centre, in the village of Tarland. The trails are short, about 3km in total, but suit a wide range of users from family to experienced and competent riders. There is a family trail, a technical run, a big jump run and a pump track.
Durris Wood currently offers a couple of marked trails and a complex network of unmarked trails that suits all abilities. There are plans to create a chairlift-serviced mountain bike park, snow sports centre and multi-activity adventure experience at the woods.
Bennachie Turnpike Trail
The Bennachie Turnpike Trail is a tough, circular mountain bike route, using for its first few miles part of the old Aberdeen to Inverness turnpike road. This is definitely one for the more experienced mountain biker.
Scotland Mountain Biking:
The Wild Trails
Above books available from Amazon