Ballyhoura is the premiere trail center in Ireland. The trail system features a number of increasingly lengthy, but not necessarily more difficult, nested trails. The Garrane Loop is the third in the series of five nested loops at Ballyhoura Trail Center. It's not substantially more difficult than the other first two loops (Greenwood Loop (Green Loop)
and Mountrussell Loop (Brown Loop)
), just longer.
Garrane features a series of several gentle 150-300 foot (50 to 100 m) climbs and descents. Like the first two loops, Garrane features a combination of mostly singletrack connected with some short forest road segments. There are a number of boardwalk sections to protect particularly sensitive areas of the forest floor. The singletrack sections twist and dip through the forest with rocks and roots seeking to impede your progress along the way. And because Collite manages the land for both recreation and commercial purposes, you'll pass through sections of dense forest as well as recently logged and regenerating forest. For those not lucky enough to be born Irish, you can't begin to appreciate how green the forest and surrounding countryside is.
If you tried and enjoyed the Skills Training Loop
, the Garrane Loop offers access to the Tech Loop 1
and Tech Loop 2
side trails. These two short trails are more action packed than the rest of the trails. They both are primarily downhill (in the counter-clockwise direction) and bermed turns allow you to carry some speed through the many tight switchbacks. There's also a few small jumps thrown in for added fun, but most intermediate riders shouldn't have any issues with them.
If the Garrane Loop hasn't left you sufficiently tuckered out, you can continue on to the to the Streamhill Loop (Blue Loop)
. Or, if you have run out of steam you can customize the distance of the Garrane Loop by taking either the 9 Mile Shortcut
(shortens loop to 14.6 mi/23.5 km) or 11 Mile Shortcut
(shortens loop to 17.8 mi/28.6 km). Both of these shortcuts occur after the fun Tech Loop 1
and Tech Loop 2
The trailhead features toilets, showers (for both people and bikes), and bike hire.