“An awesome flow trail with: technical sections, jumps, bermed turns, slolaming through trees, and armored rock segments.”
— Lost Justpastnowhere
The trails may be closed early or late in the day during stalking (hunting) season.
The 58,000 acre Glenlivet Estate (part of the Crown Estate) features two well-designed, purpose-built mountain bike trails with great flow and some fun technical features. The trail network is comprised of the nested Blue Trail (easy) loop and the longer Red Trail (intermediate) loop.
The Red Trail has many optional, well-marked, advanced (black) lines. There are a lot of technical features (jumps, berms, slaloms, rock gardens, and more) packed into the trail and they are just a blast. The trails are one-way and well-marked with sequentially numbered markers. The Red Trail passes very near the Carn Daimh summit (1,864 ft) from which you'll have excellent views of the Cairngorms National Park.
Once you've finished, the estate also has the world famous Glenlivet Distillery plus a separate network of hiking trails.
Need to Know
Bring 3£ for the car park. The trailhead features a small cafe with WC including shower facilities as well as a bike wash.
From the car park, head up the forest road following the trail markers. Shortly thereafter, follow the singletrack that veers to the right. After a short descent to get the blood flowing, you break out of the forest and have your first view of the Cairngorms National Park. Then you've got a pretty easy climb up a couple of easy switchbacks before you end up back in the forest. Reentering the forest signals the beginning of a 2.0 mile descent. This section of singletrack features a number of tight slaloms through the trees, small tabletops, and some awesome bermed turns as you descent 400 feet in altitude.
At the bottom of this singletrack section, you'll reach a forest road at Marker #4. Turn right onto another forest road at Marker #5 and then continue straight on the forest road to Marker #6, passing for now the two singletrack segments with Markers #25 and #26. (Duh... the trail markers are numbered sequentially). Thus begins an approximately 3.5 mile, 800 foot climb. Much of the climb is on forest road, but there are some good singletrack sections in the middle. There is a shortcut at 5.0 miles if the climbing has become too much, but then of course you'll miss some of the great singletrack and the view at the top. Unfortunately the climb does become slightly steep after the shortcut though.
Just before you reach the top, you'll exit the forest and a spectacular view of the Grampian Mountains and Cairngorms National Park opens up. The trail passes very close to the Carn Daimh summit (1,864 ft). There is a short, rocky but rideable spur trail that takes you to the summit for the full 360-degree view. Unless it's foggy, you must do it (but there may be gale force winds at the exposed top). From the summit, you can also access a spur segment of the long distance Speyside Way which connects directly to the Glenlivet Distillery to the north.
After enjoying the view, begin the 4.0 mile, 800 foot downhill thriller singletrack. The descent is fast and furious with a number of technical features along the way. From the top, there are a number of rock jumps in rapid succession. Many of these are twinned with well marked black (expert) options. These are generally slightly taller and with more difficult landing areas. Most of them you could simply roll over if you aren't quite ready for jumping. It's a good idea to scout the black options first. The fourth one has a much more difficult landing area into an armored rocky section, and it may catch you off guard if you're not expecting it.
After the jumping section, the trail slaloms for a while to dodge trees on the side of the trail with short dips and rises in quick succession. There are also a couple of lengths of trail armored with large rocks. Finally, you'll join a forest road (remember Marker #25 and #26?) for a short time and then you've got to climb again. Like before, much of the climb is on forest roads, but there are some singletrack sections. The blue trail rejoins at 11.3 miles in the middle of the climbing. When you leave the forest road for the final time at 12.3 miles, you've got a few more jumps, slaloms, bermed turns, and the like (but on a less difficult scale back to the car park).
Your bike will feel all fulfilled and well loved after this trail, but if you have more than one bike, the others will be jealous so you might have to make multiple trips.