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Ballinastoe Forest is known for its awesome forest trails, stunning boardwalks, and being the starting point for the famous Guinness Lake hike. However, there is a lot more to do in Ballinastoe Woods than a hike. Ballinastoe is the hub of the mountain biking wheel in Wicklow and is a must-visit this weekend!
Ballinastoe is the hub of the mountain biking wheel in Wicklow. Using Ballinastoe as a base there are hundreds of trails that are within riding distance of all difficulty levels. Whether you are a beginner biker 0r a seasoned shredder there is something for you in Ballinastoe. Some of the best mountain bikers in the country like Greg Callaghan and Dan Wolfe regularly use the trails in Ballinastoe and the surrounding area to train before heading to Europe to race.
Like its Dublin cousin of Ticknock, Ballinastoe has a network of purpose-built mountain bike trails that are free to use. The trails are part of the Coillte trail system and as a result, have been graded to give you an idea of the difficulty of each trail before you attempt it. There are over 14km of official mountain bike-only trails in Ballinastoe. Wide fire roads will bring you to the narrow winding single track that will flow back to the beginning.
Not only can you enjoy the 14 km of incredible purpose-built trails in Ballinastoe forest, but there are also many other forests nearby with great trails to explore.
Djouce Mountain Bike Trails
Only a few kilometres north of Ballinastoe forest is the Djouce car park. On a nice day, the car park will be full of walkers and bikers enjoying this slightly lesser-known gateway to the hills. There are plenty of trails to explore here however they are not signposted or graded. We would not recommend tackling the trails in Djouce unless you have some prior mountain bike experience.
Crone Mountain Bike Trails
If you had further north again you will find yourself at Crone Woods car park. While there may not be an extensive network of trails in Crone, there are some incredibly challenging trails that descend through the forest. These trails are definitely not for the fainthearted and a good level of experience is essential.
€35 for a Hardtail 29er Vitus Sentier
€45 for a Full-Suspension Vitus Mythique
€65 for an e-Bike Vitus Sommet
Bike Rental from Biking.ie
About a 45-minute drive from Dublin City via the N11, Ballinastoe has free parking. It is worth mentioning however that on weekends or busy bank holidays, the car park can reach full capacity. All of the other forests mentioned above have free parking also.
You can get the St Kevin’s Glendalough Bus from Dublin City. The bus costs €15 for a return ticket and you pay the driver on arrival. If you get off at Roundwood Crossroads you are 1 mile away from the trail centre.
Trails Café: At the main Ballinastoe car park, you will find Trails Café. They provide a wide range of different high-quality food and drinks for you to have before or after your hike.
Roundwood Stores: A favourite of ours at Outsider. This place never disappoints. Delicious lunch food, treats and coffee in a rustic, homely setting.
Sugar Mountain: If you are in need of a good value, big feed after your day of biking head to Sugar Mountain. We have always left Sugar Mountain full and happy.
OhSo in Enniskerry: If you are driving back to Dublin consider stopping in the small countryside village of Enniskerry. Our favourite spot in Enniskerry is OhSo, epic coffee and awesome sandwiches if you get there before they sell out!
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By Matthew McConnell
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