Carron Valley Mountain Bike Trails
The Carron Valley mountain bike trails are a great addition to the mountain biking scene in Central Scotland. In fact, this centre plugs a gap, becoming the first man-made trails centre in the area between Edinburgh and Glasgow and falling slap between the 7stanes centres of the south and centres such as Laggan, Leanachan and Learnie in the Highlands.
Handily, the Carron Valley is within 40 minutes, by car, of many of Scotland's main population centres - Glasgow (20 mins), Edinburgh (40 mins), Stirling (15 mins) and Perth (40 mins).
Carron Valley Forest, managed by Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), has long been a popular spot for mountain biking, though traditionally this has been restricted to the many established forest tracks and smaller paths. Thanks to local mountain bikers and the support of FCS, the professionally designed trails are suitable for a wide range of abilities.
The trails are a red-graded ride measuring around 15kms in total. From the car park a forest road takes you up to the first of four main sections of single-track. Pipe Dream which runs parallel to the forest road and undulates before a brief technical climb takes you back out on to the wider track and provides an ideal warm up.
This is a pleasant section of forest road, climbing but offering expansive views of the valley, across the Carron Reservoir and the neighbouring mountain, Meikle Bin. Then comes Eas Dubh - Gaelic for 'black water,' on account of the dark water that tumbles close to the trail, in a series of waterfalls.
Eas Dubh is around 1.5kms and it includes the most technical feature on the trails - the Kelpie Staircase (Kelpie is Scots for 'treacherous water devil' or shape-shifting water horse). If you're not sure about riding 'staircases' then it's best to have a good look at this instead of hitting it 'cold.' It comes close to the begininning of Eas Dubh and it looks difficult to negotiate from the top. There is no 'chicken run' but, though you might have your heart in your mouth as you go over the top, it isn't too challenging - the trail widens at the bottom, making the run-out a little more straightforward.
The trail weaves down through the trees via a series of tight corners, before dropping back on to the forest road. There's another climb before Canonball Run, which offers a thrilling contrast to the two sections of single-track negotiated so far. It's super-fast and super-flowing, with jumps, double jumps and big bermed corners.
The fourth and final section of single-track is different again. Named The Runway - this is an ungraded fun park style section of 1.5kms, and is packed with a dazzling series of berms, table-tops and doubles. It gets faster as you get towards the end - Final Approach - and is bound to leave you hungry for more.
So it's just as well that The Runway is handily close to the car park meaning the whole lot can be ridden again and again!
Green – None
Blue – None
Red – 15kms
Black - None
Toilets available near the car park at the start of the trails.
By road from the west - from M8 in Glasgow follow the Stirling road M80-A80-M80, then follow M876 Kincardine bridge. Leave M876 at Junction 1 Denny. From Denny near Stirling, follow the B818 road heading west, passing through Fankerton to Fintry. The trails are located 7 miles further on, on the left.
By road from the east - take the M9 towards Stirling. At M9 Junction 8 follow M876 Glasgow. Leave M876 at Junction 1 Denny and follow same directions as above.
Stirling - 13 miles
Glasgow - 26 miles
Edinburgh - 41 miles
Newcastle - 143 miles