Skiddaw Down Hill

Trail submitted by Jason Thomas


View of the climb up Skiddaw DownhillThe longest, maddest DH in the UK, no argument. Be warned though, the walk up is a killer and the descent is mental - beginners will hate it! Off-road, DownHill, Uphill


To the Start:
From Keswick Town Centre, head north over the river bridge and take the first Right. After about 1/2 mile, take the road to the right (before a petrol station) and continue up it for about 100 yards. Park on side of road. Start of trail is a unmettalled road on the left.

Route Description:
The only way to get to the start is up, up and up some more (2745 feet) and will take 2 hours plus, but it really is worth the effort - all other downhills pale in insignificance. Before starting, make sure you take enough clothing, it may be a warm day at the bottom but it is usually pretty arctic at the summit.
The bottom part of the climb around and up Latrigg is rideable if you're determined. Follow the dirt bridleway up for about 1.5 miles until you reach the main car park for Skiddaw. When you get to the car park, the gate you need to take is in the top right hand corner. Turn left through the gate and follow the bridleway through the fields. Where the field opens up, turn left and follow the main bridleway up Jenkin Hill (the big bugger in front of you). Once again, the bridleway at the top of Jenkin Hill is rideable, and can be ridden for the next mile. Follow this around Little Man, through the gate and up to the summit. When there, simply turn (after a rest, of course) and ride back down.

The descent splits into four very different sections:

  1. The initial descent to the first gate is silly fast,
  2. The next part being quite pedally with some excellent drop-offs, evil ruts and a chance to build up some good speed for...
  3. The descent from hell - Jenkin Hill is big, rocky, VERY steep, gnarly, uncontrollably fast and scary.
  4. The last part of the descent is round Latrigg, on the swoopy dirt bridleway through the woods. Although fast and in places rocky, this seems relaxing after Skiddaw, but is really enjoyable.
    Once you're back at the start and hopefully in one piece, I guarantee that you will be buzzing like mad from the adrenaline buzz and planning your next trip.

Small Print: No author nor the editor shall bear any responsibility for any mishap, injury, death or other incident or inconvenience suffered whilst riding any of the routes described. Anybody following any such route does so entirely at their own risk. Anybody wishing to ride on footpaths or other non-permitted routes does so entirely by their own risk.

22 reviews...

  1. GravatarJoe Brown from Leeds, West Yorksire, UK said: January 26th, 2010
    Did it last weekend, and loved it. The push to the summit is a killer but its all worth it in the end.
  2. GravatarGuest from West Cumbria said: January 26th, 2010
    Doing with a mate this monday coming hopefully depending on weather and other things and am seriously looking forward to it, I am sure it will be worth the push.
  3. GravatarGuest from Keswick said: January 26th, 2010
    a must for all keen DH riders, i suggest setting off at about 5 in the middle of summer, you will have fewer people asking what you are doing on the way up and you can go quicker in the knowledge that you have the trail to yourself on the way back down
  4. GravatarGuest said: January 26th, 2010
    taking my 16 year old bro up keswick camping after his exmas. taking the bikes and really want to do some DH but this one sounds too serious, any suggestions of places near by where we can just drive to and DH for fun?
  5. GravatarJames Kirby from Kendal, Cumbria said: August 25th, 2008
    I am not from the area, so woud not know the best places, bet to ask (google) Keswick Mountain Bikes they should have the answer you are looking for!
  6. GravatarGuest said: January 26th, 2010
    cheers james i'll have a look;)
  7. GravatarGuest from cornwall said: January 26th, 2010
    took my little bro up it last week, we got to the first summit not the main one, poor chap was knackered after the big steep push, great downhill though.
  8. GravatarJason Chambers from Keswick said: February 17th, 2009
    The ride up Skiddaw is not the most exiting as there is an awful amount of pushing, having said that the downhill dropping onto ullock and then Dodd wood is world class and is not to be missed as a lot of riders just turnaround and head back missing the hidden jewel. Also check out the downhill from Grizedale Pike just as good which drops into Whinlatter. Lots of trails to hack at around here in Keswick just depends on how techy you want to go.
  9. GravatarGuest from Devon said: March 27th, 2009
    Rode down Skiddaw on a Kona Lava Dome back in 1991 - Project Two Forks - No suspension, no v brakes, and by the bottom the wheel rims were so hot you couldn't touch them! Going to the lakes this year with a fancy bike, but do I still have the nerve?
  10. GravatarTanner from Kendal said: June 23rd, 2009
    Launched down this last night.......utterly mental downhill, very, very steep but really flowing. Brilliant fun. Be warned though, the walk/push/crawl up is enough to rob anyone of their sense of humour. It's all worthwhile in the end though.
  11. GravatarGuest from bolton said: March 4th, 2010
    really want to do this, i have a trek fuel ex8 2010, will it take the pace and the hammering on the way down because it looks quite rough?? looks god damn awesome though. any tips or suggestions guys?
  12. GravatarGuest from Newcastle said: April 9th, 2010
    I really fancy having a crack at this. I'll be in keswick for the last week in May on holiday if anybody else is up for it. the more the merrier
  13. GravatarBarry said: April 11th, 2010
    I did this 2 years ago and its one that im pleaed to say ive done. i wasnt buzzing about it because it takes soo long to get to the summit - then it's all over in 10 minutes of downhill. It's good to look at skiddaw and say 'ive rode down that' but is it worth the push? i'm not sure. I'd agree with the guy who says set off at 5pm on summer evening. Nothing worse that walkers slowing you down after a three hour pedal/push to the top.
  14. GravatarJordan said: April 25th, 2010
    Best ride ever, i loved the big climb and loved the down hill, best ride i have done yet
  15. Gravataroliver golding from newcastle said: July 27th, 2010
    i have a diamond back beta 2010 .. i really want to do this but i don't know if it is up to the job ??
  16. GravatarGuest from Matterdale said: August 18th, 2010
    Did Skiddaw this weekend; rode up the road to the CP, over Lonscale crags, down Whitewater Dash to the road, BW up to the intake wall and then big push (1.5 hrs) to the top via Cockup and Broad End (honest, those are the names on the map!). 20 miles, not just straight up an' down, but won't be repeated. The push up and down alone just isn't worth the descent (good and fast though it is); Snowdon's better if you just want to do that.
  17. GravatarJon from Manchester said: November 9th, 2010
    I'm up in Keswick next weekend with some friends who don't bike so might only have an hour or so. Does anyone know if it's worthwhile to drive up to the car park so missing out Latrigg, do the ride/hike up Jenkin Hill to Little Man, then turn around and enjoy the gnarliest bit of the descent back down, in an hour or just over? Cheers
  18. Gravatarjohn from west cumbria said: April 26th, 2011
    This is a regular for me only I make it into a loop by following the old railway out of keswick, then going up through Threlkeld to the Blencathra youth hostel. There's a track from there which takes you round Blencathra, down the valley and back out round skiddaw where it joins your route at jenkins for the run down. Not half bad, teks about 1.5 hour.
  19. GravatarAndy said: June 17th, 2012
    raced against a fell runner up skiddaw last week. made the summit in 1hr 10 mins then a brilliant descent(would be even better without the walkers complaining) chasing a fell runner. total time from the bottom of the bridleway to latrigg carpark 1hr 33 mins....awesome
  20. GravatarDavid Mitchard from United Kingdom said: January 12th, 2013
    what bikes did u guys use will a cube hanz be too much or should i use my am bike
  21. GravatarDoorzy from Hatfield said: August 22nd, 2013
    Done this the other day, don't ever ride a bike but on holiday and went for this wiv the girfriends brother, total madness, went from keswick along old railway and up to youth hostel, then pushed bikes for hour and half ( killer ), made summit of skiddaw close to death but downhill was well worth it, bike somehow stayed in one piece lol
  22. GravatarJavier from Lancaster said: April 23rd, 2014
    Hi; i'm planning on doing this with a few friends but we're overseas students and we don't have bikes here. Does anyone know if we can rent some bikes anywhere near?
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