Downhill biking in Ballinastoe, Co. Wicklow is something we always wanted to do. This trail park is perfect for beginners, to have fun while in Nature. Wicklow hills are ideal for this activity. Apart from biking trails, Ballinastoe woods offers walking paths (5km) that you can enjoy for a full day. It is one of those hidden gems on the Co Wicklow landscape. Some of these trails can connect with the Wicklow Way.
You don’t need to be a pro to do downhill biking, specially in Ballinastoe. All you need is to know how to ride a bike, the rest will come by itself. There are two main rental bike centers, where you can rent mountain bikes from in and around Wicklow. These are Ballinastoe, close to Roundwood and Ticknock, in Sandyford. You can check out the great views of Lough Tay at the top of the hill.
We chose the Ballinastoe forest park, because the landscapes are more dramatic, as it is located further in the Wicklow mountains. The experience was great fun! We went there on a sunny Sunday and explored the trails for about 3 hours.
For this type of downhill biking, you do need some level of fitness, but nothing too extreme. It was the first time we tried downhill biking. We found the trails to be quite accessible for beginners and they were easy to find and follow. Overall, it is a good choice for beginners.
Where is Ballinastoe & how to get there?
Ballinastoe mountain biking center is located close to Glendalough in Wicklow. Getting there by public transportation is difficult but doable.
There is a bus – St.Kevins Bus that leaves from Dublin city center and stops in Roundwood (5km away from Ballinastoe), which is the closest town. Unfortunately, buses don’t accept to carry bikes.
There is also a train that you can take from Dublin to Bray. But from there, the only option is to either go with the car or with the bikes, this is the one we went with. From there we biked for about 2h, until the center. It was a rough climb, one very familiar to us, but we managed in the end.
The third and easiest option is to go by car. In 1h or so you’re there. There’s a car park available, where you can leave the car, so you don’t need to worry about that.
How much does it cost to do Downhill biking in Ballinastoe?
First, it is free to go into the park, you don’t need to pay any fee. If you walk there or have your bike, then you can enjoy the trails for free.
For those who want/need like us to rent a bike, there are 2 options and 2 different experiences.
1.You can rent a touring bike for a full day for 30€
2. You can rent a mountain bike for half-day (3h) for 30€
Included in the price are a helmet, a tube, a pump, a bottle cage, and a saddlebag.
There are 3 different bike sizes: small, medium, and large depending on the height, all for the same price.
We booked everything online and chose the half-day mountain bike experience. Just be mindful of the opening times, for Ballinastoe they are only open on weekends between 10 am – 5pm.
What biking trails do they offer and are the views worth it?
There’s one main looped trail at Ballinastoe that starts and finishes in the same location. There are signs everywhere throughout the route so it’s very easy to follow. The total length of the trail is 14km.
When you arrive at the center, they will ask you if it’s your first time. They will give you some tips on how to use the bike, etc.
As beginners, we found the trail to be well built. The climbs and descents were not that steep and it is easy to switch between going fast or slow. Anybody can do it. The faster you go, the more challenging it is.
Throughout the trail, you cross people walking in the main paths, but there’s enough space for everyone. The views are quite scenic, so make sure you make time to take some photos. We did the trail under the scheduled 3 hours and had enough time to film and take pictures. Through the route, you can find beautiful forest trails with views over the Wicklow prairies and countryside and the famous Sugarloaf mountain.
If you have the strength and time, you can also check the view over Lough Tay, also known as the Guinness lake, which is next to the downhill biking area.
Our experience with downhill biking in Ballinastoe, Co. Wicklow
It was great being so close to nature and we really enjoyed spending time outdoors. We were surrounded by such beautiful landscapes and could smell the fresh pine wood. We took lots of pics and made some funny videos.
Although there were a couple of people around, we felt lost in nature and that was very invigorating. We would go between open forest areas, inside the forest trails, and open views to the prairies and surrounding hills. The change of landscape was varied enough and we enjoyed it a lot. We didn’t find it to be a difficult activity and although we were tired from the uphills, the downhills that followed made it worth it!
All in all, we took as many breaks as we felt like and still had 30mins left when we finished and returned to the main area. We took it easy and enjoyed chatting with some nice folks that we met along the way. That’s a thing we love a lot in these types of environments, is that you can meet like-minded and easy-going people that are open to chat and share tips.
Finally, we enjoyed a cup of coffee and we can’t wait to come back for more!
Stay tuned for the next outdoor suggestions we will have for you!
You can also check our other Staycation Ireland 2020 activities!