The Black Route

The Glentress Black Route Stats

Grade: Black - Severe
Distance: 29Km
Singletrack: 75%
Estimated Time To Ride The Route: 3 - 5 hrs

The Glentress Black Route is a long, technical ride that includes epic climbing and thrilling descending.


The route starts from the Peel Centre Trailhead, climbing up on the same forest road and singletrack trail that’s used by the Red route. The trail splits from the red route shortly after the Buzzard’s Nest Car Park.

Soor Plooms

From the Buzzard’s Nest car park, follow the forest road. Go past the turn off for the red route (on the right) and continue on the road towards the first section of dedicated black-graded singletrack: the boneshaking Soor Plooms, an undulating section that hugs the hillside and eventually deposits you back on a remote forest road. Carry on the road towards the Goat Track.

The Goat Track

More technical again, the Goat Track is rough and rocky with steep drop-offs and loose, stoney descents, including the challenging Stone Chute. As you follow the contours of the hill, keep an eye out for the viewpoint on your left. At the end of the section, you’re back onto forest road, heading towards Tower Ride and Kipps Loop.

Tower Ride and Kipps Loop

After more steady forest road riding, you join a section of the route which heralds the start of a long stretch of climbing that takes you up to the highest part of the trail. It begins with the Tower Ride, where the trail veers steeply upwards on a climb that requires low gears and lots of strength.


After the Tower Ride, the singletrack becomes more gnarly at Kipp’s Loop as it heads into the forest, finally emerging on a hillside high above the Tweed Valley, with spectacular views which just get better as you continue climbing. It’s a long climb, 2.5km in total, on a trail that cuts up the hillside in hairpins.


Finally, the viewpoint, with wooden shelter, provides an ideal and stunning spot for a rest. But don’t relax too much: the climbing isn’t over yet. Gather yourself for tackling Britney Spears and The Mustard Snake.

Britney Spears (hit me baby one more time)

Britney offers a brief blast of downhill singletrack, steep and fast with bermed corners, and deposits you at the foot of another climb, The Mustard Snake. This leads up to Dunslair Heights and the mast – and what seems like the highest point for miles in every direction.


After the mast, the trail follows the forest road for a stretch, then you’re back onto the singletrack at the Boundary Trail.

Boundary Trail

This stony singletrack trail cuts around the edge of the forest, dipping in to the trees and back out for a total of 3.4km. This is a classic cross-country trail, up and down and challenging all the way. The surface is very rough in places and the exposure is at times rather intimidating, suggesting caution as a spill off the trail could be a long one.


Another shelter at Leithen Door is a good place for a breather if you need it, before the trail corkscrews down a steep hill to bring you back on to a forest road, and then on to the mouth of Deliverance.

To climb or not to climb?

At this point, if you want to miss out most of the Redemption Climb (see below), you can opt to continue on the forest road, rather than riding Deliverance. Follow the road for about 1.5km, passing the exit of the blue-graded Betty Blue (on your right) and then around 500m later look out for the entrance for rejoining the Black route on your left. A short descent here brings you back on to the trail around three quarters of the way up Redemption Climb.

Deliverance and Redemption Climb

This is a strength-testing, 5km loop that initially drops down into the valley, over loose, rocky trails, crossing a couple of small bridges and the Hope Burn on the way. Once you’ve crossed the burn, the trail runs parallel to it for a while then swings right, round the foot of Green Hill, to the start of Redemption Climb.


The trail gains 130m in height over the course of this long, leg-sapping ascent. There are a few switchbacks to negotiate, leading you to a viewpoint at Green Hill. From here, the trail continues along the side of the hill and bears round to the left, heading towards Kirn Law, where the trail climbs again, gaining another 40m of height.



Ewok village and Double X

Ewok Village was home to some of the very first northshore timber trails in the UK.  The timber features were removed at the end of their lifespans but a sweet section of trail remains, winding down through the trees to the start of Double X.


The entry to Double X is by a technical, twisting descent over log-edged steps leading to more log features and log skinnies.

The Bitch and the Worm Hole

These sections contain some of the most technical riding on the route; The Bitch is very steep and rocky and has some tight turns that will test your bike control and nerve. The Worm Hole has an intimidating rock step entry followed by narrow, swoopy singletrack and a particularly tricky rooty turn to finish.


After The Wormhole, the trail largely shares with the Red Route on the return home. The final section at Falla Brae is a fun descent featuring a short black-graded option which leads back to the trailhead at the Glentress Peel.

The Trails view grading charts

Visitor Comments

Rode the Black had a ball, Redemtion Hill nearly caught me out!
Tough climb but fun descents, not more than a Red but still a grand day out.
this trail is awesome it was the first black route I went on and its inspired me to try lods more.
Brilliant can't wait till next time love the black route great jumps and great corners I am a great mountain biker so was good for me
Stayed in the wig wams...rode for 2 days...fantastic trail
Absolutely fabulous. Great weather but had the route to myself. Challenging climbs and fast technical descents.
Still 1 of the best trails ever
First timer
Excellent up and down was amazing, can't wait till next time!
the jewel in the crown of Scottish mtb always a pleasure to ride
Its a thriller, great up and a ear to ear grinner on the way down.
An epic ride and a great workout - I'm so lucky to have trails like this on my doorstep!
Easily the very reason I got into downhill. This was the first trail I ever did, and is the reason I got myself a decent bike, will come here time after time, highly recommend!
Brilliant trails, the climbs are very challenging and the descents offer little rest bite. Would only recommend for those reasonably experienced on a bike.
Don't understand the problems with people saying - too much uphill and not enough downhill! Unless you get a lift up - there's exactly the same up as down!
Good trail but alot of up for not alot of down, the last few sections are very good
Paul Groves
Great facilities that aren't beaten anywhere in UK that I've experienced. My fitness wasn't up to the climbs, especially when the bolts snapped on my granny ring. Bit cold and too much snow to fully appreciate but good downhills if a little man-made.
Black Route = loads of climbing and not enough downhill, lovely views tho.
am not complaining a just cant stop going see you there .
Not the best trail in the world. As soon as you get going you have to brake. The trail totally lacks berms and your speed suffers because of it.
Glentress is AWESOME. Deliverence was brilliant, but was not expecting the redemption climb OUCH!!! Ewok village was so quiet and look out for the low branches LOL. Stayed in the Wigwams at Gletress base. Perfect accomodation for chilling after a ride and having a BBQ. Just get out there and do it!!!!
If you think the climbs are "unrewarding" maybe you should just either get out and ride more or buy a gym membership? one of the best loops in the UK, get out and do it. Just do it. DO IT!!!!!
Stevie Barrie
Not really worth going as it most uphill and hard uphill and not enough downhill.
I visited this park, and did the black trail in Glentress with my fourteen year old son, I must say it was worth to drive all way up from Barcelona Spain, to do ride this mitic track. Good work folks hope to return soon again for more MTB experiences in Scotland!
Simon Phillips
Massive but very rewarding climbs with amazing views followed by very fast flowing downs... The best trail centre in the UK.. Long tough climbs require a very good level of fitness, you have been warned..!!!! ENJOY...!!!!
Kerry Price
A stunning Black run, Britney is small and perfectly formed, Deliverance is the finest descent I have ever ridden. Track was quiet and well kept due to Red being most popular. Will be back soon.
Paul McGough
I loved this black run especially the Tower ride and Kipps Loop.
Good long route but too churned up. Could really do with more technical features.
Great experience and an amazing ride. The trail is technical - requires a good MTB and will have you sweating in the ascending sections. Truly amazing scenery and a great way to spend the weekend!
The descents on this trail are brilliant! They can be hit seriously fast. I even enjoyed the mudfest that is the diversion bypassing deliverance. How much fun sliding down a steep muddy chute. Will ride again!
Pete Spilsbury
Fantastic riding only spoiled by the detour currently in place as this is not well maintained. A great day out
Simon Jones
I loved this trail, deliverance was EPIC and made the uphill sections worthwhile
Awesome trail, technical and flowing climb but a high level of fitness is required!
The descent is fast, steep in places and has a great variety of jumps.
This trail is well worth a try !
Personally I find this a lot more enjoyable than the red - all the climbing is doable but rewarding and there are some cracking descents. Very good, technical xc riding.
ryan clapperton
it was terrible riding and im never coming back
Great long route but needs sum more xtreme stuff
John Stevens
first time at glentress done black route was great but would have liked a wee bit more downhill fun
Same as mark logie really. Lots of gruelling climbing and nothing that stands out on the descents until you near the trail centre. A little disappointed but appreciate the work that's gone into building these trails.
lone rider
Glentress rocks
Mark Logie
A lot of grueling uphill, and not very flowing downhill. Some fun sections though, especially right at the very end, which was the highlight.

Technically, quite easy riding - barely anything more than a red.
burt, speedy steve
Top class riding the black was tough and really enjoyable. Seriously amazing single track, can't wait to come back
martin mills
Classic cross country - don't miss out deliverence though. Best bits are on the red at the bottom so set off from the bottom car park.
Brian (DK)
WOW!!!! Some of the best (if not the best) I´ve ever ridden. OK helped by a marvellous day with sun shine from a clear blue....

Fantastic area with all facilities you want/need.
Definitely wanna go again........
baycon boys
a lot of up for what seemed not as far down,but it has to be just the same surely this is a proper ride
A hoot great fun, but a sore climb from the bottom of Deliverance to the fire road..
If you are going to do the Black trail make sure you're in prime fitness. A lot of climbing that rewards with some epic downhill both technical and fast flowing. I will be back as soon as I get my legs working again.
Aussie Man
Well wicked!! great techo climbs, solid views and long flowing sweet single track!! Love it... highly recommend!
sorts the men from boys

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Glentress Café 

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 9.30am-4.30pm
Wednesday: Closed

Saturday, Sunday: 9am-5pm

For more information see:



Glentress has several parking options. The trail head is at Glentress Peel visitor centre.    
Buzzards Nest Car Park and Forest Road past Go Ape closed due to weather conditions

Car Parking Charges:

 £2 for 1 hour perfect if you’re stopping off for some food and refreshments in the café.
 £5 per day (or £3.50 for 3 hours). This applies to all car parks at this location Glentress Peel (over 100 spaces), Falla Brae, Buzzards Nest and our two overflow car parks.
You can pay car park charges by credit or debit card (with chip and pin) in the two Glentress Peel car parks and the Buzzard's Nest car park.  If you prefer to pay by cash the machines accept all denomination coins but do not accept notes.



Forest Park Gateway building (toilets, showers & changing) at Glentress Peel:

Open Mon - Fri : 9am - 4.30pm

  Sat & Sun: 9am - 5.00pm

Gateway Facilities will be closed 25th & 26th December, 1st & 2nd January

Showers cost £1 for 5 minutes

Bike Hire

Alpine Bikes
Monday - Friday open 9.30am to 4.30pm;
Saturday & Sunday open 9am - 5pm

Closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day.  Restricted trading hours from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 26th December and 2nd January

Advanced booking is recommended. Phone 01721 724522 for bookings and further information.

Bike hire is also available in Peebles and in Innerleithen.

Glentress Mountain Bike Trail Centre,, 38,

Trail Conditions

Glentress - Current at Thu 4th Feb 2016 


Trails:   Lower Green mtb Route, Blue mtb Route, Skills Area and Freeride Park all fully open. 


Upper Green mtb Route:  closed until Fri 18th Mar 2016 (7 days/week) for tree felling operations.  Janets Brae road (access to/from Peebles) and 'Zoom or Bust' also closed Mon - Fri (open weekends) for duration of works.


Red mtb Route: Matrix, Lombard St, Pie Run, Mushroom Pie and Magic Mushroom closed due to tree felling operations until Fri 12th Feb (7days/week).  Diversion from post 45 to 54.  Pennels Vennel closed long term due to windblown trees with diversion from post 37 to 38.  Rest of Route open.


Black mtb Route:  Last part of Redemption Climb, Ewok Village, XX, Bitch, Wormhole & Magic Mushroom closed due to tree felling operations until Fri 12th Feb (7days/week).  Diversion from post 87 to 54.  Rest of Route open.



Conditions:  Very wet - lots of surface water on trails.  Icy patches on highest level trails.  Please take extra care when high winds forecast as this could lead to windblown trees and branches across trails.


Diversions: See above


More info: Contact 07834 435380


Innerleithen - Current at Thu 4th Feb 2016


Caution!  Part or all of trailhead carpark likely to flood at present.  Please park in Innerleithen town if required.


DH Trails: All open.


XC Trail:  All open.   


Conditions: Very wet - lots of surface water on trails.  Icy patches on highest level trails. Please take extra care when high winds forecast as this could lead to windblown trees and branches across trails.


Diversions: none. 


More Info: Contact 07834 435380

Today's Weather

Light Rain/Windy
43°F / 6°C

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