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We look forward to welcoming you this summer. To enjoy your visit safely please plan ahead, follow local signage and park considerately.

Balblair

Where we are

COVID-19 update

Enjoy your visit safely:

  • Read our COVID-19 Information in advance of your visit.
  • Most of our forests and facilities are open, but use our website to check before you travel.
  • Do not light campfires or use disposable barbecues.
  • Park considerately, taking care not to park on verges or block gates or roads.
  • Take care on or around open water. Find out more on our Water Safety page.

About

Wild mountain biking and peaceful forest walks

If you're looking for a mountain bike challenge, or peaceful walks to a pond where beasties lurk, this hidden gem is worth seeking out. You can explore its sunny forest glades and high rocky slabs on bike, foot or horseback. There's a sense of wild country on the tops, with views west and east over the hills, while deep in the forest you'll find sheltered clearings full of wildflowers and berries.

Balblair Mountain Bike Trails Guide Map (PDF 721KB)

Guide map to the Forests of the Far North (PDF 6MB)

Walking trails (2)

Walking

Pond Trail

A short climb through the pine forest to an enchanting little dipping pond.

Moderate climb to dipping pond. Narrow gravel path through trees to a wide forest road. No obstacles.

Strenuous trail grade icon
1 miles / 1.7 km

Allow
¾ hour

More information

Open forest glades let the sunshine in all the way to a pretty dipping pond. In summer these woodland clearings are home to butterflies and blueberries; in winter there are views to the snowy Struie hills.

Walking

Pine Trail

Climb up through pine, larch and spruce forest for hilltop views across the Kyle of Sutherland.

Long fairly steep slopes for 400m. Mostly firm but uneven gravel surface. Some grassy and earthy sections that may be muddy. One narrow opening.

Strenuous trail grade icon
2 ¾ miles / 4.3 km

Allow
2 hours

More information

Some short sections are shared with mountain bike trails and horse riders, so please watch out for bikes and horses. The Pine Trail follows the same route as the Pond Trail from the car park to the dipping pond.

Mountain biking trails (2)

Mountain Biking

Blue Trail

Soar through the trees on this twisting trail.

Mostly wide gravel paths with some loose sections and long, gentle to moderate slopes. Can be muddy when wet.

Blue: Moderate
2 miles / 3.2 km

More information

An enjoyable quick blast through the trees for competent riders looking to improve their bike handling skills and an ideal warm up for experts attempting the Balblair Black. Work on your balance on the tight twisting sections, then let the good times roll on the smooth downhill Ceilidh Trail. Start at the second car park.

Mountain Biking

Black Trail

Top of the world rock slab.

Mostly loose gravel singletrack with sections of bare rock and boardwalk. Can be muddy and very steep in places.

Black: Severe
4 ½ miles / 7.2 km

More information

A fun and memorable black with technical rock features and fast-flowing downhill. The full, lung-busting climb up Cnoc an Tionail (knock an tinnell - hillock of the gathering) gives you spectacular views before a rock slab descent down Candy Mountain that'll test even the most courageous! Start at the second car park. The route follows the Blue Trail at the start and finish.

 

Facilities and access

Walking
Walking
Mountain biking
Mountain biking
Parking icon
Parking
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Picnic area
Picnic area

The nearest public toilets and café are less than a mile away in Bonar Bridge. You can hire bikes from shops in nearby Ardgay and Tain.

Car parking information

There is no charge to park in this car park. Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates.

More about parking

Getting here

Balblair is 1 mile north of Bonar Bridge on the A836 road to Lairg.

Using SatNav?

IV24 3EE is the nearest postcode, on the edge of Bonar Bridge.

Public transport

The nearest bus stop is in Bonar Bridge, 1 mile walk from the forest. If you have a bike, Ardgay train station is an easy 2 mile cycle away. Plan your journey at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Nearby forests

View from viewing platform down onto rapids, waterfall, gorge at Falls of Shin

Ancient woodland, Atlantic salmon and thundering falls

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Toilets
Toilets
Parking icon
Parking
Cafe or refreshments
Cafe or refreshments
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Play area
Play area
Picnic area
Picnic area
Distance from 'Balblair': 5.53 miles
A man looks over tall trees from a viewpoint while a woman reads a leaflet

Descend down by Allt Mor burn into Raven's Rock Gorge

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Picnic area
Picnic area
Distance from 'Balblair': 6.24 miles
Yellowing oak leaf

Towering pines and a bed of heather ten minutes from the beach

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Play area
Play area
Horse riding
Horse riding
Picnic area
Picnic area
Distance from 'Balblair': 6.76 miles

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0300 067 6100 (option 2)
More contact information

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