Skip to main content

We look forward to welcoming you to Scotland's forests. To enjoy your visit safely please plan ahead, follow local signage and park considerately.

Pitfichie

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

Walking and mountain biking across granite hilltop trails

Pitfichie’s trails lead through varied forest and across open hill tops, with wide views of the Vale of Alford and Bennachie. Mountain bikers can find exciting rides through real countryside on a red-grade trail across granite hill tops, as well as a challenging downhill route.

Trail map of Pitfichie Forest (PDF 1.5MB)

Walking trails (1)

Walking

Cairn William Trail

A long circuit around the foot of Cairn William, passing Whitehills Stone Circle and providing great views of Bennachie and the Vale of Alford. Suitable on foot, bike or horseback.

Long steep slopes. Mostly wide and firm gravel surface, with some grassy sections. Includes exposed tree roots and muddy sections.

Strenuous trail grade icon
11 ½ miles / 18.6 km

Allow
7½ hours

More information

This trail takes you all the way round Cairn William and it’s great for runners, mountain bikers, horse riders and walkers who want a good workout. For a shorter route, try just going to the Whitehills stone circle, about a quarter of an hour from the car park: you’ll still find a grand view.

On the way, look out for some of the forest’s wildlife: you might spot, coal tits, goldcrests, Scottish crossbills or long tail tits. Ospreys often fly overhead in the summer: they nest close to the River Don.

Mountain biking trails (2)

Mountain Biking

Granite Top trail

Fast singletrack with some great natural rock features. 

Red: Difficult
4 miles / 6.4 km

More information

Branching off the Cairn William Trail, you’re soon tackling a challenging climb with some rocky obstacles. From the top of the hill there’s a superb panorama over the surrounding countryside: a perfect place for a breather on a summer’s evening.

After that you’ll need to tread carefully on The Devil’s Staircase – a lively technical descent with some tight switchbacks and a few small drops. Then you can drop back down to the Cairn William Trail, or head up and over Pitfichie Hill to find the Downhill Trail.

This is a red grade trail that’s suitable for good mountain bikers. Remember to ride only in the direction of the arrows, from west to east.

The trail branches off the Cairn William Trail near the King’s Stane. Watch for marker post number 16.

Mountain Biking

Pitfichie Downhill trail

Championship-grade downhill action. 

Orange: Extreme
1 miles / 1.6 km

More information

The Scottish Downhill Association have often run their Championship Series here – and it’s easy to see why. First up, there’s a fast section over granite slabs and jumps, then an awesome drop and a plunge through the forest on a rough trail of roots and rocks. The lower section’s a bit smoother, with more drops and a big step near the finish. Two hundred metres of descent, adrenaline pumping all the way! It’s a long climb to get back to the start, but well worth it.

The trail is recommended for expert downhill mountain bikers only, with a high quality downhill machine. It would be dangerous for walkers or horse riders to use it.

The Downhill Trail starts from the summit of Pitfichie Hill. Follow the Cairn William and Granite Top Trails to get there.

Facilities and access

Walking
Walking
Mountain biking
Mountain biking
Parking icon
Parking
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Ancient monument
Ancient monument

The nearest public toilets are in Alford. There are place to eat in Monymusk and Alford.

 

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

The entrance to Pitfichie forest is on the north side of the B993 between Monymusk and Tillyfourie. Look for the turn-off signed for 'Pitfichie Forest cycle trails'.

Using SatNav?

AB51 7SS is the nearest postcode. If searching by name, don't confuse the forest with the small hamlet of Pitfichie which is 3½ miles away.

Public transport

Buses between Monymusk and Alford pass close to Pitfichie. Plan your journey at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Nearby forests

Forest floor covered in moss

The best views of Bennachie on a quieter walk to the summit

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Mountain access
Mountain access
Picnic area
Picnic area
Distance from 'Pitfichie': 3.60 miles
Aerial view of visitor centre and forest at Bennachie

The best place to start for Bennachie first-timers

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Toilets
Toilets
Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
All ability trails
All ability trails
Visitor centre
Visitor centre
Mountain access
Mountain access
Picnic area
Picnic area
Ancient monument
Ancient monument
Distance from 'Pitfichie': 5.48 miles
Mountain biker riding through open forest

A favourite start point for those climbing Oxen Craig

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Toilets
Toilets
Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Mountain access
Mountain access
Barbeque
Barbeque
Picnic area
Picnic area
Ancient monument
Ancient monument
Distance from 'Pitfichie': 7.01 miles

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0300 067 6380 (option 2)
More contact information

Share your experience

Our website uses cookies.
We use cookies that are essential for the site to work. We also use non-essential cookies to help us improve our website. Any data collected is anonymised. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about cookies and the options available.