Betws Y Coed is a quaint little village situated in the heart of Snowdonia in Wales. It is a fantastic staging post for forays into the National Park with plenty of hotels, B&Bs and pubs along the main street. There are no end of possibilities for MTBing in this area with the Marin Trail in the Gwydyr Forest being one of those options. The Marin Trail is a well designed man made trail through the forest with a really fast flowing final section. This trail is really fun, something for everyone. Even in mucky conditions this trail never fails to put that big smile on your face.
There is a purpose built car park just outside the village of Llanrwst with which is now free (awesome!). The trail is way marked all the way round with blue posts with "Marin" carved in them in white. It is pretty well impossible to get lost.
1. The first section, straight from the car park, follows the contours through the forest and arrives at the main fire road. This is a long climb of about 2 miles and 2000ft. There is a short cut near to the top of the climb you can take to just do the best section, which is a real fun twisting section in three parts, taking you back to the car. This short cut is to the right when you see three blue marin posts. It has been known for some to do this section alone as many times as possible!!
2. For the rest of the trail continue and arrive at the top turning right down the first singletrack section. This drops down onto another fire road as do all these sections.
3. The trail follows this pattern with the noteable "Dragon's Tail" section which gets a bit more technical but no drop offs. There are great views of Snowdonia and across some small lakes when the weather permits!!
4. Some very helpful info can be found on www.mtbbritain.co.uk and they provide
The Marin Trail Video Clip along with others.
Get on the M56 to North Wales and follow the A55 to Llandudno. Get off here and follow the A470 towards Betws Y Coed. At Llanrwst pass through the village and take a right over the river on the narrow bridge. Proceed for about 400 yds and turn left and then immediately right. Carry on up the hill for another 400 yds and turn left into the car park.
When to Bike
The trail is well drained and it can be ridden any time of the year. Be aware that there are no facilities at all. These must be provided for.
There are maps of the trail available but to be honest they are not needed as the signs are good.
There is a £1 parking fee.
This is an amazing trail. Well built and flowing. It really is well worth a visit inspite of the lack of facilities. I would say that the Marin trail is as good as the other trail centres in the area i.e. Coed y Brenin, Penmachno and Llandegla. If it is good riding you want this is it. There is some technical stuff but not too technical. Climbing is long at the start with 2.2 miles but it is all on fire roads leaving the descents on sweet singletrack. The final section is the most fun with well designed swooping sections. Its worth the trip just for this bit and you can easily do this part again by turning left at the top of the first climb!