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Cooley Mountains, Louth

Badger Rating 4.3/5
Quite possibly some of the best open mountain XC trails on the island. Savage climbs, spectacular scenery and amazing descents all combined with a real wilderness feeling in places make this a must ride location.

Getting There

Best accessed from Carlingford village or Ravensdale Forest.

For Carlingford: From the North, go through Newry CENTRE and take signs for Omeath / Carlingford.   From the South, take M1 Exit 18 and follow the signs for Carlingford.

For Ravensdale: Take the M1 motorway, exit at the Jonesborough turnoff.  From the South, turn right and go over the motorway flyover, at roundabout take the second exit right for Ravensdale. From the North take the first exit at the roundabout. After a short distance take minor road to the left, Ravensdale car park is located approximately 4 kilometres down this road on the left hand side:

Trail Description

The entire Cooley mountains and Slieve Foy overlooking Carlingford have excellent XC trails, with the emphasis on country! The area regularly hosts a number of MTB races with the natural, open mountain trails well maintained by members from the local cycling club. Rides from an hour to a 6 hour epic are possible (details of some of the more popular routes can be found below) all of which possess some spectacular scenery will provides a sense of remoteness in places.

We recommend you start and finish your ride in Carlingford village.  For post-ride grub, try Ma Bakers pub - open fire and superb food at cheap prices, and happy to take hungry dirty bikers. They also have showers available - just ask at the bar and the folks will sort you out.  Rooms available too. Again, just ask inside the bar. Or phone them on +353 87 1518754 or +44 7743 122819.

Useful Maps & Links

Da Cooley Thrilla XC Mountainbike Race Route - This is AWESOME, but bring spare legs!!! Even if you don't fancy all of this, do bits of it, as it takes in most of the best biking in the area.

Carlingford Lough Endurance Challenge (CLEC) has a big mountain bike section, which will also give you a few ideas to get you going.

2007 CLEC Map

2006 CLEC Map

Cooley Mountain photos and route from Not The Sunday Run .

MTB marathon championships were held here in 2006 - MTB Marathon Championships 2006 Route on Garmin .


trail head marker Trail Head

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Movies of Cooley Mountains, Louth


Reviews for this trail

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0 5
1= Rubbish      5= Badgertastic!
  • Done this a number of times now, really like it. long haul to the top but Well Well worth it.well worth doing. tracks can take up to 3 hours to complete
  • Comments Did 40km of various parts of this trial on 30 Dec. I can't believe I didn't go there before this. It was fantastic and mostly dry which was amazing for the time of year. 5 badgers for sure!
  • Completed the Cooley thriller this year, taking in a large section of the Tain way, excellent variety and lovely flowing singletrack particularly from the mast above Ravensdale. A guide advisable but not essential if well prepared. Certainly worth the trip from Belfast!
  • Comments
  • Great run from Ballymakellet Bridge along the Tain Way and into Carlingford. Lots of climbing is rewarded by lots of descending. Brilliant scenery, good surfaces but a bit rocky in places. It was very wet when we did it so there was the occasional axle deep mud on the higher ground at Slievestucan.
  • Comments

    Hi Guys, I would like to ride this trail but I done know the route, does any one have a map or could they draw a rough map so I could find my way around.. if any one is riding this trail any weekend soon I would like to tag along
  • Real tough and long climb but well worth it once at the top. Lovely flowing XC and singletrack over to Omeath, and on the way home some good DH/tough XC through the loops off the fire road.

    Dry as hell right now. This is great riding, well worth a day trip.
  • An excellent afternoon out rode ravensdale park and the tain trail had a great time excellent fast decents stunning views well worth the effort to get to the top hope to arrange with others to ride with next time
  • Awesome loop with cracking scenery & nice mix of tight climbs, fast descents & some excellent singletrack available in Ravensdale. Park at Ravensdale & follow the Tain Trail in anti-clockwise direction. Class-o hey!
  • My favorite real mountain biking!! This is pretty great for trail finding, long days out, enjoying superb views and craic with your buddies.

NOTE: The trails on this site have been ridden before, but you should not interpret their inclusion as an indication that mountain-biking is officially sanctioned on them. Seeking permission from landowners is your own responsibility, as is conducting yourself in a manner that is courteous, respectful to the environment, and conscious of the safety of others.