The Red Route
The Glentress Red Route Stats
Grade: Red - Difficult
Estimated Time To Ride The Route: 1.5 - 3 hrs
The Glentress Red Route is our most popular route. Built between 1998 - 2000 and tweaked and updated ever since, the Red is a classic trail that has everything: big climbs, fast flowing descents, jumps and berms in abundance, elevated timber trail, roots and rocks – it’ll leave you grinning from ear to ear!
From the Trailhead
The Red Route is best ridden from the Trailhead. A singletrack climb link soon after the start means the trail now bypasses the old, killer forest road climb. Exiting here the trail snakes gently up Dougie Bank Climb singletrack, making for a very civilised start.
Look out for some log balance beam options on the extension to this climb, as well as some cheeky rock step short cuts.
Over the road, the climb to the Buzzards Nest continues on the Cardie Hill section which removes the forest road slog! Instead, silky smooth singletrack climbs gently up through dense forest at first, before breaking out into the open, where stunning views of the Tweed Valley await. For more experienced riders there are several rock shortcuts to try and in late summer 2009 we'll have several log skinnies open to add to the challenge. It'll be tricky to clean them all without dabbing!
From the Buzzards Nest Car Park the route climbs up the forest road alongside then above the Freeride Park, from where a short pedal brings you to the first singletrack descent. Pennels Vennel is steep in places, with a loose rocky surface, flat turns and water splashes – it’s a technical introduction to the descents on the route.
The next two climbing sections are shared with the Upper Loop of the Blue Route and include several switchback turns, the ones on the second section being tighter and definitely more challenging. There’s no respite as the following forest road section continues the climb. Cracking views open up as the road flattens off, with picnic benches on hand for a quick breather at the entry to the next singletrack climb.
A great stretch of uphill singletrack follows, with sharp corners, steep, loose stones and a series of switchbacks to negotiate on the way to another forest road, high above the Tweed Valley.
Follow the road and then turn right onto the short section of singletrack that leads to the entrance to the Spooky Wood descent.
This is a stunning 1.5km-long singletrack descent. It starts with three steep, rocky drop-offs and then flows and flows, thanks to its twelve 180-degree bermed bends, 18 jumps and 17 tabletops. At the end of the trail, there’s just time to gather breath crossing the forest road before you enter the Super G, where more singletrack leads to Hit Squad Hill.
Hit Squad Hill, The Matrix and The Pie Run
Classic Glentress downhill follows: the trail is steep, rocky and twisting through the big dipper style Hit Squad Hill. At the bottom, follow the forest road, climbing past the viewpoint on your right and up towards The Matrix, with its mogul-style features. After Lombard Street, a steady forest road descent will bring you to the top of the Magic Mushroom.
To climb or not to climb?
If you want to cut out The Matrix and in particular the climb up to it, you can opt for the Pie Run. Handbuilt by the Glentress Trailfairies and Borders College volunteers, the trail weaves tightly through the trees, with exposed roots providing an additional challenge, especially when it’s wet. At the end of the trail, another short Trailfairies-built stretch - Mushroom Pie - brings you out just across the forest road from Magic Mushroom.
Here there are more tree roots to negotiate, as well as hump back bridges and some North Shore timber trail. Continue through the Tourist Trap and on to Sair Fecht: two brief, steep uphill sections that take you back on to the forest road.
Once onto the road, you can follow it back up towards the Buzzard’s Nest car park, or turn left down Falla Brae for the final, fast and thrilling singletrack descent back to the Hub car park.