Offroad Digest - CX Friendly Dirt Rides

Thought this may be a good resource to a few people here, there are plenty of MTB website around to find firetrail and offroad rides around Sydney’s periphery but thought this might be a good place to compile them, and offer advice as to the potential for CX bike suitability.

As part of a bigger plan to organise some more group rides of this type, if anyone has some good ride routes they’ve been on of this type maybe we could compile a good resource?

I’m thinking anywhere accessible by train and the onwards, Blue Mountains/Lithgow, Central Coast, South Sydney, North West etc.

The one that comes to mind first is the Gravel Grind Carlin organised a while back in Wisemans Ferry.

Alex (etomato) will probably chime in with some more.

Maybe we could get a set format going, like this:

Route Name:
Nearest Station:

There’s also

The Tasmanian Trail </smug>

this was good, almost all dirt

also some bits in the rnp are good for cx

There is a good book called ‘4wd Treks close to sydney’ - basically gives directions & maps/gps coords for 25 fire road treks within 200km of Sydney CBD. Obvs written for driving tours but all the routes given are mainly fire trails/old fire trails/logging trails. Is a great resource for gravel grind cycling as well.

“This completely revised and expanded 5th edition features eighteen of the best 4WD day
and weekend treks within a few short hours drive of Sydney. You’ll discover some of Greater
Sydney’s best 4WD destinations with this easy to follow route noted guide. Route directions read in
forward and reverse as well as featuring both GPS Lat/Long and UTM Grid References. Treks
include: Yengo National Park, Abercrombie Trek, Tianjara Fire Trail, The Bridle Track, Dixons Long
Point, Caves to Caves, Watagan Mountains, Sunny Corner Trek, Touring the Turon, Trek to
Newnes, Baal Bone Gap, Stockton Beach, Chichester Forest, Barrington Tops and The Hunter

Good thread. This has been my fave so far:

Route Name: Royal National Park Loop
From/To: Waratah Park Reserve, Loftus
Distance: 50km
Nearest Station: Loftus (but Sutherland is better - more trains)
Duration: 3 hrs?
Route Map See here:

From Waratah Park, take the highway south to Loftus Oval. There’s a bit of singletrack heading east from the carpark, some sandy firetrail, then a steep section down to Temptation Creek with a rocky climb out again (may struggle on cx). More singletrack up to the National Parks centre.

Take the bitumen down the hill to Audley Weir, then follow Lady Carrington Drive for 10k of very nice firetrail. McKell Ave takes you back up to Waterfall, then the highway north to Heathcote. (Alternative routes are possible through Heathcote National Park if you can find them.)

Cross the train line at Heathcote, and take Bottle Forest Rd straight into the forest (sweet sandy singletrack). There are options for extra side trails around Engadine and some rough rocky sections.

Follow the fire trail to Farnell Ave, cross it, then follow the singletrack back to Loftus Oval. This bit is great. Back at Loftus Oval there’s a trail through the bush that will take you back to the highway crossing.

Thanks Alex - I guess that was more the point of the thread, I can google fire-trail riding resources aplenty but having someone distill it it into something a bit more specific is always useful, and also readily available as a resource here on the forums.

I’m trying out a few more fire trail rides around the Gosford/Central Coast this weekend, so will report back with some new stuff.

From Omafiets site -

Distance: 208km
Suggested duration: 2-3 days
Notes: This trip is about half dirt road / fire trail, not all of it in great condition. Best done on a bike like the Vivente World Randonneur. You can read an account of this trip over on Chris’ blog.

They have a heap more too -

James and I did that trip over the ANZAC day weekend (the one we got heaps of hail). Great ride with really interesting terrain. It’s hard to navigate if you don’t have the gpx file. Also fucking cold, probably only enjoyable in the warmer 6 or 7 months of the year.

To do the ride in two days is hard work. We took it way too easy on the first day, you’re best to push past the 100km mark on the first day. There’s a nice camp ground in blue mountains national park.

There’s a lot around the northern beaches and north westish sydney. I’ve only ever done the beaches rides on an mtb because the singletrack/firetrail hooks up with great DH tracks/gnarly stuff. Definitely scope to do it on a gravel bike though.

The Loftus loop is nice to link up with a road ride from the city. Roughly 100km round trip.

After telling a few peoplle about the heathcote national park option i though i better check to see if it is as i remember, its a bit more complicated than i recalled but Waterfall to heathcote firetrail is doable, ignore all the off shoots on that map, I was getting a bit lost and exploring, (the loop south of waterfall I was trying to do the dam loop back along the Woronora dam pipeline fire trail but ended up in the scout camp and then at a dead end. Had to bike hike out of there.) The pipeline firtrails run from the dam to woronora linking up with other firtrails along the way.

Also when you cross the trainline at heathcote station when leaving the car park you can turn right (instead of going left to bottle forrest road) and just past the rural fire service building turn left and end up on the trail. you can see it here

Loftus has some good tracks for riding CX. I’m local so let me now if you’re down this way

Good link for mapping rides:

Here’s a regular route i do, Wyong train station would be the closest and theres a bail out option at morriset train station if need be. Mostly gravel and bitumen, there’s a rocky climb from up watagan creek road burning youre running decent cx tyres you should be fine.

There’s yarramalong shop first 30 km there’s laguna shop after 70km and then cooranbong shops about the 100 mark

See Strava route below.

Hey cam - that looks ace - reckon there’s anywhere nice-ish to camp in anywhere along the route for a quick weekender?

Yeah I love it, there sure is, the pines camping area, it’s an old pines plantation that never got logged. It’s situated After a big climb too so ideal for a rest stop, if you were camping over night you could take watagan forest road to heaton lookout then back down mt Faulk Ed back along through cooranbong

So in!

There’s a 5 km climb that kinda Rocky

HAs a little pinch that’s sandstokne step ups should be doable on a cx
Here’s a section of it I filmed the other week.

hey guys, I’ll be doing the loftus-RNP(lady carington drive)- waterfall ride that etamato did, but with an added waterfall- woronora dam(via heathcote national park)- sutherland( via the pipeline) link up. Anyone is welcome to join if keen, I’ll be riding it regardless. there are plenty of bail and meetup points too if not thrilled for all of it.

^ This happened today and was an incredible amount of fun, but destroyed me. I’ll will definitely be doing it again some time before the end off summer if anyone else is interested.
You can check out the route on strava.
I’d probably change the end of the route and leave the pipeline trail at The Needles and just ride back up woronora rd though Engadine to re enter the national park at Engadine train station instead of continuing on to woronora heights as I did.