Who needs mountains when you’ve got great slabs of sandstone, deep-cliffed gorges and remnant plateaus dating back to the Jurassic period? Whether you want to give it a go on fire trails, speed around flowing purpose-built single tracks, or put your skills to the test on natural technical trails…when it comes to mountain biking, Sydney literally rocks.
Wylde Mountain Bike Park
Award-winning Wylde’s 12-kilometre single trail has enough sweeping berms and flowing features to keep even the most competent rider grinning. Obstacles in this purpose-built park are clearly marked with “A-Line” (advanced) and “B-Line ” (easiest). There’s nothing more entertaining than watching mini mountain bikers carving corners on the kid’s loop and grown-up newbies can opt for three or six-kilometre laps to build fitness. With a pump track, dirt jumps, a bike wash and a picnic area, it’s no wonder Wylde is dripping in well-deserved design accolades.
And now for something completely different – a mountain bike trail in Botanic Gardens. Mount Annan’s nine-kilometre lap through varying bushland is beginner to intermediate with some advanced (avoidable) tricky obstacles with fair warning – look out for the scary skull and crossbones icons.
A fifteen-minute spin from the iconic beach suburb of Manly gets you to Sydney’s most popular trail. Don’t be fooled by the name, Manly Dam is not a leisurely pedal around a flat waterhole. The 10-kilometre (mostly natural) single-trail is a serious challenge. It gets rooty and pinchy with enough rocky steps to keep the hearts of advanced riders beating out of their chests. You can link it up with the next two tracks for a longer ride.
Nestled in lush bush land a short ride from Manly Dam, you’ll find the two little hidden treasures of Bantry Bay. Rated “blue intermediate” level, Serrata (1.5km) and Gahnia (2.5km) are NSW’s first dedicated mountain bike trails in a National Park. A round of applause please for Trailscapes, who shaped the natural rock trail under strict environmental practices using only hand tools and helicopters to move the sensitive earth of Garigal National Park.
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
These shared wide and reasonably flat trails with a few short climbs are perfect for the less experienced mountain biker. To liven things up, there are exposed reasonably flat rocks to practise small pop-offs. Combine the scenic Perimeter, Long and Cowan tracks for a fun out-and-back 21-kilometre spin. Peach Trees lookout, which has a spectacular water view across to Cowan Creek, is the best spot for a crew or selfie shot.
Cascade gets its name from a series of little waterfalls, rock platforms and pools you’ll see on this shared-use, wide trail in Garigal National Park. Join with Heath and Bare Creek trails for roughly 14-kilometres of out-and-back riding. Pack a banana to boost yourself up a couple of quad burning climbs.
Hornsby Mountain Bike Trail
Hornsby or “Old Man’s Valley” is currently closed for extension until the end of the year. Keep your eye on Hornsby Council’s website for updates and see a map of the proposed trails here.