Hit the track in the Capital
Maybe it's the demographics of the place, or perhaps there's just not much else to do, but as a city of action sport lovers, Canberrans have made it their mission to turn the ACT into a wonderland of activities for adrenaline junkies. For such a relatively small area of land, the nation's capital and surrounds are stacked with purpose-built mountain bike parks and trail networks for riders of all skill levels, so you won't struggle in the slightest to get your MTB fix.
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Stromlo Forest Park (All Abilities) - Stromlo is probably THE premier destination in the ACT for lovers of mountain biking. Stromlo is a purpose-built MTB paradise featuring a 50km long network of singletrack trails for all skill levels - from double black diamond (ultra difficult) to green runs (easy) - plus various racecourses and a highly technical trials course. For beginners, a great run to start with is Old Duffy Descent
Majura Pines (All Abilities) - This 20km network of trails is the oldest in the Canberra region and is looked after by a volunteer group of dedicated mountain bikers. There's a great variety of beginner, intermediate and expert runs snaking through the trees, plus areas with dirt jumps. Take care on weekends, though, since many of the trails can get clogged up with walkers, joggers and horse riders.
Cotter Pines (Easy/Intermediate) - With trailbuilding only beginning in 2018, Cotter Pines is a recent addition to the mountain biking scene in Canberra, but already offers a great little selection of cross country-style trails in a pretty location. It's a little further out than Stromlo, which in combo with its relatively chilled out track design, make it a great choice for a relaxing afternoon on the bike.
Tuggeranong Pines (Intermediate/Expert) - Situated in the south, a bit past Tuggeranong itself, this rocky pine forest is a wonderfully challenging and little-known network of gravity singletrack trails for intermediate to expert riders. Be warned, though, these tracks are not officially sanctioned. So don't go. Forget it.
Centenary Trail (Easy) - This ultra-long 145km loop around Canberra, which can also be hiked, is pretty benign in its topography, and riding a section of it is a great choice for those with kids or just looking for something low-key. The surface is a mix of bitumen (in the urban areas), dirt fire trails and singletrack, though for Mountain Bikers, the Northern Border and Murrumbidgee River sections will be of particular interest.
Zoo Pines, East Kowen/Sparrow Hill, Bruce Ridge
- Make sure you know how to tweak your seat, handlebars etc, and make basic repairs to the bike. Always bring a pump and mini repair kit.
- Bring plenty of food and water, as well as some emergency cash. You may well be out of mobile range, so make sure you have what you need to take care of yourself.
- You're in Australia - don't let it put you off, but there's a good chance you'll encounter snakes somewhere in the bushland you'll be riding in. Know the types to look out for in the area, and make sure you have an evacuation plan just in case!
This website is an absolute goldmine for finding places to ride anywhere in Australia, with community reviews and condition reports.
Check out our other articles featuring outdoor adventures you can have down under!