Mount Rob Roy: alone but not forgotten

Mount Rob Roy (1099m), Tharwa Drive, Lanyon Homestead, ACT

Mount Tennent, Honeysuckle Creek and Mount Rob Roy belong to the great hill climbs in the south. Mount Tennent, south of Tharwa, is usually walked but it can be run. Honeysuckle Creek is a popular road ride (the road is currently closed), and Mount Rob Roy a gravel ascent on Banks Steep Track management trail.

Mount Rob Roy Nature Reserve

Mount Rob Roy is part of the Canberra Nature Park and documented in the ACT Environment 2019 review of the nature reserves (PDF below). Mount Rob Roy (1099m) is a prominent peak for Canberra but overshadowed by Mount Tennent on the opposite side of the Murrumbidgee River. Mount Tennent is on the edge of the Namadgi National Park. There are bigger peaks on the Brindabella Range including Mount Ginini (1760m), which is notable for the BOM weather station.

Mount Rob Roy Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, Canberra Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Mount Rob Roy Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, Canberra Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Mount Rob Roy Nature Reserve lies against the southern suburbs of Canberra and is landlocked by private leases in the south. In the north, there is an uninteresting, leased, rectangular section of the reserve. This lease is a barrier between the Mount Rob Roy Nature Reserve in the south and Tuggeranong Hill Nature Reserve in the north. This leaves only one way up the mountain – from Banks.

Hill ride, Mount Rob Roy Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, Canberra CyclOSM v0.3.6 Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Hill ride, Mount Rob Roy Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, Canberra CyclOSM v0.3.6 Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

The ride from Banks

Mount Rob Roy can be approached from Banks via the Banks Steep Track and Rob Roy Link Track management trail. Rob Roy Link Track is the shortest way to the peak (4.4km). There is a longer way up via Rob Roy Eco Track with a steep section that is slightly longer too. On the way consider visiting the hill west off Banks Steep Track. The loop ride is 10km long.

Mount Rob Roy loop. Veloviewer Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Mount Rob Roy loop. Veloviewer Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

The first section of Banks Steep Track is steep (150m at 25%) and flattens after that. Mount Rob Roy (1099m) rewards with panoramic views of southern Canberra. Please share your photos by sending them to canberra.bike.

Banks Steep Track is off Banks Track in the suburb of Banks! Banks Track is easily accessible via a paved path from Tharwa Drive bike path. Banks Track is gated. The end of Banks Track is on Orange Thorn Crescent, should you wish to drive.

Banks Track start, 9.5km from Tuggeranong. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Banks Track start, 9.5km from Tuggeranong. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Gradient analysis

The gradient for most of the way up is below 12.5%. The maximum gradient of 25% is found on the first hill out of Banks, which leaves a rather bad impression. Once this hill has been climbed though it flattens. Rob Roy Link Track, the short route to the peak, has a length of 185m above 12.5% gradient and max gradient 19%. Rob Roy Eco Track, the long route down, has a longer section (705m) above 12.5% gradient and the same max gradient of 19%.

Gradient analysis, Mount Rob Roy Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, Canberra. Veloviewer, Strava
Gradient analysis, Banks Steep Track and Rob Roy Link Track management trail, Mount Rob Roy Nature Reserve, Canberra Nature Park, Canberra. Veloviewer, Strava

Considerations

Riding is not permitted in some areas of the Mount Rob Roy Nature Reserve, including the southern section. Monaro Highway is a stone’s throw to the east but all trails cross private property. Below the peak, Rob Roy Eco Track drops east to the forest edge and, via Morrisons Fire Trail, to the Monaro Highway. Morrisons Fire Trail is a private road. The Royalla Solar Farm is on the saddle north of the Morrisons Fire Trail.

Rob Roy Nature Reserve (north), Canberra Nature Park, Canberra Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Leased area (no access), Rob Roy Nature Reserve (north), Canberra Nature Park, Canberra Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

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