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The Spine, Isaacs Ridge

The only easy mountain bike singletrack in the Long Gully Pine Plantation.

In 2015 a study was carried out for the ACT Government reviewing mountain biking in Long Gully Pine Plantation. The report is attached and holds many interesting details. The Spine has been mentioned previously as it is accessible to everybody. It is certainly worth a look. The route “Isaacs Ridge peak from Woden Bus Station” follows The Spin up the hill.

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The ACT Environment refers to singletrack as “multi-user trails“. They are shared with walkers.

Multi-use trail – The Spine

There are a number of existing informal multi-user trails that run between the pines that are used by walkers, runners and bike riders. It is likely many of these trails were built by mountain bike riders in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. In recognition of this existing trail use and to assist in separating and spreading out users on the main north-south fire trail the Trails Plan proposes a multi-use spine.

The multi-use spine (See Appendix 8.2) that climbs partway up the Ridge, making use of rock shelves, large trees and views to the west before it loops back towards the management trails at the bottom of the ridge (see Plate 7). Designed for gentle climbing and descending, this trail is aimed at lower impact users including walkers, runners and bicycle riders. It is not designed and should not be used as a downhill mountain bike trail.

The Spine offers residents, walkers and cross-country bike riders an opportunity to climb the majority of the way to the top of Isaacs Ridge on a relatively gentle slope. Starting at the cut-off drain at the base of the Northern Downhill Corridor this trail makes use of the gentler slopes at the base of the ridge and follows the proposed finish to the northern downhill. Once the trail crosses the management trail it turns north and gradually climbs the ridgeline until it reaches its highest point over a large open valley three quarters of the way to the top of the ridge. Here there are beautiful views north-west over the Woden Valley and the Brindabella’s (see Plate 8). The trail splits here to allow users access to the north of Isaacs or to the higher slopes of the ridge where it crosses the management track and loops back to the south taking in a higher line that then drops to complete the loop near the northern downhill corridor.

This Plan proposes construction of The Spine (Appendix 8.2) as a priority two for construction as part of the first stage work.

6.2.2.1 The Spine

Description: The Spine offers residents, walkers and cross-country bike riders an opportunity to parallel the maintenance road and equestrian trail. … This trail will need signposting to identify to bicycle riders and walkers that it is shared and bidirectional trail, however, the open nature of this section of forest affords good sightlines that should allow all active users to use this trail. Once the trail crosses the management trail it turns north and gradually climb a short distance before paralleling the equestrian trail along the steep lower slopes of Isaacs Ridge cutting through numerous rock outcrops and over several small gullies. The trail traverses a large rock platform affording rewarding views back over the suburb of Isaacs. … This section of trail could be used to divert Canberra Centenary Trail users off the equestrian trail (See Plate 4).

Length: 1300m. Linking trail is a further 600m.

Trail type: Multi-use.

Design: 1.2m to 1.8m, between 4% and 12%.

Issues: This trail has many significant rock features, steep side slopes and several smaller gullies to cross. Given the nature of the train this trail will need to be constructed by professional trail building company.

IMBA Rating: Green (easy), Australian Walking Track Standard Grade 3.

Construction Rating: 4 to 5. This section offers significant challenges including significant slopes, many rocks and significant boulders

Priority: This is a priority 2 trail.

Cost: This trail could be constructed for between $35 and $75 per metre (at commercial rates).”

Isaacs Rdge Trails Plan 2015, prepared by Anthony Burton & Associates on behalf of the ACT Government, accessed 21/5/2020
Long Gully Pine Plantation, Isaacs Ridge
Long Gully Pine Plantation, Isaacs Ridge

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