Denman Prospect Forest loop

Gravel ride through the forest to a hilltop for great views and down to the Molonglo River again. The route starts and ends at the Denman Prospect R10 bus stop. Find at the shops a cafe, supermarket, and toilets. Ride in a clockwise direction for minimum gradients. Mountain bike recommended. Length 8km and 180m rise. Steep descent. The ride is very enjoyable.

Getting there

Denman Prospect is a new suburb in the Molonglo Valley and is well located close to Stromlo. The shops are not large but rather nice and the only shops around. The R10 bus terminates there. There is a cafe, supermarket, pizza takeaway and toilets. It is a good place to start and end a gravel ride in the Molonglo Valley.

Denman Prospect shops are only isolated due to the lack of infrastructure but makes a great basecamp for rides. It is only 8km as the bird flys from Belconnen but 20km if you ride on a bike path. The Weston Creek Shops are 5.3km away but over 8km by bike weaving your way through the suburbs. The next shops are 5.8km away at the service station opposite the RSPCA. There is also a bus stop there.

The GPX file of the route is available to download on Komoot.

The loop

Denman Prospect is not a big area but worth a visit. The loop is not very long and on good gravel roads. There are no locked gates on this route but jersey barriers to ride around at the start that block of the bridge beside the shops. The jersey barriers are there to stop cars.

The route is best ridden in a clockwise direction which provides a slow climb and the steepest section is then a descent. Due to the proximity to the route for the CyclingGravel Stromlo to Abo ride, the loop could be added as an extension.

Section 1: south-west corner

The first section of the ride follows CyclingGravel Stromlo to Abo ride in the reverse direction for few hundred metres before branching off to the right and up the hill. This dirt management trail is rutted and muddy when wet. The road gets better as you approach Uriarra Road. You will not see the road as it is at the top of the hill. Leaving the pine forest, turn right and follow the ridge along a good section of undulating and winding gravel track to the peak overlooking Denman Prospect. This section is 1km long and only 38m ascent. The maximum gardient in this section is 13%. The forest here is eucalyptus and rather pretty. Arriving at the peak there are magnificent views of the Molonglo Valley and the new suburb of Denman Prospect.

Denman Prospect Forest loop, Molonglo Valley, starting and ending at the shops. Map Komoot. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors.
Denman Prospect Forest loop, Molonglo Valley, starting and ending at the shops. Map Komoot. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors.

Section 2: the descent

From the top of the hill, there is a good road down to a bend in the Molonglo River at the most northern point of the ride. The river is a short walk from the road if you wish to get your feet wet. The descent to from the hill is at first steep with a maximum gradient of 20%. The management trail is in a good condition and not particularly difficult with grippy mountain bike tyres. Lean back and enjoy the view.

Passing by the gate at the bottom of this descent, turn left into the pine forest and follow the long, straight descent to the river. This section is 1.4 km long, 68 m descent, and a maximum gradient of 12%.

Denman Prospect Forest loop, Molonglo Valley, starting and ending at the shops. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors.
Denman Prospect Forest loop, Molonglo Valley, starting and ending at the shops. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors.

Section 3: east side return to the shops

The final section is along the Molonglo River and a slow climb back to the shops along a good road cut into the hill with short steep climbs. You will pass the pond on our left riding up the hill. Crossing the dam will take you Butters Bridge. Swing to the right up the hill and cross the bridge back to the starting point.

3D height profile, Denman Prospect Forest loop, Molonglo Valley, starting and ending at the shops. Map VeloViewer.Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors.
3D height profile, Denman Prospect Forest loop, Molonglo Valley, starting and ending at the shops. Map VeloViewer. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors.

Denman Prospect shops

The Denman Prospect shops are an excellent place to start rides into the Molonglo Valley. The good R10 bus service will get you there quickly. From here there are many good rides locally but also to the back of Mount Stromlo and to the Arboretum.

Play space (playground), Denman Prospect Ridgeline Park, Denman Prospect, Molonglo Valley
Denman Prospect Ridgeline Park, Denman Prospect, Molonglo Valley

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