West ACT: riding on gravel

It has been said there is good riding in the ACT. Namadgi National Park and behind that Brindabella National Park are close to Canberra. That makes them interesting, however, none of the rides are short. The ACT Environment website provides information about the management trails.

The Mountain bike riding in Namadgi National Park, Brindabella National Park and Bimberi Nature Reserve page has been there since at least February 2019. You can download a PDF map to help plan the trips (see below). For navigation, Komoot and others would be better. The management trails are in some cases so good that they can be ridden on a gravel bike (see Pipeline Road). The area is green after all the rain.

This post consists of four maps that will be used for later reference.

  • Map 1: Namadgi south section
  • Map 2: Namadgi north section
  • Map 3: South of Brindabella Road to Corin Road.
  • Map 4: North of Brindabella Road, Brindabella National Park and ACT North.
Murrumbidgee River, Tharwa Bridge, Tharwa, ACT
Tharwa the gateway to the southern ACT. Murrumbidgee River, Tharwa Bridge, Tharwa, ACT

Management trails for mountain biking

MTB route table, Mountain bike riding in Namadgi National Park,
MTB route table, Mountain bike riding in Namadgi National Park, ACT.

South Namadgi

Namadgi south section, Mountain bike riding in Namadgi National Park,
Map 1: Namadgi south section, Mountain bike riding in Namadgi National Park, ACT.

The ACT is very mountainous in the south (exceeding 1800m) which makes the riding more challenging. Cycling is not permitted in the Upper Cotter Catchment Area, which leaves only Orroral Road. However, Orroral Valley, Honeysuckle Creek, and Mount Tennent are closed due to damage from the 2020 bush fires. This leaves only the far south (Mount Clear campground) and the Namadgi National Park north of Corin Road that we can explore.

North Namadgi

Namadgi north section, Mountain bike riding in Namadgi National Park,
Map 2: Namadgi north section, Mountain bike riding in Namadgi National Park, ACT.

In the north of the ACT, the Brindabella Range flattens to a nice 1300m. The ACT/NSW border lies along the Brindabella Range, the Namadgi National Park on the ACT side, and the Brindabella National Park on the other. Many roads cross back and forth over the border in this area.

Pretty steep

Riding this area can be challenging due to the steep and long hills. One example is Bendora Road climbing from the Cotter River to Mount Franklin Road on the ridge. The first section from the river is very steep with a 20% gradient. After that, it evens out a little but the total ascent is 694m, which is a category 1 climb. One rider took 2.5 hours to complete this section under snow.

The ACT Environment website recommends taking water and spares. There is no mobile coverage in many parts of the Namadgi National Park. Public road access is limited.

Bendora Road climbing from the Cotter River to Mount Franklin Road, Namadgi National Park.

North of Corin Road

Mount Brindabella is beside Piccadilly Circus, off Brindabella Road, and is the middle point of the northern section of the ACT Namadgi National Park and Brindabella National Park border area. The Brindabella Road is the dividing line.

South of of Brindabella Road

South of Piccadilly Circus - Brindabella Road, Mountain bike riding in Namadgi National Park,
Map 3: South of Piccadilly Circus – Brindabella Road, Mountain bike riding in Namadgi National Park, ACT.

To the west of Piccadilly Circus, the Brindabella Road drops off into NSW and the Bimberi Nature Reserve. Riding is not permitted in the Bimberi Nature Reserve. The public Brindabella Road is an exception and leads to Tumut. The Bimberi Nature Reserve is very steep and there are few roads. The Australian Alps Walking Track passes through this area.

On the ACT side, riding in the Namadgi National Park is permitted. Pipeline Road is found in this area. Other roads include Blundells Creek Road, Old Mill Road, Warks Road, Bendora Road (sealed) to the Bendora Dam, Parrot Road, Flat Rock Spur, and, of course, Mount Franklin Road.

North of Brindabella Road

North of Piccadilly Circus - Brindabella Road, Brindabella National Park and ACT North
Map 4: North of Piccadilly Circus – Brindabella Road, Brindabella National Park and ACT North

North of Brindabella Road the mountains open up. The management trails were not laid out for cycling and can be steep. The loop around Mount Coree is an example. It is a little flatter to approach it along Two Sticks Road, then climbing Pabral Road. Note that it is further though.

Some of the roads in the Namadgi National Park, north of Brindabella Road, are: Two Sticks Road, Curries Road, Pabral Road, and Blue Range Fire Trail.

Mount Tennent (1375m) from Namadgi Visitor Centre, Namadgi National Park, ACT, after the fires in 2020
Mount Tennent (1375m) from Namadgi Visitor Centre, Namadgi National Park, ACT, after the fires in 2020

4 Replies to “West ACT: riding on gravel”

  1. Thanks for the article!

    Last time I rode Doctors Flat Road there were a great heap of signs on gate suggesting no entry onto private property. I can see that the attached PDF suggests that private owners do allow access but do you know if that is still the case?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s