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 was updated early 2019 with a new map which can help plan the trips. For real time navigation, Komoot and Garmin would be better. The management trails are good enough, in some cases, for a gravel bike (see Pipeline Road). The area is green after all the rain.
Four maps provide an overview of the area.
- 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.
Management trails for mountain biking
The ACT is very mountainous in the south (exceeding 1800 m) 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. Only the far south (Mount Clear campground) and the Namadgi National Park north of Corin Road is left to explore.
In the north of the ACT, the Brindabella Range flattens to a nice 1300 m. 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.
Riding in the Brindabella Range 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. The total ascent is 694 m, 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 with many locked gates.
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
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.
In contrast, in the ACT, 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 Brindabella Road the mountains open up. The management trails were not laid out for cycling though and can be steep. The loop around Mount Coree is an example. It is a little flatter but further to approach it along Two Sticks Road, then climbing Pabral Road.
Two Sticks Road, Curries Road, Pabral Road, and Blue Range Fire Trail lie in the Namadgi National Park, north of Brindabella Road.