The Pinnacle behind Hawker on gravel

The Pinnacle Nature Reserve lies on the hill behind Hawker. It is part of the Canberra Nature Park. A ride around the edge of the reserves along the management trails is about 11 km in length. A good walk but only a short ride. However, other management trails wind across the hill and combined make for a relaxing sunset ride with great views over the Whitlam, Molonglo River and Brindabella Range in the distance.

Locked or not locked?

SomePinnacle management trails are well maintained (Dowling Track) while others are washed out (Macroryncha Track). Maintenance of the Canberra Nature Park is patchy at the best and care is required. It is permitted to ride on the management trails and a mountain bike is recommended.

Fencing and gates is always an issue in Canberra Nature Parks. The nature reserves are generally fenced and gated off along the road to keep cars out, and padlocked to permit official and emergency access. Within the reserve the gates may also be padlocked for obvious reason. Access points are provided for pedestrians: sometime for cyclists and for equestrian sport along the Bicentennial National Trail.

Locked gates are not much fun. At the best the bike will need to be lifted over the gate. Some gates can be stepped through by pedestrians but this is not always the case, which means that climbing over the gate may be required. That is not much fun, so is there a better way?

Locked step-through gate on the boundary between The Pinnacle Offset Area and The Pinnacle, Belconnen
Locked step-through gate on the boundary between The Pinnacle Offset Area and The Pinnacle, Belconnen

Riding means not lifting

I want to ride there to and back and not have to stop. I do not want to stop for gates. Many will not want to lift a bike over a gate or they may not be able to do so. A good route should consider where the gates are easy to pass, either because they can be opened or because there is a stile for bikes and pedestrians.

Stiles are quite common in Canberra and usually consist of a narrow gap in the fence marked by two 1.5 m posts. The posts are not so high that you cannot get the handle bars over the top and balance the bike on the back wheel. This is easy to do with a mountain bike. Admittedly, one is required to dismount from the bike to pass the stile. Nevertheless, the delay is minimal.

Stiles are, however, much less common than locked gates. For this reason it seems worthwhile noting where the stiles are around Hawker and planning the ride to take advantage of them.

Pedestrian stile over a wire fence in The Pinnacle Offset Area, Hawker, just off William Hovell Drive, Belconnen. The fence is in the middle of the reserve and therefore serves no purpose. The preservation of the fence is most likely due to the heritage value placed on the areas agricultural past.
Steps like these are another type of pedestrian stile found in The Pinnacle Offset Area that are an obstacle for cyclists.

Stiles on The Pinnacle

The Pinnacle is an old nature reserve and many of the fences have fallen down and been removed. This is not a high priority and fences can still be found in likely locations. Particularly the north side of the reserve in the area of the water reservoir seem to have a lot of fences that do not enclose an area. In one spot the management trail doglegs through a fence and two gates. The pedestrian track is more direct through the trees without passing through the fence and as a result no gates.

The Pinnacle, Hawker – Stiles suitable for MTB

Here’s one ride through The Pinnacle approaching from Belconnen via Springvale Drive.

The Pinnacle double loop Hawker ACT. Routing app Komoot. Map OpenStreetMap.

This looping route is 8.5 km in length which is short reflecting the size of the reserve. It could be ridden multiple times with variations along other management trails. Gradients can be steep in sections up to 17%. The reserve is the lowest on the southern tip on Dowling Track.

The Pinnacle peak itself is reached on foot up steps from The Pinnacle Central Track management trail.

Useful links

The Pinnacle Nature Trail, Weekend Notes

The Pinnacle Nature Reserve, ACT Environment – The Pinnacle Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 154 hectare reserve in West Belconnen

About The Pinnacle Nature Reserve – flora and fauna maps changes since 1990 pinnacle extension 2016 pinnacle weather rainfall history

The Pinnacle Offset Area, Belconnen.
The Pinnacle Offset Area, Belconnen.

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