Australian Hiker is a website for bushwalking but there are interesting reviews of Canberra Nature Park. As routes are often along management trails they can be ridden as well. In the worst case of ‘walking only’ trails, the review may provide inspiration for further investigation what is possible along management trails.
Update: signs at the northern entrances of Kama, Molonglo River Reserve, prohibit cycling. This post will be corrected. Read more here.
The Canberra Nature Park reserves seem to be endless and the view is obstructed by the forest and hills. The management trails and paths meander their way around the hills. This network of trails and paths has grown historically. There is a surprise around every corner.
The recreational use of nature reserves is balanced against preservation. The Canberra Nature Park Draft Reserve Management Plan 2019 includes all the details for each of the 37 nature reserves, but the document is too big to carry with you.
If you are unfamiliar with a reserve, the smartphone app Komoot with OpenStreetMap would be a good start to help you find your way. The information relating to cycling in the Management Plan has been captured in OpenStreetMap. The rideable nature reserves will be reviewed in this post.
In 2019 the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (Environment) released the Canberra Nature Park Draft Reserve Management Plan. The Murrumbidgee corridor, the Molonglo River Reserve, the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the Namadgi National Park are not part of Canberra Nature Park. The Canberra Nature Park reserves are ideal for recreational cycling.
In 1988 the National Horse Trail was rejuvenated and relaunched as the Bicentennial National Trail. The Bicentennial National Trail extends from Queensland to Victoria. A section of it passes through the ACT. It is not to be confused with the Canberra Centenary Trail which came later and is only in the ACT. The Bicentennial National Trail and the Canberra Centenary Trail alignments are at times in close proximity and cross. Both pass through The Pinnacle Nature Reserve in Hawker, Belconnen, but one on the north side and the other on the south side. This ride was predominately on the Bicentennial National Trail but a section was on the Canberra Centenary Trail.
We explored the Bicentennial National Trail in Belconnen by bike. We had a mountain bike and one touring bike with fat tyres. In the muddy conditions, the mountain bike is the better option. It was soggy and pays off the trail were slippery. Canberra does not get much rain though, so we must be grateful. We joined the Bicentennial National Trail at Hawker and rode through to the new suburb of Strathnairn in Belconnen’s far west. Many have never heard of Strathnairn. Strathnairn is part of the Ginninderry development that will one day extend into NSW.
A short ride from Lake Ginninderra to Mount Rogers, around the summit track and back to the starting point on the lake in Belconnen. Most of the route is a bike path but the summit circuit track, that provides great views from every side of the mountain, is gravel.
The track is popular with locals walking their dogs and is mostly flat. Mount Rogers is a prominent, cone shape hill on the Belconnen plain. Looking south you will see from Belconnen town centre to the ridge line of Mount Painter, behind Cook, and The Pinnacle, Hawker. The view north is towards Gungahlin. The sides of Mount Rogers are steep even for walkers. There is an excellent path to the summit from Charnwood. The path on the east side from Belconnen is particularly steep and you may find you need to push unless you are on a mountain or ebike.