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Mountain Bike Blog

 

 

The New Majura Pines and Sparrow Hill Trip

 21/6/2015

A few months a go I headed down to the ACT to ride with a couple of mates.  Our usual plan of attack would have seen us spend the weekend at Stromlo however on this occasion I was keen to sample some of the trails at the Kowen Pine Forest.  The plan to ride East Kowen (usually just called Kowen) was dashed when other riders advised the trails were closed due to an MX event, so we took the opportunity to ride Sparrow Hill a separate set of trails in the same forest but on the other side of Sparrow Hill Rd.  We spent a couple of hours riding the Sparrow Hill Short Loop and then had a quick ride around Majura Pines on the way back.

The quick sampler was enough to drag me back for longer trip over the Queen's Birthday weekend where I got to fully appreciate the best that Sparrow Hill and Majura Pines has to offer.  Two trail centres with vastly different riding experiences and both super fun.

Bones on the trail at Sparrow Hill

Some of the trails at Sparrow Hill are really out the back - unfortunate riders who didn't return

Day 1 - Majura Pines 

The new Majura Pines is amazing with a mix of winding XC trails steep ascents and really fun park style descents.  I took my XC bike which made the climbs up Love Shack, AJs Leap, Boy Wonder and Batcave a whole lot easier but I wished I'd taken the Enduro bike for the descents.

Excellent trail signage at Majura Pines

Great trail signage at the new Majura Pines. This taken at the trail head on (old) Majura Rd

Planet Claire at the south end is a fast bike park style track with heaps of berms, doubles and some tricky combos of the two.  At the north end the descent down Pino Grinio was lots fun but Bombora at the bottom was a super cool gully run.

Amazing vistas from Majura Pines

Amazing views from near the top of the blue trails at the southern end

The XC trails between the two ends had a mix of roots, rocks, gully dips, small climbs/descents and some nice flowy sections.

Despite only being officially open for a week some of Majura Pines' descending trails were a little blown out.  As the trails mature and some remedial work is completed the descents are only going to get better.  I was super impressed with Majura Pines and I'm looking forward to getting back there soon with the Reign.  

Click here for trail videos and other info.

Day 2 & 3 - Sparrow Hill

My first trip to Sparrow Hill had not excited me.  As someone who likes descending I never felt like I had the opportunity to get fast and flowy, in fact the limited descents on the Short Loop were uninspiring. So I returned to Sparrow Hill with tempered expectations and a plan to just knock out a heap of kilometres.

10 minutes into the Long Loop and it was evident Sparrow Hill's best trails were not found on the Short Loop

Sparrow Hill Loop Signage

The trail signage at Sparrow Hill is excellent just follow the loops.

The Long Loop runs around 40km depending on a couple of route options.  It takes you to the four corners of the forest and at times you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere.  

Some of the best climbs and descents were in the final half of the Long Loop, I was very glad to have paced myself leaving plenty of power in the legs to get to the highest points in the forest.  

Over the 40km I only saw half a dozen people and I'm sure some of them were the same people.  My Long Loop was 3-4 hours of great single track, beautiful forest, amazing views and solitude.

Amazing views of Sparrow Hill

Amazing view from the top of Traffic Jam. The forest below featuring Nutcracker and Out the Back.

Day 3 I rode the Archery Loop plus Disco Duck, Rock & Roll and Brake Dance, three trails that provide an alternate descent to the most western gate.  These trails don't feature on any of the 3 loops but are well worth the ride, especially Rock & Roll.  From the western gate I climbed back up Sparrow Rd (mostly walked as it was sopping wet, which was interesting because the rest of the forest was bone dry) and came down again via Big Dipper.  

The best parts of the Archery Loop are the three descending options from McGintys to the western gate, the western gate back to the Dunny Track is fairly uneventful.

amazing views at the edge of the Sparrow Hill Forest

On the edge of the forest at the western gate.

As mentioned above I found the Short Loop quite uninspiring, the Long Loop on the other hand contains some great trails.  My best picks are listed below.

Click here for trail videos and other info.

Picks of Sparrow Hill

Descents
Lickety Split
Rock & Roll
Traffic Jam
Home Run
Spaghetti
Creek Run

Climbs
Blue Lagoon
The Trig
Meatballs 1, Cole's Climb & Meatballs 2  

Riding in the middle of nowhere
Out the Back
Heavy Cow Loop

Views
Out the Back
Nutcracker (the full length trail)
Billy Billy
Traffic Jam

 

Trail Centres and Trails featured in this blog

 

Comments:

This website is brought to you by MTB weekend warrior Aaron Markie.
There are plenty of great websites out there with a wealth of information about Mountain Bike Trails,
however in my experience its hard to get a good mix of info, maps, photos and videos of trails I've never ridden.
The idea of this website is to tie those 4 elements together and give you a more detailed look at the MTB Trails I ride.
If you have anything to add then let me know.