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Stromlo Forest ParkLast Update: 25/10/2013

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For full information, including maps, photos and detailed info on trail sections use the links on the right


The Canberra locals are spoilt for choice when it comes to great mountain bike venues.  This is the first of their trails we have ridden and it took just a few minutes of descending to completely fall in love with Stromlo Forest Park.

The Stromlo Forest Park website has a fantastic interactive map that I couldn't come close to replicating and their on-trail signage is near perfect, so while I will definitely upload my GPS maps to this site the maps on the official website are worth printing off and taking with you.

Stromlo has an amazing array of trails that have been conveniently arranged into six trail loops.  The loop number system makes it very easy to find your way around the mountain while you're still getting your bearings - simply follow the numbers on the signs and if all else fails the locals are a wealth of knowledge!

In typical Canberra-style Urban Art the trail head signage is something to behold.  Before heading off it's definitely worth looking at the striking signage and loop maps to get a feel for the area.  Stromlo Forest Park is quite large and some trails take you "way out back".

The trails themselves are amazing.  The green climbs are well groomed with A-B lines, tight turns and small rocky technical sections, the blue climbs (I have on good authority) are a step up .. I've yet to ride them because quite frankly I was saving all my energy for the descents!

On the topic of saving energy.  There are a series of fire trails running through the area, check the official maps.  If you want to save some energy you can take the easy road, however all of the fire trails on the upper half of the mountain are near vertical!!  Very few humans would be capable of riding up them. On the 2nd day I took the option of walking up the fire trails as opposed to riding the single track in order to save my legs and lungs for more descents.  The final climb option is via the road to the Observatory - either by bike, foot or car.

The descents are heaps of fun.  The green descents such as Skyline, Luge, Western Wedgetail and Double Dissolution are not "first timer runs"  they require a certain level of experience, control and confidence.  Newbies should stay on the beginner trails at the bottom of the mountain or it will be a long, difficult and possibly painful trip down.  If you aren't sure then check our videos to see if you are ready. 

For riders with intermediate experience these trails are a hell of a lot of fun.  Fast and flowy with some great technical options if you want them.  For the most part they have great visibility so it's a perfect opportunity to pick up the pace with confidence.  But be warned the trails are often lined with trees but of more concern is the large and very sharp rocks that lie just off the trail waiting to rip you to shreds like a school of Piranhas.  A 1st run at scoping speed is highly recommended.

There are a number of blue descents however Pork Barrel is now my favourite trail on the planet!  Fast, rocky with heaps of 1-2ft drops and even some jump options.  If you took all the best technical descents from Manly Dam and Red Hill and lined them up end to end you would have Pork Barrel.  LOVE IT!!

Of all the Stromlo loops, Loop 2 is probably the most common and depending on how fast you climb it will take around 1-1.5 hours  Fenceline & Cockatoo Switchbacks, Blue Gums, Bobby Pin Climb, Emu Run & ABC Switchbacks, City View & Red Rock Lookout, Rockys and Tall Trees, Western Wedgetail, Skyline, Luge, Old Duffy Descent

Stromlo also features a range of beginner and freestyle trails on the lower mountain.  The Playground (see photo) has quite an array of technical features purpose built for mountain bikers to practice skills.  They range from very basic rollovers, banked corners and log rides to huge and narrow seesaws, steep climbs and log rides that require the skills of a trials rider.  Perfect for the kids or practicing your skills.

If you only have time for a quick hit and run I recommend getting dropped off at the Observatory and then taking one of these options that will take less than 30mins and are mostly on the descent.
Observatory to the Trail Head - Tall Trees, Western Wedgetail, Skyline, Luge, Old Duffy Descent (get picked up at the main carpark)
Observatory to the Western Gate - Tall Trees, Western Wedgetail, Pork Barrel, Double Dissolution (get picked up at the Western Gate on Uriarra Rd)

The Stromlo Downhill is world famous and DH riders flock to Stromlo to attack the rocky descent, however we're a way off covering downhill trails on this website.

Stromlo Forest Park is brilliantly setup for mountain bikers.  There is heaps of parking, facilities such as water and toilets at the trail head and top of the mountain, even a cafe at the top.  The road to the Observatory also provides an opportunity to be shuttled back up!  CORC often run shuttle days for members or maybe flag down some locals and bribe them with a promise of beer.

I can't recommend Stromlo enough.  The only thing missing is a chairlift and a line of people hi-fiving you when you reach the end!

Stromlo Baby! - Watch our highlights video of 1st and 2nd runs

Blog articles that mention this trail



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.