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East KowenLast Update: 20/11/2015

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


UPDATE: 22 August 2015

Videos of the NEW trails of particular interest for Kowalski Classic competitors.

The first thing to know about the East Kowen Forest is that you need the Kowalski's Trail Buddy app (Google Play or App Store). Not only will it get you around the East Kowen Forest with amazing accuracy, proceeds from the app go toward new trails.

The East Kowen Forest mountain bike trails sit in the north eastern corner of the Kowen Forest. The Kowen Forest is MASSIVE, on the south side is Sparrow Hill, typically defined as all the trails on the south side of the Sparrow Hill Road parking lot, on the north side of Sparrow Hill Rd is a substantially larger forest stretching a long way to the east and a very VERY long way to the west.

East Kowen, in the north eastern corner and takes up a very small part of the entire forest foot print. The areas presently accessible by MTB Trails in East Kowen and Sparrow Hill would barely cover a fifth of the entire forest however there is still well over 100km of single track and somewhere in the vicinity of 150-160 signposted trails. Tempted, well you should be!

This section is East Kowen, the trails to the north of the Sparrow Hill Road and Hibernian Rd Car Parks, with one exception – Upstart, which is typically included within East Kowen despite being on the southern side.

The East Kowen trails are not dissimilar to Sparrow Hill however they generally contain more rocks. The biggest descents and climbs are found in East Kowen as are the more technical trails including the newly opened (as of August 2015) Stairway to Heaven and Romper Room which are a whole new level of technical for anywhere else in the forest. That’s not to say that East Kowen doesn’t have its fair share of cruisy trails in fact I’d argue that the beginner single track loop around Sweet Apples to Last Tango is easier than the short loop at Sparrow Hill because you don’t have to climb to get there.

It’s probably fair to say that East Kowen extends the boundaries at both ends of the scale.

There are 3 loops marked out at Start Me Up. On my first trip to East Kowen I followed the longest loop which was a great sampler but barely scratched the surface of what East Kowen has to offer. There are two shorter loops that bypass the bigger climbs. The loops are not as clearly marked as Sparrow Hill so you need to pay a little bit more attention, and unlike Sparrow Hill where the 3 loops cover about 90% of the trails the 3 East Kowen loops concentrate on the central trails only.

I highly recommend downloading the Kowalski's Trail Buddy app (Google Play or App Store), and if you google around you will find some former event maps that will give you ideas for routes further afield in East Kowen.

Here are my Strava routes for the 4 days I’ve ridden East Kowen. Note – my forth ride was a mystery tour some of the best and almost all the worst decisions I made happened on that ride.

  1. The 13km Loop, everything to the right (Secret Squirrel and returning by Seismic Rd) is an extension - https://www.strava.com/activities/339297324
  2. Ringing around the middle - https://www.strava.com/activities/365568421
  3. A pretty long sampler (but everything in the Far East should be ridden in reverse bar Stud Muffin) - https://www.strava.com/activities/366322045
  4. Right out to the west and north - https://www.strava.com/activities/368576442

Favourite Descents

Trails I climbed that would be great descents

The Climbs (in order of PAIN!)

Other trails I really enjoyed (in rough order)

  • Effing Track – so worth the effort to get there
  • 3.5, Free Fall, Mud Duck, Fairy Glen II and Lost Weekend – an alternate and quick way to climb up right into the heart of the trails.
  • Everything around Magic Mushroom (it’s a bit of a rabbit warren in there)
  • The beginner loop listed below – because it was a great way to get the lactic acid out of the legs and add a few kilometres to the end of any ride in East Kowen.

The Beginner Loop

I reckon this loop is actually easier than Sparrow Hill, because Sparrow starts with a climb up Block 9 Road, the Dunny Track and McGinty’s.

From the carpark, climb over the fence as if you are heading to Sparrow Hill but take the first left about 10m into the trail. Follow the Creek Track toward East Kowen down a gully and beside a fence/gate until you hit a wide open and well-groomed winding fire trail heading north. Climb up the trail to the first intersection and onto the beginning of Start Me Up. That’s pretty much the biggest climb out of the way.

MTB Trail Video’s Hill of Death – It should be an event!

As of 22 August 2015 we had covered almost every trail in the Kowalski's Trail Buddy app (Google Play or App Store). Here's what we've missed.

  • Lower entrance for Cora 1 - I couldn't find the trail head, I suspect it's overgrown
  • Cora 2 - Logged out
  • Cora 3 - Access was blocked at the time of riding due to logging but appears to be rideable.
  • Cutty - I couldn't find the trail head, I suspect it's overgrown
  • Mac's Track - Logged out
  • Stimpy - Logged out
  • Under the wire - In fact just this weekend the Kowalski Brothers have begun restoration work on this trail
  • Piggy, Tutu, Dusk, Outpost, Finish me off - I accidentally missed them, unclear if they all still exist.

Please note the app is due for an update early Sept 2015 and will contain new trails, some of which we have ridden but weren't signposted at the time of riding so we don't know their names just yet.

DON'T FORGET - This is only East Kowen - check out our Sparrow Hill section for all the trails on the other side of the car park.

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.