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Manly DamLast Update: 3/2/2013

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


Manly Dam is an awesome Mountain Bike Trail, a challenging loop for intermediate to advanced XC and All Mountain riders. As as a result you will see a large number of riders on an array of MTB machinery conquering the 11km trail.

IMPORTANT!! This trail runs clockwise.

Manly Dam is mix of fire trail and single trails with plenty of technical sections.  There are heaps of rock sections to climb, rock steps and man made steps to ride off, a number of ladder bridges (most on ground), plenty of low hanging branches, pinch flat hungry rocks and roots poking through the soil, short flowing sections, full width fire trails, rock plateaus, lung busting climbs and some rough downhill sections.

Where to park:
There are heaps of places to park around the loop, so pick the best location for you. 

  • Water Research Laboratory – In the parking area on King Street, Manly Vale (the bottom of the trail)
  • Manly Vale Public School – Cnr Gibbs and Sunshine Street, Manly Vale
  • North Balgowlah Public School – on the street at Manning Street (or any other street on the route through North Balgowlah)
  • Wakehurst Parkway – fire trail entrance about halfway between North Balgowlah and Frenchs Forest.
  • Allambie Heights Oval – and ride in from behind the Tennis Courts
  • Cootamunda Drive, Monserra Drive or Nyrang Ave – Allambie Heights (But why would you start halfway down the descent?)
The Water Research Lab and Manly Vale Public School are the most popular places to park, however I start from North Bally Public on Manning Street because most of the ride from the Water Research Lab to Manning Street is fairly uneventful uphill with plenty of road sections.  I prefer to be fresh and full of energy for the technical and fun trail parallel to the Wakehurst Parkway but when I’m tired and sucking in the big ones the straightforward onroad hill climbs seem more appropriate.

  • This trail runs clockwise.
  • Due to the total awesomeness of Manly Dam the trail attracts A LOT OF RIDERS (many of whom seem to be competing in their own personal World Cups).  So be considerate and listen for riders coming up from behind and let them through.
  • Large sections of this trail are shared and you are likely to encounter walkers and runners on the trail, so keep an eye out.  
  • Some sections of the trail are ILLEGAL on a MTB, avoid fines from the council rangers and the wrath of other MTBers protecting their right to ride by keeping off those tracks.
  • I’ve also heard of complaints by residents about riders pissing on their fences.  SERIOUSLY !!  There are acres of bush .. why would you piss on someone’s fence?  Come on people!
  • MANLY DAM IS OFTEN CLOSED AFTER RAINcheck the Warringah Council website for the trail status or risk being fined.
Manly Dam is a must do trail for any MTB rider living in or visiting Sydney.

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.