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Cascades Track (3.20km)
St Ives and BelroseLast Update: 24/3/2013
Some trail names are made up, if there is a different name please let us know.
Difficulty - Easy - Intermediate
Slope - Undulating - Steep - Near vertical
Space - Open
Surface - Concrete - Dirt - Eternal Puddles - Gravel - Loose rocks on dirt - Loose rocks on rock - Rock - Rutted - Sand - Sealed
Trail type - Firetrail - Sealed Road
The Cascades Track is a major arterial MTB trail that runs from St Ives to Davidson. It's a fire trail that is frequently used by riders linking the trails of Belrose, Oxford Falls, St Ives and Terrey Hills. There are a number of trails running into the valley including the Heath and Bare Creek Track, Quarry Track, Lower Cambourne and others.
Starting from Douglas St (cnr Acron Rd) St Ives the trail descends very quickly. At the time of riding the surface was in very good condition but the waterbars have severe leading edges and the grade is steep, but not the steepest section on this trail nor other trails in the area.
The first two forks in the trail, Upper Cambourne and Lower Cambourne head off to left the latter up toward the Quarry Track that climbs up to Mona Vale Road. After passing Lower Cambourne the dirt trail is replaced by a rough and ridiculously steep sealed section. By the time I got to the bottom of the sealed section I was suffering from severe brake fade and in fact I couldn't bring the bike to a stop. The moral of that story is not to over brake while on the top section of the trail and give the brakes time to cool before passing Lower Cambourne. (Climbing the other way was torture, there was no way I was capable of climbing the hill, however Strava tells me that plenty of riders do - Aliens probably)
At the bottom of the sealed section the trail veers to the right and continues down into the valley. The trail is still quite steep and rough with a number of waterbars and tight turns.
Just before the first concrete causeway creek crossing is the turn off for the Bare Creek Track.
The second concrete causeway creek crossing is the Cascades and it's well worth stopping for a breather and a photo. This area is a gem, two creeks converge over a massive bedrock slab and into large waterholes before continuing down the valley all the way to Middle Harbour (Roseville Bridge).
From Cascades the climb stays fairly moderate for a few hundred metres before hitting the first of 3 sealed sections and while not the steepest the first climb beat me on the day as seen on the video. There is a short respite along a flat dirt section before the main climb begins. The next sealed section is very steep (however not as steep as the section on the St Ives side of the valley). I almost managed to climb it but after reaching the kink in the trail my legs just didn't have the strength to make the final 10 metres.
The trail concedes with a short dirt ascent before the final torturous sealed climb up to the Stone Parade gate (Davidson).
In either direction the Cascades Track is 50% on the brakes and 50% lung busting climbs and I suspect the latter is what attracts so many XC MTBers to the area. The trail condition is pretty good and due to the nature of the trail I suspect it is kept very well groomed.
Keep an eye out for walkers and other riders, this trail is heavily trafficked!
The bushland within the valley is quite stunning but I must admit it was hard to appreciate the scenery while concentrating so hard on not dying or throwing up.
Maybe not the best "ride" in the area but definitely worth doing and maybe taking some time out to enjoy your surroundings. (The Heath and Bare Creek Track is a far more interesting descent.)