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Glenbrook to Emu Plains via Knapsack - tips?

danielschipper's picture

By danielschipper - Posted on 27 December 2012

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Hi all,

I'm riding The Oaks with some mates on Sunday and plan to start / finish at Emu Plains.

From Glenbrook I'm planning to ride some of the Knapsack trails to link up to the bottom of Mitchells pass. Looking at the maps on NobMob and Google Earth Knapsack does appear to be a bit of a maze.

Can someone familiar with the area give me some guidance; i.e. is it well sign posted, are there any landmarks to look out for to get where I'm trying to go... or should I just throw in the towel and start / finish from Glenbrook?

Thanks in advance for any assistance offered.

comm's picture

Knapsack is a HUGE maze. If youve never been there before, chances are you'll get lost big time Smiling. There arnt any signposts (or signs of any kind for that matter).
If youve got an Android/ to install an app that can read GPX files and then load the Knapsack GPX into it

I have an android phone and I use Osmand, when I load the GPX into it, it gives me turn by turn walking/riding directions

Pretty nifty!

jacojoco's picture

Emu Plains is a great place to start and finish when driving out from North. You ensure space in carriage as not many people jump on to train prior to Glenbrook. Lapstone is also good place to start (but tricky to find).

In short I believe you need to ride out of Oaks at Glenbrook past car park and shops, cross Highway, head up to Lovers Lane (go behind oval and up hill to another oval and Lovers Lane is firetrail on top side). You can go all the way to the end of Lovers Lane to look out (Elizabeth Lookout). there is a fork to Left and you can take this to the end to another lookout (Marges Lookout) and find trails to the left that take you down to Lennox Bridge and Mitchells Pass and then fly down one way on bitumen, meet back up with Highway and then cruze to Emu Plains station via Highway.

Whilst up in Knapsack explore the lookouts and left (Marges) and right (Elizabeth) off Lovers Lane. there are many tracks and loops left and right off Lovers Lane. There is also a few pump/jump areas up in there (too big for me). Many places to get lost. If you get lost, just try to get back to the main fire trail in the middle (Lovers Lane), then head left trails to get to Mitchells Pass.

If you carry a compass, you need to basically head North to get to Mitchells Pass, then go East very fast down hill on bitumen all the way to Emu.

Some history, Lennox Bridge is the oldest sandstone bridge in Australia so worth a look for history's sake. At the bottom of Mitchell pass, there is a park to the right, go up this and have a look at Knapsack bridge - huge sandstone arches and views down over Emu and freeway. Also up in Knapsack you can explore sandstone carvings and tracks that is the old ZigZag railway, you can even find the "Mushroom" tunnel under the Highway (closed and boarded up and used to now grow mushrooms). Behind the old RAAF base you can find the old zigzag railway tracks and a disused station (above Knapsack bridge).

There is a good day of exploring around this area for MTB/History buffs.

Ultimately you cant get too lost up in Knapsack, it is just an area surrounded by Highway/Freeway/Mitchells Pass - so if you make your way to a road you can ride out to Emu down hill. But it is an elevated area, so you can find yourself high above roads on cliffs and be prepared to hike a bike and walk down some walking trails if you get off the riding trails.

Only the firetrail is marked with signs for lookouts. Thus always good to try and find your way back to the Firetrail if you get lost. If you can get back to the firetrail then you are guaranteed you can ride out.

From memory it was about a 40km ride and took around 2.5 hrs all up. We got the train from Emu at 6:40am to Woodford around 7:30am.

Dont forget to check there is no trackwork/buses via and that the causeway at Glenbrook is open via

Chuck's picture

Let me know what time you will be heading to Knapsack and I'd be happy to show you a good loop.

spudatm's picture

You have three eay options to get back to emu. First is to ride through the dog off leas area on High street in Glenbrrok. This will take yo u to the halfway point of mitchals pass. You can also have a crack at the downhill trail in knapsack reservewhich is not too techy and takes you down to the bottom of mitchals pass or Lapstone Zig Zag which is at the the end of Knapsack street. This will take you down to the old highway wich you then follow to the bottom of mitchalls pass. Just get on strava to get a route map. You can also get a map of Knapsach on the BMORC website.

hawkeye's picture

@jaco We should do that again.

Knapsack would be awesome with a guide.

danielschipper's picture

We'll make a call once we're at Glenbrook depending on how the legs are feeling!

Kingy's picture

Start at Leonay at the end of Deloraine Drive, descend to the Tunnel, go under the highway turn left climb,
Go under a bridge, climb, ride beside the highway, climb, go up the steps, go right, ride the old zig railway cutting climb, when you get to an intersection with a steep single track to your right, go up and then you will be at the RAAF base, turn right to ride around the perimeter "fence ride", or turn left to ride up the fire road to the gates of the base, go past the gates you will enter single track keep left, if you look to your right down the fence this is where the fence ride meets up, keep going straight on and you will descend past the old sewage works this will spit you out at the mushroom farm aka the old tunnel, this will climb about 150 metres and terminates on Barnett St, go right down to the dip in the road, you can access the trails by going around the locked gate via a small track to your right, climb the fire road, skirt the back of the soccer fields you are now in the reserve proper.

danielschipper's picture

A couple of us pushed pretty hard on the Oaks single trail (I got 6th on Strava for the last techy descent) so the legs were pretty spent by the time we got to Glenbrook.

We did ride to Emu Plains though and it was worth it; our group were the only riders on the Emu Plains platform in the morning vs. plenty of groups at Glenbrook. The ride down was also quick and easy. Rather than try to cross at Ross street we headed west up to the lights at Hare Street, cross over then headed back east in between the Oval and Great Western Highway. At the end of the oval there's a path, followed that through to Moore Street, East down More Street, which is a dead end, but followed a short single trail through to Barnet Street. North up Barnett Street, past another oval, through a left / right chicane, then there's a firetrail on the right. Headed east down this for about 100 meters and there's a single trail off to the left. Followed this down to another fire trail (turning left took us to Olivet Street but we turned back, so turn right when you hit that fire trial). Follow this through some dirt jumps and you'll get to Mitchells pass. Mitchells pass runs into the Great Western Highway and you can then follow this all the way back to Old Bathurst Road and the Emu Plains train station.

Hope to get up to the oak some time before March (and will try to improve on that 6th). Now that I have a better understanding of the lay of the land I'll do some more exploring of the single trail.

Thanks to everyone who offered advice. It gave me the confidence to attempt Glenbrook to Emu Plains and I can see Woodford to Emu Plains becoming a regular ride with my riding buddies!

ChopStiR's picture

Give me a buzz if you ever want a tour.

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