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Showing off Sydney's best AM trails. Where to go?

Pete B's picture

By Pete B - Posted on 02 September 2013

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

My brother is staying with us for a long weekend and is bringing his bike. He rides a Rocky Mountain Slayer and is into technical riding with a few jumps thrown in.

I only really know the xc trails so wondered if I could get a few recommendations on where the best AM trails would be. I can really only think of Ourimbah but I'm sure there are other places.

P.S. he lives in Christchurch so I need him to go back thinking we have as good trails as they do!

Thanks, Pete

macca_chris's picture

Oxford falls definitely

Dicko's picture

great North Road starting at Wisemans ferry.

If you go up Devines hill and do a 25km out and back on the GNR its a nice day trip.

You can always go out to Appin and have a look at the old Rock Wallaby course for some techy riding as well.


Matt P's picture

I rode at Port Hills back in 2008 and had a wonderful time. Its going to be tough to come close to those trails (plus I know there are much better in CCH which I didn't get to ride).

I've sent you a PM re a track that could fit the bill.

Pete B's picture

Thanks for the suggestions guys.

If I hadn't done an 80ish km loop at GNR a few weeks ago, I would have gone there but I feel I've seen enough of that area for a bit! Ha ha

The more I read about Oxford Falls, the more it seems like a good option with the added bonus of it being new to me too. Does anyone have a Gps trace of a decent loop that takes in all the good bits or is there a loop sign posted? Even better, does anyone have a free day Friday and fancy showing us round?

Matt P's picture

It's a mixture of free ride and slopestyle. The runs are 2-3 mins long assuming that you're happy hitting doubles up to 8m long, drops to around 2m and lots more in between. Then you will have to shuttle yourselves back to he top of the hill on the road.

If you want proper AM, you will probably be disappointed with Oxford Falls.

andyfev's picture

I went to Oxford Falls once and ended up walking down the track then watched the lunatics come down it... It's hardcore DH/free ride stuff... It'd be a waste of your time mate... Though depending on your bro he may really like it (but will need a seriously good bike with huge suspension).

Rob's picture

Wouldn't a run down The Oaks be on the list for any MTB tourist in Sydney? OK - it's technically up in the mountains, but...

+1 for Ourimbah & GNR which have already been mentioned. I'd also put Appin on the list.

GAZZA's picture

Some of the most mixed and fun trails around!
It's not all free ride type stuff. I ride it all the time on the xc bike although some of its pretty testing.

Shindawg's picture

Old Man Valley!

Matt P's picture

Very technical heavy though and with very little flow.

OMV is great for beginners but I'd speculate that the OP and and his brother are beyond that.

Pete B's picture

I've just watched a couple of you tube clips from Oxford Falls and it does look very downhill orientated. While I'm no mtb beginner, I only normally ride XC and am borrowing a mates Reign for the day. All these big jumps etc are more for my bros enjoyment.
I do like Appin and have ridden it plenty of times including a Rock Wallaby but thought it more of an xc track as my HT is pretty happy going round it. Admittedly some sections would be more comfortable on FS.
I hadn't thought of Red Hill to be honest. I'll take a look at some clips......

PS a couple of laps of the dam will be done at some point over the weekend.

Pete B's picture

Looking at this video, Red Hill looks great. Is this a good representation of most of the trails there and is there a reasonable length loop?

Search "red hill june 2012" if the above link doesn't work.

crank's picture
I'd also put Appin on the list.

Appin has been officially closed since November 2012 as it is on Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council land and they have prohibited access to everyone.

andyfev's picture

and hit up ACT... Stromlo Eye-wink

obmal's picture

Been up Red Hill many many times.. but never heard that techno dance music beat up there before? your ride must have been on a Saturday night??

Nice riding @1:05 BTW, thats a tricky one to get right.

Red Hill "can" be the perfect AM ride, but you need know how to link it up, what the obstacles are that are coming up and how to ride them to make it flow, what I mean is that the Rim Ride loop can be a great nice and flowy section.. but if you mess up on just a couple spots then its nothing but an annoying stop/start/bumpy pain in the ass ride on some horrible rocks with a LOT of moto created ruts and bogs..

Slowpup's picture

That's just the way I ride annoying stop/start/bumpy pain in the ass ride on some horrible rocks

Rob's picture

Doh... forgot about that: Appin needs your support!

Hasbeen Racing's picture

What's the difference between Trail, AM and Freeride? All seems a bit blurry to me.

Matt P's picture

Trail and AM are the same (unless you are a pedant).

Freeride is generally big stunts such as jumps, hucks, obstacles like wall rides etc.
google Red Bull Rampage for further edification.

Hasbeen Racing's picture

Camden River fits the bill. Only a few jumps but a fun track.

Pete B's picture

Does anyone have a GPS trace of an AM loop at Red Hill?

Appin is still a strong contender as I know it well and can put a good 20 km loop together there. Also Mt Annan is only up the road as well as Camden River which is one of my favourite Sydney trails. One of the best flowing tracks in NSW imo. Hmmm. 3 trails in close proximity - we may have a winner!

Andy, I don't pick my bro up from the airport until 8am otherwise I would definitely be considering Stromlo.

mike95's picture

if your in that area, Kentyln might be worth a visit.
Ive only ridden the xc loop but hear there is more riding to be had.

flubberghusted's picture

Given that your brother is from Christchurch, he's bound to have run down the flying nun, Rotovegas and Queenstown trails.

So if you really wanna show him the besth of the besth in NSW and want it comparable to the above, your best bet is Stromlo.
Still cant take the smile off my face when I'm ripping down Skyline and Luge runs, during my quarterly visits down to the Berra.

But +1 for Appin and Kentlyn for natural tech but it is very XC oriented.
Awaba is good for AM given its XC and DH tracks, but if you're gonna drive 2 hrs, just head down to ACT.

Pete B's picture

Had a great couple of days on the bike.

First off we went to Appin and did a lap of the xc circuit. What a difference riding it in an AM bike is to riding on my HT. A lots more enjoyable on the downhill and rocky sections.

After that we went to Kentlyn. I didn't know my way around here but it was good fun blasting around there. I'd like to go back some time with a guide as I don't think we did half the trails. After a rew hours there I was spent, the combination of a lack of fitness and not being used to riding a heavy and slightly too small bike had taken it out of me.

The next day we headed over to the dam. My brother really enjoyed it and I have a new found love for the trail after riding it on a dually. After a just one lap we went to Oxford Falls. I managed a couple of the smaller jumps and my bro did a few of the larger ones but as mentioned, you really need to know the course well. We did a couple of runs and the headed baxk for another lap of the dam. By now it was about 11:30am on Saturday and too hot to be enjoyable so we headed home for a few refreshing beers.

All in all a good couple of days. I really enjoyed the AM riding and am seriously looking at adding a Reign or similar to my bike collection.

Thanks for the advice, gents.

Rob's picture

Were there any signs up at Appin? Above someone mentioned it is supposed to be closed. Could you tell if the trails were well ridden or are they falling into disrepair?

Pete B's picture

The only sign that's up is one saying Crown Land at the gate next to the car park. I meant to get a photo but forgot, sorry.

The condition of the trails is great. As good, if not better than they've ever been. About 2 months ago I was down there and it was rutted out by motorbikes but these have all been fixed up and the trails are nice and smooth.

craked's picture

hey Pete ,I'll take on a tour of Kentlyn some time, one of my local rides.

crank's picture
Above someone mentioned it is supposed to be closed.



The Wollongong Mountain Bike Club was formally advised this week of the outcome of the latest Board Meeting of the Tharawal Land Council. The news was not good. The Council has informed us that they will not allow us to use their land for Mountain Biking. This follows weeks of lobbying and attempts to make presentations to the Council. In the end the outcome rested on a single letter that we were allowed to present putting forward our case.
This is a devastating result and one that will affect hundreds of people from the Mountain Biking Community.
The Land Council stated when asked for the reasoning behind their decision....

“This decision was reached with concerns as to the impact on the environment of the land and impact on the cultural heritage of the land.”

When asked whether this affected all bike riding on the land?

“It is private land, therefore, like anyone else's private property, any access without authorisation is considered trespassing.”

The Wollondilly MTB Club is still trying to negotiate formal access for mtbing. That's why I keep mentioning it is supposed to be closed. Smiling

Rob's picture

I wrote to the President of WMBC today and he told me...

The land from the carpark to the creek and then back up to Kings Falls on this side of the creek is Crown land, over the creek is Land Council.

It's the Land Council part that is supposed to be off limits.

Pete B's picture

"hey Pete ,I'll take on a tour of Kentlyn some time, one of my local rides."

Thanks Craig, I'll take you up on that in a few weeks time. If I don't have a dually by then, is there an XC loop suitable for a HT?

craked's picture

yeah mate ,H/T is ok on most of the stuff I ride

Pete B's picture

Here are a few vids that I did while we were out and about:-

Oxford Falls hip jump:-


Manly Dam 19th hole:- If anyone knows how to ride the A line successfully, I'll pass it on to my bro

Matt P's picture

That's not the A line, it's the B line. It's easy if you follow the approach in the first attempt then just pop your nose up for the second bit.

Pete B's picture

After a bit of searching, I found a vid of someone doing the first line successfully.

Which line would you call the A line, Matt?

Matt P's picture

See the small cave looking part on the left. Above that.

The landing is pretty knackered now. Shame as it was the only section i didn't get around to.


Better view, not as successful an attempt. Think it may have been Gazza....? Outdone by the guy above on a Heckler!

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