The vanilla classic of the alpine foothills, Mt Beauty!
Words: Sebastian Jayne Photos: Dominic Hook
The North East of Victoria is home to many riding locations that each have their own flavour of riding and experience. We are taking a look at a few of the favourite spots sitting underneath the towering alps as if they were ice-cream flavours. Taking in the classics while trying out a few of the lesser known varieties. Check out the previous scoops below and see which one you'd like to taste!
Beechworth - A rocky delight
Yackandandah - Something Sweet
The first of our classic favourites is the vanilla essence of the Victorian Alps, Mt Beauty. With Mount Bogong looming large over the town, the term alpine is fitting to the landscape and trails that wind through the natural bush. On the shores of a lake, at the foot of a mountain Mt Beauty is a classic destination as much as its classic singletrack.
Mt Beauty’s Big Hill Mountain Bike Park sits just above town with a trail head and carpark kicking things off. From there on, your only real option is up as this really is the foothills to the alps. But it’s not just slugging away to no avail, as on the other end of the climbs are Beauty’s classic descents.
If you have read about or been lucky enough to already ride in the Big Hill park you would know about the classic feel that the natural trails deliver. There are steep sections, rock gardens, sketchy corners with no support and natural berms providing more support than something artificial could ever produce. The trails are built by hand so if you want to really feel the trail you’re riding, get to Mt Beauty and experience some of the best technical and natural trails around.
Mt Beauty’s wide range of classic trails can be tackled on a wide range of bikes. A downhill bike will let you tackle the dedicated downhill tracks, while an enduro bike will cover most of the trails comfortably.
A trail bike will be good for the easier to moderate trails while a cross country bike can be good to handle the climbs but make sure to have a decent size tyre on hand to handle the rocks you’ll encounter.
After some trails, head out for a lap around the lake to relax as a nice spin or for more of an adventure head south from the bike park and follow the gravel roads like Big Hill Rd next to the Kiewa River West Branch to get deep into the mountains for that true alpine feel.
The Mount Beauty Bakery has saved many riders with a post-ride drink and feed for many years is the pick of the bunch for locals and out of towners. The walk to the shores of the lake or a little trip out to one of the many swimming holes or the Kiewa River is great for a cool down swim after a long day riding.