Cooma isn't just a town you pass through on the way to Thredbo, it's a destination in its own right!
Words: Will Shaw
With Thredbo Mountain Bike Park opening on November 20th and summer fast approaching, we thought now is the perfect time to look back on our Snowies Roadie in late 2020. Cooma was one of the highlights of our trip, as the Mount Gladstone trails are varied, well-built, and easy to lap via pedalling or shuttles.
On day two of our Snowies Roadie we headed for Cooma’s Mount Gladstone trails. We hadn’t arranged to go riding with any locals, so we were going purely off Trailforks. Cooma is a scenic two-hour drive from Tumut, where you’ll pass through picturesque towns like Talbingo and Adaminaby. The devastation wrought by last summer’s bushfires is plain to see on the drive, with the charred trees serving as a stark reminder of the resilience shown by local communities throughout the region.
Upon arriving at Mount Gladstone, we headed to the trail map located at the carpark. After a quick consultation, we decided to bang up the Fireroad to get to the descending. The East Fireroad was a cruisy spin up to Mount Gladstone Road, and before long we’d knocked over the 150 metres of vertical.
At the top of the climb you’ll find Miss Heidi’s Austrian teahouse, which is open from 10am-5pm, 7 days a week. As the name suggests, the teahouse was built by Austrian migrants working on the Snowy Hydro scheme, who wanted a place that reminded them of home. It’s the perfect place for a mid-ride coffee, or a more substantial meal afterwards.
There’s a great lookout at the top of Mount Gladstone, with expansive views over the region. Our ride took place on a moody day, but the panoramic views were impressive nonetheless.
Getting back to the riding, we decided to drop into Shred Flanders after being lured in by the immaculate looking first berm. We weren’t disappointed, and we were treated to a series of well-built berms and jumps. Whilst the trail is graded black, there’s A and B lines throughout and enough vision to assess what’s coming up.
Hyped off how good Shred Flanders was, we headed up for another run. This time we selected Gladiator, a blue rated descent with a mix of machine-built flow and narrower singletrack. Gladiator didn’t disappoint, with the same well-built feel to the trail that had us confident going for it first run. Whilst Gladiator is a blue, there’s room to push the pace a bit for more advanced riders and open up some trickier lines, and on the other end of the spectrum there’s B lines on any tougher features.
Next up it was Franks Loop, 6km of undulating singletrack right in the guts of the park. Once again, we were impressed by the trail’s flowy, meandering nature. This trail would be a cross-country riders delight, with most of the descents allowing you to keep the speeds high into the uphills, and well-built turns throughout.
We finished off our ride at Mount Gladstone with a lap of Skidmark. As the name suggests, Skidmark is a black trail with some intimidating features. This is a definitely a trail that you’ll enjoy more if you’re comfortable jumping doubles with various take off trajectories. Despite the jumps littered throughout the trail, there’s some rocky sections to mix things up.
Overall, we were thoroughly impressed by Mount Gladstone. It’s well worth the stop, and if you’re heading south to Jindabyne and Thredbo, we’d even say it’s worth staying the night. The trails are easily shuttleable, so whether you prefer riding mellow flow, cross-country, or technical descents, Mount Gladstone has a good variety for everyone. There’s also green loop from the carpark that’s perfect for beginners.
Where: Car parking is located just off the Snowy Mountains Highway on Greendale Road.
Accommodation: There’s plenty of options for all budgets in Cooma. If you want to ride Mount Gladstone from your door stay closer to the Snowy Mountains Highway.
Riding style: Everything! The gravity riding is a real standout, from rocky and technical trails to fast and flowy jump lines. Our favourites were Shred Flanders and Gladiator. There’s also a mellow green loop right next to the carpark, and there’s the option to shuttle with a tarmac drive to the top.
Trail surface: There’s a real mix of trails at Mount Gladstone, from hardpack flow and jump lines, to very rocky and technical trails.
Don't forget: Tubes! The shaley trail surface and jagged rocks lying trailside are waiting patiently to slice your tyres.
What's on? The Snowy Mountains MTB club runs enduro racing and social rides, as well as regular dig days to keep their trails in tip top shape. Check out their Facebook for all the details.
Local shops: There’s multiple bike shops in Cooma including Bike Wrench and SportsPower, which also rents bikes. Both are conveniently located in the main part of town.
More details: Check out the Snowy Mountains MTB Club on Facebook.