Big city life getting you down? Well there’s more to Queensland than beaches. Ironbark Gully is just a stone’s throw from the big skyscrapers and before you know it you’ll be dropping in amongst beautiful eucalypts.
Words: Anna Beck Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith
Brisbane is rapidly becoming a mountain biking mecca, with recent developments of trail networks such as Cornubia and Bayview on the southern and eastern sides of the city. Brisbane northside, however, has not been forgotten with trail networks such as Bunyaville and Ironbark Gully the recipients of recent upgrades and trail reworking. While much of the trail work at Bunyaville is based upon making the trails more sustainable and increasing the flow-trail factor, Ironbark opened a completely new trail—Kombi—which is 2.4km of ear-to-ear smiling fun, and finishes in a newly built skills area.
Ironbark Gully is located on Brisbane’s northern outskirts, about 17km away from the CBD. Heading onto Enoggera Road from the city or ICB (Inner City Bypass), follow the road until it splits in Alderley, and take the left onto Samford Road. Follow the road another 10km and you will notice bushland flanking both sides of the road. Ironbark Gully parking is marked, located on the right when heading north.
Ironbark Gully is a developing trail network, and most of the trails are intermediate in difficulty, including a newly reworked gravity-style trail, Kombi. While Ironbark features many ruts, roots and can be gravelly and loose in nature, trails are all achievable by those with a moderate level of skill and fitness.
As all the trails have been cut into the hillside of the forest and mainly run from the top fire road along the ridge down to the bottom fire road that follows Samford Road. To get to the rad descents you must have some commitment to fire road climbing - making it perfect for the XC warrior. Some riders do petrol-fuelled shuttles up to the top of Bygotts Road, allowing more runs of the iconic Kombi trail without the climbing.
Drinking Water: Yes
Trails Signposted: Yes
Mobile Reception: Yes
BBQ Facilities: Yes
Accommodation: No – but plenty in Brisbane
Take the usual trail gear and water. If you are planning a trip to Ironbark, keep in mind the forest is quite compact - so if you want to spend a few hours out it’s likely you’ll be able to swing by the car to pick up a second bottle and some snacks if a hydration pack isn’t your thing. Mobile coverage is solid within the area, and as always take your phone in case of emergency.
The longest trail at Ironbark is Kombi at 2.4km in length with a loss of 114m elevation. Sunset is 1.2km long and Sidewinder, Humpty and Lactic link together for a combined 1.4km of singletrack that can be used as an alternative route up to Kombi (which is much harder technically and fitness-wise than using the fire road). However these trails have more flow when ridden in a western direction/downhill. In addition to these trails, the 0.8km Ballbuster is a flat-out fast descent to the fire-road along Samford Road. There are also a couple of other smaller linking tracks that offer a singletrack option between fire roads.
While there is a sparsity of good quality coffee in the immediate vicinity of the trails, Coffee on the Way (on Ferny Way) does a pretty good brew up the road in Ferny Grove. Crampton Social in Keperra is another option a few more kilometres away. For a more thorough refuel there are several takeaway food options at the Great Western Supercentre, on the corner of Samford and Settlement Roads in Keperra.
Cross Country 4/5
Best time of year
It’s Queensland: spring, winter and autumn are usually the optimal trail-shredding seasons. Summer is hot - and it’s even hotter in the bush! If riding in summer is the only option, very early morning or late afternoon would be recommended and remember to take ample hydration.
Local Bike Shops
My Bike Shop Mitchelton is the closest bike shop, a few kilometres away located on Samford Road.
There are many Brisbane-based clubs, with the North-Brisbane Dirt Dogs and D’Aguilar Range Cycling Club being the most active in the area. Check their club pages out on Facebook for information on any upcoming social rides or events.