Words: Will Shaw

Photos: TBS

Continuing on with the highlights of our NSW Snowies trip from last year, today we're focussing on Tumut. Tumut is a town located just two hours from Canberra, or four hours from Sydney via the Hume Highway. The town’s mountain biking population started small, but what they’ve managed to achieve with their active group of volunteer trail builders is truly remarkable. Read on for our experience visiting Tumut on our Snowies Roadie.

When we arrived in Tumut, we headed straight to Ground Up, the town’s local bike shop. The store is an impressive sight, with an astute selection of products that shows their genuine passion for mountain biking. It had been raining before we arrived, but store manager Michelle assured us that the shaley trails drained well, so we’d have no issues riding in the wet.

Tumut's trails hold up well in the rain.

As we walked out of the bike shop to meet the local trail builders for a ride, we stopped in at the Coffee Pedaler for a quick latte. While we were enjoying our brews, numerous locals noticed our riding kit and asked where we were riding, their enthusiasm obvious.

Caffeinated and excited to see what Tumut had to offer, we headed off to the trailhead. Following the orders of google maps, we were told to drive down Sydney Street. Despite looking like any other road on our iPhone, it turns out Sydney Street is more like Sydney fire trail. Luckily, we were in a capable Isuzu MUX, so our photographer Tim was able to handle the waterbars with ease. 

Once we’d parked the car up on the tarmac, it was time to hit the trails with Nathan, Jimmy, and the two Graemes from the local mountain bike club. Despite the rain the trails were in fantastic shape, and the trail construction was top notch. All of the main trail builders in Tumut have undergone the IMBA trail building certification, and this really shines through in the trail construction.

The trails in Tumut are well-built and flowy.

There’s over 20km of trail to explore, and the trails flow really well on the first ride. The turns are built in a way that doesn’t require excessive braking, with well-placed catch berms where necessary. Whilst the trails lean more towards cross-country and trail riding, we had a blast on our NS Define with 140/130mm of travel, and there are some fast descents where you may feel more comfortable on a longer travel bike. If you enjoy flowy trails, there’s no doubt Tumut is worth a look.

Aside from the fantastic singletrack, Tumut also has an awesome asphalt pumptrack built by Common Ground Trails from WA. The pump track is located right next to the skate park, on the corner of Fitzroy and Sydney Street, and it has a real family friendly feel. There are some trees providing shade next to the track, so it’s a great spot for a family picnic.

Speaking of Tumut in summer, the beautiful Tumut river runs right next to town, and is a great spot for a post ride dip. Another post ride option is Tumut River Brewing Company, which has an array of craft beers to quench your post ride thirst.

In nearby Tumbarumba, mountain biking has also taken off. A 45-minute drive from Tumut, Tumbarumba has trail riding, a pump track, and a 20km rail trail that has been incredibly popular since it opened in April this year.

With Tumbarumba a short drive away, there's multiple days worth of riding in the area.

Whether you’re a keen trail rider or taking the family away and want some trails to ride as well as other activities, Tumut is a real hidden gem in the NSW Snowies. If you want the real locals experience, post in the Tumut MTB Facebook page, and the friendly locals will happily take you out for a spin on their fantastic trails.

Where: Trailhead parking is located on Sydney Street off Fairway Drive and Herbert Street. If you enter via Sydney Street from the South West be prepared for some off roading!

Accommodation: There’s accommodation for all budgets in Tumut. We stayed at the Tumut Valley Motel, which had all the amenities you need, as well as a bike washing area.

Alongside accomodation, there's some great hospitality venues in town.

Riding style: Cross Country/Trail

Trail surface: The trails are loose over hard, with plenty of shale. We rode in pretty wet conditions, and the drainage on the majority of the trails was top notch. If it’s been raining and you’re not sure whether to ride, head over to Ground Up for some local advice.

Don't forget: There’s plenty of fun activities to do in Tumut away from the mountain bike park. Check out the Tumut River Brewing Co for a fantastic selection of craft beers and hearty food, and if you’re up for more riding the asphalt pump track is located on the corner of Fitzroy Street and Sydney Street.

Tumut River Brewing Co is well worth a visit.

What's on? Tumut host a 3-hour cross country race every year, as well as a one-hour option. There’s also the famous Tuesday night group ride, which has been going for over 15 years! All of the information can be found on their Facebook page, Tumut MTB.

Local shops: Ground Up Tumut is the local bike shop, conveniently located on Wynyard Street in the town centre. It’s also a couple of doors down from The Coffee Pedaler, which as the name suggests has great coffee as well as a delicious food menu.

More details: Check out Tumut MTB on Facebook for all the latest updates. They’re a friendly bunch so don’t be shy to post if you’ve got any questions!