The Cascades Trail will be the longest descending trail around that is so close to a major Australian city. Here's our sneak peek!
Words and images: Tim Bardsley-Smith
Victoria’s newest mountain bike epic the brand new Cascades Trail descending from the very top of Lake Mountain down to Marysville, with the lower sections built and finished by the gravity loving Dirt Art trail crews. The trail had a pre-open day back at the end of February organised by the Murrindindi Cycle Club and Lake Mountain which saw hundreds of riders test themselves over the 25km and 1340m of descending with 420m of climbing to keep you honest.
It is at the time of writing currently closed, but should officially open soon with the trail finally connected to the township of Marysville proper. At under 2 hours to drive from the centre of Melbourne to Marysville, it’s easily the only trail of it’s kind this close to a capital city in Australia.
1 hour and 45min straight up the Yarra Valley from the center of Melbourne will get you to Marysville Bakery for a coffee and a doughnut. Another 30min drive to shuttle up the beautiful Lake Mountain.
This is a trail with great variety, there are many sections that are unlike the next. However in general it’s quite technical. The top half is old school Aussie Alpine trail with lots of granite rock and tussock. It’s not as steep as some of the latter sections but still has tough sections. The middle forested section is much more flowy without too many obstacles. Which then turns into the steep dusty switchbacks. This is easily the hardest most intimidating section. With any jumps or gaps being completely rollable, it’s the steep sometimes rocky corners that will challenge you. A dually is best, and a 5” travel bike or more is ideal.
You can easily shuttle the section you like most, with quite a few access points to the main Lake Mountain Road or it’s Fire Road off shoots.
Best Time of Year
Whilst not super well known for it’s snow the Lake Mountain Resort is a Cross country ski field. So the trails higher up will most probably not be rideable throughout the ski season.
While in the Area
The township of Marysville is quite quaint, with a good selection of cafes and a terrific pub. With the wineries of the Yarra Valley not to far away.
Local Bike Shops
You can’t go past Yarra Valley Cycles located on the main street of Lilydale on the way out from Melbourne. Easily one the largest and well stocked bike shops in Victoria.
The trail head is located directly oppersite the main building across the car park.
Tech = 4
Fitness = 3
XC = 2
Trail = 3
All Mountain = 4
DH = 4
Jumps = 3