Explore the mountain bike trails of Jindabyne!
Words and Photos: Colin Levitch
While the lift accessible trails at Thredbo often grab the attention of mountain bikers headed for the Snowy Mountains, even if a lift pass isn’t a part of your holiday budget, Jindabyne should still be on your list. With singletrack snaking through town, and the nearly complete Thredbo Valley Trail offering machine built singletrack from Friday Flat all the way back into town via the Hatchery Bay Trail.
During the winter Jindy attracts snow seekers from around the world and from July to September the little country town doesn’t seem so little. During the summer, on the other hand, the ski bums have moved north in search of colder climates, and the town settles in to a more relaxed vibe.
Over the past few seasons, the trails around Jindabyne have exploded thanks to a joint effort from local riders and the council to make the gateway to the Snowys a year-round destination.
Heading towards the lake, take a right from town and a quick pedal on the Copper Tom trail takes you along the water, over the dam wall to the Tyrolean and Mill Creek trails. With 22km of trails, there’s everything from smooth runs with big bermed corners to tight switchbacks and high-speed downhills. The lower section brings you down to the lake with a few spots perfect to ditch your bike and take a dip to cool down.
Take a left from town, and you’ll roll through the clay pits, around the lake on The Yabbie Track and to the Hatchery Bay trail; Trailforks says its a green, but that doesn’t mean it's not a hoot to ride. Rolling through open farmland, with cattle looking on there is minimal elevation gain it's a trail begging to be ridden at mach speed, two-wheel drifting around every corner.
The Hatchery trail spits out just across the road from the Gaden Trout Hatchery and after a short tarmac climb and descent the bottom of the lower Thredbo Valley Track. This section of trail which opened last year connects Jindabyne to Lake Crackenback and the upper section which takes you all the way to Thredbo Village. Machine built and multi-use the trail meanders along the hillside above the Thredbo River which plays peak-a-boo through the trees as you ride.
Back in Jindabyne, about 3km from town lies the privately owned Bungarra Alpine Centre trails which offers 30km of singletrack. Members of the Jindabyne Cycling Club get full access for free, while the general public will need to purchase a pass at the trailhead and leave a couple of bucks in the honesty box at the trailhead.
It’s not just the riding that Jindabyne has to offer, make sure to pack your frolf disc and have a round of frisbee golf down at the clay pits or Lake Crackenback. With a slew of alpine lakes and streams, why not cast a line and see if you can coax a trout into taking your bait and of course bring your swimmers to take a dip in the lake.
In town, the Nuggets Shopping centre has groceries a bottle-o and a chemist for the essentials. For an early morning coffee or breakfast that will stick to your ribs stop into Birchwood — try the Jeresulm Lamb. To quench your thirst after a big day out on the bike pedal over to Jindabyne Brewing for a pint and a snack. For dinner Takayama Japanese’s Izakaya style menu is the best in town, and to keep the party going the Banjo Patterson Inn.
Jindabyne is about a five-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney, and eight-hours from Melbourne. If air travel is more your speed, fly into Canberra (CBR) and pick up a rental car at the airport, from there is a hair over two-hours up the Monaro Highway to Jindy — BE CAREFUL OF WILDLIFE, especially if you are driving at night.
The weather in the alpine region can change fast, so make sure at the very least you have a rain jacket in your pack. Given the amount of climbing you’ll be doing around Jindy, pack your trail bike.
Be snake aware, especially around the water there are quite a few Brown Snakes and CopperHeads slithering around.
Best time of year
We like shoulder season (Spring and Autumn) because there are fewer people around, the accommodation is cheaper, and the weather is a little bit cooler.
While in the area
From hikes, to fishing and frisbee golf there is no shortage of outdoor activities in the snowy mountains. If you’re looking to take a day off, we would recommend hiring a fly fishing guide for a day out exploring an alpine river.
The majority of the trails around Jindy are free except for Bungara, which offers a $7-for-seven days pass.
There is no shortage of accommodation around Jindabyne, whether it be a lake view hotel, a Bavarian-style ski chalet there are also plenty of AirBNB’s around town too.
Local Bike Shops
In the heart of town you’ll find Gravity Jindabyne with a full-service mechanic and Specialized Demo bikes available. Just behind the shopping centre is Sacred Ride, with a demo fleet of Giant and Norco bikes.
Toilets: Yes, Nuggets Crossing
Drinking Water: Yes, at most parks
Parking: Park in town and start near the lake
Trails Signposted: Some, but download Trailforks
Mobile Reception: All carriers
Shelter: Yes, at the lake
BBQ Facilities: Some near the lake
Accommodation: Plenty in Jindabyne!
Fitness level 3/5