Get to know Mt Stromlo
Words and Photos: Nick Waygood
Canberra plays host to an ever-expanding mountain bike trail network. The pinnacle of this network is Stromlo Forest Park, boasting over 50 kilometres of world-class trails, and outfitted with all the facilities you’ll need for a long day of shredding above the nation’s capital. Mt Stromlo is often talked about, and frequently used for events. But just how well do you know Mt Stromlo, and what’s on offer?
For a good outing right in the nation’s capital, climb from the base of Mount Stromlo to the summit at 770 metres, and feast upon the incredible views over central Canberra, or spin a 180 to view the full Brindabella Mountain range that stretches into the distance. Start your descent facing the farm fields below, and opt to continue down the rocky descent of Pork Barrel, or follow around Skyline as you tower over Canberra in the Instagram-worthy Canberra Container.
If you want to get off the well worn lines at Mt Stromlo, make sure you venture out towards Blood Rock, Black Snake Gully and the surrounding harder trails. They’re rough and technical and a good change from the beaten path at Mt Stromlo.
Stromlo Forest Park is 5 minutes off of the Tuggeranong Parkway. Take the Cotter Road exit and follow through John Gorton Drive. Turn onto Opperman Avenue and follow that through into the main carpark.
Stromlo Forest Park offers its world-class trails in changing difficulty, from the most basic singletrack to technical rock-gardens. The front of Stromlo hosts the easy-rolling and twisty descent to get you warmed up to the rock slabs and table-topped gaps found toward the back of Stromlo.
Helmet, gloves, and a water bottle. Sunscreen is necessary during summer, or a light coat during winter months. Snacks and will keep you riding for longer!
With over 50km of trails on offer, you’re bound to be non-stop all day. If this is too much at once, Stromlo offers 6 different loops, each increasing in distance and difficulty.
Stromlo isn’t the only mountain offering an abundance of cross-country trails. Visit Sparrow Hill for loamy trails in a Pine Forrest, or check out the Canberra Centenary Trail – a 100+km epic that loops Canberra (available in sections of course).
BEST TIME OF YEAR
The beauty of Canberra’s mountain biking is that trails are available all year round. Visit in the warmer months and sweat it out with a group of mates, or winter for grippy dirt and cooler temperatures.
WHILE IN THE AREA
Aside from Canberra’s bustling mountain biking scene, there are plenty of other adrenaline-fuelling activities. Take a visit to BlocHaus Bouldering for indoor rock-climbing, or Powerkart Raceway for competitive and electric indoor go-karts.
LOCAL BIKE SHOPS
Trek and Giant dealers in Woden offer quick and efficient overnight servicing or Pushys Megastore in Fyshwick for a multitude of parts.
If climbing doesn’t tickle your fancy, Dynamic Motivation offer a shuttle service every weekend.
Toilets: Yes - At the bottom pavilion.
Drinking: Water Yes - At the bottom pavilion, trailhead, and summit.
Trails Signposted: Yes – Detailed map at trailhead, all other trails are signposted with bright blue signs.
Mobile Reception: Yes – all service providers, however there are patches behind Stromlo that lack in reception.
BBQ Facilities: Yes – Top Observatory and bottom pavilion
Accommodation: Yes – plenty of options in nearby suburbs, within 20 minutes ride/drive to Stromlo.
Fitness level: 4/5
Cross country: 5/5