Head to Wylde MTB Park just outside of Sydney!
Words and photos: Ben Sykes
Wylde MTB Park has been open since 2014, when Western Sydney Parklands worked with local builder Dirtz to design and build a facility for all levels of mountain biking for Western Sydney.
While some more experienced riders may find it a little too simple for their liking, the large swathes of smiling riders out on the trails every weekend, with a mix of riders from young to the young-at-heart, first-time riders and families to cross-country afficionados and riders just out to have fun, show that such a facility can be successful. Plus, it’s always good to have an option you can take your partner, wife, kids or that mate from work who have wondered about what mountain biking is like but don’t want to start the experience hurling down a steep, burly rock-infested chute of a trail.
In 2020, the building of the M12 Motorway for access between the M7 and Northern Road to connect Badgery’s Creek airport to the Sydney motorway network will alter some of its features, but we’ve spoken to the builder and there are upgrades for us riders too. Some minor disruptions during construction pave the way for a planned large asphalt pump-track, along with a dedicated cycle access route off the M12 cyclepath and potentially a new BMX track. Existing trails will be redesigned and constructed to keep much of the same feel along with a new carpark and trailhead facilities.
The park is located on Elizabeth Drive, Cecil Hills. 5 minutes’ drive west from the M7, there’s a large sign pointing towards the Olympic Sport Shooting facility that the park shares an entrance road with, on the eastern side of the road you can’t miss the big car-park and trailhead. It is possible to ride from the M7 cyclepath, at the moment this requires a bit of a ride along the road but it is possible, this is planned to improve with the M12’s introduction.
It’s definitely a pretty simple affair which makes it perfect for beginner to intermediate riders. Advanced riders can still have fun working out where there’s options to turn the rollers into double jumps and finding some creative lines while keeping the pace high. The last section, Descent and Home Run has been deliberately designed to be a quick and fun descent back to the car park with a few different step-down and step-up jump options for the quick riders out there.
One of the great design features is the kids' loop integrated into the main loop, this stays reasonably flat and non-technical for kids and families to get out together on the trail.
Besides a car or other way to access the trail there’s not much else you’ll need besides your bike, water bottle and helmet. A couple of spare tubes, a pump and tools in the car might be a good idea, as it’s a bit of a drive to the nearest bike shops.
Within the network of trails, there’s a 3km, 6km and 12km loop to give a few different options for either a longer loop, or one or more shorter loops. Kids and families can use the kids' loop, this splits off the 3km loop around the half way point, back towards the carpark. Every one of the distance options uses the first and last bit of trail from and to the carpark, the difference being how quickly you exit the network back onto the western-heading descent and home run section for that final bit of fun!
Have a look at the weather forecast before heading out – from September through to March or so, temperatures can be scorchingly hot. If it’s a hot day aim to ride early in the morning to beat the heat, otherwise expect to drink a lot of water. Watch out for snakes in the heat of summer, they’ve been known to frequent the area so if you do see one, leave it well alone.
The Pump Track and Jump facility at the carpark is a useful training facility to practice pumping and jumping skills valuable on this and any other trail.
Best Time of Year
The best time of year to visit is year-round, save for the hottest days of summer. Being Sydney it’s never quite too cold to ride unless it’s raining, in which case you can’t ride it anyway!
In wet weather, be sure to check the “Wylde MTB Trail” Facebook group for the latest open or closed status. In times of rain or damp trails the trail will be shut to avoid damaging the trail surface, and large fines are enforceable, so don’t be “that guy” that rides it in the wet.
While in the Area
It’s a bit off the beaten track of the rest of Sydney which makes it feel a bit less hectic than most of Sydney. For the family or visitors, it’s a half hour drive west to the Warragamba Dam Visitor’s centre and there’s the Calmsley Hill City Farm and TreeTops adventure park over the other side of the M7, part of the Western Sydney Parklands that Wylde belongs to, check their website for details of the various areas that form the Parklands.
Local Bike Shops
The nearest would be ABC Bikes at Liverpool, around 15 minutes’ drive. Further afield there’s more shops at Penrith, Blacktown, Narellan and Campbelltown but you’re up for at least a half hour’s drive away.
Drinking Water: Yes
Trails Signposted: Yes, at look for the signs at the carpark/trail head.
Mobile Reception: Telstra Yes, Optus Yes.
BBQ Facilities: No
Accommodation: Not on-site
Fitness Level: 3/5