Join Luke Radley, Ben Forbes, and Will Shaw as they ride the best three trails at Hidden Vale Adventure Park in Ipswich, Queensland
Words: Will Shaw
Photos: Gerard Lagana
In June we were lucky enough to spend a whole week in the Ipswich region sampling the finest trails on offer. This included four days at the huge Hidden Vale Adventure Park (HVAP). You can find the full write up of our trip in issue #191, as well as a video recap on our YouTube, but while we were there we also teamed up with Ben Forbes and Luke Radley to session their three favourite trails in the park.
Luke has just released this recap video of all three trails, and you can head over to his YouTube page where he’ll be dropping a trail recap video of each trail weekly.
Trail 1 – 500 Above
500 Above is the longest descent on offer at HVAP, as well as the whole of south east Queensland! The trail starts at over 500 metres in elevation and drops a huge 385 vertical metres over the course of 7 kilometres. Renowned for its stunning scenery, 500 Above features a great mix of ultra-high-speed sections, rougher sections, and buttery smooth flow.
The trail begins at one of the best viewpoints you’ll find just about anywhere over the Great Dividing Range. The trails begins fast and flowy, with more amazing views stretching into the distance and making it hard to keep your eyes on the trail. After riding across an open ridgeline, the trail plunges into an equally fast but rougher section that’ll have you searching for a smooth line. Towards the end, the trail returns to a smoother and more flowy surface, ending a descent that truly has it all.
Elevation Drop: 385 metres
Current KOM: 12:50
Current QOM: 14:06
Trailforks stats and facts
Trail 2: Devine
Devine might be rated as a green trail on Trailforks, but riders of all levels will love this flowy descent. There’s plenty of optional double and manual options the whole way down, and the finish of Devine is where HVAP are installing a huge new campground to access the park’s gravity trails quickly and easily.
Devine begins with a few optional doubles, which you can also manual or pump. After crossing a couple of fireroads, the trail begins to undulate slightly and it’s a good challenge to try and keep your momentum and catch every backside. The trail finishes with some optional jumps, and there’s a natural bowl with a step down/step up combo to finish.
Trail 3: Skyfall
Skyfall is both Luke and Ben’s favourite trail at HVAP, and it’s not hard to see why. From the first turn it’s easy to hold your speed on the grippy black dirt, and there’s plenty of line choice and double options if that’s your thing. We’d be surprised if you weren’t heading straight back to the top for another lap.
Whilst Skyfall is flowy and fast the whole way down, the top section is more like a pure flow track, while the bottom becomes a touch rockier and rougher. Around halfway down there’s a bermed 180 degree corner that’s about where this change in style occurs, but holding your momentum and hitting the sweetspots through the bottom section is immensely satisfying when you get it right.
Elevation Drop: 164 metres
Current KOM: 7:20
Current QOM: 8:20
Trailforks stats and facts
The three trails focussed on in this video are part of the very popular HVAP 5 shuttle package. For $60, HVAP will shuttle you to the top of all three trails (you’ll also ride Snappy Turtle and Trailer Thrash after you ride Skyfall) in one of their custom Can-Ams. While it doesn’t get much better than lapping these iconic HVAP trails, with over 110km of singletrack on offer throughout the park, you’re going to need a couple of days at least to explore everything HVAP has to offer!