Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park

by | May 21, 2022 | Atherton Tablelands

Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park

Written by Leah Stevenson. Photos by Leah and Rob Stevenson.

Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park is in the Herberton Range State Forest and Baldy Mountain Forest Reserve. Previously used for forestry, the mountain bike park on of the Atherton Tableland’s great cyclo-tourism attractions. Local mountain biking enthusiasts love to ride there too. Within mountain biking circles, it’s spesh!

Lay of the land

Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park provides lots of different skill and fitness options. From beginner riders to the airtime type to fitness fanatics, it’s all here. Riders can choose an easy scenic spin amongst gums, bloodwoods, and grass trees. While the climbing trails will test skills and endurance and provide stunning views of the Atherton Tableland region.

The trails in this mountain bike park are categorised into three colour-coded levels: green (easy), blue (intermediate) and black (difficult). All signs throughout the park (and on the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Park (QPWS) map) are categorised this way. I have met many visitors who have commented on how well signed our mountain bike park is. While the trails are officially numbered by QPWS, the trails and some features are also affectionately named by locals. Often based on a cool back story, the ‘local’ names are etched into wooden boards. These boards are mounted in trees and sprinkled through the park. These signs are made by dedicated local riders in the region.

In this article, I will briefly recommend a good beginner loop and then provide detail on a bigger ride. This fitness and fun loop is for those pushing their technical skills and their fitness levels. Both local name and number combination of the trails will be used for the ride. Keep in mind you will not complete the full section of each trail, so keep your eye out for the name and trail number.

Beginners and scenic spinners

I recommend trails #1, #3, #4 for beginners and scenic spinners. This is the iconic ‘Elevate’ loop and the signs are easy to follow. If you are comfortable dropping off a gutter on a suburban street, then you should find these trails OK. Remember, you can always walk areas until you get your confidence to do a feature or consider doing some mountain biking clinics with Off Camber Mountain Biking.

Fitness and fun loop- Ride information

Trail names in order of ride: Elevate Loop #1 & #4, Waterfalls #11, Beady-eye #10, Stairway to Heaven #12, Yahoo Wahoo #13, Elevate Loop #4.

Grade: Green and mostly blue.

Time required: 1.5 hrs to 3 hrs depending on your fitness.

Equipment:

  • Bike in good working order, take a tube and repair kit just in case. It is a long way to walk out if you cannot repair a puncture.
  • Water. I find hydration is very individual. If you only do some hill climbing- consider it will take you 3 hours and take enough water accordingly. I take between 2-3 litres depending on the season.

So, let’s go riding!

Follow the Elevate loop#1 & #4 until you get to ‘Three-Y’. Cross the creek and turn right onto Waterfalls #11. There is a sweet little jump on the right for the air-time type. Next is a nice gradual incline. At the top of the incline, turn right onto Beady-eye #10.

Beady-eye #10 starts with a gradual incline and ends with some sharp pinches. These pinches can really test your strength when fatigued. At the top, there is a roundabout with a map of the trail network. Look for Stairway to Heaven #12 and get your bearings.

Stairway to Heaven #12 starts with a great descent with switchbacks across the mountain. Aim high if you are ready and these switchbacks can turn into fun wall-rides. Now, get ready for the steep climb. I often start singing ‘The only way is up!’ by Yazz. Such a groovy song to help get a pedal rhythm going up the hill. As you gain altitude, you will see views of the Atherton Tablelands from several angles. Very rewarding!  As you continue to ride the ridge, the geology changes. Dry rocky open bushland turns into a dense forest with dark, smooth soils. This shade is nice after the climb.

You will see an intersection for Drop Zone #16. This awesome blue with black options downhill trail takes you back to the roundabout at the top of Beady-eye #10. Don’t worry Yahoo Wahoo #13 is also outstanding so instead, pass Drop Zone #16 by continuing right on the trail. Head into the rainforest and you will eventually end up on Herberton Range Road. This is where Yahoo Wahoo #13 starts.

Yahoo Wahoo #13 is a great trail. I describe this type of trail as a pedally-style downhill. It has rock drops, berms, creek crossings and smooth jumps. If you are not the airtime type, that is OK; all features are ‘rollable’.

Yahoo merges into Up’nOver #4 and its grand finally is Luna Park #4. This is a very popular section of trail. The smooth, deep berms can feel like a rollercoaster. With sections like this, you don’t need to go to an amusement park. It is so much fun! Complete trail #4 back to the trailhead.

Off Camber Mountain Biking has MTB skill clinics & weekly programs for kids, beginners, and experienced riders here on the Atherton Tablelands. The month is the Women’s Mountain Bike Retreat 20th-22nd May. Off Camber now offers bikes during programs & clinics! More information: offcamber.com.au

Published in What’s On and Where to Go Magazine – May 2022 Edition

by | May 21, 2022 | Atherton Tablelands

Leah Stevenson

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