Anderson's fire trail (Ando's) stretches from Wentworth Falls to Woodford, and can be combined with the Woodford to Glenbrook (Oaks) fire trail for a long day ride of around 60 kms of dirt. There are a number of other rides in the area, including the shorter Ingar fire trail, which also goes to Woodford - but is unfortunately partly open to cars and much more prone to corrugations - and the ride out to McMahon's Point, where there are great views over Lake Burragorang - otherwise known as Sydney's water supply, Warragamba Dam.
The ride in along Tablelands Road marks the western edge of the huge fires of Christmas 2001. To your left it's all blackened sticks and regrowth, while to your right is untouched bushland. The country Ando's passes through has been completely burnt out, but is steadily coming back to life, with eucalypts displaying the typical pipe cleaner look of green fuzz over blackened limbs.
To get there, catch the train to Wentworth Falls, get off on the southern side, and head back towards Sydney. The highway shoulder gets pretty narrow along here, you may prefer to cross it and use the foot path. After you've gone back about 2 kms, you'll see Tablelands Road off to your right. There's a garden pot place on the corner. If you find yourself heading down Bodington Hill, you've gone too far - the turn off is at the top of the hill.
Tablelands Road has some of the best views in the
mountains - start by ducking left at the Ingar turnoff and make your way to the
Kings Tableland aboriginal site - lots of axe grinding grooves and fantastic views
to the city and south. The access track is now blocked and marked "Private Property",
but someone has cut a walking track a little further down the Ingar Road beside
the park entrance sign, on the right hand side. The aboriginal site is wholly
within the park. Last time I was here, I saw a huge flock of yellow tailed black
cockatoos - even if you don't see them, you'll often hear the cries of these majestic
When you're finished here, head back to Tablelands Rd and turn left. About
500m before the communications towers, there's a track to the right that splits
into a few tracks worth following. These tracks are short overgrown firetrails
that lead to the edges of the ridge, offering views of Mt Solitary, Narrowneck
Plateau, and the cliff faces of Leura and Wentworth Falls. You might even be
able to make out the Three Sisters, as well as bush views that go on forever
- very nice indeed.
When you're finished here, head back to Tablelands Rd and turn left. About 500m before the communications towers, there's a track to the right that splits into a few tracks worth following. These tracks are short overgrown firetrails that lead to the edges of the ridge, offering views of Mt Solitary, Narrowneck Plateau, and the cliff faces of Leura and Wentworth Falls. You might even be able to make out the Three Sisters, as well as bush views that go on forever - very nice indeed.
Head back to Tablelands Road and turn right. Opposite
the turnoff to the towers is a track to the left, which ends in a little clearing,
which has good views to the city. Judging by the numbers of old plastic bottles
and bits of hose I saw, it's a popular "Inspiration Point"... Back to Tablelands
Road and turn left. Go straight past Queen Victoria Hospital, where the road
turns to dirt. Don't veer right at the hospital or you'll end up in a
Water Board restricted (and patrolled!) area.
Just over 7 kms past the hospital, as you go around a right hand bend, you'll
see a signposted track off to the left, with a gate across it - the gate's about
50 metres up the track. This is Anderson's fire trail. About 500m in,
there's a fork in the trail - take the right hand track - the left is a dead
end. From then on, just follow the track.
Just over 7 kms past the hospital, as you go around a right hand bend, you'll see a signposted track off to the left, with a gate across it - the gate's about 50 metres up the track. This is Anderson's fire trail. About 500m in, there's a fork in the trail - take the right hand track - the left is a dead end. From then on, just follow the track.
WARNING: About 4 kms in, there is a fast downhill blat, with a blind left hand corner at the bottom. In their wisdom, NPWS have placed a gate around this corner. Since the fires, the gate's been open - I guess because the warning signs that finally appeared were burnt. The gate may well end up locked again.
Andersons still has many waterbars to jump, and has become quite loose in sections. Top fun! The downhill to the creek can be fast and loose with plenty of air opportunities - if you're game... If you get off the main line, it gets more than a little hairy as you're confronted with lots of loose baby head rocks. Hope your suspension and brakes are working! My brakes actually sizzled as I crossed the creek. If you get down without a big grin on your face, there's no hope for you...
Typical of most Blue Mountains fire trails, Anderson's
has some ridgetop, some downhills, some valleys, some creeks, some climbs and
some good views. There's a great steep, bumpy, loose downhill to the crossing
at the junction of Queen Victoria and Bedford creeks, where you can splash
through spectacularly, but be warned that there's a hidden log under the water
on the far side...
Ride alongside the creek for a kilometre or less, then follow the track right through the next creek crossing for the climb up to Woodford. If you don't cross the second creek, you'll be heading back to Wentworth Falls via the monstrous hill of the Ingar track. The creek crossings are a great place to stop and catch your breath, and have some fuel in preparation for the big climb out. Check out the massive gum trees and listen to the bellbirds while you stop. In summer you can go in for a quick dip, or in the cooler months, just enjoy the peaceful surroundings and watch the patterns of sunlight on the water.
The hill out of Bedford Creek is horrendous - well maybe not that bad, but it is h-u-u-u-g-e. It's 3 km from the creek to the next gate at the top of the ridge, and nearly all of that is uphill. These days, with lots of stops, heavy breathing, a red face and low gearing (22/32), I can almost ride the whole way, and am full of admiration for anyone that goes the whole way without stopping!
If it's going to rain on the ride, it's sure to be as you climb this hill...
Just after the gate at the top of the hill, turn left for Woodford - right takes you down to Murphy's Glen, a nice campsite and dam, but another monstrous climb back out.
When you reach Woodford station (Anderson's runs into the road that runs to the station), you have a couple of choices - catch the train, go to the shop (yes, shop), or duck around to the Woodford to Glenbrook fire trail (The Oaks) for another 25 k or so of dirt.
Despite another reviewer's comments, this track isn't a twin to the Oaks. I find it much harder and hillier, you don't get that nice 5 kms of downhill and there's no singletrack!
I didn't enjoy this ride nearly as much after the fires - the road in was quite
corrugated, and the track surface very loose in places after having been graded.
This has been reflected in the reduced rating - I'm sure conditions will improve
as weathering and use packs the track down.
|Distance||approx 40 km|
- may need to walk some uphills, uphill from the creek is a
Surface may be loose.
|Trains||Wentworth Falls, Woodford|
to Glenbrook Fire Trail, Murphy's
McMahon's Point, Ingar Trail, some sidetracks
another fAt hIpPy production
Standard disclaimer:Like all outdoor activities, mountain bike riding can result in serious or fatal injury. Track conditions may
have changed since these reviews. Don't ride beyond your ability. If you fall off it's your own fault. Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, thoughts, comments, opinions etc expressed herein are mine, and should not be
taken to represent anyone else. If you don't like anything I've said, sorry, just change the channel.
Copyright © Tony Fathers, 1997 - 2008