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Park closure update (22/04/2007):

From the NPWS park closure site:

"Due to bush fire damage, in the interest of public safety parts of the park are closed to visitors. The Grose Valley and surrounding roads, tracks, lookouts and canyons are closed, that is the area of the park north of Katoomba bounded by the Great Western Highway, Darling Causeway and Bells Line of Road."

I'm pretty sure tracks listed below are now open - none are specifically listed. However, some are still covered by the wording of the blanket closure. If you choose to ride without checking with NPWS, you do so entirely at your own risk, and may end up fined, injured or worse. NEVER venture into recently burnt areas as there is a very real risk from falling trees and branches.


From the NPWS park closure site:

"From Monday 5 May to Friday 30 May 2008 Woodford Oaks trail will be closed to the public (Mondays to Fridays) to allow the completion of essential maintenance works. The closed section will be between Woodford and the Oaks shelter shed." I've done a recce, and they've started grading it from the Woodford end. At the moment, it's wide and soft where they've been, and there are lots of mulched up leaves and sticks across the track in places. :^(

Blue Mountains mtb rides

Faster than the speed of
light? - Mark Hodges photo
As a kid I rode Malvern Stars and dragsters around the streets of Blaxland and hit the trails on my lawn mower engined mini bike. Nowadays, I live a little further west, still in the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney, Oz - a city within a National Park and now World Heritage listed), and do my trail riding on mountain bikes - there are some great trails locally, with some big hills to struggle up, but big hills are great fun going back down!
Some time ago I wrote a story on riding the Woodford to Glenbrook (The Oaks) fire trail, which was originally published by the team at Oz on Dirt. This inspired me to create my own website on Blue Mountains mtb rides - if you know about a good ride, and want me to add a review, let me know and I'll try to ride and review it - for consistency, I ride and review all tracks personally.
Any opinions and times taken are based on my own experiences - yours might be different!

All rides are rated in fat hippies - one fat hippy means grab a slice of pizza and stay on the beanbag, two means not bad, three means well worth a ride, four is a great ride and five means stop looking at your computer, go ride it! A new category of no fat hippy no fat
hippies means the track should be avoided - it's a climb, a walk, or just lame.

To put my reviews into some sort of perspective, here's some info about me.

To get you started, here's just some of the rides I reckon are pretty good - as white on black won't print, each review also comes with a black on white, low graphic version for printing. Tracks reviewed below were ridden between 1999 and 2005 - apart from the tracks to avoid, which I'm not doing again! The Oaks and St Helena were recently voted as NSW's most popular mtb rides by readers of Australian Mountain Bike magazine - which probably makes them the most popular in Australia.

Note that tracks and National Parks may be closed as a result of bushfires, on days of extremely high fire danger, or for other reasons. Check with NPWS before riding - regardless of what I've written, tracks may be closed. High winds around September and October tend to bring a lot of trees down - take care!

Oh no, I've succumbed to advertising.. .but buying bike stuff from Phantom helps keep this site alive

the tracks
  • Mt Hay - Leura (would be a great ride if it wasn't for the corrugations) - text version Road open only
  • Long Angle Gully - Springwood to Blaxland - something of a mess these days, but lots of sidetracks
  • Murphy's Glen - Woodford - text version
  • Grose Head South - Starts at the back of St Thomas Aquinas school (formerly St Columba's) in Hawkesbury Rd, Winmalee - also has great views of the Grose. text version
None at the moment!
tracks to avoid!
Other mtb ride review sites

WTF?? I've bought a road bike - oh the shame of it all!

Digital Video:

It's new, and it's experimental - at last I'm getting the things small enough to download while still being watchable.

vidcap sequence - splash - tony fathers, camera mark hodges


Anderson's fire trail not the big downhill, but nearby. Featuring hippycam (tm) - music soundtrack (spiderbait). 32 seconds, 1029 KB
Hodgie, Helen and the hippy having fun on the waterbars of the Dipper - an alternative start point for Lawson Ridge. 19 seconds, 2720 KB, no sound. Camera the fat hippy and hodgie
Splash! The hippy goes for an unexpected swim

<Goons>"he's fallen in the water"</Goons> Terrace Falls, wmv format, 570 KB. Camera (and laugh track) hodgie. 4/12/2004

mtb-oz Xmas in July in August 04 ride The Oaks, wmv format, 1.39 MB. Featuring hippycam (tm) - no sound.
Oaks singletrack mtb-oz Xmas in July in August 04, wmv format, 2.14 MB. Featuring hippycam (tm) - music soundtrack (sonic animation)
Sam loses it over Faceplant "one last time for the camera" - St Helena, mtb-oz list ride, wmv format, 204 KB. Camera the fat hippy

More video footage of mine, plus some really good mtb footage from the rest of the 26" crew can be found on the DVDs

I've also created a google site - 100 MB of storage is twice what I have here, so I'll gradually fill it chock full of mtb stuff as well. At present, there's video from a sekrit track and some of the Ingar downhill.

Narrowneck - tony fathers


Most of these rides can be found on Lands and Property Information Topographic Maps:

These maps are widely available - as well as the LPI and its agents, local servos, newsagencies, tourist/bushwalking/camping shops all carry a range. Maps are pretty cheap but valuable, and are a big help if you get confused with my notes - and of course to find other rides! Online maps: The Department of Lands now has online topos - see What about aerial photos? Try the Department of Lands' Airview site. Enter the suburb you want, and a map is produced, click on the map to highlight an area, and press the Display photo button. You'll get an aerial photo, on which the tracks are often very clear. Just click on the plane icons to get the adjacent photo. I like the site because you can get a good idea of the type of terrain you are crossing, and you might find tracks you didn't know about!

Getting there from Sydney:

Other tips:

Ridgetop heath - Tony Fathers

homemade bike lights

I've been tidying up! The fat hippy's home made bike lights can now be found at their new home. Please adjust your bookmarks. NEW! (Sept 07) a shootout between home mades and AY-UP commercial Luxeon LED lights (CREE comparison coming soon).

mtb links

My links have also gone to their own page - please adjust your bookmarks.

hIpPy productions
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 - 2007