Cycle Melbourne, Rail Trail Ride, Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail Ride

The Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail is an easy trip from Melbourne by car or train and is a not too arduous ride through country ranging from forest to open farmland and vineyards, with good views to the nearby Yarra Ranges, all of which makes it one of the best and most popular rides around. There are plenty of places on or near the trail where you can enjoy a coffee or culinary delight and some small towns to explore.

The wide and mostly smooth trail is used by all types of riders, including those on road bikes, but the sometimes stony surface suits it more to mountain bikes and hybrids than the narrow tyred species. The trail is generally well signposted with distance markers and names for all the old station sites. Nearby local traders with products of interest to cyclists, have also set up directing signs. The trail is based on the old rail line which was closed in 1965. The riding trail was opened in 1998 and takes advantage of the cuttings, bridges and escarpments originally established for the railway to provide the wide trail with graduated climbs and descents. With the completion of the trail bridge across the Maroondah Highway it is now possible to ride all the way from Lilydale station to Warburton on the separate trail. There are quite a few road crossings, some of which are busy and need to be taken with care.

There is a gradual climb to Mount Evelyn, which may give you an excuse for the first coffee and cake stop, before swooping downwards to the flatter area around Woori Yallock. The trail then ever so gradually climbs to Warburton. It is popular with walkers and horse riders as well as cyclists, so please be courteous to other users. The scenery and the food and drink temptations along the way encourage a relaxed pace and some people might prefer to make this a two day ride with an overnight stay in Warburton. Bear in mind that there is no public transport in Warburton that will carry you and your bike, so unless you arrange a car shuttle you will have to ride back.

Warburton is an attractive little town wedged between the mountains alongside the Yarra River. It had its early beginnings as a mountain escape for Melburnians in the early 1900s and many of the cafés and other shops are housed in buildings dating back to this time. It remains a popular centre for day trippers. It is worth allowing time to explore the town and nearby forest and river scenery.

Access

Lilydale is on the Maroondah Highway. After crossing the rail line in Lilydale turn left into the station car park. If this is full, travel another 200m along the highway and turn in to the reserve next to the hotel. It is in the metropolitan rail system with frequent service and has bike lockers and toilets.

Food and Drink

It’s everywhere! At the start, the finish and several spots in between. Right by the trail there is the Sourdough Café just past Mount Evelyn, or another personal favourite, the Carriage Café in Seville. It is in a train carriage, a good distance in to the ride and serves café latté in big glasses.

Side Trip

At Warburton you will see signs indicating short rides which continue on past the town. There is also an enjoyable walking path alongside the river. Enquire at the information centre adjacent to the finish for other attractions.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start at the end of the Lilydale Station car park. Look for the Warburton Trail sign, ride through the gateway on the right and keep left on the path. From the alternative parking point in the reserve, ride around beside the ovals to this path at the back of the reserve.
  • 0.1 Cross the footbridge and keep left on the path.
  • 0.3 Cross Beresford Rd on to trail, signposted Warburton Trail.
  • 0.9 Turn right and ride along Anderson St, signposted Rail Trail 1.5km.
  • 2.0 Turn left on to path before reaching Maroondah Hwy and follow it around to the left on to the service road. (If concerned about crossing the Maroondah Hwy cross here at the lights then travel 400m down the path to the left to Queen Rd.)
  • 2.2 Ride straight on to path and follow it around to the right to the highway.
  • 2.3 Cross highway to the right and ride up Queen Rd.
  • 2.6 Turn right off road, through gateway, and left on to the trail.
  • 4.5 Cross Birmingham Rd. Toilets on the right.
  • 6.3 Mt Evelyn. Café, parking, shops, picnic areas and tap.
  • 6.6 Cross York Rd. Watch for traffic.
  • 7.2 Cross road. Cog Café to the left across the road.
  • 11.2 Cross Warburton Hwy. Wandin shops and toilets 350m up road on the right.
  • 11.6 Wandin station site and picnic area.
  • 14.4 Carriage Café (with toilets).
  • 14.8 Seville station site. Car parking area.
  • 18.0 Killara station site. Car parking area.
  • 22.1 Woori Yallock station site. Car parking area. Bakery, shops and toilets about 400m up road on right.
  • 26.9 Launching Place bakery and groceries 200m up on the right.
  • 27.9 Cross Warburton Hwy. Home Hotel on the left for food and drink.
  • 29.7 Cross to trail on other side of Warburton Hwy.
  • 30.6 Yarra Junction. Swimming centre on the left, skate park on the right and further on toilets, picnic area and shops.
  • 35.6 Cross Warburton Hwy at Millgrove. Bakery and grocer to the left.
  • 39.0 End of ride at Warburton. Shops, Yarra River and picnic areas to the left.
  • Trail map

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    38.673 km / 24.03 mi

    Total Distance

    652 m / 2,139 ft

    Total Ascent

    551 m / 1,808 ft

    Total Descent

    235 m / 770 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 38.9
    Elevation Gain: 490
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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