Cycle Sydney, Mountain Bike Ride, Heathcote Loop

Heathcote National Park was once part of the traditional lands of the Dharawal Aboriginal people and evidence of their occupation can still be seen throughout the park. Heathcote National Park was created in 1943 and covers an area of roughly 2,679 ha. Its rugged terrain consists of deeply dissected Hawkesbury sandstone landscapes. Harsh terrain and proximity to two restricted areas, the Woronora Catchment area and the Holsworthy military restricted area, limit MTB opportunities in the park.

Terrain

Fire trail, some rather eroded, and sections of bitumen.

Traffic

Vehicle traffic on section of Woronora Dam Road.

Access

If coming by car, from the Princess Highway, turn into Burns Road which is located just past Heathcote. Park anywhere along here and trail head is at end of Burns Road.

Note: if coming from the north you are unable to turn right into Burns Road and will have to travel through to Waterfall where you can turn around. If travelling by train, alight at Heathcote Station, turn left into Princess Highway. Once Burns Road is reached cross highway and ride to end of Burns Road.

Food and Drink

No food or drink available along ride route. Shops and cafes located at nearby Heathcote.

Side Trip

Woronora Dam is worth the extra two kilometres each way.

 

More Details

This ride makes use of the available trails and links up a number of short sections to form a loop ride which circumnavigates a large portion of the park. Being a loop ride, it can be ridden in either direction, however, be warned which ever way you go the ride will end in a large climb back to Heathcote! Whilst riding in the park you will travel through a number of vegetation communities including open forests primarily composed of angophoras, bloodwood, grey gum, Sydney peppermint, scribbly gum, and grass trees.

Areas of low heath typically composed of brightly flowering shrubs, including ti-trees, banksias, hakeas, and waxflowers. If you are riding during the warmer months keep an eye pealed for the botanical super star of the park the beautiful flame red flowered Gymea lily. As this route is comprised of a number of sections, the level of difficulty varies greatly but can generally be split into two halves.

The first half contains the descent down Mirang Road, an easy section of the pipeline trail and a stint on Woronora Dam Road and the Princess Highway. This section is easy with the only notable challenge being the final steep and eroded drop down to the pipeline trail form Mirang Road, however once the pipeline trail is reached it’s smooth sailing. Two sections of public road must be navigated, being Dam Road and the Old Princess Highway where light vehicle traffic can be expected.

The second more difficult section of the ride begins when the park is re-entered from the Princess Highway. This half of the ride follows a number of sections of fire trail, many of which are heavily eroded with exposed rocks and patches of sand. Terrain in this section tends to undulate and combined with the trail conditions, provides riders with some technical ups and downs. Many of these may result in some anxious moments for less experienced riders but will be enjoyed by most.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 From the end of Burns Rd, locate the start of the management trail which should have a locked gate. Continue around the gate and follow this trail. After approximately 100m there is a steep technical descent.
  • 0.6 T-intersection with Mirang Rd, turn right and follow this.
  • 0.7 As you pass under powerlines ignore fire trail off to your left.
  • 1.0 At Y-intersection ignore left branch and continue on straight ahead.
  • 1.3 Note high voltage transmission lines in area and a number of trails branching off. Ignore these and continue straight ahead on the trail you are on.
  • 2.0 Come to an open gate, shortly after this there is a rocky outcrop to your left with good views. Trail now starts to descend from here.
  • 3.0 Locked gate is reached, continue on around this and you will come to an intersection with the pipeline trail. Turn left.
  • 8.1 Gate, continue on around ignoring trail off to the left.
  • 8.7 Intersection with Woronora Dam Rd. Turn left, and be careful of vehicle traffic on this road.
  • 13.8 Intersection with the Princess Hwy, turn left and again expect vehicle traffic on this section.
  • 14.8 Turn left and re enter the park on fire trail 108.
  • 17.0 At T-intersection turn left.
  • 17.2 Ignore trail off to the right and continue on straight ahead.
  • 17.6 At the top of a loose climb you come to a locked gate, continue on around. Note off to your left is a glimpse of Lake Tooloma.
  • 19.1 Creek crossing and marks the start of large climb.
  • 19.6 Continue through locked gate and ignore fire trail off to your right.
  • 19.9 Fire trail ends in an open area with houses and fence line. Turn left and follow trail along perimeter of park.
  • 20.6 Continue on through large open area.
  • 22.8 Back at junction with Mirang Rd, turn right.
  • 23.0 You have an option here; a left turn returns you to Burns Rd via the service trail but a loose climb must be endured, or you can continue on for 100m on this trail to the Princess Hwy and turn left.
  • 23.1 Princess Hwy is reached, end of ride.
  • Trail map

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    Back

    21.803 km / 13.548 mi

    Total Distance

    535 m / 1,755 ft

    Total Ascent

    538 m / 1,765 ft

    Total Descent

    281 m / 923 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
    Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    MTB Segment: flow
    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: 23.0
    Elevation Gain: 750
    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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