Cycle Sydney, Mountain Bike Ride, The Oakes Fire Trail

The Oakes is one of the most popular MTB rides in Sydney and very possibly Australia. It begins at Woodford station and ends 444 metres below at Glenbrook Station. While there is a decent amount of climbing in the first half of the ride, once the helipad is reached at the half way mark, it’s one long downhill run. If it’s been recently graded, the smooth wide trail allows for a sustained thrilling high speed blast. The icing on the cake is the fantastic Oakes single track which is one of the best in Sydney.

Terrain

Smooth well graded undulating fire trail with some sweet single track.

Traffic

Walkers, cyclists, and short shared section with vehicles. It can get busy during weekends.

Access

Car: From Sydney take the M4 then onto Great Western Highway. Exit at Glenbrook and park at Glenbrook station car park, so your car can be accessed at the end of the ride. You will then need to catch the train to Woodford station, or grab a lift to Woodford with a fellow rider for a post-ride car shuffle.

Train: From Glenbrook station take the train to left into Railway Parade.

Food and Drink

There is no food or drink at the trail head so be sure to take plenty of provisions with you. There are plenty of shops, cafes and bakeries to be found in Glenbrook at the end of the ride.

Side Trip

Check out Lost World Lookout off St Helena’s Trail.

 

More Details

The large number of bikes and riders on Glenbrook station on any Saturday or Sunday morning is a testament to the popularity of the Oakes with the Sydney MTB community.

This ride follows the Oakes fire trail for its 31km length from Woodford through to Glenbrook around 444 metres below. Undulating frequently there are a surprising number of climbs to test your legs in the first part of this ride. The trail had recently being graded when I was there making it silky smooth enabling speed from the downhills to be carried into most of the climbs making them seem a little less arduous. The final climb, out of Glenbrook Creek, on the black top is relatively short but rather steep and is a real challenge.

As the trail winds its way along ridge tops make sure you take the time to have a look around as some excellent views of the Lower Blue Mountains can be had. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Sydney CBD and during the evening, Sydney’s lights can be seen twinkling in the distance. With the hills behind you eventually you will reach the ‘Helipad’ at around the half way point. This marks the start of one long smooth and fast downhill run where speeds of 40kph can be easily maintained all the way through to fire trail gates at the Oakes picnic ground. Lovers of the narrow stuff will be delighted with 3km of some of the sweetest single track in Sydney to finish the ride.

It starts off with a fast and flowing nature and then starts to deteriorate into a more technical ride toward the end before eventually joining back onto the main road. If you’re not a fan of the technical stuff there are numerous opportunities to exit back to the main fire trail early. This ride is quite exposed to the elements for most of its length and while it can be bitterly cold in winter, the lack of shade can make it equally hot in summer.

Be prepared for all weather eventualities and make sure you have the appropriate clothing. If riding in the warmer months it is advised to start early and carry plenty of water as none is available along the route. Whilst not recommended for total beginners, those with average fitness and basic bike handling skills should have no problems.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 From Woodford station exit to the left into Railway Pde.
  • 0.3 Turn right into The Appin Way.
  • 0.5 Turn left into Parker St
  • 0.6 Turn left into Taylors Rd.
  • 0.7 Turn right into the Oakes fire trail. Lift bikes over the locked gate and continue on. Ignore any trail off to the left or right and simply follow the main fire trail.
  • 5.5 Optional side trip: Trail on left is St Helena’s trail which you can use to access the Lost World Lookout. Trail is rough and overgrown. Six kms along take the left branch, toward the end of the trail is a camping area and lookouts. When you are done here retrace you steps back to the Oakes fire trail. This option will add around 15km to the trip.
  • 17.6 End of Oakes fire trail is reached. Take a track around to the left of the gate and follow this. It soon becomes single track.
  • 17.9 Cross Red Hands fire trail and pick up single track on the other side.
  • 18.2 Oakes picnic ground is reached.
  • 23.2 Ignore fire trail off to the right and continue on straight.
  • 23.5 As fire trail comes to a left hand bend and heads up hill to a clearing, note the NPWS cycle track sign to the right. Turn right and again pick up the single trail.
  • 24.8 After a technical section the single track comes out onto the causeway on a sharp hair pin bend. Turn left onto the bitumen; descend down and cross the causeway on Glenbrook Creek. From the creek it is a steep climb out of the National Park.
  • 26.1 Park is exited on Bruce Rd. Simply follow this back to Glenbrook station.
  • 28.0 End of ride.
  • Trail map

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    26.36 km / 16.379 mi

    Total Distance

    469 m / 1,540 ft

    Total Ascent

    913 m / 2,995 ft

    Total Descent

    618 m / 2,028 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
    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: 28.0
    Elevation Gain: 764
    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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