Cycle Sydney, Mountain Bike Ride, Bennetts Ridge Trail 

This bike ride packs a lot of variety into its 23km length. There is a creek crossing, fantastic views over the Nepean River and western Sydney from Portal Lookout, the grassy wide open spaces and friendly resident kangaroos of Euroka clearing, lovely Bennetts Ridge fire trail and the return leg via the fabulous fast and flowing Oakes single track, which is arguably Sydney’s most popular bit of single track. What more can you ask for?

One of the best things about this bike ride is its versatility, it makes an excellent midweek training bike ride or a great social cruise for those looking to take in some lower Blue Mountains sights. Technically this bike ride is a loop and it can be done in either direction, however it is strongly recommend riding to the top of the Oakes via Bennetts Ridge and descending on the Oakes for a number of reasons. Firstly it makes for a more enjoyable bike ride and secondly the Oakes single track is very popular especially on weekends. Going with the flow on the Oakes single track lessens the chance of an unplanned meeting with a fellow MTB rider boring down the trail in the opposite direction.

The Portal Lookout section of this ride is an out and back and so can be done as a side trip. The climb to the top is rather steep, and all but the fittest cyclists will probably end up pushing their shiny steed to the top. Once at the top however the stunning views more than make up for the steep climb. From the lookout great views of the Nepean River can be had, and on a clear day the entire Sydney Metro area is visible. Euroka clearing is a volcanic neck and is one of the most popular areas in the Blue Mountains. Its lovely grassy areas also sport a healthy population of giant blue and red gums.

Euroka is a public camp ground and has amenities including BBQs and pit toilets. It is also popular with the native residents and most days usually supports a healthy population of kangaroos. Bennetts Ridge is a little known fire trail which connects Euroka clearing to the end of the Oakes fire trail. This section of the ride provides enjoyable cycling and although a fire trail it has developed a definite line which has an almost single track feel to it in sections. Whilst this ride is only 23km in length it packs in a fair amount of climbing with almost the entire first half of the ride being uphill.

There are a few steep climbs especially the climb up to Portal Lookout and the climb out of Glenbrook Creek. What goes up must come down and the best way to come down is on the fabulous Oakes single track which makes all that climbing worth while. Due to the amount of climbing involved this ride is only recommended for riders with good fitness and above. Technically this ride is quite straight forward and only contains a few technical challenges towards the end of the Oakes single track.

Terrain

Fire trail, double track, and single track. Expect to climb!

Traffic

Most of this ride is open to vehicular traffic except for the Oakes single track so take care. Walkers also frequent the area. It can be popular on weekends.

Access

Car: From Sydney, take the M4 and turn left at the first set of lights at Glenbrook. Continue on to the visitor’s centre at the Blue Mountains National Park and park here.

Train: Alight at Glenbrook, turn right out of the station and follow all the way to the visitor’s centre.

Food and Drink

Water is available at the Blue Mountains visitor centre. Plenty of cafes, bakeries and takeaways are available at Glenbrook. An outdoor store is also located at Glenbrook.

Side Trip

Portal Lookout, and short walk down to the Nepean River.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Starting from the national parks visitor centre turn left and follow the bitumen downhill toward the causeway, cross the causeway and head up the large hill on the other side. Watch out for vehicle traffic here.
  • 2.3 Just before the bitumen turns to dirt you will come to an intersection. Take the left turn onto fire trail which is signposted Euroka clearing and Portal lookout.
  • 3.0 Take a left hand fire trail which is signposted Tunnel View / Mt Portal. Note this is the start of the Mt Portal section of the ride. As this is an out and back you will return to this location—if you don’t wish to take this option continue on straight ahead to Euroka clearing.
  • 5.6 At the end of the fire trail Portal Lookout is reached, after admiring the views from the newly constructed viewing platform retrace your steps to the initial left turn.
  • 8.2 At a T-intersection with a fire trail turn left, this will take you down to Euroka clearing. Note this is the intersection where you just turned to visit Mt Portal.
  • 9.0 After entering Euroka clearing the fire trail comes to a T-intersection. Note the sign post and turn right taking the Nioka, Red Gum Apple Tree Flat. Straight after taking this turn ignore a turn off to the right to Red Gum and Nioka and continue straight ahead. You should then see a sign with Bennetts Ridge; follow this straight ahead.
  • 9.6 Once the end of the fire trail is reached at the Bennett’s Ridge camping area locate the gate indicating a sign Bennetts Ridge Fire Trail and Woodford Oakes 4.5 km. Follow this trail.
  • 10.2 Walking track off to the left leads down to the Nepean River. No bikes are allowed on this so if you are interested in a walk down to the Nepean the bikes will have to be locked / stashed at the top. If not interested in this side trip ignore it and continue straight ahead.
  • 13.3 At the gate, go around and continue on.
  • 13.6 Ignore a fire trail off to your right.
  • 13.9 At a T-intersection turn left and follow this uphill. This is the main Oakes fire trail. Also note sign denoting the end of Bennett’s Ridge fire trail.
  • 15.8 On your right note the Oakes picnic area. Head through the picnic area and locate the fabulous Oakes single track, turn right and follow this.
  • 20.8 Ignore fire trail off to the right and continue on straight.
  • 21.1 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.
  • 22.4 Single track comes out onto the causeway. Turn left onto the bitumen, descend and cross the causeway for the second time and retrace your steps back to the car.
  • 23.0 Ride ends.
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    Back

    23.307 km / 14.482 mi

    Total Distance

    634 m / 2,079 ft

    Total Ascent

    555 m / 1,822 ft

    Total Descent

    284 m / 933 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: 1046
    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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