Cycle Sydney, Mountain Bike Ride, Meryla Pass Trail Ride

This bike ride explores the north eastern sector of Morton National Park and allows you to cycle through wild country which includes sandstone cliffs, rivers and valleys. Starting from the Fitzroy Falls visitor centre it follows fire trails into the Meryla State Forrest before descending some 500m via Meryla Pass into the valley below. Once the valley floor is reached it then follows Yarrunga Creek past an old abandoned farm house and grassy clearings. Eventually you will need to cross Yarrunga Creek and endure a steep climb of around 3km in length out of the valley. Once the park is exited it’s a short, mostly downhill stint on the black top back to the cars.

Fitzroy Falls was first discovered in the early 1800s by Charles Throsby, and named after the New South Wales Governor Fitzroy during his visit to the area in the 1850s. The falls plunge 82 metres down into the catchment below and are fed by Yarrunga Creek which flows down into the Kangaroo River. Without doubt the highlight of this bike ride is the steep and long descent of Meryla Pass, which follows the original trail into the valley used by explorer Charles Throsby over 170 years ago.

Meryla Pass is a real brake-burner plunging 500m off the plateau into the valley in a short distance. It descends via a series of switchbacks and hairpin turns guaranteed to keep you on your toes and test those braking skills. It also has a sprinkling of lovely waterbars sure to provide some air time for those so inclined. Once in the valley there are a number of grassy clearings along Yarrunga Creek easily accessible from Griffins fire trail which would make for an excellent place to stop for lunch. Ruins of an old abandoned farm can also be explored.

This ride is a mix of trail types but is predominantly on well graded fire trail. It also contains some sections of dirt road and a decent section of bitumen to finish off the descent into Kangaroo Valley. Riders are entering wild country on this ride and should be totally self sufficient and confident. Mobile phone coverage can be poor in this area, so let friends know when you leave—and plan to return! There is little in the way of technical challenges except for the steep descent on Meryla Pass.

Whilst not suitable for absolute beginners most riders should have no problems. At almost 40km in length this ride will require a reasonable level of fitness and does have one rather steep 3km climb. The ride is suitable all year around except after periods of heavy rain where the crossing at Yarrunga Creek may become unpassable. Unless you really love climbing the best way to approach this ride is with a car shuffle. We left one vehicle in the car park beside the historic Hampton Bridge at Kangaroo Valley and drove the other vehicle up to the Fitzroy Falls visitor centre. The visitor centre offers plenty of information on the falls and has facilities including, toilets and a café. From the visitor centre it is a short walk to a number of lookouts where the falls can be viewed before commencing the ride.

Terrain

Fire trail, dirt road, bitumen. You’ll do some climbing and get your feet wet.

Traffic

Vehicle traffic, walkers, cyclists.

Access

From Sydney: M5 exit take Bowral exit, head through Bowral and on to the Nowra Road. Follow this past Fitzroy Falls and down into Kangaroo Valley. Immediately after crossing Hampton Bridge look for a parking area on your left.

Food and Drink

Food and drink available at Kangaroo Valley including the ‘World’s Best Pie Shop’ and a pub. There is also a cafe at Fitzroy Falls.

Side Trip

From Jacks Corner a fire trail to the right leads to Bee Hive Point on the shores of Lake Yarrunga and will add around 6km to your ride.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Leave visitor centre car park turning right onto Moss Vale Rd.
  • 0.3 Turn left into Gwen Rd then head left on to Red Hills fire trail toward end.
  • 1.8 Turn right.
  • 4.8 Turn right into Red Hills Rd.
  • 5.3 Turn left into Gunrock Creek fire trail.
  • 7.0 Ignore left hand branch and continue on straight.
  • 7.7 Turn left into Meryla fire trail.
  • 12.9 Turn left into Meryla Rd.
  • 14.1 Turn hard left. This is the start of Meryla Pass, you will shortly come across a locked gate. Wheel the bikes around check your brakes and then let rip! Be carefull of the hairpins bends as there are some serious drops.
  • 18.4 Concrete cause way over Crankeys Creek.
  • 20.3 After a right turn you will need to cross Yarrunga Creek. Note the crossing at the fire trail is quite wide and around shin deep. Find a small foot track on your right and follow this to a shallower crossing where if you step right you can almost keep dry feet.
  • 25.0 After exiting Morton NP turn left onto Jacks Corner Rd which is dirt and soon becomes paved.
  • 32.1 Bitumen section starts. Soon afterward is Bendeela pondage power station and pump house on the left. 
  • 32.4 Ignore turnoff on your right this leads to the Bendeela picnic grounds.
  • 36.2 Turn right into Moss Vale Rd.
  • 36.5 Cross Hampton Bridge on cycle path.
  • 37.0 Turn left into car park, end of ride.
  • Trail map

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    34.005 km / 21.13 mi

    Total Distance

    456 m / 1,496 ft

    Total Ascent

    1,034 m / 3,392 ft

    Total Descent

    695 m / 2,281 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: Low
    MTB Segment: cross country
    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: 37.0
    Elevation Gain: 858
    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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