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.
Fire trail, dirt road, bitumen. You’ll do some climbing and get your feet wet.
Vehicle traffic, walkers, cyclists.
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.
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.
34.005 km / 21.13 mi
456 m / 1,496 ft
1,034 m / 3,392 ft
695 m / 2,281 ft