Cycle East Kowen Forest

Cycle Canberra, Mountain Bike Ride, East Kowen Forest

East Kowen Forest is comprised of mainly hardpack singletrack mountain bike rides, connected by some firetrails. There are minor obstacles for complete novices, and a nice variety for experts. You will run in to the occasional stock gate on firetrail sections to negotiate. Whilst there are several old trails in this area, an 18km loop was built in early 2011.

To house the mountain ,24 hour bike race by Paul Cole and the Kowalski Brothers, an enigmatic group of underworld trail fairies who build fantastic tracks, leaving only a faint hint of stale beer in their wake. This original 18km has been extended to 20km with some optional extras, and there is a shorter but excellent 7km loop for those wanting a taste. The main loop has been ‘built’ to bike ride anti-clockwise (and this is the way the arrows at the junctions point) but some trails are pretty nice riding both ways. Once you know your way around you can change your route a bit by backtracking or using some of the firetrails around the place. There are some trails in here that could well become classics. Kowalski’s Sideshow is already well known for its steep, tight switchbacks (down!) and is a tribute to Sparrow Hill's much loved, but alas former, classic Bobsled. If you bike ride a 29’er or love big fast flat curves, the final 2k’s or so once you hit Sweet Apples MUST be hit in the big ring. There are no sustained steep hills, but you'll find short steep pinches and sustained but relatively shallow singletrack climbs. Of course there are also some excellent descents too.


The entrance to East Kowen is on the King's Highway, the road that takes you from Queanbeyan eventually to Bateman's Bay. About 10km after the climb out of Queanbeyan you'll come to a bend and see the gleam of light reflecting off the cars parked in Sparrow Hill's main car parking area, a dirt area off the main road. To get to the good stuff once you're parked, ride West along the King's Highway on the left hand side of the road for about 100 metres. When you see a couple of gates a short distance down a gravel road, climb through the right hand gate (Not the private one on the left). Then ride another 100 metres or so, where you'll get to a junction and pick up the trail signage.

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3.894 km / 2.42 mi

Total Distance

96 m / 315 ft

Total Ascent

96 m / 315 ft

Total Descent

756 m / 2,481 ft

Highest Point

Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
Ride Duration: 2-4 hrs
Fitness Level: Various
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Gravel Road
Trail Signage: Good
Mobile Coverage: Limited
Estimated Distance: 3.9
Elevation Gain: 90
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle
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