Adelaide Hills and Ranges

Cycle Adelaide, Road Ride, Adelaide Hills and Ranges 

Stunning views and winding hills are the essence of this bike ride. The quintessential Adelaide Hills ride, it’s a scenic rollercoaster through a landscape of hills, valleys and quiet villages. When you’re not going up, you’re going steeply down, and on narrow, winding roads. There’s nothing flat or straight, so the fabulous views will most likely come as glimpses - when you’re climbing and descending on narrow, winding roads with incredibly tight corners, you need your eyes on the road and your wits about you.

That shouldn’t put you off, though, because on a gorgeous day, and when you really want to challenge yourself, it’s fantastic – especially in summer, when the shady roads lined with towering gums make it a haven from the heat. Add it to the Tower to Summit Ride, then pedal back down when you’re done, and you’ve got a serious training session through some of Adelaide’s most spectacular hills terrain.

A couple of important things to note before heading off. Commuter traffic can be heavy, especially around Norton Summit, and for much of the year the high hills roads are foggy and digit-numbingly cold – but of course glorious early on a summer’s day. It’s also not great in wet weather, when water running down the steep roads makes it slippery and dangerous, and care is needed at any time on the tight hairpin descents.

Other than that, it’s a great, challenging ride through countryside filled with orchards, vineyards and native scrub, climbing and descending into towns along the way. Take note of the funky Adelaide Hills town signs, designed and fabricated by two Adelaide cyclists, watch out for koalas along the route (probably more of them than people in these hills!) and, if you’re going to detour anywhere, take a trip past Marble Hill.

Access

From the city, head east along North Terrace, Magill Road and Old Norton Summit Road to the Lobethal Road intersection. Or continue on from the Tower to Summit ride.

Food and Drink

The Scenic Hotel at the start/finish welcomes cyclists for coffee, cold drinks and food. Along the way, shops in Uraidla and Summertown, which also has a café.

Side trip

Discover the quality and finesse of cool-climate Adelaide Hills wines. Visit Arranmore Wines, Ashton Hills Vineyards or Barrett Wines’ cellar doors along the route, or one of 30 others in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region.

More Details

Marble Hill

Completed in 1880, Marble Hill was the summer holiday home of South Australian governors for 75 years – and the 1955 Black Sunday bushfire took just hours to destroy it. It left behind a grand skeleton of the Victorian gothic mansion, including its six-storey tower with 150 kilometre, 360 degree views. While the government declared it would never be rebuilt, the tower was restored and for many years used as a fire lookout. The Friends of Marble Hill group also preserved and regularly opened the property, showing visitors such macabre remains as a loaf of bread charred by the fire. Debate as to its future continued over the years and in 2008 the estate was sold to private owners under a heritage restoration agreement. Limited public access is part of the arrangement, so check for open days and get there if you can.

Ride Log

  • 0.0 From the carpark behind the Norton Summit post office, carefully cross the intersection onto Lobethal Rd, signed to Cherryville and Lobethal.
  • 0.9 Turn left, signed to Lobethal.
  • 1.7 Continue past Marble Hill Rd.
  • 2.3 Start the short climb into Ashton.
  • 2.4 Cross the intersection and continue towards Basket Range. Take care on the tight, steep corners of the long descent.
  • 5.1 Cross Deep Creek and start the climb up to Basket Range.
  • 6.4 An intersection and the top of the climb at Basket Range. Continue straight on, signposted to
  • Lobethal and Camelot Castle, for a steep descent through orchards. Take care on the sharp, left- hand hairpin bend after 500m.
  • 7.1 Ignoring a road to the right, continue straight on.
  • 7.5 Veer right, signed to Lobethal.
  • 8.0 Cross Sixth Creek and start climbing again.
  • 8.6 The start of the long climb up to Forest Range – the hardest climb on the ride – past a native heritage area.
  • 10.4 At the crest, carefully turn hard right and head up the hill, signposted to Uraidla.
  • 12.0 The top of the range, with views to Marble Hill and over the Onkaparinga Valley. From here it’s a descent into Carey Gully.
  • 14.6 At the T-junction in Carey Gully, turn right onto the Mt Lofty Scenic Drive and a gently undulating stretch.
  • 16.4 Start the descent into Uraidla.
  • 17.1 Enter Uraidla. Continue through the town and start climbing, once again through orchards.
  • 18.0 Enter Summertown and continue climbing gently.
  • 18.3 Piccadilly Rd, linking to Ride 23 – Piccadilly Valley Loop.
  • 20.0 Turn right onto Woods Hill Rd, signed to Norton Summit and Ashton, and head downhill to start an undulating stretch.
  • 22.0 Follow Woods Hill Rd to the left.
  • 23.0 Begin the winding descent to Lobethal Rd, taking care on the steep, sharp bends.
  • 23.8 At the bottom of the hill, stop and turn left onto Lobethal Rd, checking for traffic on the blind corner. Continue the sweeping descent into Norton Summit.
  • 24.8 At the Scenic Hotel, turn right into the post office carpark to end the ride.
  • Trail map

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    Back

    25.565 km / 15.885 mi

    Total Distance

    557 m / 1,828 ft

    Total Ascent

    498 m / 1,634 ft

    Total Descent

    614 m / 2,013 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Advanced (Black)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: High
    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
    Trail Signage: Non Existant
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 25.5
    Elevation Gain: 690
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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