Cycle Adelaide, Road Riding, Aldgate Valley Loop

An undulating ride around the Aldgate and Onkaparinga Valleys, this ride meanders through the most populated part of the Adelaide Hills. Comparatively easy as hills routes go, gentle stretches combine with a couple of challenging climbs and sweeping descents along roads shaded in turn by European trees and native gums. The former make it a blaze of colour in autumn, the Eucalypts ensure it stays green in winter, and spring blossoms complete its year-round attraction. At just under 19km you’re never far between towns, and it’s mostly on quiet back roads. The loop winds between four quiet, historic towns, leaving from the pretty village of Aldgate. Established in 1864, the settlement grew around the Aldgate Pump Hotel, as popular now as it was then with travellers en route to the goldfields. Aldgate has a distinctly English feel, its streets lined with deciduous trees and cottage style gardens, and its welcoming cafes and organic bakery make it an ideal base for cyclists.

Access

Take the South Eastern Freeway to the Stirling exit, then follow Mt Barker Road to Aldgate.

Food and Drink

Shops, cafes and bakery in Aldgate; general stores at Mylor and Bridgewater; shops and cafes in Hahndorf (2km detour).

Side trip

Visit The Cedars, home of artist Hans Heysen. Tour the studio and house, and view first-hand original artworks in the rooms where they were painted. Open Tuesday-Sunday: Heysen Road, Hahndorf.

More Details

We head out along Aldgate Valley Rd, a quiet local access road, for a winding descent to Mylor along the Aldgate Valley. It’s cool, shady riding until the views open up on the approach to Mylor, a tiny town with a strong rural base – and the only town in the Adelaide Hills established without a pub. Its monthly country market is its major drawcard, along with the nearby Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary.

From Mylor it’s an undulating ride along the Onkaparinga River valley through classic Heysen country. The landscape is now very Australian, the European trees replaced by spreading gums and the villages by horses, hobby farms and open views.

Eventually we meet the road to Hahndorf, a 2km detour but well worth the trip. Australia’s most traditional German town – and oldest remaining German settlement - if it’s sausage, sauerkraut or streusel you’re after, Hahndorf’s got it covered. Shops, restaurants and cafes line the shady main street, interspersed with friendly pubs serving steins of beer, making Hahndorf one of the most visited towns on the SA tourist route. It’s also a regular destination for city cyclists and one of the annual Tour Down Under sprint finishes.

Continuing along the route, we cross the Onkaparinga River to Mt Barker Rd and the ride’s major climb up Germantown Hill. It’s long and steep all the way up to Vimy Ridge, rewarded by a winding descent through Bridgewater - best known for its historic mill and water wheel. We pass the mill - now Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill restaurant and cellar door - on the steady climb out of town, before a final descent takes us back into Aldgate.

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Starting at the carpark opposite the Aldgate Village, turn left onto Mt Barker Rd.
  • 0.1 Ignore the turn to the left and continue straight ahead on Strathalbyn Rd, signed to Strathalbyn.
  • 0.4 Turn right onto Aldgate Valley Rd for an undulating downhill ride on narrow, winding roads.
  • 1.5 At an intersection, veer left and continue on Aldgate Valley Rd (not hard left onto Cambridge Rd) along the Aldgate Valley.
  • 5.3 At a T-junction turn left.
  • 5.4 At another T-junction carefully turn right back onto Strathalbyn Rd and continue past the Mylor Primary School.
  • 6.6 Cross the Onkaparinga River and shortly afterwards turn left into River Rd for a short climb. From here it’s an undulating ride along the Onkaparinga River Valley to the Hahndorf turn-off through classic Heysen country.
  • 11.5 Continue under the South Eastern Freeway.
  • 12.1 At a T-junction turn left, signed to Adelaide. To the right is the detour (2km) to Hahndorf.
  • 12.5 Cross the Hahndorf Creek and then the Onkaparinga River.
  • 12.9 At a major roundabout turn right onto the B34, signed to Verdun, Woodside and Birdwood. Continue past Grumpy’s Bar and along a short semi-industrial stretch.
  • 13.4 Turn left onto Mt Barker Rd, signed to Bridgewater, and start the steep, long climb up Germantown Hill.
  • 15.1 The top of the climb at Vimy Ridge. Continue straight ahead, coasting down through the town on a winding then undulating route.
  • 16.5 Bridgewater Mill on the right, on the climb out of Bridgewater. It’s uphill most of the way back to Aldgate but more gently now.
  • 18.2 The crest, then a descent into Aldgate through shady gums.
  • 18.6 At the T-junction turn right onto the continuation of Mt Barker Rd.
  • 18.8 Turn right back into the carpark opposite the Aldgate Village.
  • 18.9 The ride ends.
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    19.484 km / 12.107 mi

    Total Distance

    289 m / 949 ft

    Total Ascent

    285 m / 935 ft

    Total Descent

    447 m / 1,466 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    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: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 19.4
    Elevation Gain: 326
    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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