Cycle Adelaide, Mountain Bike & Kid Friendly Ride, MT Crawford Forest Ride 1
This bike ride is perfect for families with young children. At 2.5km each way, it’s short but interesting, passing through very different terrains. The first section is through grazing land and farm buildings, the next across a plain of felled pines and the third alongside the native bushland of Jenkins Scrub, finishing at mature pine forest. With new plantations also visible from the route, it shows the various stages of a working forest.
Along the way it passes Murrayvale Homestead, built in 1863 by one of the district’s pioneering families. The Mount Crawford Cemetery at the turn-around point was also part of the Murrayvale property, as was the ruined stone chapel. The bike ride also passes the Mount Crawford Arboretum and picnic area. Established in 1945 with a collection of Australian Eucalyptus, the Arboretum (where trees are grown for study and display) now also includes European and North American trees. It’s well worth a wander, and a great place for a picnic on the return journey.
Mt Crawford Forest Reserve bike rides provide the opportunity to see a working forestry operation, along with great views and a bit of local history. The bike ride starts from the Forest Headquarters and Information Centre, off the main Williamstown to Birdwood Road, so access is easy and facilities are available. There are hundreds of kilometres of paths within the forest and eight marked trails, including the long distance Heysen Trail (walking), Mawson Trail (cycling) and Kidman Trail (horse-riding). Ranging from flat, graded forestry roads to steep, rocky single tracks, there’s a path for every age and fitness level, so it’s perfect for a family day out – or a weekend away, camping out under the stars and forest pines at one of three campsites. And forest reserves are dog friendly, so you can take canine family members as well – just keep them on leads and away from wildlife.
From Williamstown, head east on Mount Crawford Road and then Warren Road towards Birdwood. Mount Crawford Forest HQ and Information Centre is 11kms from Williamstown on the left.
Food and Drink
Rainwater is available at the Information Centre but there are no shops or cafes nearby. There are picnic sites throughout the forest, so pack a portable feast.
These rides cover just a few of the forest tracks, so grab a map and create your own route. Note your path carefully, however, as many tracks are not signposted. Alternatively, stow your bike and take a hike along the Heysen Trail. Mt Crawford Forest Information Centre, open 9- 11am 7 days
- 0.0 Starting at the carpark at the forest headquarters, head left past the wooden sign marking rainwater and the Heysen Trail onto Murrayvale Rd. Ignore the ‘Authorised Vehicles Only’ sign, which applies to motor traffic only, and continue along the dirt road.
- 0.4 Cross the ford and round a bend to the Murrayvale farm buildings on the right. Continue as the track rolls gently through farming land.
- 0.8 The driveway to Murrayvale goes off on the right and the track climbs.
- 0.9 Ignore the path to the left, signed to a private residence, and climb the little hill. At the top enjoy the views of Mt Crawford and Wirra Wirra peaks ahead to the left. Descend to an area of recently logged forest and continue towards the native forest ahead.
- 1.4 Pass through the gate to the T-junction. In front is a sign for the Jenkins Scrub walking trail, part of the Heysen Trail, and a picnic table. Ignoring the minor paths running off, take the road to the left. Continue, ignoring a number of gates on your right.
- 1.9 Mt Crawford rises directly to the right.
- 2.3 The Arboretum, with picnic and parking area, to the right.
- 2.5 A large tree in the centre of the roadway leads to the Mt Crawford cemetery and chapel ruins on the left, and a mature pine plantation on the right. After a look around the ruins and the Arboretum, return along the route to the carpark.
- 5.00 At the forest headquarters, the ride ends.
5.066 km / 3.148 mi
87 m / 284 ft
86 m / 282 ft
442 m / 1,451 ft