Cycle Victoria, Mountain Bike Ride, The You Yangs MTB Ride
This ride is for people wanting to get a taste of mountain bike riding. The You Yangs Regional Park has a 50 kilometre network of purpose-built tracks developed by Parks Victoria and mountain bike enthusiasts. There are currently four routes of which two, the Lumberjack and Plantation tracks, are classified as easy. The other two tracks are described as ‘tight, technical single-tracks and an extreme downhill, not for the faint hearted.’ Best get your legs on these simple tracks before progressing to the extreme.
This is a purpose built single track MTB course on fairly flat terrain.
For most sections of the track it is easy to see riders coming from the other direction.
The You Yangs are 55 kilometres southwest of Melbourne on the Princes Freeway via Little River. Turn right onto the You Yangs Road crossing over the railway line, left at Farrars Road and right onto Branch Road. The entrance to the park is three kilometres on the right.
Coming from Lara travel six kilometres north on Forest Road North before turning right onto Branch Road and then left. The start of the ride at the information office car park is not far down Turntable Drive. VicRoads Map: 444 E6.
Access by train is best from Lara Station on Mill Road onto Station Lake Road and then right at the roundabout onto Forest Road North.
Food and Drink
There are plenty of shops in Lara, but that’s it.
There are the two Stockyard MTB sections with crosscountry and downhill riding. A must do is the ride to the summit of the ranges.
The You Yangs is a group of granite outcrops that, whilst they only rise 340 metres, dominate the horizon for miles around. Traditionally this has been a place for walkers and rock climbers and in that regard it hasn’t changed. For mountain bike riders, the park which is open from 8.00 am until 5.00 pm, is now becoming a bit of an attraction, with a dedicated focus on riders’ needs. The ride commences in the car park at the entrance of the park where you will find what information you might need, including a map of the MTB tracks from the park information office.
All the tracks are signposted with coloured numbers that keep you from getting lost or straying onto difficult terrain. It’s not long into the ride until it goes from being a path through the forest to being a fun, twisting zippy experience. The tall grey strands of eucalypt plantation trees provide an ideal setting for this zigzag trail that winds between them. It’s almost mesmerising and good fun over the slight inclines that takes you up and down. It’s pretty easy though over these relatively flat tracks that provide a perfect introduction to mountain biking.
Once you get to the Kurrajong car park and picnic area you will find a “pump’ track, which is designed in a way that by just bouncing on your front suspension, you should be able to ‘pump’ your way over all the humps without using your pedals. This is where the next section, the Plantation Track commences and it is slightly more challenging than the Lumberjack because it’s hillier and as a few more tricks along the way.
Overall these include a ramp over a fallen tree; numerous dry bed creek crossings; balancing on split tree trunk planks; flying up and down the side of a creek bed and a jump over a hump and ditch. All good clean fun. The Plantation Track returns to the Kurrajong picnic area and then back to the information centre on the other half of the Lumberjack Track. If you’ve still got some energy, ride up to the summit for some great views or explore some of the walks.
- 0.0 The ride commences in the car park beside the park information office. Head behind the toilets where you will find the trail marked with a green ‘17’ sign post representing the Lumberjack Track.
- 0.2 The path splits. Take the right turn as the left will take you back to the road.
- 0.3 Follow the ‘17’ route sign to the right as it enters a thick plantation area where the path twists back and forth between the numerous eucalypt trunks.
- 0.9 You come to the first obstacle, a ramp over a fallen tree. You can go around it if you want.
- 1.1 The path crosses a service road. This occurs often throughout the ride and there is no traffic, apart from Parks Victoria vehicles, to worry about.
- 1.7 The path leaves the eucalypts and enters a pine plantation just to add some variety to the ride.
- 1.8 You arrive at the Kurrajong picnic area where you will find toilets and the ‘pump’ track. Follow the path around to the right and cross over the car park to the covered information display where you will see the ‘16’ marker for the Plantation Track, the next section of the trail. This section of trail has more obstacles and jumps, the first of which will be some dips through small dry creek beds.
- 3.1 You come to an intersection with track ‘15’, which is the more advanced Chainsaw Track. Unless you want more of a challenge stay on track 16 going to the left.
- 3.6 The creek bed crossing here is a bit larger than the earlier ones.
- 4.5 You have come to another fork in the track. Follow ‘16’ to the left.
- 5.2 This section has a number of split tree trunk balancing obstacles. There is also a crossing over an old track where you will need to go to the right.
- 5.3 The trail 16 goes off to the left.
- 6.4 There is a good-sized creek bed to cross where you will need to get up some momentum to get up the other side.
- 6.9 Some more dips and small bridge crossings lie ahead.
- 8.0 The next trick is a jump over a hump with a ditch on the other side. You might want to have a couple of goes at this one.
- 8.3 The track comes along side a creek bed where you can zip up and down the banks.
- 8.5 You emerge back at the Kurrajong picnic area where you cross over and continue back onto the Lumberjack Trail, number ‘17’.
- 8.7 In this section there are some small log jumps.
- 10.2 The path comes onto the bush road, heads to the small car park and then re-enters the bush on the left.
- 10.8 After climbing up the side of the hill you will see the summit of the ranges and come to a crossing where you will turn right under the old dead gum tree and head back to the park office.
- 11.1 You arrive back at the car park behind the toilets and information office and the end of the ride.
11.122 km / 6.911 mi
138 m / 453 ft
138 m / 452 ft
104 m / 341 ft