Cycle Sydney, Mountain Bike Ride, The Oakes Fire Trail
The Oakes is one of the most popular MTB rides in Sydney and very possibly Australia. It begins at Woodford station and ends 444 metres below at Glenbrook Station. While there is a decent amount of climbing in the first half of the ride, once the helipad is reached at the half way mark, it’s one long downhill run. If it’s been recently graded, the smooth wide trail allows for a sustained thrilling high speed blast. The icing on the cake is the fantastic Oakes single track which is one of the best in Sydney.
Smooth well graded undulating fire trail with some sweet single track.
Walkers, cyclists, and short shared section with vehicles. It can get busy during weekends.
Car: From Sydney take the M4 then onto Great Western Highway. Exit at Glenbrook and park at Glenbrook station car park, so your car can be accessed at the end of the ride. You will then need to catch the train to Woodford station, or grab a lift to Woodford with a fellow rider for a post-ride car shuffle.
Train: From Glenbrook station take the train to left into Railway Parade.
Food and Drink
There is no food or drink at the trail head so be sure to take plenty of provisions with you. There are plenty of shops, cafes and bakeries to be found in Glenbrook at the end of the ride.
Check out Lost World Lookout off St Helena’s Trail.
The large number of bikes and riders on Glenbrook station on any Saturday or Sunday morning is a testament to the popularity of the Oakes with the Sydney MTB community.
This ride follows the Oakes fire trail for its 31km length from Woodford through to Glenbrook around 444 metres below. Undulating frequently there are a surprising number of climbs to test your legs in the first part of this ride. The trail had recently being graded when I was there making it silky smooth enabling speed from the downhills to be carried into most of the climbs making them seem a little less arduous. The final climb, out of Glenbrook Creek, on the black top is relatively short but rather steep and is a real challenge.
As the trail winds its way along ridge tops make sure you take the time to have a look around as some excellent views of the Lower Blue Mountains can be had. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Sydney CBD and during the evening, Sydney’s lights can be seen twinkling in the distance. With the hills behind you eventually you will reach the ‘Helipad’ at around the half way point. This marks the start of one long smooth and fast downhill run where speeds of 40kph can be easily maintained all the way through to fire trail gates at the Oakes picnic ground. Lovers of the narrow stuff will be delighted with 3km of some of the sweetest single track in Sydney to finish the ride.
It starts off with a fast and flowing nature and then starts to deteriorate into a more technical ride toward the end before eventually joining back onto the main road. If you’re not a fan of the technical stuff there are numerous opportunities to exit back to the main fire trail early. This ride is quite exposed to the elements for most of its length and while it can be bitterly cold in winter, the lack of shade can make it equally hot in summer.
Be prepared for all weather eventualities and make sure you have the appropriate clothing. If riding in the warmer months it is advised to start early and carry plenty of water as none is available along the route. Whilst not recommended for total beginners, those with average fitness and basic bike handling skills should have no problems.
26.36 km / 16.379 mi
469 m / 1,540 ft
913 m / 2,995 ft
618 m / 2,028 ft