If you want to get an inexperienced cycling friend addicted to mountain biking, introduce them to this little beauty. It is also ideal to ride with the family. Starting at the Forrest Trailhead also makes it possible for more experienced adventurers to do a loop with others before heading onto the more challenging trails.
This great little 3km loop will give novices a sense of achievement and a taste of mountain biking. The narrow singletrack descends gently over a series of dips from Forrest to the West Barwon Valley before climbing back to the start.
On the way back there are a couple of short steeper sections with corners providing an ideal opportunity to practice reading the trail ahead, correct gear selection and body weight transfer.
Look for the sign marked Trail 1 at the Forrest Trailhead. Within the first couple of hundred meters, you encounter a series of water bars on a downhill section which gives people an opportunity to get airborne. If you are a beginner or have limited technical skills you will still find this section a real thrill. The inexperienced will need to take some care on this descent, as the surface can get a little slippery on corners at speed. You whiz past quite close to some houses before entering eucalypt country. Towards the bottom of the descent, you skirt briefly along the Barwon River Valley and the landscape becomes more open. On the return ride from the valley, there are a couple of steeper sections in the climb. You will need to look well ahead to make the right gear selection rather than try and change on the hill. You also get good skill practice on a couple of tight uphill turns.
This sort of riding is perfect for developing basic bike handling skills before heading onto more challenging trails. You might want to do a couple of loops before dropping into the nearby brewery for lunch; alternatively, you may want to make a slight detour and follow the signs for a short distance to West Barwon Reservoir.
The ride starts at the Forrest Trailhead, a short distance past the Brewery on Forrest-Birregurra Road (the main road through Forrest) on the southern outskirts of town.
Food and Drink
You can get coffee, breakfast, lunch, a range of snacks, gourmet meats and cheeses and ice cream from the Forrest General Store in the main street between 8am - 5pm everyday. Playpi Chocolate, situated across the road from the Forrest trailhead, is the place to try a hot chocolate, fabulous coffee, a tasty cafe-style lunch or jump straight into a delicious dessert or chocolate open 10am -5pm daily. For dinner check out the The Forrest Brewery in the main st for great beer and informal, locally sourced food paired with their craft beer, local wines, and freshly roasted coffee, open Sunday- Wednesday 9am-5pm, Thursday 9am-9pm and Friday- Saturday 9am- 10pm. The Terminus Hotel in Station Street for a good pub feed and friendly atmosphere, open daily for lunch and dinner. Grocery shopping in the town of Forrest is limited so it pays to stock up before you come. The Forrest general store has a range of essentials but for super-
market shopping stop at Colac or Winchelsea on the way.
Plenty of cycle-friendly accommodation right in Forrest catering for campers, families, singles, and groups. Check out Airb&b or Stayz. Camping available at The Wonky Stables Caravan Park.
Visit Forrest Hire Bikes in the main street next to The General Store for maps of the trail network, along with information on local tourist attractions.
Suggested side trips include:
* Join a Paddle with the Platypus tour with Otway Eco Tours at Lake Elizabeth
• Drive down to the coast to Apollo Bay
• Ride or drive to Lake Elizabeth car park, then enjoy
a 20-30 minute walk down to the lake
• Try the local beers at the brewery
• Check out West Barwon Reservoir
* Tree Tops Adventure
* Stevensons Falls located at the end of a gravel rd approx 6km from Barramunga which is about 15 minutes drive from Forrest towards the coast.
• Great road cycling opportunities. The annual Amy’s Gran Fondo ride travels through this area.
2.88 km / 1.79 mi
76 m / 249 ft
67 m / 221 ft
225 m / 740 ft