This one's not your average mountain bike ride. But it's an adventurer's delight. This is one for the true explorer - someone who bought their mtb not for downhill thrills or adrenaline fuelled adventures; but who bought it to get away from it all. To go explore; connect with nature; to enjoy the bush and to challenge themselves on an endurance day out. And with just over 3,000m of climbing, combined with 130km in length, don't underestimate it!
There aren't too many rides you can do, by any type of bike, that take you through THREE stunning National Parks all within the one day (ok, admittedly, a big day), each with its own distinct character and quality, and State Forest.
Heading out of Captain's Flat you'll initially follow the signs towards Braidwood, and have a reasonably substantive climb on a sealed road leaving the small township. Once you reach the top of the ridge you'll go past two turn-offs to the right before reaching South Forest Way. Turn right here and this is where the real beauty of the ride begins.
You'll head down South Forest Way until reaching White Ash Road. At the end junction of White Ash Road is where the road quality deteriorates a little as you ride along Flat Range Fire Trail and then then left onto Bald Peak Road. The Jerrabuttgulla Forest reserve through this area is spectacular, with manferns and lush green forests. You'll soon turn left onto the Jinden Ridge Fire Trail and dip down into the Jinden Creek.
This is a great spot to take a break, have a bite to eat, before commencing the climb back out of the creek on the other side as you enter the second National Park of the day - Deua.
Jinden Ridge Road ends at the more significant Krawaree Road which connects Braidwowd with Cooma and other small towns along the way. You follow this only a short way before turning right onto Slap-Up Road.
Initially, Slap-Up Road is quite steep and with some loose, flinty rocks. However, this is not a significant challenge to mountain bikers who already feel well-prepared to tackle a ride of this nature. Along this section of road, the quality varies from smooth riding surfaces to some continued sections of flinty rocks.
Riding through this section you're passing through the beautiful forests of Gourock National Park, with some views and vistas across nearby forested mountain ranges.
At around 90km, you'll turn right onto Bald Peak Road and very soon thereafter take a left onto Tamarang Fire Trail. This will bring you up to the junction on Cowangerong Fire Trail; which is your last one before the final left back onto Parkers Gap Road and back down into Captain's Flat.
Much of this ride is suitable for gravel bike; and perhaps it could all be done by a well-seasoned, experienced and skilled gravel grinder with reasonable suspension.
However, there are sections that are quite steep (all riders can expect a few short sections to hike-a-bike) and with flinty, loose rocks. These sections are particularly along the Flat Range Fire Trail once you come off White Ash Road; the full extent of the Slap-Up Road; and then the return journey up Tunarang Fire Trail and Cowangerong Fire Trail.
For a full loop, this route starts and ends in Captains Flat. As well as the Hotel accommodation and meals available here; there's also a public sports ground with public toilet and picnic/BBQ facilities.
FOOD AND DRINK
You'll need to be well supplied and fully self-sufficient for this ride. It's a big day out by mountain bike and there are no provisions along the way. While there may be (definitely don't rely on it) some trickling streams en route, water quality is dubious and we don't recommend drinking from any streams.
However, there's a great (non-formalised) picnic spot at the Jinden Creek and surrounding flats at about the 50km mark.
For a faster - and easier - return route, you cuold continue along Anembo Road to Jerangle Road and straight back along the farmlands to Captains Flat. This is a good quality country road and will get you back much quicker if you're fading on daylight hours, time and/or energy.
122.043 km / 75.834 mi
3,376 m / 11,076 ft
3,361 m / 11,026 ft
1,468 m / 4,817 ft