Dismal Swamp Riding through the rainforest

Cycle Tasmania, Mountain Bike Ride, Dismal Swamp

Riding through the rainforest Dismal Swamp...tough name, tough track at the edge of Australia’s largest temperate rainforest. The track is divided into three loops of increasing technical difficulty - less experienced riders might want to limit themselves to the Wandering Wombat and Blue Tongue loops. Note that Dismal Swamp’s gates close at 5pm November to March and 4pm October to April, with a hefty call-out fee to unlock them.

Terrain

A trio of linked, purpose-built mountain bike tracks in dense rainforest. The clay soil can get slippery after rain - a fairly typical event in a rainforest.

Traffic

All three tracks can be ridden in one direction only, keeping to a minimum the number of riders you’ll encounter, as does the remoteness of the location.

Access

Travel about 35 kilometres west along the A2 from Smithton, into the far northwest corner of the state, to reach Dismal Swamp.

Food and Drink

There’s a cafe inside the Dismal Swamp visitor centre.

Side Trip

Park up the bike and pay a visit to the sinkhole that forms the basis of Dismal Swamp, plummeting down a 110-metre slide to the forest floor.

 

More Details

Blanketing Tasmania’s northwest corner is the Tarkine, the largest tract of temperate rainforest (4500 square kilometres) in the country. At its northern fringe, Forestry Tasmania has created the Dismal Swamp tourist venture offering walking tracks, a 110-metre- high slide to the forest floor and one of Tasmania’s few purpose-built mountain bike tracks. Known as The Edge, the track consists of three interconnected loops - the Wandering Wombat, Blue Tongue and Deviant Devil - pushing deep into the blackwood forest, each one more difficult and technical than the last.

By the car park, two signs welcome you onto the track: an archway marking the start of the gentle Wandering Wombat track; and a warning about snakes - try to focus on the first sign. The Wandering Wombat is little more than a forest path, hard-rolled and gravelly, gently rising and falling through the rainforest and ferny gullies. The Blue Tongue offers more singletrack and more climbing (and is also slushier after rain), heading further into the forest before hooking up with the aptly named Deviant Devil. This final loop is pure singletrack, with a tight, twisting beginning that’s hairpin upon hairpin. If you don’t like what you see, you can double back on the tester track after 400 metres. Past the tester track junction the track does become a little more free-flowing, but it’s temporary.

As the track turns back on itself at The Landing, beside a vehicle track, the real crux of this trail begins. A section through a narrow gully here is particularly tight, with some steep climbs and plunging drops - there’s also a nervy leap between two trees on the final climb out of the gully if you care to take it.

From here, the Deviant Devil is as tight and twisting as the small intestines, with sharp pinch after sharp pinch and tree roots groping across the path. There’s a steep drop as you rejoin the Blue Tongue track, but after the previous two kilometres this trail should seem like a roll through the park, even if it didn’t on the ride out. The Blue Tongue track leads back to the Wandering Wombat and a gentle winding end.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start at the entrance to The Edge mountain bike track beside the Dismal Swamp car park, riding anticlockwise on the Wandering Wombat track.
  • 0.2 The track passes the Dismal Swamp visitor centre; turn down left through another Wandering Wombat archway.
  • 0.6 Cross a narrow bridge over a ferny gully.
  • 1.2 Veer right onto the Blue Tongue track.
  • 1.3 Cross a fire trail and continue through the Blue Tongue archway (the higher of the two tracks).
  • 1.9 Ride around the large, burnt-out tree rather than through it.
  • 2.8 Ride across the narrow bridge.
  • 3.0 Turn left onto the Deviant Devil track (or, if skipping this more difficult trail, turn right, returning downhill along the Blue Tongue track).
  • 3.4 Veer right; the track to the left offers the option of doubling back on the tester track to the Blue Tongue track if the Deviant Devil is proving too difficult.
  • 4.8 As you come to a vehicle track, turn right, following the singletrack beside the road.
  • 6.4 Ride across the narrow bridge.
  • 7.2 At the end of the Deviant Devil track, turn down left onto the Blue Tongue track, dropping steeply.
  • 7.6 Ride across the narrow bridge.
  • 8.3 Cross the fire trail.
  • 8.5 Turn right onto the wider, firmer Wandering Wombat track.
  • 10.3 Finish the ride back at the Dismal Swamp car park.
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    8.002 km / 4.972 mi

    Total Distance

    181 m / 594 ft

    Total Ascent

    181 m / 594 ft

    Total Descent

    108 m / 354 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Low
    MTB Segment: downhill
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 10.3
    Elevation Gain: 200
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

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