Montezuma Falls

Cycle Tasmania, Mountain Bike Ride, Montezuma Falls

Listed as one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, this is a rare walking track that is also open to mountain bikers. Following an old tramway beside Ring River, it burrows through rainforest to the state’s tallest waterfall. The slushy track and bone-rattling section of sleepers make a mountain bike the only option.

Terrain

Gently sloped track with a rough and often damp surface.

Traffic

Vehicle free, though the track is shared with walkers.

Access 

The Montezuma Falls car park is 8.5km from Rosebery. Travel south on the Murchison Highway for two kilometres and turn left onto Williamsford Rd. It’s a lightly trafficked ride from Rosebery, though mostly uphill.

Food and Drink

There are no eateries along or near the track.

Side Trip

At the end of the track, walk (or wobble) out onto the suspension bridge across the Ring River for good views tinged with a touch of seasickness.

 

More Details

The short track to Montezuma Falls follows a section of the old North East Dundas Tramway, which once linked mines in the thickly forested valley to smelters in Zeehan. Built in the 1890s, the narrow-gauge tramway transported goods and people for almost 40 years, making its last run in 1932, 18 years after the closure of the smelters. The track is now open to walkers and cyclists. Permanently shadowed by rainforest, the track surface will invariably be slick with a thin coating of water and mud, though it’s firm beneath.

From the car park, take the bike access track (the track on the left hand side) where, like a well-themed waterfall ride, you cross straight through a small stream and into a corridor of tree ferns. Two hundred metres on, the old vehicle track plunges down a steep and loose slope to a stream – don’t drink from this creek as the water flows down from mine works. The trickiest bit of the track is now behind you...at least until you return this way. Once onto the walking track on the opposite bank, it’s a lovely gentle cruise, with the track bending around the slopes and squeezing through moss-coated railway cuttings and rainforest.

There’s a second stony creek crossing after 1.4 kilometres, with an alternative to push your bike across the narrow bridge (there’s steps at its ends). Past a rest stop (signed as 20 minutes’ walk to the falls), sections of old tramway sleepers make for bumpier going, though it’s often possible to ride just to the side of them through the worst bits. By the time you pass a small mine shaft dug into the rock on the left, you should be able to hear the waterfall ahead. At the end of the track, park up your bike and follow the stepped boardwalk that leads to the base of the falls.

Thought to take their name from the Montezuma Silver Mining Company, Montezuma Falls spill over the escarpment in a thin stream, though don’t come expecting a cooling swim as there’s no pool at the bottom. At 104 metres in height, they are the tallest falls in Tasmania. Retrace your route to enjoy the rainforest in reverse. 

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 From the Montezuma Falls car park, begin on the bike access track (the track on the left).
  • 0.2 Veer right and go steeply downhill – riding or pushing – on the loose track to the stream.
  • 0.4 After climbing out from the stream, turn left onto the Montezuma Falls walking track.
  • 0.5 Here there’s an interpretive panel detailing the history of the North East Dundas Tramway.
  • 1.4 At a fork in the path, turn down right to the Ring River, rejoining the walking track on the opposite bank – the left fork crosses a very narrow footbridge with steps.
  • 1.5 Watch the wide gaps in the wooden bridge – use the planked wheel tracks.
  • 3.5 Keep left at a small fork in the track.
  • 3.6 Coming to a rest stop with a seat, continue straight ahead, ignoring the minor trail up the hill to the left.
  • 4.0 A very narrow boardwalk crosses a muddy section of the track. Test your balance or hop off and push.
  • 4.3 Look for the old mine shaft to the left of the track.
  • 4.4 End of the rideable track. Park your bike and walk on the few metres to view the waterfall. When finished, ride back along the outward track.
  • 4.8 The ledge at this end of the boardwalk means you will probably have to push across.
  • 5.2 At the rest stop, continue straight ahead.
  • 7.3 Veer left before the bridge, riding back across Ring River.
  • 7.4 Turning left, rejoin the walking track.
  • 8.4 As the walking track drops away steeply to the left, veer right and descend to the creek, climbing/pushing out steeply on the other side.
  • 8.6 Swing left onto the vehicle track.
  • 8.8 The ride finishes back at the car park.
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    8.916 km / 5.54 mi

    Total Distance

    382 m / 1,254 ft

    Total Ascent

    382 m / 1,254 ft

    Total Descent

    369 m / 1,211 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
    Ride Duration: <1 hr
    Fitness Level: Medium
    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: 8.8
    Elevation Gain: 292
    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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