Heathcote Pipeline Trail

Cycle Sydney, Mountain Bike Ride, Heathcote Pipeline Trail

This ride follows a pipeline access track through the beautiful Heathcote National Park and also the lovely Heathcote River. There are many opportunities along the trail to access some of the beautiful pools on the Heathcote River which are perfect for a dip on a hot summer’s day. One of the most notable of these pools is Lake Eckersley which can be reached via a short walk from the trail. Whilst not technically difficult this ride does involve some hills and is suitable for riders with good fitness levels.

Terrain

Bitumen, fire trail and some eroded bitumen. There are a few climbs and a causeway crossing that could be impassable after heavy rain.

Traffic

Vehicle traffic on Woronora Dam Road. Walkers and other trail users on fire trail.

Access

If coming by car take the Princess Highway via Engadine. If coming from the city turn right into Heathcote Road and then turn left into Forum Drive, Heathcote and park at the end of the road. If catching the train exit at Heathcote station ride down Heathcote Road and then left into Forum Drive.

Food and Drink

Public barbeques and water are available at Woronora Dam, no food or drink available at the Engadine trail head. Shops close by at Engadine and Heathcote.

Side Trip

Numerous side trips to pools along the ride including Lake Eckersley, and of course Woranora Dam at the point of return.

 

More Details

The ultimate object of the ride is the mighty Woronora Dam. Barbeque facilities exist here which make it perfect for a lunch time barbie. Signage at the dam states that it is only open to visitors between the hours of 10am and 5pm and that entering outside these hours is considered trespassing so be warned!

As the name suggests this ride follows a large green two metre in diameter pipeline which was initially constructed in 1940s for the purpose of carrying water from the dam. This ride is a favourite training ride for numerous southern Sydney MTB riders due to its distance and the fair amount of climbing involved. Whilst the ride undulates it tends to be mostly uphill on the leg out to the dam and downhill on the way back.

On some of the downhills great speeds can be reached and there are some rather tight corners to navigate. Please ride within your ability and be mindful of other trail users before really letting it rip on the downs. Lack of technical difficulty also makes the pipeline a great night ride. As written this is a 22km long jaunt, however it can be extended by crossing Heathcote Road and picking up the trail on the other side. Taking this option, rides of up to 50km return can be had. Most of the time you’ll find yourself on fire trail and sections of degraded bitumen road which makes it suitable for riders of all skill levels including beginners.

Whilst not technically challenging the numerous climbs and the distance mean that this ride is best suited to those with good fitness level. Absolute new comers to cycling and younger children may find the ride a little challenging. The Heathcote Pipeline is reasonably sheltered for most of its length and is suitable all year around. Warmer weather allows for a refreshing dip in one of the numerous bush pools along the way, however this ride would not be much fun in periods of extreme heat. Take note that the Pipeline should also be avoided after periods of heavy rain as the causeway can often be under a few feet of water making passing impossible.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Head to the end of Forum Dr and follow a rough trail.
  • 0.4 Go around the fire trail gates and continue on.
  • 0.5 Look for a walking trail starting off to your right and follow this. Bikes will have to be walked and it soon heads steeply downhill.
  • 0.7 Walking trail comes out onto the pipeline fire trail close to a small bridge which crosses the pipeline. Turn left and follow the fire trail. This is the Pipeline Trail.
  • 1.3 Junction with elbow pool.
  • 1.8 Junction with Goburra track off to your left.
  • 2.4 Junction with the Friendly Trail off to your left which is a walking trail leading to Heathcote Station 1.6km away.
  • 3.2 Walking trail to Mirang pool off to your right.
  • 4.5 Trail crosses the causeway. Note after heavy rain this is underwater and is not passable.
  • 4.7 Junction with the Lake Eckersley walking track off to your right.
  • 5.6 Junction with Goanna Track.
  • 6.4 Trail crosses another small causeway.
  • 7.4 Ignore trail off to the right which leads to Fryer Bird pool and Garra causeway.
  • 8.9 Trail comes to a large locked white gate which can be navigated around from the right. On the other side of the gate ignore the fire trail to the left heading uphill and continue on straight ahead.
  • 9.3 Fire trail comes out onto the Woronora Dam Rd, turn right and follow this into Woronora Dam.
  • 11.6 Ride finishes at Woronora Dam. After admiring the dam return the same way.
  • 22.0 Back at trail head and end of ride.
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    22.207 km / 13.799 mi

    Total Distance

    582 m / 1,909 ft

    Total Ascent

    581 m / 1,907 ft

    Total Descent

    255 m / 837 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    MTB Segment: flow
    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: 22.0
    Elevation Gain: 922
    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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