Mount York Trail

Cycle Sydney, Mountain Bike Ride, Mount York Trail

Here is a short but sweet ride which makes use of two historic trails to descend from Mount York Road down to the time-honoured town of Hartley Vale. Included is a fantastic section of good old fashioned wild single trail complete with technical challenges and a steep descent. A historic pub in the Comet Inn, superior views from various lookouts along the ridge top, and a lung busting climb back to the top via the Lawson’s Long Alley trail, guaranteed to turn even the strongest legs to a quivering mess. What more could you want from an MTB ride?

Terrain

There is a small section of bitumen, but you will mostly be enjoying fire trail and some great wild single track.

Traffic

The trail is popular with walkers and you may encounter some vehicle traffic on Lawson’s Long Alley and Hartley Vale Road sections.

Access

From Sydney, take the M4 through to the Blue Mountains. Approimately one kilometre after Mount Victoria township, turn right into Mount York Road. Turn right into Lockyer’s Track and Lawson’s Long Alley car park.

Food and Drink

The Comet Inn Pub is passed at the halfway point of the ride but note this has limited opening hours. Otherwise, the nearest shops are located in nearby Mount Victoria.

Side Trip

Descent down Cox’s Road or Berghoffer’s Pass Road.

 

More Details

If you are a history buff you might find this ride especially interesting. It uses the historic Lawson’s Long Alley/Lockyer’s Loop trail descending to Hartley Vale on the technical single trail of Lockyer’s Road and then regains all that lost height on the fire trail climb of Lawson’s Long Alley. Named after William Lawson and constructed in 1824, the Lawson’s Long Alley/Lockyer’s Road Loop follows the earliest tracks down the mountain into Hartley Vale.

Lawson along with Blaxland and Wentworth was one of the first Europeans to explore the Blue Mountains. After crossing the great divide he became one of the largest land-holders in Australia. He was made a magistrate and was appointed commandant at Newcastle. During its heyday, Hartley Vale, originally an old shale oil mining town was home to over 600 people. The town had dwellings for the miners and their families, a post office, butcher, bakery, a company school and of course a pub! Single track connoisseurs will love every minute of the first half of this ride as they follow Lockyer’s Road out along a narrow ridge and then descend into the valley below.

There is something special about riding a sweet bit of natural or ‘wild’ single trail as it winds its way through trees and around natural obstacles. This section of trail contains numerous technical challenges and culminates in a steep high speed descent complete with some sheer tricky sections and numerous log rolls. You’ll find the tree canopy provides ample shade and the topography provides an amount of protection from the elements. Mount York would be suitable for most of the year, however it may be a little uncomfortable in the height of summer due to the large climb involved.

While this ride is short there is one rather large climb involved as you climb back out of the valley along Lawson’s Long Alley. It is guaranteed to test the mettle of the fittest riders and will probably be walked by most, including the author! The small consolation is that while this climb is steep it is relatively short. If you get back to the car and your legs haven’t turned to the promised condition of jelly, you can extend the ride by descending back down into Hartley Vale on the single trail of Cox’s Road. From the bottom you can either climb back out on Lockyer’s Road or via Lawson’s Long Alley.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 From the car park you have a choice of two trails. Take the small trail to your left and ride over a small footbridge which is Lockyer’s. The trail directly in front of you and heading steeply downwards is Lawson’s Long Alley on which you will return.
  • 1.35 At T-intersection turn right and follow sign to Lockyer’s Rd.
  • 1.5 At intersection turn right.
  • 5.4 At T-intersection with fire trail turn right onto Lockyer’s Rd. Note sign.
  • 5.5 As you approach a sign for Cox’s Lockyer’s Rd – Lockyer’s Rd the trail roughly splits. Take the left option which parallels a farm fence line and heads downhill. Do not continue straight on as this will lead to an electrified fence and locked gate. The left hand path takes you to Cox’s Rd and returns to Mount York Rd.
  • 5.8 Trail comes out in a large picnic area, turn right and follow single trail which parallels Hartley Vale Rd.
  • 6.3 Just after you pass the Comet Inn look for a gate on your right which is the start of the Lawson’s Long Alley. Proceed through gate and follow this.
  • 9.3 At a cattle grid you’ll see a single trail starting off to your right indicated by a trail marker. Take this track to avoid the private property ahead.
  • 10.2 After exiting the single trail you come to an intersection. Directly ahead is a green building with solar panels. Take the right hand trail which is rough double track and note trail marker. This trail will soon start to climb back out of the valley.
  • 11.5 You arrive back at the car park. End of ride.
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    11.19 km / 6.953 mi

    Total Distance

    385 m / 1,263 ft

    Total Ascent

    386 m / 1,266 ft

    Total Descent

    1,067 m / 3,502 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: 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: 11.5
    Elevation Gain: 631
    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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