More remote Mountain Bike rides
A significant amount of preparation is required prior to undertaking most of the rides in this section. At a minimum you need to know basic repairs, carry food and water sufficient for the ride, most riders will need a hydration pack in order to carry sufficient supplies for these rides. Throw a head torch in your pack in case of running out of daylight - sounds silly but it is much easier to find your way back to the car with a bit more light than provided by your phone - this I know from hard won experience.... For several of the rides you will need to be able to read a topographic map - details of maps and grid references are included where required. In addition your mobile phone probably won't work, so make sure someone knows where you went, what time you are due back and who to call if you are overdue. The distances provided here are approximate, as the on bike GPS units often cut in and out with the tree cover, cross checks have been made off maps but please use them as a guide only, allow plenty of time for your trip.
Due to the remoteness of these trips a few extra spare parts do not go astray - many of these rides take you a long way beyond a locked gate leaving an epic walk out if you have a mechanical. The following tools and spares can save you this slow journey (this is in addition to your usual kit of tubes, levers and multitool);
- at a minimum a chain breaker and "missing link" combined with the knowledge to remove your derailleur and turn your bike into a single speed, allow you to ride at least along the flats and downhills.
- spare derailleur hanger (you need one to fit each different bike make and in some cases model), the hanger is designed to bend or break before the frame or derailleur does and is a relatively cheap replaceable part, you can use a multitool to reattach the derailleur and keep riding happy in the knowledge that you have saved yourself a long walk.
- for larger groups or more remote regions an old derailleur is worth considering as a spare. This is the part of the bike which is most susceptible to damage and is relatively easy to replace in the field.
- a plastic five dollar note is useful for repairing a large cut or split sidewall in a tyre, line the gash with the plastic note (folded over a couple of times) prior to putting in your tube - the note prevents the tube squeezing out of the gash.
Finally ride carefully as help can take awhile to reach you and walking out with a broken collarbone (or worse) is a good way to ruin the rest of your holiday!
There are four discreet geographical locations for Cascade Fire Trail (on the Alpine Way just above Thredbo), Geehi Flats campground (on the Alpine Way approximately 40km towards Victoria from Cascade Fire Trail), Guthega Power Station (on the road to Guthega Ski Village) and Nimmo Hill (off the Eucumbene Rd). The Cascade Fire Trail can be ridden with little knowledge of topographic maps and the location can be easily found without the maps - as the section goes on the start points are a little harder to find without the skills to also complete the routes.
Topographic maps are available locally as well as various outlets in major centres - paper copies can be ordered online or electronic PDF's can be downloaded from NSW Land and Property Information it is well worth purchasing and studying the maps prior to your trip.
Section 1: Cascade Fire Trail
Parking at the trail head of Cascade Fire Trail and using the Thredbo (8524- I&IV) 1:50,000 mapsheet
- Dead Horse Gap to Barry Way via the Cascade Trail and Nine Mile Pinch, approx 55km as a through trip.
You'll need to arrange a shuttle to drop you at the Trail Head and collect you at the Nine Mile Pinch gate on the Barry Way, see the Rolling Grounds Trail Map for more details. This ride is a serious undertaking, you need to be prepared for a full day in the saddle with enough food and water to see you through.
The following options provide detail for those considering the full trip but also allow for a ride into this area with the option of turning around and returning along the way you have come. This provides an option, for those without map reading skills, the fitness or the inclination to undertake the full journey, to experience this beautiful part of the country. Brumbies are very common along this trail and because of the locked gate you do have a feeling of remoteness.
- Cascade Hut return (Approx 19km return)
Follow Cascade Fire trail over Bobs Ridge to Cascade Hut (approx. 9.5km each way) Bobs Ridge is a significant hill. Return via same trail, an option for those with newer or younger riders ready to step up and go out for the day. Pack lunch and allow plenty of rest stops while climbing the hill - perhaps even be prepared to hike over the hill. The hard work is over once you reach Cascade Hut, so if you feel up to it head a bit further along the trail. Remember to leave plenty of time to climb back over Bobs Ridge on the return journey.
- Carters Hut (often called Tin Mine Hut - Approx 52km return)
For the more adventurous continue past Cascade hut for a further 16.5km to Tin Mine or Carters Hut (Grid Reference GR 117375) (approx. 52km return trip from Thredbo Rd). There are plenty of other turning points along the way and a couple of trails going off the main one on both sides. If you are not familiar with maps and/or don't have one, ensure you are clear which way you have to go on your return at each junction you pass.
Section 2: Geehi Flats Campground
Mt Kosciusko (8525 - II & III) 1:50,000 mapsheet
Head over Dead Horse Gap and follow the Alpine Way to the Geehi Flats campground (about 43km from Thredbo but a slow drive on a windy road). It is well worth camping here for a couple of days to enjoy both of these rides, they can be done in one big day (about 55km ride distance) but could just as easily be split to make for 2 shorter days. To split the ride you either need 2 vehicles or a willing shuttler, this allows time to relax with a spot of fishing, swimming or just hanging out with the family in this beautiful area.
- Part 1 - Swampy Plain to Scammels Lookout via Bogong Creek Fire Trail (Approx 31km to Alpine Way then shuttle back to campground OR link with Part 2 for a big day out)
From the Geehi Flats campground, head along the Alpine Way towards Khancoban for 3.5km to GR 079743 (just past Geehi Reservoir Rd). Turn right onto Bogong Ck Fire trail and follow the trail as it contours in a NE direction for about 21km reaching the intersection with Bourke’s Gorge Rd at GR129866. Turn left follow Bourke’s Gorge Rd (along Scammels Ridge) back to the Alpine Way, for a further 10km. Get in your vehicle and drive back to the campground for a well earned rest.
- Part 2 - Scammels Lookout to Swampy Plains via Major Clews Loop (Approx 21km with a shuttle to Scammels Ridge on the Alpine Way)
Use your vehicles, or kindly significant other, to shuttle to the locked gate near Scammels Lookout GR 065810.
Follow Major Clews Fire Trail for a great descent, passing Major Clews Hut to junction GR023828 (approx 7.5km) turn left onto Geehi Walls Fire Trail and climb to Geehi Walls a further 5.5km (climbing from this direction is significantly less steep than coming the other way. Descend again, at GR049758 take the right fork to drop down to Swampy Plain River, crossing the river and continuing on Bears Flat crossing the river again before returning to Geehi Flats campground.
Geehi Flats to Tom Groggin - approx 22km.
The bicentennial trail (which runs the length of Australia, from Cooktown in Queensland to Healesville in Victoria a distance of 5,330km) was rerouted and rebuilt in June 2014 between Geehi Flats campground and Tom Groggin. It is wide enough for two horse riders to ride side by side and was constructed by Rolling Ground. It is great exploring but don't expect spectacular views - you are in the valley and there is a decent tree canopy, having said that there is plenty to see on the way. A great trail to take the kids on as you can just ride as far as their legs allow. It is a shared trail - horses, walkers and mountain bikes so please take care not to spook walkers or horses - we do often approach quickly and silently.
section 3: Guthega Power Station
Park at Guthega Power Station - Ride to Valentines Hut (Approx 34 km return)
Most of the ride is on the Mt Kosciusko (8525 - II & III) 1:50,000 mapsheet, ideally you would have Khancoban (8525-I&IV) as well as it shows the 3km to Valentines hut - but this section is on fire trail and you could find your way back onto the Kosci sheet.
This ride heads North into the park by following the Munyang River valley, there is a fair bit of climbing on the way to Schlink Pass but it makes for a quicker return journey. There are several old cattleman's huts along the way as well as some spectacular scenery, especially once you crest Schlink Pass.
Ride Directions: Follow the road in a northerly direction and climb to Schlink Pass (approx. 9km) continue on past the Schlink Hilton hut GR 243845(at about 10km). A further 2km of riding brings you to the junction of the Valentine Fire Trail. Turn right and follow for about 5km more to reach Valentine Hut. Return to Guthega Power Station via the same route.
Section 4: Snowy Plains/Nimmo Hill Area
Park on the crest of Nimmo Hill at GR 427926 under the High Voltage Powerlines.
Not for the faint hearted, riding in this area is adventurous requiring a bit of route finding and several significant climbs, but takes you to some classic Snowy's Country. Four wheel drive gravel roads lead to disused trails which wind across the rolling plains north of Jindabyne. Brumbies and old Cattlemen's huts are common sightings and the rides finish with a climb back up Nimmo Hill.
Ride 1: Davies Plain Loop – best done in Summer or Autumn – in Spring the water is often high and very cold in the Gungarlin River. Approx 18km but snow grass and rough trails make for slow going across Davies Plain - plan to be out for a few hours.
Use the Eucumbene (8625-N) 1:50,000 or Nimmo Plain (8625-4S) 1:25,000 mapsheets
Follow the Island Bend Fire Trail in a SW direction (you’ll return to your car via Nimmo Rd from the NW) for approximately 7km to the Gungarlin River. (This is also a good bush camping spot in the National Park.) Cross the river via the bridge, turn right and follow the rough trail across Davies Plain. There is an option to take a diversion to Davies Plain Hut, we often sight Brumbies in this area. You will have crossed a couple of small side creeks but now need to ford the Gungarlin proper, a welcome respite on a hot day Summer's day but not so much fun in Spring. At the 6km mark GR 408919, soon after passing a hut on your left, bear left follow the track down for the second ford crossing of the Gungarlin. Roughly 1km after this ford, you join Snowy Plains Fire trail – Turn right, cross the Gungarlin again via the steel bridge, rejoin Nimmo Rd and settle into the granny gear for the climb back to the car.
Ride 2: Nimmo Hill – Cesjacks Hut (GR 306989 Hut position not shown on 1:50,000 mapsheets) return. (Approx 32km return with a short walk into the NP to get to Cesjacks or view Jagungal)
Use the Eucumbene (8625-N) & Khancoban (8525-N) 1:50,000 or Nimmo Plain (8625-4S) & Jagungal (8525-1S) 1:25,000 mapsheets
Descend down Nimmo Rd in a NW direction for approx. 3km, cross the Gungarlin on the steel bridge (you could park here to save yourself a climb at the end of the ride). Follow the Snowy Plains Fire Trail for approx. 13km to the National Park boundary. There are several significant climbs along this trail, which you will get to enjoy on the return journey. Hide your bikes in the bush and walk the last couple of kms into Cesjacks Hut, about 1km from the NP gate you crest the ridge and gain great views of Mt Jagungal. Return via the same route.