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Bowden Spur Mountain Bike Track

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by Anita Coia (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Melbourne, curious about everything, usually making a living via corporate communications. Visit my LinkedIn profile at au.linkedin.com/in/anitacoia
Published November 11th 2012
A thrilling new mountain bike trail has opened in Kinglake
bowden spur mountain bike trail
Bowden Spur Mountain Bike Trail

Mountain bike riding is a serious sport in Australia, and its debut at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics really propelled it onto the world stage as a tough competitive sport.

Now, Australia's latest professional mountain biking trail has opened in the Kinglake National Park, offering a very challenging ride with one of the best views in Melbourne.
bowden spur mountain bike trail
Experienced riders only...for now

Located off Bowden Spur Road in Kinglake, and traversing the reserve that runs under the high tension powerlines, the first trail of an eventual total of three offers a diverse technical downhill trail. Shepherds Trail has a drop of 233 metres along a distance of two kilometres, and it's a thrilling ride with some very steep sections.
bowden spur mountain bike trail
You've been warned...

According to the National Parks website, Shepherd's boasts 'dirt jumps, rock gardens, bomb holes, flowing earth berms and contains large sections of off-camber riding', and is rated 'Double Diamond' - for experts only. Full safety gear is mandatory, as you'll be riding through treed sections and any mistakes could have dire consequences.
bowden spur mountain bike trail
Watch out for the trees

The area has been a few years in the making, and was actually opened in June 2012 but was forced to close in July after heavy rain and heavy use damaged the track. However, it recently reopened and is again a popular venue for riders. In fact, the area was already popular for mountain bike riding, and the National Park people saw an opportunity to work with riders to develop a facility that could be safely used by a wider group of people.
bowden spur mountain bike trail
Good signage on the trail

The start of the trail has minimal facilities (a toilet, and an information board in the car park) but it's well-maintained. There is no water source, so it's BYO everything. However, you're only a five minute drive to the Kinglake township so you can stock up there.
bowden spur mountain bike trail
The trail drops down the spur under the powerlines

It might also be a good idea to organise a mate (or parent) to be a designated driver to assist with the return trip from the end of the trail to the top. The 233 metre drop means getting back to the start requires about a 15-20 minute walk up a steep, winding section of Bowden Spur Road, an unsealed road that gets very dusty in dry weather. However, this didn't seem to deter many riders on the day I visited.

The upside to the 233 metre drop is a stunning view of Melbourne on a clear day, right through to the CBD on the horizon.
bowden spur mountain bike trail
Magnificent views - but keep your eyes on the track!

The National Park's website doesn't offer any clues about when the other two trails will be built, and there isn't any work evident at the site, but Shepherds Trail will satisfy hard-core riders. Take a look at the embedded video on the National Parks page for a taste of what it's like.
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Why? A thrilling new professional mountain biking trail has opened in the Kinglake Ranges.
When: Any time
Where: Bowden Spur Road, Kinglake
Cost: Free
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