I'm a freelance writer addicted to cycling and coffee.
Published April 30th 2013
Grab your mountain bike and ride the Mt Remarkable trails
Stunning scenery along the Weaving Camels trail; a burnt out ancient red gum.
The Mt Remarkable trails are, well, remarkable. Located on the the edge of Melrose, a network of 75km's of purpose built trails offers exciting and varied single track riding in a beautiful Flinders Ranges environment.
Melrose, lies at the base of Mt Remarkable and is around 3 hours drive north of Adelaide. The township is a great based for your riding adventures with a variety of accommodation options. The Melrose Mountain bike website lists accommodation options including the Melrose Tourist Park, which offers camping, caravan sites and cabins, and the cosy Melrose Holiday Cabins. Meals and accommodation are available from the North Star Hotel and the Mt Remarkable Hotel. The General Store carries a range of groceries.
Hey ho, lets go. Flowing single track.
As soon as you hit Melrose, head in to the Over the Edge Bike Shop (OTE) for a coffee, a chat and to pick up your official Mt Remarkable Trail Map. The guys at OTE have been integral to establishing the Mt Remarkable trails and Melrose as a cycling destination.
The shop is very cool, offering spares and accessories, clothing you might need, plus a great range of very cool mountain machines available for purchase or hire. Why not hire and test ride a bike before buying?
OTE make a great latte and have a collection of cool mountain bike movies running for you to watch while you sit on the couch and salivate over all the bike goodness. If you do happen to break something on your bike while riding the trails, then OTE has a full work shop and a mechanic on hand.
All trails are well marked. Note the blue and black shapes indicating difficulty rating.
Have a chat to the OTE guys and they will help you pick your rides as they have an intermit knowledge of the trails. They also have regular shop rides so you may find yourself invited on a ride with the locals. This is a great way to familiarise yourself with the trail network.
Sign just above the Monument. Note the coloured arrows which indicate yellow or purple loops which link trails together.
All Mt Remarkable Trails are fully signposted with directional markers, names and grades. The trails are classified green, blue and black based on the IMBA standards. The trail marking is very good and it is easy to navigate around.
The Melrose Mountain Bike web site, gives you a fun descriptive overview of the trails if you like to dream about the trails before you ride them. The site also includes some nice video of the trails.
Weaving Camels weaves in and out of Mt. Creek.
An easy introduction to the Mt Remarkable trails is Weaving Camels which starts just near the footbridge over the creek from the Melrose Tourist Park. Whilst it is a blue trail, it is very ridable, following the Mount Creek, weaving in and out of the huge shady red gums that line the usually dry watercourse. If you ride this trail in the early morning or late afternoon you are likely to see plenty of euros. My wife enjoys this trail and she is a cautious rider. You can do this as a return trip or continue on to ascend the switchbacks of Big Rhua, a black diamond trail.
Euros admire your cool mountain bike moves.
Benched trail on Big Rhua.
If you want to get straight into the blue runs climb the Monument trail which also commences just over the creek from the Melrose Tourist Park up to, well you guessed it, the Monument. This is steady climb to get your heart rate up and get your head used to the narrow singletrack typical of the trail network. Take a moment or three at the Monument to let your heart rate drop and to take in the fantastic view across Melrose and the plains beyond.
Typical trail width running across the hill slopes. A dual suspension bike is a popular choice on these trails.
From the Monument, go through the gate and take the Farmers Freewheelin Fun Track and then ride Benchin and Text book 10%. Confidence is key with these trails running across the steep lower slopes of Mt Remarkable with gravity wanting to suck your front wheel down off the trail. So look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go and ride confidently. If you are enjoying the scenery, make it a glance or stop for a look otherwise you may get a closer inspection of the soil and geology of the Adelaide Geosyncline than you wish. Before long you get used to it and will be enjoying these fast flowing trails.
Track junctions are well marked. Pick your adventure.
Textbook 10% and Benchin connect you to a bunch of other blue and black trails. You can make up your own loops or follow one of the yellow, blue or purple loops on the official trail map. These coloured loops help you join combinations of blue and black runs together to loop across the Mount. You will see corresponding coloured arrows on the trail marker posts to help you stay on a given coloured loop. The Yellow loop is a great place to start.
Classic Flinders Ranges red gum creek line on the Showgrounds trail. An easy ride for the family.
For something a bit more mellow or with the kids, the Showground green trail is an easy run along the flats. This trail will reward you with large mobs of grey kangaroos if you ride it dusk or dawn. The Showgrounds trail provides a link to the Melrose Wilmington Rail Trail giving access whilst avoiding the main road.
So pack up the car, put your bikes on the roof or rack and head for Melrose. A lovely little town with over 75km of awesome single track just waiting for you.