BBQs, hiking, dog walking, mountain biking, horse riding
The Samford Conservation Park is an often overlooked bushland reserves that provides great opportunities for hiking, trail running, mountain biking and horse riding, as well as featuring the lovely little Ironbark Picnic area that features wood fired barbecues and picnic shelters.
Samford Conservation Park is crisscrossed with tracks and trails
The Samford Conversation Park is located in Ferny Hills between Ferny Grove and Samford Village with Samford Road passing through the lower end of the park separating a small section of the park from the main area. Its 600 hectares are crisscrossed with forest trails and mountain biking tracks.
The area attracts walkers, hikers, dog walkers, mountain bikers, trail runners and horse riders and the park allows access to all these activities across the park, with the mountain bikes tracks officially restricted to only people on bicycles.
There are 2 main parking areas which are the Ironbark Picnic Area which is labelled as Ironbark Gully in Google, and the Lomandra mountain bike warm-up area. Both areas seem suitable for parking horse floats. You can also walk from Ferny Grove Station if you are coming by public transportation.
Picnics and Barbecues
There is only one picnic and barbecue area, which is the Ironbark Picnic Area. This fairly shaded green area is in Ironbark gully with wood-fired barbecues and a large picnic shelter. However, the area is nicely shaded and you can usually find a picnic table out of the sun.
The 700 metre Crebra Circuit is a lovely little walk that is suitable for nearly any fitness level. Starting and ending at the Ironbark Picnic area, it is a great walk to do to build up an appetite for lunch, or just to enjoy a quick walk in nature.
Crebra Circuit is a nice short walk suitable for anyone
For those looking to walk or hike further, the park is crisscrossed with forest trails and mountain bike tracks. While the mountain bike trails have no signs excluding walkers, on the website it says that walkers are prohibited from using them. So stick to the forest trails as they are wide and are great for multiple users.
One of the best circuits that you can put together starts at the Ironbark Picnic Area and heads west along the Samford Road Break. There are some sections where the trail turns into a narrow track near the Lomandra Parking Area. Just as you leave this narrow section you want to turn right onto the PMG road.
You could continue down the Samford Road Break as this will join onto the PMG Road later. However, the PMG road rises up to the peak of the park giving you views to of the mountains to the west and Bunnyaville Conversation Park to the North. This is what makes this bushland area so special, that feeling of walking in the hills with bushland and mountains ranging off into the distance.
When you reach the end of the PMG Road it joins onto Bygotts Road which is a sealed road open to traffic. While you could walk up the verge of this road until you get to the start of the next fire trail it is better to divert on the Bandicoot Mountain Bike Trail for a short section. While mountain bikers do love to careen down here you can see them coming for a distance and the section you need to walk to avoid the road is very short. You will see a rough unmarked fire trail that you can divert onto that heads straight up the hill to Sewer Road.
You can avoid the road by walking a short distance along the Bandicoot mountain biking track
The unappealingly named Sewer Road takes you back down the hill and it will keep going until you hit the edge of the park. My preference is to turn right when you get to Lomandra Road before turning left onto the Three Ways Road and right onto the IGB break which will take you back down to the Samford Road Break, near where you started. You could also have kept going straight along Sewer Road until you reach the edge of the park and looping back around.
With wide-open paths with fairly smooth, if a little gravely, surfaces, and a range of inclines, Samford Conservation Estate is a very popular spot for trail runners. Common paths for trail runners include running up and then back down Sewer Road or doing a smaller running loop which might involve starting at the Lomandra Parking area and heading up Lomandra Road and back down the IGB Break, or starting at the Ironbark Picnic Area and doing a clockwise loop the goes up the IGB break and back down Geigers Road.
Dogs are welcome throughout the park. Remember, please keep them on a leash at all times, as even the best behaved four-legged friend may chase some native animals if they see them or bark at a horse if it is not expecting to see one.
Dogs on leashes are welcome in the conservation park
For mountain bikers, you have a large number of multi-use trails and mountain bike tracks to explore. At the Lomandra Parking area with a warm up area with a short little circuit to go around, however, most cyclists just head off on a ride. The Kombi Trail is probably the best one to head up, with numerous switchbacks that make the trail both interesting and less steep. From there you can head down the Bandicoot Trail which takes you either to the PMG Road or, if you are feeling brave, the more challenging Sunset Trail, which has steep sections and obstacles.
Mountain Biking on a share path at Samford Conservation Park
The Samford Conversation Park is a great horse riding area with multi-use trails covering the entire park. Riders should take note of some of the steeper and gravel covered sections and even areas with a couple of stairs that horses need to negotiate.
The Samford Conservation Park is often overlooked by people heading to other locations. It is definitely worth a visit for people looking for somewhere new to walk, hike, mountain bike, picnic and barbecue, as well as those looking for somewhere to exercise their horses.