Great places to Mountain Bike in SA

April 11, 2022

mountain biking

Mountain biking gained a foothold in Australia as early as late 1980s, when some dirt trails were organised in the hills of north Queensland.

By 1996 and after much work, local Mountain biking (MTB) rider Glen Jacobs arranged for the MTB World Championships to be held in Cairns, and the rest was history for Australia’s MTB scene and community. In no time at all, the world knew of Australia as MTB’s new and incredible frontier: a large beautiful expanse with unlimited, epic trails and paths.

Here in South Australia, Mountain Biking is becoming an increasingly popular past time with designated Mountain Bike Park's opening across the state.

If you want more on the latest on mountain bike trails to plan some school camps South Australia, check this list on the most noteworthy trails for various skill levels.

Fox Creek Mountain Bike Park
Fox Creek has long been South Australia's number one mountain biking destination with a mixture of cross country and downhill specific trails. After being completely destroyed in the Cudlee Creek fires of 2019, it is in the process of being rebuilt better than before. With a trails being professionally rebuilt and the additions of a skills park, cafe and more, Fox Creek is a must visit.

O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park
What was once grazing land for many years is now known as the O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park. The trails are a mixture of cross country and down hills that vary in difficulty. It's an excellent place for beginners as the ascents are not as steep as other locations. In saying that, certain vantage points allow great vistas of Adelaide city.

Sturt Gorge Recreation Park 
These trails connect with Craigburn Farm trails and together are another prime MTB destination in South Australia. It's an excellent choice for schools as there are plenty of beginner trails to gain confidence and learn skills. Sturt Gorge's claim to fame is its geological significance and conserved flora, notably the rare grey box grassy woodlands and primordial rock formation dating back to millions of years ago.

Melrose, Southern Flinders
The Flinders Ranges’ Melrose is a rustic MTB destination in the outback, with its very own Fat Tyre Festival held every June. Melrose Showground Trail is a nice 2km trail making a beeline among the horse paddocks. Beyond a few hundred meters, a narrow creek with quite manageable waters may present an excellent challenge for new riders.

Another nearby MTB trail is designed to connect Melrose and Wilmington, which will result in 2 kilometres of riding along an old rail corridor. Experienced riders use this trail, with sections of rough terrain and creek crossings to explore.

Kinchina Conservation Park (also known as Rocky Gully)
MTB fans who love the challenge of navigating more technical cross country trails will love Rocky Gully. As the name suggests some of the trails have you testing your balancing skills as you rock hop along both ascents and descents. But don't let that turn you off as there are plenty of easy flow trails for beginners to enjoy. If you come at the right time of the year, you can sight rare birds such as the hooded robin, the restless flycatcher, or the diamond firetail.

Cobbler Creek
Another great spot for beginner mountain bikers is the Cobbler Creek. Located in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, it's full of cross country trails and also includes pump track area for bike jumps.

Kuitpo Forest (also known as Prospect Hill trails)
Kuitpo Forest offers a diverse range of beginner to intermediate cross country trails in a beautiful pine forest setting. But like most woodland areas, be mindful of the risks of fires around the months of summer, as well as logging trucks and machinery that also use the roads.

Final tips:

Whenever we are in the great outdoors, we always want to make every minute count. Let’s make sure to give space to others who want to share in the trails as well.

So, to ensure everyone stays safe, mind the following:

- One important tip: keep away from muddy or unstable surfaces and trails, since the wear and tear by the tracks can result to even more erosion.
- Avoid areas which prohibit access, especially if there is forestry or excavation activities underway.
- Bikers, cyclists, and horse riders must always have helmets on and adjust speed depending on experience, terrain, and track conditions.
- Observe proper courtesy who gives priority: walkers give priority to cyclists, and both to horse riders.

Have fun biking with your school camps SA, but don’t forget to leave the park or bike trails as they are for future visitors to enjoy and appreciate, too.

If you are looking for a private trail, Beyond the Classroom manage a school camp called www.willowcreekadventurecamp.com.au and this has a dedicated flow trail for school groups.

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