Surface: Cross country
Grade: Easy, more difficult, very difficult
Open: No seasonal closures
Wheelchair accessible: No
More information: rideforrest.com.au
Bomb, flow, hurtle or delicately pick your way down, the Forrest Mountain Bike Park has something for you.
Set within the beautiful bushland and rolling landscapes of the Great Otway National Park and the Otway Forest Park are over 65 kilometres or over 16 purpose-built waymarked singletrack trails for riders of all skill levels. Forrest hosts some of Victoria's key mountain biking events each year, and is home to a craft brewery, excellent cafes and activities including walking, fishing and horse riding.
Choose a trail that's right for you
The trails of Forrest are clustered into two main areas to the north and south of the town, with two designated trailheads the best access points.
Forrest Trailhead is located on the main Forrest-Birregurra Road, just south of the brewery. This gives access to three trails to the west and three trails to the east. Yaugher Trailhead is located a short drive north of town on Boundary Road.
Both areas are also accessible on bike from the centre of Forrest. Use the Forrest Loop Trail for the southern trails and the Forrest-Birregurra Tiger Rail Trail to access trails in the north via Tiger Loop Trail.
The southern trail network
The southern trail network offers 'Easy' to 'More Difficult' rated rides, with three shorter, interconnected loop rides accessed on the western side. These trails take in big eucalypt forest and dense fern gully environs.
The dual-use Forrest Loop provides an easy access loop to all southern trails, and a descent with long, flowing corners to the West Barwon Valley makes for a nice introduction to mountain biking.
Riders may choose to take a ride out to impressive Lake Elizabeth via Baridjaru, returning on the fun-filled Red Carpet. Alternatively, the Rollercoaster is a great one for beginners or a warm-up lap on its own, and also connects with two other more challenging trails: Third Time Lucky, great for learning technical riding techniques, and Follow The Dog, a more demanding technical ride.
The Yaugher network
The Yaugher network to the north hosts the most trails, with 10 of the 16 found here, representing 45 kilometres of the 65 kilometres overall network. The topography is mostly undulating over a firm sandy soil base that hosts a very different vegetation profile to that in the south. Riders weave, often tightly, through a sea of grass trees, along with tea-tree sections and more open scrubland. The trails here have been built by a number of different trail designers, so the changing characteristics keep the riding interesting.
The 10-kilometre Yaugher Super Loop provides access to nearly every trail while making for a great ride itself. A mix of fast firetrack and flowing singletrack with a few extra features, riders can choose between the short and technical, like Grasstrees, or the action-packed. Local favourite, Marriners Run, is one of Forrest's best joyrides,with lots of free-flowing singletrack. You'll also find more difficult trails like Casper Black, with numerous descents that can get hairy.
For beginners, Barre Warre leaves directly from the car park on a short loop with no real technical features but some great views back over Forrest.
Suggested shorter options
Southern option, 12km
Take the 1-2-3 option for a ride that will test the lungs and legs, push the technical skills and take you on a journey of landscapes. Link Forrest Loop (1) with Baridjaru (2) for the climb out to Lake Elizabeth Car Park. Take your bike lock, so you can leave the bikes and enjoy a one-kilometre stroll out to the shores of Lake Elizabeth, a beautiful 'hanging lake' fringed by giant ferns. You may even spot a platypus in its shallows. Then take Red Carpet (3) on the return ride, enjoying the free-flowing downhill, careful to negotiate some tight corners on the way down to West Barwon Reservoir. Link back to Forrest Loop to return to town.
Northern (Yaugher) option, 10.5km-16.5km
Looking for a long loop ride with plenty of action? Start at the Yaugher Trailhead and take the Yaugher Super Loop counter-clockwise to begin in a warm up stretch of fire trail. Duck off to the side at Grasstrees to get tight and technical, before briefly rejoining the Super Loop. You'll quickly dive off onto Marriners Run and enjoy the berm-after-berm sections, a few short climbs and plenty of fun features to negotiate. At the intersection of Foxtail you can choose to return to the car park or turn right onto Foxtail for a fun ride back down to link up with the Yagher Superloop. From here, enjoy the singletrack joys of the remainder of the loop as you head back to the car park.
Learner option, 2km-10km
New to mountain biking? There is plenty for you in Forrest to start your two-wheel off-road adventure.
Start in the south with Rollercoaster, which you can add on to Third Time Lucky, and maybe even the second half of the Forrest Loop, which is in fact, the fun half.
In the north, start out with Barre Warre, a short two-kilometre loop out from the car park. For something longer, try J2 with a return along Yaugher Super Loop or simply head out and conquer all of the Super Loop in one go (10 kilometres).