Location: You Yangs Regional Park
Track types: Downhill, Cross country, Pump track
Grade: Easy, More difficult, Very difficult, Extremely difficult
Open: No seasonal closures
Wheelchair accessible: No
More information: youyangsmtbinc.com.au
Rising up as a beacon of singletrack adventure amid the flatlands less than an hour west of Melbourne, You Yangs Regional Park has emerged as a mountain bike mecca. Riders of all competency levels are drawn to a concentrated network of cross country and downhill trails that cut through a distinctive landscape of giant granite boulder fields.
Chock full of variety, the park’s two distinct areas boast a 44-kilometre web of purpose-built trails of varying lengths and difficulties that cater to all abilities. Trails range from open dirt roads and fast, flat and flowing routes, to tight, technical singletrack and some of the most demanding downhill runs in Victoria. Riding the You Yangs is always a memorable experience.
Kurrajong Plantation and Stockyards
Trails are located in Kurrajong Plantation near the main entrance in the south and and Stockyards in the north. Kurrajong rails are largely easier to ride, while Stockyards makes best use of crater-like topography to provide plenty of rollercoaster rides on more challenging terrain. Stockyards still has trails that cater for the less experienced.
The two areas are joined by the 12-kilometre Great Circle Drive touring route, a non-technical all-day ride experience. It's shared with vehicles, though still a quality riding challenge with some great views. The Stockyards features the Stockyards Track, an outer loop maintenance trail that links up the various trails in that section of the park. The Kurrajong Plantation has numerous internal maintenance roads that create many riding loop options.
Easy rides and faster fun on Kurrajong
The Kurrajong Plantation trails provide a perfect introduction to mountain biking while also offering some fast, flowy fun for more experienced cross country riders. The trails are mostly flat, with small dips, dry creek crossings, bridges and boardwalks featured. A car park inside the park entrance with Parks Victoria offices and toilets makes an ideal starting point. Alternatively, you can base yourself at the Kurrajong Avenue car park, a more central trail access point.
Linking the Kurrajong trails to those at Stockyards in the north on the western side of the park is Junction Track. For a free-flowing ride interspersed with some decently technical rock garden sections, this trail is best ridden north to south (Stockyards to Kurrajong). As a consistent climb ride, it can be ridden south to north, with a fun and fast descent section in the middle. Either way, it features great views to the west and towards Federation Peak, the pinnacle of the You Yangs. A second linking trail, the Eastern Epic, combined with Great Circle Drive, has created a whole of park loop.
Rock ramps, berms and downhill runs
The Stockyards is a dramatic place to ride. Set around a gigantic bowl centred on what was a quarry, it features a variety of challenging cross-country and downhill tracks clinging to and weaving around granite tors. Track features include natural rock ramps, rock gardens, berms, rollovers, jumps and designated downhill runs. The best access is via the Drysdale Road car park (off Little River-Ripley Road), at the northern edge of the park. Alternatively, from within You Yangs Regional Park you can use the Great Circle Drive to park up high at Stockyards car park, which is also the closest access to the two dedicated downhill trails. There are no facilities at this car park.
Suggested shorter options
For those getting a feel for what mountain biking is all about, stick to the Kurrajong area. An easy 15.5-kilometre ride starts at the Kurrajong Avenue car park, and heads north on Plantation Track, in a clockwise direction. Follow Plantation in its entirety, looping back to the car park before continuing south to pick up Lumberjack Track. Return in a clockwise direction on Lumberjack until you get back to the car park. You can extend that circuit from the outset by adding in the 3.5-kilometre Chainsaw Track at the northwest corner when you first ride up Plantation.
Technical course, 7km combined
Technical riders will want to concentrate their time on the Stockyards section which is jam-packed with challenging descents. Begin at Stockyards car park (accessed via the main park entrance and Great Circle Drive). Here you can undertake as many loops of the hardest trails within the You Yangs, all with trailheads nearby, including the two double black diamond – Turbulence and Bandages and Glory– along with Cressy Descent, Travs Diamond and Lactic Acid. All trails finish near an access road, so riders can simply ride back up Cressy Gully Road and Great Circle Drive or via the Inner Loop back and Rockwell Run.