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6 national parks near Adelaide for mountain biking

Love cycling? Here’s some options around Adelaide for you to get your wheels dusty in a national park.

Are you inspired to be a bit more adventurous with your riding and go somewhere you wouldn’t normally?

In South Australia's national parks, there's high-quality trails within 30 minutes of the CBD so there’s no need to restrict yourself to riding on roads and paved paths.

Get your wheels dusty and experience the natural beauty of our bushland with a hit of mountain biking.

Here’s 6 parks to get you started – all just a short distance from central Adelaide: 

1. Sturt Gorge

With over 40 kilometres of single track, mountain-biking through Sturt Gorge Recreation Park is a great way to explore Adelaide’s natural heritage and high value ecosystem. Enjoy the race-ready trails in the Craigburn Farm area, or take a longer ride all the way around the gorge .

Rider’s tip: Start with the ‘Surf and Turf’ trail in the Craigburn Farm area to find your feet, then make your way to Gunners Run via Little River, a fun flow trail for more experienced riders. Continue down to Horner’s Corner if you’re game to attempt the full 25-kilometre loop. The cool shady areas of the Wattle Trail and the fun flow of the Lomandra and de Rose Trails will make it worth your while.

2. Shepherds Hill

Despite being a small park, Shepherds Hill Recreation Park contains 16km of mountain bike tracks and trails. Trails include family-friendly green circle loops, short but tough cross-country loops, and fun intermediate downhill runs.

Rider’s tip: Start and finish with a few laps of the Pump Track and Kids’ Zone obstacles at the Ayliffes Road entrance.

3. Belair

Belair National Park has a great range of trails for everyone, from beginners to more experienced riders. The park’s easily accessible directly from public transport – from North Terrace in Adelaide you and your bike can ride the train all the way there. From the Belair Railway Station you can go for a challenging spin around the park on the 12km Adventure Loop.

Rider’s tip: For something a bit less strenuous, take the family and trundle around the fire trails from Playford Lake to the adventure playground.

4. Cleland

Explore Cleland Conservation Park by bike on the extensive track network. If you’re a total newbie, check out what’s in store at this park with our beginner’s guide.

Rider’s tip: Climb the Chambers Gully and Bartril Spur Track to Cleland Wildlife Park. From there, continue up to Mount Lofty Summit to enjoy the views of the Adelaide plains below, before winding back down via the Wine Shanty Trail.

5. Cobbler Creek

Introduce the kids to mountain biking on either the Beginners’ Circuit or ‘Easy Does It’ trail at Cobbler Creek Recreation Park, or join the big kids on the new Jump Tracks in Pedler’s Paddock.

Rider’s tip: The new slope-style jumps tracks are hugely popular. With three different difficulty levels, you can work your way up to the big stuff.

6. O’Halloran Hill

Check out the 8kms of trails in O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park. The trails use the steeper parts of the park to provide some great downhill options, with trails ranging from easy through to intermediate and advanced.

Rider’s tip: These gravity trails are fun! With dedicated climbs to bring you right back to the top of the trails, you’ll be able to try them all. Start with the easier green trails , see how you go on the intermediate blue trails, and try to work your way up to the advanced trails marked on the map in black.

Just remember, bike riding in parks is permitted on designated tracks and trails. Where these are shared-use tracks, watch out for and be courteous to other riders, horses, and walkers. For more information about mountain biking in parks, check out the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA website.

This story was originally posted in January 2017.

Main image: Sturt Gorge Recreation Park (image courtesy of Flow Mountain Bike)

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