Cycling Mundaring & Perth Hills – Australia

Loop trails (20 – 150km return)

There are several off road cycle trails in the vicinity of the Mundaring Weir Hotel. The trails form a network so there are plenty of opportunities for loop rides. Plan your ride in advance, take a compass and expect to loose your way occasionally.

The Perth hills are a destination for locals getting away in the weekend to undertake a multitude of outdoor activities including hiking, cycling, training for alpine expeditions, photography groups and even cosplay.

Riding Notes

Mundaring Loop Trail (15.5km)

Ironically this does not circle the Mundaring Weir water reservoir as one might assume but is a loop in the nearby hills with one vantage point of the reservoir during the ride. This is a multi-use trail and has lots of junctions making the ride a bit disjointed with plenty of those ‘which way next’ moments. The official trail markers are a silver triangle with a blue bike although we didn’t find any of these until at least half way around the loop. The trail consists of a mix of often steep, but not technically demanding, single track and 4WD fire break trails.

We used the Mundaring Loop Trail Brochure that was free at About Cycle hire. Our experiences suggest that this brochure is out of date.

Railway reserves Heritage Trail (41km loop)

This loop trail on old railway line can be commenced at any point in the loop circuit. This is a multi-use trail so you may encounter horses and pedestrians and is mainly compacted gravel so possible (although less comfortable) on a road or hybrid bike.

It is an enjoyable easy ride with no technical challenges, the first half is more scenic as the trail passes through john forrest national park which has some interesting boulder formations, rail tunnel and picnic stops but the southern side of the loop is a bit dull mostly riding through a Australian scrub a few metres from the freeway.

A brochure is available here.

Kalamunda Circuit (22km loop)

This is Mountain bikers heaven, with some of the best single track for intermediate riders, there is a 40km network of  maintained single tracks including trick sections and an 22km “Kalamunda circuit’. Trail Sections are rated beginners, intermediate or advanced. One starting point for these rides is the Camel farm which offers camel rides and has a simple cafe offering snacks and refreshments.

The trail is maintained by WAMBA with a description here.

Kep Track (75km linear )

This 75km multi use linear route traces the Kalgoorlie water pipeline (ensuring easy navigation). The trail starts at Mundaring and heads northeast to Northam. A useful brochure can be found here

Munda Biddi trail

This the legendary touring trail WA stretches from Perth to the south coast. We rode a small section of this trail as part of the Mundaring loop trail but found navigation challenging i.e. 4 of us somehow never found the starting point for the official trail despite a compass, map and smartphones – best to ask someone more local for advice on this one!

http://www.mundabiddi.org.au/

Planning your trip

Trail grading

These trails are all relatively easy and family friendly, the Kalamunda single tracks are graded from beginner to advanced.

Gear

You can ride the railway trail on a normal bike, for the other trails a mountain bike is best for the frequent inclines and gravel.

If you need to hire mountain bikes About bike Hire in Perth do reasonable deals and hire bikes for a 24 hr period.

Take water with you!

Navigation and facilities

Signage was good on the Railway heritage trail, confusing on the Mundaring weir loop and we resorted to reading the contour map on the single track.

Toilets and water are rare on trail so plan ahead. Most townships have basic facilities. There are some facilities at the picnic stop in John Forrest national park. Cell phone coverage is patchy on the trail.

Safety

Bushfires, snakes, dehydration and sunburn are the main risks on the ride.

These trails are prone to fire danger in summer season (October to March) always check the local conditions by contacting the Perth Forest visitors centre before attempting the trail during summer.

Trail updates and closures can be found here.

Getting there and away

Perth is a very car-centric city and it’s easiest to drive to the start of these trails. It is possible to catch a train to the foothills; the train runs from CBD to Midland station which is 20 km from Mundaring or only 4km from Bellevue which the closest point on the Railway reserves heritage trail.

Accommodation

The rides described are easily accomplished in a day however there are a variety of B&B’s, motels and camping spots within the area (see Mundaring tourism) if you want to make a weekend of it.

We stayed at one of the more iconic places the historic Mundaring Weir Hotel. This has a lot of charm with roaring fires in winter however the place does have a bit of a ‘faulty towers’ feel about it. It is most popular for it’s Sunday concerts in the amphitheatre.

Our Experiences

Railway reserves Heritage Trail

We started the railway reserves heritage trail at Bellevue which is the start point on the trail brochure. We were the only ones in the carpark which gives an indication of the popularity of the ride.

We set off at mid-afternoon on an autumn Saturday but still found the temperatures on the hot side. We made good but slow progress uphill towards John Forrest national park and enjoyed biking through the Swan hill tunnel (a 340m unlit but straight rail tunnel). The adjacent riverbed was completely dry but the smooth rocks made for a fun distraction from the main trail.

We kept up pace and eventually paused for a well earned refreshment at the Stoneville pub. The Stoneville pub is near the highest point on the trail. We took a short cut from Stoneville to Mundaring as our progress was slower than anticipated. The ride back down the southern half of the loop was much faster. The entire trail is set at a rail incline grade so you are constantly working for half of the trail and freewheeling the entire way home. The gravel was poorly compacted in sections and this made for some exciting slides.

Mundaring Weir Loop

It was hard to enjoy this ride after getting lost before we left the Perth forest visitors carpark. We had expected this trail would do a loop of the water reservoir but unfortunately the entire reservoir catchment is an exclusion zone for water quality reasons. We followed what we thought was a cycle trail but turned out to be a hiking trail – it took a bit of cross-country bush bashing along fire-breaks to find the actual trail. After the half way point (in Mundaring town) the signage and trail quality was much better. The highlight was the view point of the weir near the end of the ride before a steep descent to the finish at Mundaring weir hotel.

Kalamunda Circuit

This was by the far the best of the bunch, after a couple of disappointing rides we really enjoyed the single track. The trail was interesting and challenging with a few technical jumps and with alternate options. The 22km circuit is a good ride to get your heart pumping. The tracks are well maintained and great fun to ride.

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