Getting out to the mountain bike trails at Redesdale has been sitting on the list of things I’ve gotta get around to doing for a while now, a bit lame since Redesdale is only 30k or so from Castlemaine. I’ve been attempting to manage my riding better this year – riding three times a week max hoping to stay away from my good buddy, the valley of fatigue. So with perfect riding weather to boot I finally got out to Redesdale over the weekend and had a blast.
The trails at Redesdale are all contained within the Mt Lofty reserve, the only chunk of bush in that part of the world. It’s a relatively small parcel of land with only ~60 metres difference in elevation from the lowest to the highest points but you’d never guess it riding the trails which work their way up and down, back and forth just about every slope available.
I took a low tech printed trail map and found my way around with a few wrong turns and backtracking, just part of the fun of riding somewhere for the first time. If you’re not into getting lost ideally a gadget like a smartphone would be handy though mobile service is variable.
Unlike Castlemaine trails that generally have a loose gravelly surface over hardpack and/or rocks, the trails at Redesdale are super grippy and I can imagine get pretty muddy too. There are some cool rocky sections as the trail works its way higher up Mt Lofty, particularly on the Western side, but overall the trails are quite smooth, similar to the Wombat Trail at Woodend.
Lower down the mount the trail winds back and forth through thick regrowth, from the bushfires that swept through the region several years ago. It’s easy to lose track of where you are as there aren’t many views, just lots of tight, slow turns all over the place – more suited to an XC whippet vs an all mountain set of wheels.
After some fire road it’s back into single track on the more exposed higher areas of Mount Lofty – faster, rockier, funner riding for sure with views across to Mt Alexander and Central Victoria. I was hanging out for a sustained high speed single track fix, just to break up the pattern of repeated descents and climbs on the same face.
Back out onto fire track for a bit then the single track heads out to the edge of the reserve, opening up to a much more rural farmland kinda feel including some great sections of fast open roller coaster trail. Sweet!
Kudos to the guys who have put in the trails on Mt Lofty. It’s amazing not only how much trail they’ve squeezed into a relatively small area of bush but they’ve also made great use of the variety of terrain. You really feel like you’ve had an MTB adventure which is pretty cool. Thanks to Andy for the tip about parking at the dam off Summerhill Road on the left just after the entry to the reserve, it’s a good place to start/finish the ride.