I’d thoroughly enjoyed riding the lush coastal trails at Glenrock and Nambucca Heads in New South Wales but the thought of sampling Mt Joyce’s purpose built AM style trails in Queensland had my foot on the gas hoping to arrive at the park in time for at least two runs before the end of the day.
The Mount Joyce Recreation Park is located at Wyaralong Dam, 13km west of Beaudesert, about an hour inland from Brisbane. The first thing you notice is how dry and rugged the terrain is, not that dissimilar to Central Victoria in Summer except of course the Mt Joyce is a much bigger hill set on a dam making for great views across water.
Arriving mid afternoon meant I had a few hours to hit the trails before the park closed. The first mission was to ride Black Rock, a black diamond run located at the opposite end of the park. All of the trails at Mt Joyce in fact require a bike commute to the other side of the dam via a service road behind the dam wall. It serves as a good warm up but isn’t ideal, especially for a first time visitor as due to the lack of signage it’s not clear where to go next. With no printed maps available in the park you need to come prepared e.g. an offline map on your smartphone.
To get to Black Rock I knew I needed to generally go up and around so continued up the gravel service road which soon intersected by a number of trails. I climbed trails #6, #7 and Worm Juice (#2) which put me at the top of the Widow Maker and other downhill runs. A steepish pinch followed before the trail contoured around the hillside to the start of Black Rock.
Black Rock (#11) followed by Pork Chops (#10) and ending on Secret Valley (#9) was a fun sustained run, definitely good value for the ~300m of vert on offer. There were a few rocky sections and a couple of climbs along the way but all up nothing too crazy in terms of difficulty.
Another run I wanted to check out was Big Bertha (#5) followed by Tuna Chunks (#3) and Bovine Groove (#1), ending on the lower green trails. A little squeezed for time I climbed directly up the service road to the start of Big Bertha. The run proved to be a terrific end to what had been a great day. Late light, lots of sweet turns, sustained descents and flowey sections – as a first ride introduction to Mt Joyce it’s probably the way to go!