If you have ridden the famous Warburton Rail Trail and thought you could tick off cycling in the Yarra Valley, then I’m afraid you have to pencil in an O’Shannassy Trail ride.
What’s so amazing about the O’Shannassy trail is that it’s remained relatively unknown and unused. Yet this is a trail, which in terms of showing off the beauty of the region feels like a natural extension of the Warburton Rail Trail. Where the Warburton trail provides the gorgeous views of the Yarra Ranges National Park, it’s the O’Shannassy trail that allows you to experience the raw beauty of a Mountain Ash forest that has been protected for nearly 100 years.
Like the Warburton Trail, the O’Shannassy trail too has it’s own unique story to tell. The trail follows the old maintenance road of the O’Shannassy Aqueduct, which was built, between 1911 & 1914. An added benefit of the trail following the Aqueduct, is that the ride is almost entirely flat which increases its appeal for users of all ages and abilities.
In 1997 management of the trail was handed over to Parks Victoria and since then the trail has been progressively opened up to trail users. To date five car parks have been built along the route to make the trail more accessible and user friendly.
Depending on how far you want to ride, there are a few options for riders, however my picks are:
Short Ride Tip
Park at the Yuonga Road and ride the 6.8km to the Dee Road Car Park and enjoy a rest and a bite to eat with a sublime view of the valley below. From here you can either ride back to Yuonga Road or ride down Dee Road and reconnect with the Warburton Trail for an easy ride back into Warburton. Once in Warburton, enjoy a break at Three Sugars Café before tackling the steep climb up to the Yuonga Road Carpark.
Total Distance – Approximately 16km
Long Ride Trip
Park at the designated car park on Ewarts Road. A sign on the trail gate says the 200m section of the trail is closed between Ewarts & Don Rd, however with no parking on Don Road, its best to ignore this sign and use the trail. From Don Road there is a short steep climb and then it’s flat riding all the way to the Yuonga Road Carpark. Currently the section between Yuonga Road and the Acheron Way is under construction, so riders will need to ride down Yuonga Road and turn left at the Acheron Way. Approximately 1.5km up the Acheron Way the trail rejoins on the right hand side at the first left hairpin. From here the trail follows a short series of descending switchbacks before flattening out again. The views of the valley are particularly stunning here and it’s a great way to finish up before riding back along the Warburton Highway to Warburton. Once in Warburton take a break before tackling the 1.5km long gradual climb up Dee Road and then turn left onto the trail for the last 5.5km back to your car.
Total Distance – approximately 41 kilometres
If you like your Mountain Bike rides served with a touch of style and adventure then you will want to read about the Granite Grand at Lake Mountain.