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’ll 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 extreme beauty of the region, feels like a natural extension of the Warburton Rail Trail. Where the Warburton Trail provides 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 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 and 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.
The most accessible section of the Trail is located between Dee Road, Millgrove and Yuonga Road, Warburton. The Trail remains almost level throughout this section. There are no steep gradients and getting onto the Trail is much easier. There is a car park at the Dee Road intersection of the Trail that accommodates approximately 16 vehicles. A gravel path of approximately 120 metres leads down from the car park to the Trail. It is not recommended for strollers and wheelchairs to use this path to go back up to the car park, as it is quite steep.
Address: O’Shannassy Trail, Warburton VIC 3799
Ph: 13 19 63 (Parks Victoria)
Depending on how far you want to ride, there are a few options for riders. Our picks are:
Short Ride Trip
Park at the Yuonga Road entrance and ride the 6.8km to the Dee Road car park. Once you’re there, 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 you’re in Warburton, enjoy a break at Three Sugars Café before tackling the steep climb back up to Yuonga Road. Total distance is 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 and 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 all the way up to Yuonga Road. 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 climb up Dee Road and then turn left onto the trail for the last 5.5km back to your car. Total distance is approximately 41km.
If you like your mountain bike rides served with a touch of style and adventure, then you will definitely want to read about the Granite Grind at Lake Mountain.