Blue Mountains mtb rides
The Oaks Side Trips - Woodford to Glenbrook

These side trips are all accessed from the famous Oaks mountain bike ride.

St Helena

To ride St Helena ridge, turn left (east) about a kilometre past the Circles.  10 kilometres of fun singletrack (overgrown firetrail), followed by a steep push and carry out at the Glenbrook end.  There's an additional 8 km of singletracks (return) to two lookouts as well. Very technical riding in sections, less overgrown since the fires, but still mostly downhill. Not suited to beginners unless they like to walk. Comes out about half a kilometre to the west of Glenbrook station. No bailouts. 4.5 fat hippies. The full review.

Toby's Glen

Turn left (east) at the fork at the bottom of Redwire Saddle to go to Toby's Glen, an old camping/picnic area. Ride down the steep overgrown fire trail until you come to another fork. Either track takes you along some singletrack to the small dam and camping area at the bottom, where I saw a red-bellied black snake sunning himself and eyeing off the frogs... I had to walk quite a bit of the hill way back out.

Nepean Lookout

This is a good side trip, with fantastic views from the lookout. Turn right immediately after the gate at the end of the long downhill stretch of the main Oaks trail (don't use the singletrack to bypass the gate) - it's about five km to Nepean Lookout from the Oaks turnoff.  This track has a few decent hills, but no killers - although I sometimes walk one on the way back. The main track is wide firetrail and open to cars, but there are some singletracks to be found on side trips to Pisgah Rock (views and echoes), Erskine Lookout (views) and Pisgah Ridge firetrail (marked on the topo maps as Breakfast Creek Trail).  There is also Machin's Crater, an ancient volcanic vent.  There's a very dangerous short bit of singletrack at the top of the Nepean lookout - don't ride it or you will fall off and die... Nepean Lookout is on the very edge of the escarpment overlooking the Nepean River.  There's fantastic views, that bit of singletrack that will kill you if you ride it, and a short scramble will take you to some caves under the lookout. Pisgah Rock is at the end of a short singletrack (750 m), and has spectacular views of Erskine Creek and sandstone cliffs.  Echoes reverberate a long way here too!  Watch out for bushwalkers on this track.  The Attic Cave is near the lookout. NPWS doesn't like riders in here. Erskine Lookout is soon after the start of the Jack Evans track, and also has views of Erskine Creek.  Go right where the singletrack forks for Erskine Rock.  Watch out for bushwalkers on this track also. NPWS doesn't like riders in here. The Pisgah Ridge track starts off as overgrown maintenance track, and soon improves to dual track, then singletrack, becoming more technical and overgrown as the track goes on.  The terrain and flora are very similar to the main Oaks singletrack, but with no-one else there.  I had a really pleasant afternoon out here exploring. I haven't visited Machin's Crater, but once again, watch for bushwalkers if you do. Yet again, NPWS doesn't like riders in here.

Red Hands Cave - Aboriginal Art

As the name implies, there are examples of aboriginal hand prints in this cave. They have been mostly made on the "shadow" principle, where the artists filled their mouths with ochre and sprayed the ochre over their hands which were held against the cave wall, leaving a "shadow" on the wall. Some have been made by dipping hands in the ochre and slapping them on the wall to produce a "solid" hand print. Due to past vandalism (and our eternal shame), the cave is enclosed with a cage and a perspex viewing window. Apart from the perspex, Red Hands Cave is an excellent example of an Aboriginal site and well worth a look. The ride to the cave is an 11 km round trip, and commences by turning left at the stop sign on the singletrack at "The Oaks" picnic area. When I last rode to Red Hands Cave, the track was badly corrugated. Bikes aren't allowed to be ridden along the last little bit of the track anymore, which is a pity, as it's nice singletrack.


An excellent picnic/camping ground for all the family, need to book if camping.  Cars are allowed. Barbecues and firewood provided, long drop toilets and tank water.  You can very often see grey kangaroos in Euroka - in fact, it's unusual if you don't!

Several entrances - riders should take the race route along Bennett's Ridge Road, which is closed to cars. The turn off is about two kms past the Oaks picnic area on the right, and is becoming a nicely overgrown maintenance trail. One of the bailouts from the singletrack also leads to Bennett's Ridge Road.

Brad and a friendly kangaroo - tony fathers

Swimming Holes

The Jellybean Pool is a popular swimming hole, approximately 150 metres East of the causeway in Glenbrook Creek. Although depth varies, at times the water can be very deep and there are some good rocks to jump off (check the water for hidden rocks, snags, depth, etc first). Obviously, leaping off rocks can be dangerous - you do it at your own risk!

There have recently been signs at the causeway warning that the water is no longer fit for drinking OR swimming - this is as a result of the reduced flow caused by drought and the fact that outflow from septic systems and other pollution from our towns ends up in the creeks. Check for signs before swimming.

The causeway itself is a shallow swimming area that is nice if you just want to sit and soak.

The Blue Pool is another popular swimming hole, about 200 metres west of the causeway, but the access path begins halfway up the ride out. That means you'll have to ride up and then carry your bike back down for the swim, before walking back out carrying your bike. It's named after the colour of the water, which is very blue and quite different to that just up or downstream.

Further, more private swimming holes can be found upstream and downstream, but these are harder to get to and generally not as good.


I must stress again that there have been serious injuries at all of these swimming holes (quadriplegia, paraplegia and various broken limbs), usually caused by leaping off rocks or rope swings in unsafe conditions. It can be great fun, but be careful!

If you lock the bike to a tree, remember to remove all valuables, thieves love the area!

The Oaks side trips rate up to four and a half fat hippies

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All rides are now rated in Fat Hippies - one means grab a slice of pizza and stay on the couch, two means not bad, three means well worth a ride, four means a great ride and five means stop looking at your computer, go ride it!

Distance variable depending on which side trip you do, all additional to ~28km Oaks ride
Difficulty medium/hard - may need to walk some uphills, especially that last climb from the causeway. Surface may be loose and corners rutted. Causeway may be impassable after heavy rain.
Time variable
Trains Woodford, Glenbrook
See also... The Oaks, The Oaks by night, Anderson's fire trail, Murphy's Glen, Ingar, St Helena
Interest lookouts, Red Hands Cave, swimming holes, bushwalks, other tracks, picnic areas, Aboriginal Engravings, the Wheel, Euroka, the Oaks Classic Race, Nepean Lookout

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