To have great mountain biking trail options in and around Melbourne is another reason that visitors and locals alike are spoilt for choice when it comes to well designed, purpose built trails. The You Yangs mtb trails have become a benchmark on how clubs, councils and park managers can implement and foster a thriving mtb scene – with a little bit of know how, funding and passion you can create almost anything!
While requiring a bit of a trek to get there – 45 min from central Melbourne – the You Yangs trails are an expansive network of purpose built trails that cater to XC/trail rider, downhillers and dirt jumpers – with trail features that will test all riders and gradings from green through to double black diamond.
So what is it that works so well for the You Yangs?
The You Yangs mtb trail network delivers on a number of aspects:
Purpose built trails for all abilities
Close collaboration and supportive park managers
Two mtb trail networks linked
Well signed and mapped
Purpose Built Mountain Bike Trails
While not always possible, when you ride on purpose built trails by skilled trail builders, you understand how important this skill is and the difference that well built trail can make to your entire riding experience. Mountain bike trails can sometimes be a glorified goat tracks, however the recent works at the You Yangs have taken the already impressive existing trails up a notch into well designed, flowing trails, with challenging technical sections and distances that deliver an ideal mountain bike day trip experience.
Park Management Support
The You Yangs mtb trails were created by Parks Victoria in close collaboration with the local mountain bike club (GMBC – Geelong Mountain Bike Club), local bike shops and dedicated riders, in particular Travis Williams who has been a key driver in the You Yangs becoming a destination mountain bike park. The success of the You Yangs has become a case study to other government managed parks in Victoria and other states in Australia, in implementing strategies to increase visitor numbers, building sustainable trails and ensuring all park users co-exisit happily.
Two MTB Trail Networks – Stockyards & Kurrajong
Choice – some people are passionate about choice, and with the You Yangs you get a great deal of it. The benefit of the two trail network areas is that it can cater to different riders, different riding styles and also different car parks, which are strangely are also very different from each other(?). Nevertheless, no matter what car park you go to or which trails you hit first, you will be pleased with the variety on offer for Mountain Bikers so close to Melbourne.
The You Yangs are split into two main areas the Stockyards and the Kurrajong. With each having their own style and mulitple trail network throughout, connected via the Junction Track. The Junction Track itself is impressive – recently upgraded with berms, technical rock gardens, exposed sections and duckboards – the perfect combination of features for the trail/all mountain rider.
The Stockyards – You Yangs
The stockyards have been home to some of the original mtb downhill trails in Victoria. Over the years the trails have been expanded upon, improved and extended into a network of short yet challenging routes from fast downhill runs through to undulating singletrack.
Recent upgrades to the stockyards include trail repairs, new carpark and the addition of a BBQ and shelter. Ideal for a post ride BBQ or mid ride rest. With the new trail upgrades and popularity of the You Ynags for Melbourne mtb riders, the carpark is close to full on weekends, yet the trails never feel overcrowded or congested.
The blue trail ‘Quarry Pit’ (No. 5) leading out of the carpark and then up Cressy Gully rd to the top- of the hill will give you plenty of options to launch into a number of downhill and all mountain style runs. ‘Cressy Decent’, ‘Trav’s Diamond’ and ‘Boulder Track’ are some of the standout trails in the Stockyards trail network.
The kurrajong mtb trail network is less technical, but provides fast flowing singletrack through the eucalypt forests. The trails in the Kurrajong section provide the perfect solution for introducing beginners to the sport of mountain biking – getting a singletrack experience with requiring extensive technical skills or a full face helmet.
The improvements and trail upgrades in the Kurrajong are also noticeable with better connections between the key carparks and improved drainage, underlining the sustainable aspect of the trail building recently implemented at the You Yangs,
You Yangs Map & Signage
Quality maps can certainly make your ride a little less pain free, especially when exploring new locations.
The updated maps available online and posted on billborads at each of the main carpark’s are easy to read with short trail descripions, matched with clear signage.
The trail grading is based on the IMBA colour graded scheme from green through to double black diamond. The variety of trails and their difficulty rating highlights the breadth and depth of the trails on offer.
You Yangs MTB Events
The quality of trails at the You Yangs have ensured a regular event schedule throughout both the summer and winter months. The You Yangs have been featured within the national mountain bike series for both the downhill and XC disciplines in addition to enduro events. The Geelong Mountain Bike Club (GMBC) is very active in running well attended events and have been a key driver in improving the MTB trails and facilities through events, trail building and working closely with Parks Victoria and the You Yangs park management.
Key events to get all ‘trial rider’ at the park include the annual Yowie event – giving the choice of 3 distances the 33Km, 66Km or 99Km, which cover the best trail experience of the Stockyards, Kurrajong and broader park trails.
The You Yangs MTB trails are certainly worth the 45min or so drive from central Melbourne. You will get challenged by the trails, you will experience flowing singletrack on well-engineered, purpose built trails. What the You Yangs do not offer is long climbs and could not really be considered an Epic riding, but the riding is pretty impressive given its proximity to Australia’s second largest city.
The You Yangs Regional Park is located approx 50Km west of Melbourne.
Closest Airport is Avalon Airport only 10 Km from Little River – serviced by Jetstar flying to both Sydney and Brisbane.
By Car from Melbourne: Take the M1 over the Westgate bridge and head towards Geelong. Take the Little River exit and follow the signs through the town to the You Yangs.
Stockyards Trailhead: To access the Stockyards trailhead from Little River, take a right at the end of You Yangs Rd onto Little River Ripley Rd for approx 4km until you reach Drysdale rd on your left. Head up Drysdale rd and the carpark entrance is approx 500m on your left, after the bitumen turns to dirt.
Kurrajong Trailhead: From Little River, follow the signs to the Park entrance, keep driving past the entrance approx 100m, until you reach Sandy Creek Rd. Take a right at Sandy Creek Rd and the trailhead is approx 50m on your right.
Hardpack trails that drain very well in the wet with plenty of technical features interspersed throughout the network, including rock gardens, drop offs, berms, bridges, rollovers and jumps.
The network features around 50Km of purpose built trail, with plenty opportunity for various loops.
bike set up:
Ideal trails for a dual suspension setup to get the most out of all the trail features both up and down, especially in the Stockyards area.
food & drink:
Little River Hotel,
03 5283 1113
Country pub serving the pub classics
Little River B&B,
16-18 Flinders St,
03 5283 1858
Picturesque B&B was used as the ‘Toecutters Pub’ in the film Mad Max. The best option for comfortable accommodation. Plenty of options in Geelong approx. 20km away.
local bike shop:
394 Thompson Rd,
03 5278 3839
Closest bike shop to the Park entrance (25min drive) for emergency supplies – closed Sundays.