THE PERIMETER TRAIL 23KM MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE: TERREY HILLS

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Situated in Terrey Hills, Perimeter is a very popular out and back ride, and you’ll encounter both equestrians and walkers along this shared trail. It is situated inside Ku-Ring-Gai National Park. All recreational activity in this specific area is along existing firetrails, but there are two sections of unsanctioned single track that loop on and off these firetrails for the eagle-eyed rider to find and ride enroute.

Plenty of free parking is available at Terrey Hills Community Centre. From here, cycle through the Oval, turning left down Cowrang Road. At the T junction with Nerang Ave, turn right and head straight down to the trail head and N.Parks gate. You are now on the Perimeter firetrail at the hem of suburbia, and it’s a fast rollercoaster which heads mostly downhill. The track is often badly eroded with loose rocks and sketchy gravel in some sections, so unless you have ridden it before, exercise some caution because the downhills are steep and you will send it! There are some fun water crossings to blaze through too. After 3km you’ll know where you have to bear right off Perimeter Trail onto Long Track, because there is a truly nasty pinch climb to get up to this intersection. (you may have to walk up). It lies just below the acreages of Duffy’s Forest. Turn right to continue along the firetrail, turn left for some sneaky singletrack.

At the 7km mark, Long Track is actually signposted and is an absolute pleasure to ride. The main reason is because of its terrain and spectacular scenery. Long track winds its way along an elevated ridgeline which reveals the deep topographical crease that contains Smith Creek and beyond that, Cottage Point. It is not long before you reach a rock sheet on the left with a spectacular view of Cowan Creek- Bobbin Head is hidden just over a ridge to the south. It is here where one can enjoy viewing a Sydney sunset in the most immaculate surroundings. (10km) The more intrepid can continue along an increasingly technical and difficult Long Track for another 1km until it unfortunately terminates at yet another spectacular lookout over Cowan Creek. Personally, I hate the disconnected, out and back tedium of Sydney firetrails so I usually enjoy just relaxing at the first lookout while waiting for everyone to return…

On the ride back, everything you rode down, you will have to ride up- and this will add at least 30 minutes to your return ride. Please beware of riders coming down all the hills you are now riding up, and slower walkers and horse riders on the hills you are now riding down. If Kuringgai National Park had a looping trails network, catering for the volume and diversity of people who enjoy recreating outdoors and love doing their activities in this particular area, the return ride experience would be nowhere near as stressful. But if you’d like these trails all to yourself, why not consider doing this ride with some friends at night? Leave the shops at 6PM to enjoy the sunset at the first lookout, then turn around and switch on your bike lights to navigate back up to Terrey Hills in complete darkness and perfect solitude.

FACTBOX:
Grading: Novice, Intermediate
Distance: 20-23km
Time: 2-3 hours on a normal mtb 1.5hours on an e-bike. +30 minutes for the uphill return ride.
Night Riding: Post-Ride Beer and Pizza: Terry Hills Tavern
Day Riding: Post-Ride coffee and breakfast: Chriselle’s Gourmet Eatery.