CYCLE WARBURTON AND CRUISE THE LOOP
|Trail||O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail West Loop|
|Activity||Touring, Town, Mountain or E-Bike|
|Grade (if available)||Moderate|
|Start||Warburton Main Street|
|Finish||Warburton Main Street|
|Distance||30.3 km (or 15.2km)|
|Ascent||906 m (or 563m)|
|Descent||906 m (or 563m)|
|Max Elevation||329 m|
|Features||Cruisey rail trail, moderate hill climb, native bushland, historic water race, hard-packed aqueduct trail, views of the Yarra Valley|
|Facilities||Toilets: There are no toilet facilities along the trail, toilets located in Warburton township, Launching Place, Wesburn
Car parking: Warburton township
|Notes||Can be undertaken all year though in winter be prepared for muddy, slippery sections and cold temperatures|
Carved into the mountainside above the Upper Yarra Valley, the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail makes for a wonderful ride, especially if you combine it with a section of the Lilydale to Warbuton Rail Trail to make a loop that starts and ends in the middle of the Warburton village.
The Aqueduct Trail follows an historic, now-disused open water race, built between 1911 and 1914 to channel fresh water from a weir on the O’Shannassy River to Silvan Dam, where it served the then burgeoning population of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Now decommissioned, the trail cuts through some the prettiest forest in the Valley, courtesy of the surrounding land having been protected water catchment for a hundred years.
Between the valley and mountain views, riders cruise through towering stands of mountain ash and gorgeous tree fern forests that give the area a powerful sense of peace and tranquillity.
Whilst it can be ridden fast, the environment rewards a slower, more contemplative pace so that you can take in the flora and fauna, you don’t want to miss a lyrebird because you’re racing. You may also see wallabies, eastern rosellas, yellow-tailed black cockatoos and fairy wrens. Remember that the Aqueduct Trail and Rail Trail are shared-use, be aware that you may come across walkers, runners and horse-riders in addition to other cyclists.
For the most part the loop ride is within the abilities of an intermediate cyclist, with the majority being on a mixture of flat, open trail and sealed road with a very gentle gradient, but its position above the valley floor means access is a via steep roads that will definitely get your heart racing.
Through Launching Place to Don Rd. through Don Valley for:
- You can ride the loop in either direction but we suggest tackling it anti-clockwise. This means you do the toughest climb at the start.
- From town ride east with care along the Warburton Hwy until you turn left onto and up Donna Buang Rd.
- After 500m turn left into Yuonga Rd and climb steeply for 800m until you reach the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail. Turn west (left) here.
- Cruise along the easy gradient of the trail that tracks the disused water race, passing before walls of tree ferns and under massive, plumb line straight trees. Bird song only adds to the serenity.
- 12km along the Aqueduct Trail you reach Don Rd, exit here by turning left.
- Ride 4.7km down Don Rd, enjoying the wind through your hair on this fast downhill section but be aware of traffic as it is a public road.
- Cross the Warburton Hwy with care and turn left onto the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail.
- From here it’s 10.8km of hard-packed cruising through Yarra Junction passing behind Wesburn and through Milgrove before arriving back into Warburton to refuel with a coffee and something to eat.
ALTERNATIVE: To cut the ride distance in half (dropping it from 30km to 15km) follow the Ride It guide to the join the Aqueduct Trail. At 6.5km along this trail, exit onto Dee Rd. Follow Dee Rd downhill for 2.5km before carefully crossing Warburton Hwy to pick up the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail then peddle back into Warburton.
In order to avoid the climb up from the valley floor, riders may also join the Aqueduct Trail at one of the many hop-on/hop-off access points such as at Dee Rd in the Don Valley. From here you can ride out-and-back along sections of the Trail or do a car shuffle. Another option to make the ride a bit easier is to hire an E-Bike, otherwise known as a (Pedal Assist bike), it will take the sting out of the hills but you’ll still get all the fun of biking.
Download the zip file and then upload to use on your GPS or KML-enabled device or Google Maps