From challenging world-class mountain biking to family-friendly cycle trails, travelling on two wheels is a great way to enjoy the varied landscapes of the Adelaide Hills.
Starting just north of Adelaide and travelling to the Outback town of Blinman in the Flinders Ranges, the Mawson Trail is designed for mountain bike or sturdy touring bike use. Close to nine hundred kilometres long, the trail includes little-used country roads, State forest and national park fire trails, farm access tracks and unmade or unused road reserves. The trail takes riders through the Adelaide Hills, traversing forests, farmland and historic towns such as Lobethal and Birdwood before passing through the Barossa and Clare Valley on its way to the Flinders Ranges. Please note that parts of Mount Crawford Forest were damaged during the Cudlee Creek bushfire in December 2019 and trails are still being restored (some opening April 2021 - see the latest updates here).
Fox Creek / Cudlee Creek Trails
The Fox Creek / Cudlee Creek Sustainable Trail network is part of the Mawson Trail and provides the opportunity for a diversity of high quality off-road riding experiences. The network hosts a range of national and local mountain bike, cross country, downhill and endurance races, and has developed a reputation as having some of the best trails in Australia. This thriving mountain biking hub has more than 80km of trails crisscrossing a series of gullies filled with native regrowth forest and features a new beginners’ loop at the top of the network. Please note that parts of Mount Crawford Forest were damaged during the Cudlee Creek bushfire in December 2019 and trails are still being restored (some opening April 2021 - see the latest updates here).
National, Conservation & Recreation Parks
South Australian National, Conservation and Recreation Parks offer fantastic mountain biking opportunities - for more information click here. Highlights include Belair National Park, Cleland Conservation Park, Shepherds Hill Recreation Park and Sturt Gorge Recreation Park (including the Craigburn Trails) with lots of options for families and novices. See the blog on riding in National, Conservation & Recreation Parks and some additional tips.
The state's forest network also offers some excellent mountain bike trails, including Kuitpo Forest and Mount Crawford Forest in the Adelaide Hills with challenging options as well as open forest trails suitable for families.
Amy Gillett Pathway - Oakbank to Mount Torrens
The 17-kilometre Amy Gillett Pathway is popular with leisure cyclists and families. Designed for cyclists, walkers and horse riders, the bitumen track follows an old railway corridor running from Oakbank to Mount Torrens. Named in honour of champion Australian cyclist Amy Gillett, this family-friendly track is bitumen and mostly flat, with four loop trails taking in other points of interest.
Stay tuned for further developments including visitor infrastructure. This project received grant funding from the Australian Government.
National and Conservation Parks
Belair National Park features a series of shared use trails that are used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Escapegoat Adventures is based at Belair National Park - call into The Goat Shed for bike hire, along with great coffees, snacks, and day trips. Cleland Conservation Park also has many fire tracks and shared use trails from which cyclists can enjoy spectacular views of the Adelaide Hills and surrounds.
Mount Barker Linear Trail & Laratinga Wetlands
The Mount Barker Linear Trail which runs around Laratinga Wetlands and beyond is also popular. Several trails and boardwalks wind around the peaceful wetlands near Mount Barker, through a broad range of native vegetation. Trails such as the ‘Chestnut Teal’, ‘Rosella’ and ‘Sacred Ibis’ are named after some of the local birdlife. There are also several bird-watching ‘hides’, a picnic and barbeque area, and an environmentally friendly toilet facility. The trails in the wetlands are also linked to the Mount Barker Linear Trail, an award winning seven kilometre shared trail from Laratinga Wetlands to Keith Stephenson Park, following the local creek line.
The Kidman Trail is a multi-use horse riding, cycling and walking trail that traverses 225 kilometres of roadsides, quiet farm routes, forest tracks and unmade road reserves from Willunga on the Fleurieu Peninsula to Kapunda in the Clare Valley. It winds its way through the Adelaide Hills from Kuitpo Forest in the south through Echunga, Macclesfield, Balhannah, Woodside, Charleston and Mount Torrens where it meets the Barossa. The Kidman Trail provides a sustainable, safe and scenic trail that highlights the natural beauty, cultural history and major points of interest along the Mount Lofty Ranges. It utilises existing tracks and trails through Forest Reserves and other accessible public land, quiet roads and unmade road reserves with trail markers indicating the route. The trail is proudly named after Sir Sidney Kidman, a prominent local pastoralist and horse breeder.
Tom Roberts Trail
The Tom Roberts Horse Trail Network is designed designed for horse riding and can be utilised by walkers and cyclists.This natural terrain multi-use trail network broadly spans from Cherry Gardens in the north, to Kangarilla in the south and Woodcroft in the west. Established through on-road linkages, road verges and unmade road reserves the network of trails features Adelaide Hills locations such as Cherry Gardens, Coromandel East, Clarendon, Scott Creek and Kangarilla.
Tour Down Under Event
The challenging terrain of the Adelaide Hills features heavily in the Santos Tour Down Under bike race held annually in January. This UCI World Tour event brings the world's best road cycling teams to South Australia and is immensely popular with cycling enthusiasts who line the route as spectators, and take part in the public participation ride.
Escapegoat Adventures offers guided rides through the Adelaide Hills including a winery tour from Kuitpo and their Lofty Descents trip from the summit of Mount Lofty all the way down to Adelaide, though stunning native bush, and visiting Cleland Wildlife Park along the way - it's all downhill! Custom private and group trips can also be arranged with bike hire also available, along with Fox Creek shuttle service.
Bike About / Velo de Vines
Bike About (and their premium touring brand Velo de Vines) offers mountain and road bike hire as well as a range of bike tours in the region. In addition to multi-day tours across regions, they offer Mount Lofty Wheels, Wine and Wildlife tour, or bike hire and a self guided cycling tour of the township of Woodside including nearby wineries, Woodside Cheese Wrights and Melba's Chocolates and Confectionery factory.
Will Ride offers sustainable mountain bike activities including tours of the region using E-Bikes. Tours are designed specifically to cater for the interests, fitness, experience and time that suits participants - from two hours to two days, with or without accommodation, and for individuals and small groups.
Bike and cycling equipment hire is available from:
Remember that the hilly terrain can be demanding so you'll need to carry plenty of water, sunscreen and a repair kit.
Please consider your impact on the environment and ensure the safety of all riders and shared trail users. Key points include only riding on established tracks and trails, planning your ride, complying with signs and respecting the rights of others.