Still my favourite "short" ride in the Mountains. Rode from Golden Stairs carpark yesterday (skipped the opening hill as the sun was setting rapidly), and it occurs to me that on a good day, it'd be a nice benchmark for me to do the there-and-back from Golden Stairs (~20km round trip) in under the hour mark. The tarsealed hill is a lovely opener to shock your legs awake!
As it turns out, the light gave out too soon for me to put down a fast time (fitted my lights at the Fire Tower, on the return), and I discovered my lights were low on charge, making the return a bit slow. Next time...
Rode Narrowneck 24/4/11 with my partner.
Giant XTC Hardtails with Rocket Ronnies on mine and Crossmarks on hers.
One heck of a good ride!
Scenery is second to none.
Trail description by Grant is very accurate.
Being from Brisbane and this being the first time at Narrowneck we drove to the gate, parked the car there.
Just a great ride which could be as easy or as hard as you wish to make it. The area had a fair amount of rain when we were there which made getting back up the steep bit (at around 7 km from the gate)not possible. But the rest was rideable. For those wishing to do a great scenic ride - this is it.
For those who wish to make it a bit more... then you could really 'tap it out' which would make it a great shortish ride with some intensity, however *walkers have right of way* so be cautious, though not many blind corners so no real issues in that regard.
Awesome Ride. Not the longest but 10/10 nevertheless.
This has to be the most scenic of the Blue Mountains trails. Especially good in winter when the valleys are full of fog in the mornings.
This was graded about 2 years ago but is beginning to get more interesting again with some of the erosion. The last section after the tower wasn't graded and is a terrific dash to the end... really about as much fun as one can have on a fire trail.
Narrow Neck is one tiring ride as well.. it really undulates with large hills and you are pretty much gauranteed to come back feeling quite worn out.
This is a Blue Mountains ride along Glenraphael Drive, starting from Cliff Drive, Katoomba. The whole ride is firetrail and it must be the most picturesque ride in the Blue Mountains.
As soon as you hit Glenraphael Dr it's a loose, fast downhill run for about a kilometre until you hit the first little parking area. A tour company was doing some abseiling (I think) with a group of tourists while we went past. The way down to this point has some nice turns but the washboard rutts and loose surface make it interesting.
Keep going along and you'll pass a section that is again used for parking. There is a large board with a map of the area here and also the Golden Stairs walking track splits off here. Just after this is a nice, steep hill. It's steep enough that the NPWS has decided to concrete it to make things easier for the service and fire fighting vehicles. From here the track goes up and down a little until you reach a gate at about the 3km mark.
Just past the gate is a friendly little sign saying it's a shared trail and cyclists should give way to walkers. It's good to know we're allowed on the track! There's a bit of downhill straight after the gate and more up and down for the next 3 or so kilometers.
At around 6kms is a pretty steep downhill bit that has a sharp left hand bend near the top. From this bend you get some fantastic views of the surrounding area, including looking out to Lake Burragorang and Warragamba Dam. The way down after the bend is significantly steeper than before the bend, has a few waterbars to jump off and may be a little bit rutted after some rain. At the bottom you pass under/next to a large rock just before a right hand bend and then begin the climb up the other side. The trail surface for the climb seemed a bit looser than the descent so you have to choose a good line to maintain traction getting up.
From the top of the climb you view an awesome scene into the Megalong Valley between two points of Narrowneck. Zig-zagging slightly between two large rocks, the firetrail from here to the end is generally much more pleasant. It is flatter and easier to maintain speed. Towards the end the track gets a bit rocky but it's not as hard as it looks.
At the end of the firetrail is a great viewing spot for nearly 360º views. There is also a walking trail off to the right when you arrive but it is clearly signposted as a walking trail, so best not to ride it. The end isn't a bad spot to have something to eat and then turn around and ride back.
I found the ride back easier overall, although getting up to the left hand turn (now a right hand turn going back) was a challenge. I've never been so far forward on the seat, but I made it up!
Once at the gate it's a good idea to listen out for cars coming along and if you parked along Cliff Dr you finish with about 1km of climbing.
Overall it was a good track. There are some narrow sections where the cliffs drop away from the edge of the track but the views are amazing pretty much all the way along. Some bits look a bit daunting when you are at a high point, you look out to see the track in the distance knowing that you are going to be descending and then climbing back up. But it was all a bit of fun and setting yourself the challenge of riding up every hill is cool too.