[usrlist “Length:2” “Grade:2” “Difficulty:1”]
The North Shore and specifically Ku-Ring-Gai is peak mountain bike terrain. The interspersed bush land of the suburbs makes for not only good, diverse riding, but also scenic trips. All skill levels are catered for; from advanced downhill heroes, to sedate, fire-trail-bandits and on to those looking for an easy bike ride. The Warrimoo track is somewhat of a hybrid track as it consists of very relaxed, open fire trails but also has parts that should not be promoted to the most basic of skill levels.
The trail starts at the end of the feeding arterial road of St. Ives Chase, Warrimoo Avenue in the small National Parks and Wildlife car park. If you follow the trail until its finale, you will find yourself all the way down at Bobbin Head, at Halvorsen Marina. People who are familiar with Bobbin Head and the Ku-Ring-Gai National park will realise that this track takes its followers on a trip not only through some of the more picturesque parts of the southern end of the National Park, but also totally immerses them in the local bush-land and the beautiful waters of Cowan Creek.
Beginning in the second highest-from-sea-level suburb in Sydney; St. Ives, the track is flat for almost a kilometre before it starts to gradually slope off into the valley of Cowan. A long gradual downhill with a few small uphills presents itself; views of the valley expand out to the right as you carry on. However, after a short cycle, you will meet a very steep section, which is the hardest part on this easy ride. We are talking 50-60 degree angle slope though, which has been covered in ridged concrete so that fire access vehicles can make it up and down this slope, even when it is wet.
If you are a complete novice to cycling, this is the sport to turn around and head home. Your round trip will have been 4km and you will have experienced some of the special part of Kuringai.
If you’re looking for a bit more distance, head down the slope. At the bottom of this slope, the track forks; the right fork goes for another 100metres or so, out to a spectacular view across the valley and the left track takes us on wide vista with a bench. To the left of the seat is a narrow path down over the hillside to the valley floor and river.
The terrain is also a variable throughout the track worth taking into consideration as it varies between medium-large rocks, clay/fire-trail terrain and sand in some points. The further along the trail you get, the more the fire trail begins to die out and you are faced with the choice of carrying the bike over a few water crossings and narrow headlands as you come down to sea level. For the best ride, and for a bit of fitness training, an easy warm up ride down to the water and then turning around and going back up the steep incline would probably be best.
At the far end of the track, there are a small set of steps that lead you on to the Halvorsen Marina at Bobbin Head. Walk your bike in this area, as there are no cycling signs on the docks. Around the front of the marina is a newly renovated kiosk, cafe and restaurant where you can get a well deserved cappuccino or cake.
This track is very forgiving and a good starting point for new riders but not for complete novices. As noted, the best option is to go out and back rather than trying to complete a round trip. This is due to the fact that once you are all the way down at the Bobbin Head you have travelled 6.2 kilometres down hill. The only way back to the starting point then, to complete a round trip, is 12.1 kilometres up the winding road out of the park which is a sweaty, unforgiving mistress of a climb, especially on a fat-tyre mountain bike. The simplest way home, is to turn around and retrace your footsteps (after relaxing in the cafe and taking in the view).
The Warrimoo Track is a well-known walking track, so make sure you are alert to walkers at all times. However, as a fire trail, it is a great ride and takes you through some of the best natural, untouched land of the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. If you are looking for a stamina-testing, cross-country style ride that takes you through some breath-taking scenery, this trail is worth a visit.