So, I finally got up to the Blue Mountains on the weekend of 25th and 26th April.
The executive summary - is well worth a visit for a weekend; naturally it is not as good as Rotovegas but it is a spectacular location with some good trails about the place.
My mate from Bathurst joined me. What we rode:
- Lockyers on Saturday morning
- Scribblies on Saturday noon
- fire trail to Hanging Rock on Saturday afternoon
- The Oaks fire trail on Sunday morning
What we learned:
- Blackheath is a good base, despite being in the upper mountains. The town has good food, pub and coffee options and the caravan park is fine for accommodation. I stayed in a small cabin because of the cold, but in late spring or early autumn it would be fine to camp. The cabin was pretty basic but the reverse cycle air conditioning was appreciated when the outside temperature was in the low single digit range on Sat night. Because in the upper mountains I'd do all the riding in that area on the Saturday, and then lower mountains riding on Sunday.
- Lockyers was a great style of trail (rough in places, great scenery and rocky features, good elevation drop of around 200m) that suits our riding well. Chappie would love the descent. Only problem is not long enough but I think we can combine with Coxs Rd to fill a morning session. Ascent not so much fun, but part of the equation. Lockyers is near Mount Victoria, about 10km further on from Blackheath.
- Scribblies is good single track with a myriad of options. Flowy and with the odd jump makes for a fun few hours without taxing the legs. So many trails here I don't think we found them all. Scribblies is near Katoomba, about 10km before Blackheath.
- A visit to Hanging Rock via the firetrail is a worthwhile ride. Yes, is only firetrail but the numerous waterbars make for a laugh and the lookout at the end is a must while in the Blue Mountains, despite the vertigo inducing cliff drop you encounter (with no safety fence). The start of the firetrail to Hanging Rock is very near to Blackheath.
- The Oaks is very easy firetrail, but the gradual descent from about halfway meant some fun speeds can be reached, and then you get to ride singletrack for many kilometres (the older singletrack is not too technical, but still fun due to the gradual downslope; the new singletrack is very enjoyable because of its technical elements). The views and experience of riding for 25km through the Blue Mtns still make this a worthwhile ride, but maybe combine with Andersons or the St Helena side trip to make this hurt the legs more. The Oaks start is mid-mountain with finish in lower mountains.
- Didn't get to Knapsack Reserve as ran out of time... but know where it is for next visit. Knapsack Reserve is lower mountains, essentially over the highway from where The Oaks finishes.