There are many good reasons to visit the beautiful North East of Victoria, but if you're a cyclist, then loading up your bike to take on some of the best riding around should be at the top of your list. Victoria's High Country is without doubt one of Australia's premier cycling destinations and the Yackandandah area is no exception. Whether you're riding mountain bike tracks, rail trails, gravel or on the road, there are options to suit riders of all ages and abilities, right on our doorstep.
This page contains an overview of the riding options in the Yackandandah and Beechworth area, including maps and links for some of our favourite local routes and locations.
Cycling Facilities at Red Box Retreat
Our cycling mini-bar has a selection of inner tubes, lube, tyre sealant, tools and a floor pump available for guests if they find themselves in need or forget their own. Sorry, tasty beverages are BYO.
To keep your bikes safely protected from the elements and out of the way we have some top of the range Steadyracks installed in the carport.
Bike Wash Station
We've also set up a bike wash station to clean your pride and joy after a dusty or muddy ride, with detergent, buckets, sponges and brushes.
Yackandandah Mountain Bike Park
The Yackandandah MTB Park, or the Yack Tracks as they are known locally, offers riders over 60kms of pure, hand cut XC singletrack. The trailhead is located 4 kms by car from Red Box Retreat, or 4.5kms from the centre of town. There is also a singletrack link from the trailhead to town, which is less than a kilometre away if you want to ride from the Red Box front door.
The trails here are a real showcase of the area's old gold mining heritage, making extensive use of the mining diggings and following the old water races as they traverse the hillsides. The local trail builders wanted to avoid the maze-like nature of many MTB parks and have planned and constructed the trails as a series of long loops. The loops are all colour coded and very well sign-posted, so its easy to find your way around and stay on track simply by following the coloured arrows.
There's nothing too technical about the Yack Tracks, the biggest challenge is usually fitness related. The trails feature all feature gentle climbing traverses, a few punchy and longer climbs and awesome, flowing descents. Bring your climbing legs, as you do earn your descents on these trails, but it's always worth it.
The Yack Tracks feature as 5 main loops, ranging in distance from 3.3kms to 18.5kms long. The following are full route descriptions, however all you really need to know is which coloured arrow you're following and you won't get lost.
3.3kms - 70m total climbing - 20min
A great, flowing introductory loop, with extra route options for skill building. Nothing too hard and perfect for kids or beginners.
18.5kms - 415m total climbing - 1hr 40min
Start with a climb up the first section of our Green Loop "Shack track" followed by a long steady climb up "Highway to Hill" which uses sections of old mining race. Once you reach the top, have a breather then get set for fantastic 7km descent down Blackwood Boulevard and Digger's Decline, before returning to the trailhead with a traverse along "Minty Badger" which follows another old mining race and cuts its way in and out of the old diggings.
17.2 kms - 500m total climbing - 1hr 30min
Start out along the relatively flat "Reservoir Race", watching out for the steep cliffs beside the track in some sections. Climb up "Wheely Wavey" to the top of Service Basin Spur (There is a bail out point near the top, to shortcut back down "Busy Beaver" if you've had enough!) Descend the far side of the spur down the fast and flowy "Port Hill" before climbing back up "2 Up". Finally, descend the brilliant new berms and switchbacks of "Busy Beaver", which also forms part of the new Indigo Epic trail, and return to the first section of "Reservoir Race "via "The Birthday Route".
18.2kms - 450m total climbing - 1hr 40min
Start with the up section of "Shack track",up the new alignment on Highway to Hill, turn Right onto Purplexed, then head up "Hurley Burley/Shark Attack". At this point you can take the short option to the right, cutting out the hardest climb and 3.5kms, or continue the long loop to the left and onto the steep climb of "Reo". Have a break at the top, then get stuck into the awesome descent of "Kokoda/Auburn/T3", cross the bridge on "Willow tree road" again and return via "Lello's Link" in reverse and the down section of "Shack track"
Yakonda Loop (Pink)
10.8km - 360m total climbing - 1hr 05min
The Pink loop is newest trail at Yack (so new it doesn't have a Trailforks page). Begin at the trailhead, or at the reservoir if your riding from Red Box, take the "Reservoir Race" until you reach "Martin Plaza" on the left. At the fire road take a left and up the punchy climb until you hit the flowy "Jenkins Bypass Bypass" on the left, follow into the "My little pinky" descent back to join the purple loop back to the trailhead via "Lello's Link" and "Shack track". There are also long and short options on the return, the short option takes the fun and super cruisy "Shack Track", while the long option finishes with the punchy and more technical "Bogans Run".
Beechworth Mountain Bike Park
The Beechworth Mountain Bike Park is another of our favourites and is only 20 minutes down the road. Despite being only 8 kms from the Yack Tracks as the crow flies, the trails at Beechworth have a completely different character. The tall eucalypts, wet gullies and mining races of Yackandandah give way to sandy soils, native pines and slabs of granite, and the riding challenges become less about fitness and more about technical skills.
The trails here feature lots of rock gardens and natural obstacles and suit more modern trail bikes. Beechworth has a range of trails to suits abilities of all levels, including a kid friendly green loop, a couple of solid black gravity runs, a jumps line and an awesome 10km technical cross country loop.
It's also worth checking out Flametrees, a sweet 8km XC loop beside the Murray to Mountain Rail Trail to the south west of town, or the Woolshed Downhill, if you have a bigger bike and a shuttle buddy.
Indigo IMBA Epic Trail - Beechworth to Yackandandah
This is the BIG one. In 2019 the Indigo Shire Council announced funding for the Southern Hemisphere's only all‐season IMBA Epic standard mountain bike trail, linking the towns of Beechworth and Yackandandah. The only other IMBA Epic trail in Australia is the Alpine Epic at Mt Buller which can only be ridden in Summer.
MTB Day Trips
For those wanting to mix it up and ride even more locations, Mystic Bike Park at Bright and Big Hill at Mt Beauty are both just under an hours drive away, while Falls Creek is an easy hour and half from Red Box Retreat.
The first stage of the $2 million dollar project has just been completed, with the construction of an access trail linking the Yack Tracks trailhead to the town in Yackandandah. Stage 2 of the project, which includes construction of the the Yackandandah half of the trail, is currently being built and is due to be completed by July 2022. Watch this space for updates and check out this recent article from Flow Mountain Bike.
One of the biggest cycling drawcard for riders of all ages is the vast network of rail trails in Victorian's North East. Traversing the gentle gradients of the high country valleys and following the routes of the old railways, Rails Trails are the perfect way to explore and experience our beautiful region.
Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail
The Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail is currently under construction and, when completed, will include 31 kms of sealed trail from Beechworth, through Yackandandah, and on to Osbourne's Flat.
The trail will also link up with the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail at Beechworth, with over 100 kms of connected trails stretching from Milawa, through Wangaratta, Rutherglen, and along the length of the Ovens valley through Myrtleford to Bright.
The Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail project is due to be completed by the end of 2021, however the section between Yackandandah and Osbourne's flat is now open.
This section is 6km in length and begins from a small dirt car park in Britton Lane, off the Myrtleford-Yackandandah Rd, just south of town. This undulating trail travels along the beautiful Yackandandah Creek, through native bush and farmland, to the Osbourne's Flat Hall.
If planning to ride the full distance between Beechworth and Yackandandah, please bear in mind there is a 250 m elevation difference between the towns. If you would prefer to ride predominantly downhill then plan to start your ride in Beechworth. The Yackandandah to Osbourne's Flat section is largely flat.
The Beechworth to Yackandandah Rail Trail project is due to be completed by the end of 2021. Click here more information on the trail and for the latest updates on the construction progress.
Murray to Mountains Rail Trail
The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail is the perfect way to discover the diverse and ever-changing landscape of North East Victoria – from natural bushland to verdant farmland, delightfully unexpected hidden valleys and some of Australia’s most spectacular mountain ranges.
The M2M rail trail provides over 100 kilometres of sealed and off-road trails, which provide the perfect link between the popular tourist towns of Milawa, Wangaratta, Beechworth, Rutherglen, Bright and Myrtleford.
Along the ride (no matter which leg you choose) you’ll savour some of Australia’s finest gourmet produce, renowned wines, and handcrafted beer.
High Country Rail Trail
Beginning just a 25 minute drive away and stretching over 80 kilometres from Wodonga, through Old Tallangatta and out to Shelley, the High Country Rail Trail hugs the shoreline of the majestic Lake Hume.
Ride back in time to the 1950s when the town of Tallangatta was relocated, and the old town flooded by Lake Hume. Cross the sparkling lake over the bright red 600 metre Sandy Creek Bridge to visit the new and old town sites. Pack your panniers with regional produce for a lakeside picnic at Ebden, Ludlow’s or Huon Reserve, or take a refreshing dip while you simply soak up the sweet serenity.
There's also a 7.5 kilometre section that everyone can enjoy in beautiful Corryong.
For more information, suggested route options, maps and links, visit Ride High Country - Rail Trails
Gravel riding is booming right now, and it's no wonder as more and more of us look to avoid the dangers of riding on the road and seek out the natural surroundings that unpaved backroads provide. The gravel riding in the High Country is truly awesome; the dirt roads are endless and quiet, and the options are limited only by your willingness to take a leap of faith and follow a line on a map.
Red Box Retreat is located just to the east of the Stanley State Forest and the Stanley plantations, an area which stretches 10km to the west to Beechworth and 20kms south towards Myrtleford. This area is a combination of native bush and pine plantations and contains a massive network of gravel roads to be explored.
Much of this area is up on the Stanley plateau, which requires a decent effort to climb, but once on the top you are rewarded with rolling gravel roads and the knowledge that it's downhill all the way home.
A word of warning, if you do decide to venture up into the State Park, the mobile phone reception can be patchy and it's easy to find yourself disorientated in the maze-like network of forest tracks, so GPS navigation or offline maps are definitely worthwhile.
High Country road riding requires little introduction, with some of the Australia'a most renowned road climbs like Falls Creek, Mt Hotham and Mt Buffalo.
Local options include the short spin out to Allans flat, or for those looking to test the legs with a ride from the front door, try to Yackandandah-Stanly-Beechworth loop. This 80km circuit takes rolling roads south from Yack before tackling the the scenic and quiet 510m Stanley climb. The route then descends on beautiful roads through Beechworth, rolls through Wooragee to the roundabout before the ripping descent back to Yack.
The classic High Country road climbs of Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Buffalo and Tawonga Gap are all less than an hours drive from the Retreat.
If climbing mountains aren't your thing, then head to one of the beautiful High Country valleys for your fix of rolling roads, stunning scenery and fresh air. The Kiewa, Ovens, Mitta and King valleys offer the tarmac enthusiast a myriad of excellent riding opportunities, from long fast loops best suited to group rides to quiet backroads ideal for a solo escape.