MTB Mountain Bike Riding Margaret River

Middle Earth & Other Mountain Biking Trails

All about Middle Earth, one of the most challenging mountain bike tracks in Margaret River.

One of the most challenging mountain biking trails to emerge in Margaret River in recent years is Middle Earth.

Located on Gale Road at Metricup, between Busselton and Cowaramup, it’s also conveniently close to the Beer Farm. Middle Earth is a rolling, single 24km trail which has been around for ten years, although it has become popular since it was used as the final stage for the Cape to Cape MTB race two years ago.  It was built by local riders Rod Lakelin and Pete Battye and is enjoyed by local riders like Christian Bishop, who says the trail is one of the most challenging around.

“Middle Earth is a bit of a maze all the way through. Rod has used every little bit of land to create as much trail as he could,” he says. “He’s done well with a lot of the obstacles. There are lots of log rolls and double jumps.  It’s not a particularly hilly area, so you’re relying on pedal power, and a getting bit of a kick getting through some of the obstacles and the rock gardens without putting your feet down.”

“It’s definitely a technical cross-country style course – intermediate mountain bike riders would love it.  One lap and you’re pretty cooked, unless your especially fit.”

MTB Mountain Bike Riding Margaret River

Rod says he originally built the Middle Earth course as a means of connecting with his teenage son, and to provide a healthy distraction for a close friend going through a divorce.  “Riding has always been a way of connecting with people.  It’s a great equaliser.  It’s a great way of meeting people and socialising.  And it’s a way of getting out of your own head.”

Rod and Pete began building most of the trail by hand, and say it was important to them to work with nature rather than against it.  “We started by hand, moving rocks, shovelling dirt.  Then we moved to using earth moving machines.  We go in and just tidy things up.  A tree comes down and we use that to create a natural obstacle,” said Rod.

Riding has always been a way of connecting with people

Cape to Cape MTB Mountain Bike Riding Track

Other Biking Trails

Town to Beach

For the adventurer seeking a cruisier challenge, there are abundant trails in Margaret River, each catering to different levels of experience and with their own unique feel.

One of the most popular family routes, is the ride from Margaret River down to Prevelly, says Christian.  “Margaret River is regarded as a beach town, but it’s actually a little way to the beach.  One of the more popular things to do is to hire a bike, even an electric bike, and ride your way down to the beach.”

“It’s paved all the way and a little bit undulating, so you do have to put a bit of effort in, but you get that reward when you come over the hill.  You see the beach there, and the ocean lights up as you come past Wallcliffe Road.

“You jump over the road to that lookout point and look out over the river.  You have a choice of beautiful beaches: the Rivermouth, Mainbreak, or down to Gnarabup for a swim.”

South Carters

A rider of almost 30 years, another of Christian’s favourite Margaret River tracks is the Creek Trails, located on the south side of Carters Road.

“They are a lot more ‘organic’, is the best way to put it.  A bit more rough-and-ready and not so manicured as some of the other tracks.  If you compare it to surfing it’s like the open ocean compared to a wave pool.  It’s wild, it’s unpredictable, and that’s part of the attraction.  It’s a different kind of challenge.”

North Carters

On the north side of Carters Road is a different, more cultivated kind of riding experience, says Christian.

“On that side you’ve got all the new trails, which are a lot more professionally built.  They are well maintained with big earthmoving equipment.  There is a lot more planning that goes into them, they are very well signposted,” he says.

“I’ve got to know a few of the trail builders over the years, and it’s as much a science as it is an art.  They work out everything from what angles different berms need to be at to what angles different rollers need to be at to maintain speed and for you to milk the most out of the small hills we have here.”

“You’re really getting a very curated experience, which can be a heap of fun too.  There really is something for everyone.”

MTB Mountain Bike Riding Margaret River Photo Credit: Elements

Planning a Mountain Biking Trip to Middle Earth?

If you haven’t packed your own bike – there’s plenty of options for bike hire and advice on where to go and how to get there.

The Hairy Marron (69 Bussell Highway, Margaret River, 08 9757 2346) bike store and café rents out bikes and has produced a handy free-range map to help navigate your way through the MTB trails. The map is free with every bike hire or just $2 to purchase.

The Bike Shed Dunsborough (Unit 1, 10 Clark St Dunsborough, 08 9759 1495) also has a great range of mountain bikes to hire.

Lifecycle Bikes (6/16 Station Rd, Margaret River, 08 9758 7671) perfectly located for visitors to explore and enjoy the region by bike they do hire, sales and repairs and are only 10 minutes ride from the town’s MTB trails as well as 2-minute ride from the Wadandi trail.

The Golden Jersey (60 Bussell Hwy, Cowaramup, 08 9755 5408) has a range of bikes for hire, spare parts and repairs.

Fat Duck Cycles (22 Prince St, Busselton, 08 9754 2000) has a range of e-bikes to hire.

For updates on the Margaret River Region mountain biking scene, contact the Margaret River Off Road Cycling Association (MRORCA), visit mrorca.org.au for details.

For another way to navigate the trails, visit the Trailforks website and download the app.