Garden Route Trail Park:
The Garden Route Trail Park in Barrington has become synonymous with Mountain Biking in the Garden Route. It is on many mountain biker’s bucket lists, and for good reason. We were fortunate enough to book into the Cottage on the farm, with the trails literally on our doorstep. The Trail park has 4 main loops, but the layout allows combining of the routes to suit every rider’s tastes and abilities.
If you work from the bottom up, the first trail is Forest Frenzy, with Crazy Creek and Jungle Fever starting higher up, and the crown is Mountain Mania that starts in the Fairleigh plantation and ends at the start of Jungle Fever and Crazy Creek.
Jungle Fever, Crazy Creek and Forest Frenzy are hand built trails characterized by sections of indigenous forest and tight twisty turns. They are moderately technical and allow a skilled rider to ride it at speed, while giving a novice a great ride at a more sedate pace, without the imminent fear of Death by Rock Garden. The trails are rough in places without being overly groomed, yet they are obviously well maintained. These trails are relatively hard work, and you really earn your turns. But because the climbs and descents are intermingled you never really feel like you are doing a lot of climbing, and there are only two climbs that I remember afterwards felt like hard work. This is old school SA mountain biking trails at its best.
Mountain Mania is cut from a different cloth. It is a machine built trail and it has a Flow Trail feel to it characterized by big berms and lots of flow. While there are flat sections that require pedaling, it seems as if you can do most of it without turning a pedal, with the berms setting you up from one corner in the next with just the right amount of rollers to keep your speed down without braking. This trail is a masterpiece. Riding it is big fun, so much so that I rode it 4 times over the weekend. To get there you have to climb via forestry roads, and a loop took us about an hour, split up between about 45mins of steady climbing, followed by 12-15mins of raucous descending.
The Trail Park’s magic is its combination of lekker trails, awesome terrain and beautiful indigenous forests. The indigenous forest canopy combined with beautiful foliage and ferns make for a trippy time spent in the Green Room. It’s not only surfers that know the feeling, while surfers experience elation when pulling into the Blue Room’s barrel, mountain biker get the elation when carving up single-track in the Green Room. And the Trail Park has some very special Green Rooms.
Over and above the trails there is also a coffee shop that pull great espresso shots and make mean milkshakes and croissants. The coffee shop is next to a big pump track that caters for kids of all ages (even grown up kids) and this is family central. There is also a backpacker’s style dorm room to supplement the cottage for accommodation.
For more info visit www.gardenroutetrailpark.com