Unforgettable gravel day rides in the hills and forests around Beechworth
There’s a whole heap of excellent gravel day rides in any direction out of Beechworth, but linking the roads together into an unforgettable day out is harder than it looks. Gravelmob’s self-guided day loops solve that problem for you.
Self-guided day rides from Beechworth
We’ve curated a selection of great loops that give you a taste of some of the best gravel and backroads riding around Beechworth. With a little extra study on your behalf you’ll find that each loop has a couple of options that can shorten or extend the length and challenge to suit your needs.
Ridden one of our loops? We’d love your feedback. Share photos of your ride on Instagram and tell us what you thought. Use the #gravelmob hashtag or tag us with @thegravelmob.
Lap o’ Town (18km)
The Lap o’ Town is a short gravelly circuit around Beechworth, ideal for first-time graveleurs or families. After passing the golf course, sports precinct and Beechworth’s historic cemetery you’ll enjoy a fun descent down Gorge Road. But what goes down must come up and you’ll be using your gears as you make your way towards the backroads south-east of town. Returning to town via the rail trail you’ll pass Pennyweight Winery, Lake Sambell and then roll back to the brewery via sealed High Street.
Stanley Intro Loop (25km)
The Stanley Intro Loop is a great choice if you’re a rail trail and bike paths rider and want to give gravel riding a try. It’s a shortened version of the Fruit, Nuts and Gravel loop and follows Pipeline Track to Lake Kerferd before continuing on to The Stanley Pub and Hillsborough Nuts Cafe (check opening hours online before you depart). You’ll pass orchards, nut groves and beautiful farm scenery before a speedy gravel descent on the Old Stanley Road back into Beechworth (watch out for the sharp left-hand bend halfway along) and a quick detour up to the fascinating Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum.
It’s a favourite loop for us on our Monday evening gravel rides (6pm from the Old Beechworth Gaol), probably because we usually stop for an ale at the pub…
Half Day Rides
Fruit, Nuts and Gravel (46km)
Fruit, Nuts and Gravel is a half-day ride on the backroads and tracks between Beechworth and Stanley. It takes in Lake Sambell and Lake Kerferd, rolls through the picturesque Stanley village, detours up to the wonderful Murmungee Lookout and passes a host of local producers including Hillsborough Nuts Cafe and various fruit and nut orchards, ending with a great descent back into Beechworth.
Eldorado Firebox Loop (30km)
Starting and finishing in the historic village of Eldorado, this loop soon finds the gravel and climbs slowly for 5km (4.5%) into the hills and native bush of the Chiltern Mt Pilot National Park. Turn right onto Davitts Swamp Road for a superb 7km freewheeling descent back to Reedy Creek (and a chance to get your feet wet), followed by the short blast along Woolshed Road back to the village.
Eldorado’s pub – The McEvoy Tavern – is the smallest pub in Victoria, and don’t miss the donuts at the newly-opened Firebox Bakery, which is the ideal start/finish point for this loop. Check their opening days/hours online before you ride.
Note: although this ride is relatively short it has hills, uneven terrain and loose surfaces, and requires a reasonable level of fitness/endurance and bike handling ability.
To ride this loop from Beechworth, take the Beechworth-Wangaratta Road out of town and turn right onto Flat Rock Road, then follow Sheep Station Creek Road and Masons Road through three farm gates to the intersection with Woolshed Road. Use the same route to return. This extends the route by around 35km.
The Six Mile Slog (32km)
The Six Mile Slog gets its name from the long (but excellent) gravel climb on Six Mile Road towards Stanley. The route leaves town with a lovely descent on the Murray to the Mountains rail trail before a left turn onto Bartsch Road (don’t miss it or you’ll end up in Everton), then heading south to Library Road before crossing the Myrtleford-Beechworth Road to begin the Six Mile climb. If you reach Stanley after 11.30am the pub will be open or there’s a coffee option at Hillsborough Nuts Cafe (nb. check opening hours due to COVID-19). The ride home passes Fletcher Dam and Lake Kerferd before descending back into town via the Pipeline Track.
For an alternative route home, follow Mason’s Road and descend on Old Stanley Road back to the main Beechworth-Stanley Road.
Mt Pilot Lookout (59km)
This ride sends you through farmland towards Eldorado before crossing Reedy Creek and turning east along historic Woolshed Road, before reaching Mt Pilot lookout – the highest point in the unspoilt Chiltern Mt Pilot National Park. The ride back to town via Woolshed Valley is a highlight and the solid tarmac climb into Beechworth will have you ready for a refreshing ale at the brewery. Short side trips to the Beechworth Berry Farm and Woolshed Falls are well worth the effort.
The Beechworth Gaol Break (58km)
This loop follows the route taken by the Beechworth Gaol Break gravel ride in 2018. Linking some of the best gravel roads and trails around Beechworth, with a few surprises thrown in, this challenging ride spends plenty of time in the hills and forests around Stanley, including an optional ascent up to the Mt Stanley summit, and finishes with a long downhill run back to town.
Full Day Rides
2019 Tour de Beechworth Gravel (80km)
This ride follows the 2019 Tour de Beechworth gravel route. It starts with a long steady descent into Eldorado before a solid climb back towards Mt Pilot on excellent gravel roads. The mixed surface return to Beechworth through the Woolshed Valley is a highlight, and if your legs can handle it you can continue up the difficult climb to the Murmungee Lookout and then back to Beechworth via the sealed Stanley Road.
The first half of this loop has no food/drink refuelling options. If you’re running low we recommend you detour into Eldorado or the Beechworth Berry Farm (in season) for snacks/coffee/water refills.
The Cancelled 2020 Tour de Beechworth Gravel (80km)
Postponed from July to September then cancelled altogether due to the coronavirus restrictions, the 2020 Tour de Beechworth was all set to be a sensational day out with over 300 riders booked in to get their fill of Beechworth Vitamin G. A small but hardy troupe of Beechworth locals rode the course anyway on September 5 and you can ride it too, because here it is. It’s essentially a reverse of the 2019 route, with a couple of worthy detours thrown in.
Beechworth to Bright (89km)
This one-way adventure links the two High Country bike towns of Beechworth and Bright on a mostly gravel surface with some sealed (but quiet) roads. It begins with an easy descent on the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail before following farm lanes and backroads to a welcome coffee and food stop in Myrtleford. After a brief on-road section the route climbs up to Mt Porepunkah before descending into Bright and finishing at the Bright Brewery.
The Chiltern Hunjy (102km)
This is a ripper opportunity to chalk up a ton on the gravel. Miles away from cars and dwellings and often riding through deep forest, you’ll get a real feel for the gold rush and bushranger landscapes of the region. Begin by heading west out of Beechworth towards Eldorado via the farming landscape of Sheep Station Creek Road (passing through 3 farm gates – please close them behind you) and Mt Pilot forest of Masons Road. After a coffee and food stop at the Firebox Bakery or Eldorado General Store (25km) the route heads north on good gravel roads to the township of Chiltern (50km), then winds back southwards through more Mt Pilot National Park forest to Beechworth. During berry season don’t miss a detour for a smoothie or ice cream at the Beechworth Berry Farm (95km) before tackling the challenging La Serena tarmac climb back into town.
We recommend you take 3x water bottles and plenty of food on this ride in summer — the section between Chiltern and the Berry Farm is 45km and has no water or food points.
The Myrtleford Monster (123km)
With its amazing scenery, undulating terrain and various lunch options in the King Valley, this all day mixed surface adventure between Myrtleford and the King Valley deserves a place on any list of iconic High Country rides. Equally good when ridden in either direction, the clockwise circuit (below) heads south from Myrtleford on the Buffalo River Road past Lake Buffalo, and continues over the Black Range to Whitfield via the Rose River Road before returning via undulating backroads and farm lanes to Myrtleford and a well-earned refreshment. Refuelling options are Cheshunt and Whitfield during normal cafe/general store hours.
We recommend you take 3x water bottles and plenty of food on this ride — the section between Myrtleford and Whitfield is long, challenging and has no water or food points.
On-ride food and drink
Farmgate cafes and small village bakeries may be closed on the day of your ride. We recommend you check their opening hours via their websites before you set off.
What to bring
If you’re bringing your own bike. Please ensure it’s appropriate for the terrain you’ll ride, well-maintained, safe and equipped with spare tube, rear light, pump and multi-tool. Riding surfaces may include smooth gravel, rough corrugations, slippery mud, dry dust, loose sand, tree roots, bog holes and more. You’ll trash your road bike, a dual suspension MTB is overkill, and a city hybrid might not complete the journey in one piece. Your best options are a gravel bike, CX bike or hardtail mtb.
Appropriate clothing. Beechworth’s climate is warm and temperate: in spring and autumn days are usually sunny and calm (15-25deg), in summer they’re dry and hot (30deg +), and in winter they’re chilly (5-10deg). But anything is possible. Check the forecast before you arrive and dress appropriately for the day’s ride. Don’t forget your helmet, sunglasses and riding shoes.
Insurance and Risks
- If you download and use one of these self-guided routes you acknowledge and accept that you are riding totally at your own risk. The routes are just suggested loops on publicly-accessible roads and tracks, and the day-to-day quality, safety, difficulty and open/closed status of any part of the routes is totally outside of Gravelmob’s control. Your fitness, amount of remote experience, riding ability and bike suitability is also out of Gravelmob’s control.
- It’s strongly recommended that you have your own personal accident and liability insurance whenever you hop on your bike. There are various cycling insurance providers available, Cycling Australia is the obvious one.
- Some of the routes pass through remote areas where internet/mobile phone service is not reliable or strong enough to make calls or locate yourself via your phone’s GPS. We recommend you arrange a backup communication plan, bring a dedicated GPS unit (so you can get yourself back to the pub), and pack a Personal Locator Beacon in case of a true emergency.