Why Glenrock MTB Park Is The Best Newcastle Mountain Biking

City life can be… well, dull. Sometimes you just need to escape the cement barriers and get out into nature.

Driving along City Road, a three lane highway connecting Newcastle’s busy suburbs, you wouldn’t expect to find a natural haven of mountain biking, hiking and horse riding trails.

But there it is, Glenrock MTB Park sits smack back in the middle of Newcastle. A network of trails meandering through the forest, with some insane views of the rugged coastline.

We are not city people, which is obvious. We spend most of our spare time hiking or mountain biking. But having access to such a great oasis like the Glenrock MTB Park has made our stay in Newcastle all the more bearable.

So check out the local Newcastle Mountain Biking mecca, you won’t regret it…

GLENROCK OVERVIEW

Difficulty
Beginner / Intermediate

Trail Style
Singletrack, Cross Country

Distance
15 km

Time
1.5 hrs

Total Descent
Unknown

Entrance Fee
Free

Facilities
Trail Map Sign

Recommended Gear
Open face helmet, Light weight knee pads, Long sleeve jersey, Shorts, Gloves, Camel back


Glenrock is a central hub for like-minded adventurers who want to get away from the city feel without actually travelling anywhere.

Aside from mountain biking, you’ll find many bushwalkers, trail runners and horse-riders wandering about soaking up the wilderness feel. And who could blame them? Many unique vantage points offer some of the best coastal views overlooking Burwood Beach and Glenrock Lagoon.

Beautfiful beach view of Burwood beach and Glenrock Lagoon while Mountain biking in Glenrock MTB Park

Glenrock MTB Park not only offers stunning scenery, but also provides 15km of excellently maintained single track.

Consisting mainly of cross country trails, Glenrock provides access to many family friendly rides. But for the more daring of us out there, awesome enduro sections with a massive variety of jumps and rough technical descents are found littered throughout the park.

For this, we can all thank Glenrock Trail Alliance. A volunteer group operating together since 2004, whose goal is to deliver a sustainable and enjoyable network of trails for the local and not so local riders.

For the best experience with our in-depth trail guide, download Trailforks and follow along!

Glenrock Mountain Bike Park Cross Country 1

Glenrock mountain bike trails kick off from the Gun Club trailhead parking located just off City Rd. It’s pretty hard to miss. The massive trail map sign is a dead giveaway, however if you’re still confused, just follow one of the many locals out for a pedal, we can guarantee there will be some!

Glenrock MTB Park trail head sign, Newcatsle Mountain Biking

TWISTIES

You’ll want to stick left at the beginning of Glenrock MTB Park to commence the loop unless you feel a warm-up is needed? Then we have the perfect little circuit for you.

Take the first right onto Double Barrel. A short flat track, great to get the legs ticking over before leading you to Twisties. Pretty well summed up by the name, it gradually winds its way down the hill, twisting through a series of tight switchbacks.

Providing firm berms and enjoyable little drops, this is a happily challenging green trail for those beginners out there.

Carving one of the many great corners on Twisties while mountain biking in Newcastle at Glenrock MTB Park

KENNY’S

When the trail opens up, hang a left on the loose gravel and begin your climb up Reload. Back at the starting point and some heat in those legs, it’s time to rip it.

Continue straight along Kenny’s, commencing Glenrock’s first Cross Country Loop. This trail is tight and snaky, though it proves quite an easy pedal. That is until you reach our first rock garden.

Kenny’s continues to the right by-passing said feature, but if you’re looking for some excitement, hop over the X marked rock and send it down the three levels of rough terrain.

The X is sometimes hard to see and a new trail sign has been installed, followed by a caution sign.

Bouncing through the daring rock garden on Kenny's in Glenrock MTB Park in Newcastle

Pushing forward through the winding single track, you’ll find yourself faced with a small climb before the trail opens up once again.

As soon as you’ve passed through the grass paddock, more excitement awaits. A sequence of fast flowing corners mixed with rugged rocks provides the need to use that suspension.

When you hit the fork in the road, veer left to tackle a short but sweet uphill burst. Or shoot right and you’ll be shocked to find yourself on BJ’s surprise… no? Alright, no more puns!

Riding the technical climb on a Glenrock MTB Park cross country trail in Newcastle

BJ’S SURPRISE

Here is your first taste of gravity action in Glenrock mountain bike trails. A coiling descent featuring many tough corners along the way.

Being one of the least ventured runs in Glenrock, loose gravel and dusty berms shape a wild ride at speed. Not to mention, navigating the correct line through sharp rocks is no small task. This raw experience, while not being popular, is one we HIGHLY recommend.

Riding the rock garden in Glenrock MTB Park on BJ's Surprise while Newcastle Mountain Biking

SUESS LAND

Remember, what goes down must come up and if you take BJ’s Surprise you’ll face a steep uphill known as It Happens.

Should be shit happens because… well, you’ll find out. 

Seuss Land is the point of re-entry and we are back to cross country style riding… at least for a short while.

Take the high line on the left and waiting there is our second rock garden. Gaining speed around the oncoming berms will guide you perfectly towards the A-line.

Weight distribution is crucial when riding down the face of the first boulder, and if done correctly, ploughing through the remainder of the garden is no drama. However, if this is sounding a little out of your comfort zone, take the right line from the start. Dodging all the gnarly stuff and meeting back on Scenic Drive.

Sending the difficult rock slab at the end of the cross country loop in Glenrock Mountain bike trails

SHAFT

Heading down the gated shit works road – don’t worry you will understand the reference later – and about 100m along, the Shaft is on the left.

The first enduro line of Glenrock MTB Park, and one that is a crowd favourite!

Upon entry you’ll be propelled into more rocks followed by some of the tightest lines experienced here in Glenrock, finally sending that adrenaline soaring.

Mountain biking through a beautiful green forest over rocks in Glenrock MTB Park

Making way through the tight lines and over a series of log drops, the excitement appears to die as quickly as it began, but that is far from the truth.

Pedalling through 500m of level single track delivers a well-deserved rest before you spring back into action.

When the trail opens up DON’T head straight down the hill! This would be a huge mistake as following this pops out onto the Yuelarbah management trail thus skipping the remainder of the Shaft.

To stay on track the run continues to the right, and guess what is waiting for you?

Launcing from the huge kickers on the Shaft at Glenrock Mountain Bike Trails in Newcastle

That’s right, the first set of jumps. Ranging in size, three decent gaps appear before a tight right corner forces you to lock those brakes and lean hard!

The remaining line of jumps are somewhat smaller than the first three we mentioned, but still pack a mighty punch. Consisting of a side hit, step down and a step up, the variety along the Shaft is tremendous.

All jumps are well maintained and smooth… just make sure those brakes are dialled, that corner comes up bloody quick!

newcaslt water treatment plant in glenrock mountain bike trails

Going back to the shit works road… understand the reference now? One of Newcastle’s very own sewage treatment plants. Ain’t that a sight for sore eyes?

Just continue past as if never seeing it, like the rest of us following Shaft to Snakes Management trail. Following this trail around the left may get your hopes up for another excellent descent. But don’t get too excited, around the corner awaits a steep rutted ascent instead.

SNAKES AND LADDERS

Oh no! You know what it’s time for? Glenrock MTB Park’s first major climb, Snakes and Ladders.

After following the fire road for about 300m, you’ll be disappointed to see the sign. To be honest, we don’t really understand the name. It should just be called ladders.

A relentless 50m ascent over an 850m climb really isn’t what you need at this point of the day. Or at any point for that matter! About the only respite is the view at the top.

Beautfiful beach view of Burwood beach and Glenrock Lagoon while Mountain biking in Glenrock MTB Park

SEISMIC

From the summit you’ll meet back up with Gun Club Rd, in fact this is the same dirt road that the car park is on, so if it’s that time of day or Snakes and Ladders has taken the better of you, follow it back to your car.

But why not have some fun on the way out? Take the first right off the dirt road onto Seismic. While this run would be immensely better if it were steep, the succession of berms is great practice, if only for keeping speed and playing around with weight distribution.

Railing berms and sending jumps on seismic in Glenrock Mountain Bike Trails

SIX SHOOTER

Our second detour is Six Shooter. As the name suggests there are six tabletops in a row… wait, there are only five. We may have to consult Trailforks about this one!

But on a serious note, Six Shooter is a perfect place to build some confidence over jumps without the fear of landing in the middle of a gap. Believe us, you’ll need it for the journey to come!

Jumping the line of 5 table tops on 6 shooter in Glenrock MTB Park

Glenrock MTB Park Gravity Runs

Moving on to what mountain biking is all about, the gravity runs! While Glenrock mountain bike trails don’t boast the steepest or gnarliest descents this sport has to offer, these next four runs still pack quite a punch!

Unfortunately, Trailforks doesn’t help very much for the next two sections, so we will do our best to assist in guiding you through without the trusty App.

We weren’t kidding when we said you will need to boost your confidence for these gravity trails. There are four distinct runs and what do you know? The names are Downhill 1-4, very original.

All these trails provide a series of berms and jumps before leading to a steep and technical lower portion. Definitely the most hectic area of Glenrock MTB Park and up there with the best Gravity trails you’ll find in Newcastle mountain biking.

But you know what that means? The most fun!

Slicing through the trees as the sun glistens off the leaves in Glenrock MTB Park

DOWNHILL 1

From Six Shooter jump back onto the dirt road and you’ll be facing Downhill 2. Head right about 50m and keep a sharp eye out for the opening of Downhill 1. There is no signposting so be careful not to miss it.

Several lines allow all levels of riders to conquer this run. If you’re after a series of smaller gaps stick to the right, if larger doubles may be on the cards then the left is where you want to be.

Both consist of small loose berms before sending you down a very steep and rutted finish.

Launching from a ski jump in the dusty cross country trails at Glenrock MTB Park

DOWNHILL 2

Our much loved favourite Downhill 2! This track is well maintained, progressing in size and intensity as the run goes on. Beginning with a hip and quickly firing you into a rhythm section in which you can double or manual your way through, the ball starts rolling immediately.

Whipping over a hip jump in Glenrock MTB Park in my Shimano Am901 SPD Shoes

Carving your way around the long sweeping berms and popping off the top of ski jumps, be ready to line yourself up to hit the most difficult gap on Downhill 2…

The Extension!

Providing a modest 4m B-line and a solid 6m gap for the A-line, you may want to consider slamming in some cranks before taking the up-ramp!

Sending the huge gap on downhill 2 in Glenrock MTB Park riding in Newcastle

Following the extension, glide across the top of the berms or rail them in order to maintain enough speed for the creek gap. Don’t let the name fool you, there’s no creek – you’re in Australia remember and drought is a serious issue.

Upon clearing the step-down, get hard on those brakes as a steady approach is needed for the final stage. Picking your line here is entirely subjective and there are countless ways to attack it.

Personally we like the no-brain approach, shift that weight back, relax your grip and let fly straight down the mountain! However, the choice is yours. Definitely worthwhile having a sticky beak before sending it blindly into the abyss.

Smashing the most insane rock garden in Glenrock Mountain Bike Trails in Newcastle

DOWNHILL 3

Unlike Downhill 2, there aren’t any small jumps available along this route. Just drop in from the 1m high log and down you go. You need to smash the first berm in haste if attempting the two large gaps afterwards.

However, as in most recreational riding there is a chicken track around the side of these beasts, so don’t feel the need to avoid this run altogether.

Clearning a monster gap jump riding downhill in Glenrock MTB Park

Following the jumps are two dauntingly small berms, but don’t be scared to rip around them. The grip on offer is outstanding, really allowing for some aggressive riding.

Flying out of these berms and through the gully, a speed check is needed before launching off the huge rock drop and plunging down the hillside.

Smashing a berm in my Am901 SPD Shoes riding around a berm in Glenrock Mountain Bike Trails

From here the run gets very narrow and a blind corner is dead ahead. There is no easy way down this section but the line to take is on the far left.

After proceeding steady through the rocks, set yourself up for the pallet roller. A really fun feature, as nerve racking as it is. But trust us, looks can be deceiving.

mountain biker riding down pallet feature in forest scene at glenrock mountain bike trails

DOWNHILL 4

With our two favourites runs in Glenrock MTB Park out of the way, we can move to the last official downhill run at Glenrock.

Downhill 4 begins rather perky, pushing you straight towards the first of several small jumps. Two hip jumps await upon commencing the first straight, providing small features perfect for showing off to your mates!

Whipping over a hip jump in Glenrock Mountain Bike Trails in my Shimano Am901 SPD Shoes

After butting heads trying to decide who managed the better whip, the more skilful of us will spring to life with a collection of fast tight corners awaiting. Some supported by berms and others not, creating a tricky area where it’s difficult to maintain speed. Really separating the boys from men.

From these corners several small gaps lead you to a step-down, standing 2.5m in length and because of the steep lander, it really allows you to pop hard off the lip.

Alright, time for a funny story. One day I suffered a puncture after completing the rock drop on Downhill 3. But that wasn’t going to stop me from shredding the remainder of our ride!

And no, that’s not the funny part.

I borrowed Candace’s Canyon Spectral and attempted the step-down described above.

Now Candace rides flats, whereas I ride clipless…

Apparently I need to work on my jumping technique! My foot slipped straight off the pedal and I ended in a heaped mess on the ground.

Not some of my best…

foot slipping off pedal when jumping a step down in glenrock mountain bike trails
bloody elbow after crashing the step down in glenrock mountain bike trails

Anyway back to the runs.

Gravitating speed from the step-down lines you up for another straight… or does it? If the straight line is taken, a seriously slammed out berm is forced upon you, not at all ideal for a continued flow down this run.

I was caught out by this bastard the first time venturing down, throwing me into the bushland adjacent (sorry folks no photo of this, it was a long time ago).

Instead, 20m after the step-down veer left and prepare to launch from the largest jump featured in this neck of the woods.

Serious concentration on Candaces face as she mountain bikes downhill at Glenrock MTB Park

Now we are moving fast through another rutted and dusty straight-away. When the congestion of trails appear, swing right to link back up with Downhill 2 and 3, unless you have the balls to attack Glenrock mountain bike trails MOST INSANE ROCK GARDEN!

Peaking over the edge, this SUPER STEEP entry will definitely deter some who venture here. But if confidence is soaring, get down low and go go go! Seriously, if your arse isn’t touching that rear tyre, you’re not leaning back hard enough!

riding down an extremely steep rock fe in glenrock mountain bike trails

YEWW! That wasn’t so bad now was it…?

Finishing off the run through one of the densest areas in Glenrock makes for a stunning photo. However, the boulder like rocks create monster obstacles to avoid and with smaller debris littered throughout, stalling is a major worry.

Slicing between a small rock chute at the bottom of downhill 3 at Glenrock MTB Park in Newcastle

Although Glenrock MTB Park is a vastly popular area, there is no chance of shuttles due to the nature of the forest!

Unfortunately this means to complete more than one of these beauties, either a ride or walk back up the hill is necessary and WELL WORTH IT.

Walking up the downhill runs in Glenrock Mountain Bike trails while Newcastle mountain Biking

Glenrock MTB Park Cross Country 2

There has been large developments for bushwalkers by way on building stairs and other walking aids in this area of Glenrock State Conservation Area. I don’t know if it’s still kosher to ride this loop, but we haven’t seen any signs stating otherwise and everyone is happy to share the trail… just take it easy!

Reaching the bottom of these downhill runs, you’re ready to begin the second loop – that is if you haven’t run yourself ragged riding up and down the downhill tracks a thousand times.

Hang a right on the Yuelarbah Track towards Flaggy Creek. Don’t worry, only being ankle deep makes this a piece of cake to cross! Just make sure you’re in a low gear as the upcoming hill is steep and littered with free laying rocks.

Upon reaching the top, turn left and follow the loose gravel trail over the rise to another little creek. Again, being ankle deep you’ve no need to worry but you will need to slow it down for the hard left that shadows.

Before embarking on the first technical rocky climb, make a pit stop and explore the beautiful waterfall surroundings. You can even climb down to embrace the ambience entirely.

climbing up the rocks at the waterfall in glenrock mountain bike trails

Enough fooling around, get back on that bike and get your butt up that hill. Straight up the left seems to be the line of choice for this bastard, so select a low gear and go for it.

Skip across rocks and slip between tightly aligned trees in this fast and flowing trail for about 500m before… yep you guessed it! Another technical rocky climb.

Bet you’re hating us for convincing you to ride the second XC loop now aren’t you?

This isn’t as steep as the last ascent, but a troublesome feat nonetheless. Supporting some niggling rocks and a hairpin corner at the foundation, maintaining momentum proves rather difficult.

Candace displaying slow speed control riding up a technical rocky section in Glenrock MTB Park

Don’t worry, we promise that is the last technical climb…

At the end of this trail, you’ll reach a strange set of stairs leading you onto Scout Camp Rd, so if you’re feeling lost look it up on google maps. Trust us, we aren’t leading you astray! Head up the hill about 50m and to your left, back into the bush we go.

Following the wide trail and navigating your way down a series of cascading rocks, you’ll reach the tightest and potentially the most difficult section yet.

Huge log drop in Glenrock MTB Park on the cross country trails

Slippery roots grown randomly over a chaotic layout of rocks creates a slick surface at best. To add to the difficulty, maybe another tiny technical climb… Don’t blame us for lying, we don’t want to turn you off before you get the chance to visit!

You will thank us when you come to another AMAZING view.

the stunning view over glenrock lagoon from glenrock mountain bike trails

DELUGE

It is true that all good things come to an end, and this time in the form of pain. You’ll have to endure a gradual uphill pedal before linking back onto Scout Camp Rd. Once you get there, follow the road up the hill 600m until reaching the Depot Trail.

You’ve made your way to Deluge, featuring one minute of flowing smooth singletrack. Hosting one single little kicker before zigzagging through berm after berm, we can’t think of a better way to forget about those burning legs and bring that love of mountain biking back!

Ripping yet another berm in Glenrock MTB Park riding a mountain bike in Newcastle

Carefully exit Deluge, as this is a hotspot for the bushwalkers we mentioned earlier. The last thing anybody needs is a collision at speed.

Make your way to the Fernleigh Track and follow the cycle-way north until reaching the first bridge. Duck in behind the bridge onto the Fernleigh Management Trail.

Time for one last burst of adrenaline. Making your way up and over the hill, the trails begins descending in a rather steep fashion. With one or more obstacles lining the way, a little bit of fun can be had before pointing you in the direction of Flaggy Creek once more.

Cruising along a downhill run in Glenrock MTB Park while Newcastle Mountain Biking

After crossing the creek and scrambling up the hill, only 1km stands between you and the conclusion of this loop. Following the trail to the far right, an easy stroll back to Easy Way Out makes for a great warm down after enduring all 15km of what Glenrock has to offer. Did we say Easy Way Out? Yeah right… climbing the final 250m isn’t our idea of easy! Thanks again Trailforks for this misleading and somewhat rude act!!!

There you have it. Our home town mountain bike trails and frankly, some of our favourite mountain biking in Newcastle. If you’ve managed to brave the entire two loops in one hit, good for you… you’re fitter than us!

Where To Stay Near Glenrock MTB Park

Obviously this is a topic we can’t give much advice on seeing as we live in Newcastle. However, there are plenty of options including apartments, hotels, motels, Airbnb’s, caravan parks and so on…

If you’re lucky, we may even put you up… at a premium of course!

Back on a serious note, using one of these sites will surely set you on the right path.

Unfortunately being such a popular place makes free camping a little iffy. We for one wouldn’t dare try and sleep in the carpark at Merewether beach. However – for our fellow vanlifers – we have a couple of sneaky spots you can try…

  • Dudley Beach Carpark – Gates do get locked (between 10 pm and 4 am) and no toilets are available but we know of people that have done this.
  • Glenrock MTB Park Carpark – Hide in plain sight if you can deal with the road noise, we’re pretty sure you would get away with this.

Where To Eat In Newcastle

If you’re staying in town for several days to experience all that Newcastle has to offer, you’ll need to learn some great places to eat. Unfortunately trying every local pub is out of the question as there are dozens. Not to mention the countless number of restaurants, cafes and bars that complement them.

So where are the best feeds?

Luckily, you’re in the right place. Because even though mountain biking is our favourite past time, eating is a close second…

Here are our recommendations on the best places to eat in Newcastle.

Cafe’s

Restaurants

Pubs/Bars

Places for a drink

Getting To Glenrock MTB Park

Glenrock MTB Park is located in the heart of Newcastle. Situated just 5 min west of Newcastle’s beautiful beaches and an easy 15 min drive south-west of the CBD makes accessing these trails extremely easy.

The main carpark is found at the beginning of Fernleigh Loop Rd just off the Pacific Highway. Don’t worry about missing the carpark, large silos can be used as a landmark. But if you happen to miss the silos, you cannot miss the mass of cars parked at any given time.

The city of Newcastle is found on the east coast of New South Wales, Australia and is the largest city in the Hunter Region. Just 2 hrs north of Sydney.

Newcastle Bike Shops

Useful Links

  • Fun things to do in Newcastle (other than mountain biking) – Claire’s Footsteps
  • Port to Port –  A four day cross country style mountain bike race featuring Glenrock and three other awesome mountain bike parks in Newcastle.
  • Quad biking the Stockton Sand Dunes – For those that love adrenaline and mountain biking wasn’t enough!
  • 10 essential things to do in Newcastle – Back Street Nomad
  • Best eats in Newcastle – HUNTERhunter – Definitely the best resource for this… trust us we are LOCALS!

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