The Piney - Armidale State Forest
TRACK HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION
The Piney’s been a bit of a single track stable for Armidale as it’s located only a few k’s north of the town and has enough variety to suit everyone from the novice to the bigger hitting rigs. The track mixes it up with fast big cog action in Big Dog’s Den, the flowy Snakes n’ Ladders, grinds and rock gardens.
There’s one main climb through IGOR and Rooty Hill to get you up to the peak at just over 1,000m. Once you’ve crunched the grind it’s into the rock gardens of Angry Eyes and The Fort, all meshed together with single track. The forest thins a little and heads into the tech structures from Decked Skinny to Wibble-Wobble. A few bridges including the fabled Lucy’s Leap, gets you tracking the creek line. You leave the forest over the fence on The Gnarly Knock Over.
The track changes to open single track and then feeding onto the only long section of vehicle track allowing a slow steady climb along The Strip to the start of the fast pine forest section Big Dog’s Den.
The best way to get onto the track is a warm-up ride north out along Rockvale Rd, 4.9 kms from the Erskine Rd interestion, to the third entrance on the right into The Piney (Armidale State Forest). If you’re feeling a bit spongy and the climb out of town on the tar doesn’t constitute mountain biking then there’s parking at the entrance. As The Piney is vehicle free you need to ride 350m along the main access road into the forest to reach the start of Snakes n’ Ladders. Watch for the plastic white signs with black arrows that mark the trail head.
This is a track for everyone. Don’t be too concerned with all the big talk of grinds and tree roots as it’s all just banter to scare the visiting ocean dwelling clubs. The grind up Grandpa’s and Rooty Hill are made for all levels of rider with the flowy Snakes n’ Ladders thrown into the middle for a breather and a “B line” diverting around the final aggressive pinch through the Crow’s Nest. If you find that the legs and lungs are not burning enough then have a crack at Igor for a more ugly rideable grind. There is a total of eight sign posted B lines to get you around the more technical stuff while you work up the courage.
Armidale is at 1000m above sea level and can be a bit cooler then you may be use to. Throw in an extra layer and check the forecasts before you ride. Tyres of choice up here are smooth rolling Crossmarks, so even though there’s a bit of clay it just tends to get a little slippery if the heaven open up. There are a few black spots with mobile coverage but a short walk up one of the hills will get you back into coverage if needed. Bring your water as even though there are flowing creeks the cattle tend to ...... wash their feet in it.
A loop of the 9.2 km track takes around 50 minutes if you’re checking out the scenery or sub-30 if you‘re smoking. You can easily burn a few hours to complete a couple of laps or a few smaller loops on the sections you really get into.
We suggest you stay on the north side of town at the Armidale Motel (02) 6772 8122 or if you’re looking for a caravan park then the Highlander Van Village (02) 6772 4768.
AT A GLANCE:
TECHNICAL RATING: 2-4
FITNESS LEVEL NEEDED: 2
TYPE OF RIDING: XC ---- Trail
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO RIDE: Autumn to Spring
Winter Series 10.9 km loop - http://app.strava.com/segments/1020637
Summer Series 2.2 km loop - http://app.strava.com/segments/635987
Drinking Water: No
Parking: At all entrances
Trails Signposted: Yes
Mobile Reception: Not in low areas. If no reception find a high spot.
Shelter: Pine trees?
BBQ Facilities: No