The trails of Big Hill Mountain Park are what dreams are made of it’s a hand sculpted masterpiece with endless riding possibilities. Located in one of Australia's most beautiful alpine regions, nestled into the foothills of Victoria's North East, this truly unique park overlooks the picturesque township of Mt Beauty.
One of the major aspects of Big Hill that has made the park possible is the ownership of the land, the local club (Team Mt Beauty) itself holds the lease of the land allowing them make and maintain trails as they please. With this freedom to use the land, the trail network has evolved over many years. Team Mt Beauty, dates back to 1988 and has always been full of passionate locals who not only know how to create amazing trails, but know how the shred with the best of them. For many years it has been the breading ground of world class riders.
From the trail head it becomes apparent why this place is called Big Hill, there is no lack of elevation and the view from the car park is almost daunting. But after all what goes up must come down. We were fortunate enough to have Team Mt Beauty club president Liam Panozzo as our tour guide around Big Hill. Riding with one of the fastest riders in the country on his home trails; that will be easy enough, right? We were promised a single track adventure and that is exactly what we got. To our surprise the climbing was very gentle and wound its way up the hill with only a few steep pinches.
It didn’t take long to realise just how many trails have been squeezed onto the hill side, it seemed there was a trail branching off the loop we were doing every hundred meters. Occasionally Liam would tell us its name, but more often than not he would he would joke “that one’s a link track, we have about fifty link tracks.” After around 5km of climbing with a few exciting little descents to give the legs a rest, the top of the trails was upon us. This gave us the chance not only to catch our breath, but marvel at the amazing single tracks we had just climbed. Hand cut, tight, technical and twisty, Big Hill Mountain Bike Park had exactly what I love to see in trails. If the climbing had us this excited, the descent was going to be something else.
Coming down Big Hill was like riding a gift that just kept on giving. The view of Mt Beauty and The Kiewa Valley from Adam’s track was breathtaking, views aside there was excitement around every corner. From fast and flowing trails to riding the length of a burnt out hollow tree to death gripping the bars down steep chutes, these trails had it all. If you don’t have a smile from ear to ear after descending Big Hill then having fun may not be your thing.
Having one of the most knowledgeable locals as our tour guide was a massive help in getting the most out of riding Big Hill, I would urge you to get a local show you the ropes and I’m sure they will be more than happy to oblige as their passion for Big Hill is immense. Team Mt Beauty have began signposting the trails and plan on having the trails fully marked this winter ready for summer with maps available. In the mean time the trails have been fully mapped and can be easily accessed using many GPS apps on your smart phone.
The trail head of Big Hill Mountain Bike Park is less than a kilometre from the centre of Mt Beauty and has all the amenities with toilets, showers, change rooms, shelters, club rooms and car park. If starting or finishing your ride with some brews is how you like to operate, Svarmisk is only a stone’s throw away for some great coffee and the Sweat Water Brewery is a short ride through town if you prefer a hoppy recovery drink. Whilst the trails are generally weighted to experienced riders, there are trails for all at Big Hill and the club is continuing build more family friendly beginner trails.
The ideal bike for the area can be a controversial topic, but if we take our lead from the locals the majority of riders are using 140-160mm travel bikes, this gave us the perfect testing ground for our bikes. Equally you won’t be out of place on a cross country bike and the ever evolving downhill track is one of the best in the country. With a network of over 40km of magnificently hand crafted single track catering to all forms of mountain biking, Big Hill Mountain Bike Park is a must ride location and with all the other amazing attractions in the area you won’t be disappointed with a trip to Mt Beauty.