Epic Mountain Bike Trail

  • Project typeConstruction
  • Project value$2M
  • Project scheduleOn Schedule
  • Completion Date31 December 2022
Epic Trail - Cover photo.jpg

About this project

The Epic Mountain Bike Trail project will create an immersive natural and cultural mountain biking experience like no other in the region. The project will connect Beechworth and Yackandandah with a world class, sustainable trail through the iconic landscape of the area, providing a link to the gold mining heritage which forms an integral part of the local identity and values.

The trail itself will meet the International Mountain Bike Association criteria for an ‘Epic Trail’: a challenging, backcountry, single track experience greater than 32km.  This will be the only all-season Epic Trail in Australia and combined with fit for purpose trail design, will provide a destination-based mountain bike riding experience currently missing from the northeast Victorian region.

The Epic Mountain Bike Trail is a priority project under the Northeast Victoria Cycling Optimisation Masterplan and will leverage the Ride High Country brand to become a significant tourism product with business case modelling indicating a greater than $5M annual economic benefit to the Indigo Shire region.

The $2M project is jointly funded by the Federal Government's Building Better Regions grant scheme ($1 million) and Council.

The approved trail alignment for the project links the existing Yack Tracks mountain bike trail network in Stanley State Forest via Nine Mile Creek Heritage Area to Beechworth Historic Park with 22km of newly constructed trail, 2km of renewed trail and 24km of existing trail.  The network is predominantly single direction riding, with proposed dual direction and shared trail zones at each end closer to town.

The trail alignment provides varied and flexible user options, with a helix loop design, provision of gravity flow and beginner level components making the product attractive to most mountain bike market segments and increasing the overall tourism appeal.  The alignment has been subject to Environmental, Heritage Impact Assessments and development of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan.

Other key outcomes of the Epic Mountain Bike Trail project include the rehabilitation of other informal trail in the area, improved access for weed infestation treatment in key areas, reduction of existing trail risk and development of an integrated signage/digital information platform for trail users.

The project proposal has been developed in accordance with the Victorian Public Lands Mountain Biking Guidelines. Council is committed to the ongoing asset management for the trail infrastructure and will partner with local mountain bike clubs to provide a high-quality maintenance program to ensure the ongoing success of this tourism drawcard.

The project is being constructed in three stages:

  • Stage 1: Yackandandah Creek Recreational Trail (completed July 2021)
  • Stage 2: Stanley State Forest and Nine Mile Creek Heritage Area trail (construction over 2021/22 Summer)
  • Stage 3: Beechworth Historic Park, Lake Kerferd and ancillary areas trail (construction in 2022/23 Summer)

Why is this project being undertaken?

This project is part of the broader Council program of investment in recreational trail infrastructure, in this case driven by the communities of Yackandandah and Beechworth. The trail is will provide a significant tourism product for the Indigo region while also developing active lifestyle facilities for the local community.

What is happening?

Over the past 18 months Council has been working through the complex planning and approvals process to allow the trail to be constructed.  This has now been completed with significant proactive engagement from Parks Victoria, DELWP and HVP.

Trail construction tendering will occur shortly with the intention of commencing the trail building process in December 2021.

What will be the impact of these works?

This project will have minimal impact to the community as it is largely being constructed in remote areas of Stanley State Forest, Nine Mile Creek Historic Area and Beechworth Historic Park.

Some existing trails are being renewed as part of the project and will be closed during these times – Council will provide advance information to the public when this occurs.  These closures are not expected to be longer than a few weeks at most.

Timelines

Trail Construction Tender             September 2021

Contract Award                             October 2021

Construction Commencement      January 2022

Construction Completion              December 2022

Community engagement

The original concept for the trail was specifically driven by the local mountain biking community: the Beechworth Chain Gang and Yack Tracks MTB clubs.  The concept for linking Beechworth and Yackandandah with a world class mountain bike trail was under active consideration by these clubs for many years.  A feasibility assessment/scoping study was agreed to be undertaken by Council due to the merits of the project.  During the Scoping Study execution in 2017, Urban Enterprise engaged with numerous local community stakeholders to develop the feasibility report for Council.

Key representatives from Beechworth Chain Gang and Yack Tracks MTB clubs have been purposely engaged throughout the project assessment phase to ensure local design ‘ownership’ of the trail project.  This is a key objective for the project as Council will require an integrated asset management approach with support from local volunteers.

See the map here: Epic-Trail-Map-Aug-2021-Large-Publish.png(PNG, 7MB)

NOTE: Map is subject to change