Mountain Bike Riding in State Forests

Where can I go mountain bike riding?

There are many thousands of kilometres of roads and tracks suitable for mountain bike riding and riders are welcome to use most areas of State forests in Victoria. The majority of opportunities are along existing State forest roads. Many of these roads wind through picturesque forest with little traffic. 

Mountain bike riding is also allowed in some national parks and other reserves, where it does not pose a significant conflict with conservation and the use of these areas by other visitors. Due to some differences in regulations between these national, state, coastal and other parks, to avoid disappointment  it is best to check with Parks Victoria.

Where can't I ride?

In State forests, mountain bikes are generally not permitted on walking tracks or vehicular tracks.  Walking tracks are managed for walkers and are not available for use by bicycles. Use of certain areas such as reference areas,  operational  logging coupes, and operational firewood coupes  are also not encouraged. These limitations are in place to

• protect significant and environmentally sensitive areas
• for your safety
• to minimise potential conflict with other users
• to prevent soil erosion

It is very important that riders co-operate to ensure compliance in these matters. For restrictions on mountain bikes in national parks and reserves, contact Parks Victoria for further information.

When are permits required?

In State forests, permits are required for:

• Events that are of a competitive nature or that may pose a risk to public safety
• commercial events (ie. entry fees apply, prize money involved)
• club or group activities involving more than 30 bikes
• any activity involving constructions or the marking of a course
• any activity requiring the total or near total exclusive use of a picnic or campgrounds.

To apply for a permit, please contact Parks Victoria at least four weeks prior to the event for non­ competitive events and at least 12 weeks prior to the event for competitive events.

The mountain bike code

To ensure safe riding with minimal environmental impact, please observe the following:

• Stay on the road or on designated mountain bike trials. Do not ride "off-road" or on tracks closed to bikes as you may damage the environment you have come to enjoy.
• If in doubt about availability of access or permit requirements, check with the responsible  land manager.
• Respect the rights of other visitors. If passing others, announce your presence, and keep speeds down to avoid frightening them.
• If you meet horse riders, always give them right of way. Bicycles easily frighten some horses and a spooked horse is dangerous to you and its rider. Announce your presence by voice – dismount and talk as the horse and rider pass to reassure the animal. If necessary, move off the track to give the horse plenty of room.
• Ride in control at all times. When riding, be prepared for the unexpected. Timber trucks, 4WDs, hikers, horse riders and native animals may also be using your chosen track.
• Minimise your impact. Keep your party small (4-8 people), go off peak and avoid skidding. Skidding damages tracks by removing the harder surface layer. This can lead to erosion. Cutting comers also causes erosion. Don't cut corners, stay on the track.
• Report fallen trees or limbs across roads to the nearest Parks Victoria office (for parks and reserves).
• Take care with fire - observe all fire regulations and Total Fire Ban days.
• Leave no trace. Take all rubbish home.
• Stay away from wet muddy areas as they are very prone to damage. The tracks you leave behind channel the water when it rains and this leads to erosion.
• Before leaving on a trip, check road conditions.  Do not use roads and tracks when they are wet or likely to be damaged.
• Leave details of your proposed  trip with a responsible person.
• Be safety conscious  – plan your trip carefully, carry a first aid kit and always wear your helmet.