brendan davies’ top 10 trail runs favourite tracks outside the Ultra-trail Australia course The City of the Blue Mountains is unique in that it lies entirely within a World Heritage Listed National Park. This affords us a multitude of recreational possibilities, many within close proximity to the villages and road networks. Living smack bang in the middle at Woodford, I’ve had the opportunity over the years to explore and discover many of the beautiful trails, ranging from the very easy to very challenging and one thing remains common, if the run doesn’t leave you breathless, the scenery certainly will! 1. GLENBROOK: CAMPFIRE CREEK TO RED HANDS CAVE RETURN VIA LINK TRACK (8KM) https://www.strava.com/routes/4066358 A really sweet, flowing piece of single trail takes runners past the cool and subtropical environment of Campfire Creek, leading up to the significant indigenous site of Red Hands Cave. Once at Red Hands Cave carpark, return via the Link Track for a change of scenery before hooking back onto Campfire Creek for the return to the start for 8km. 2. WINMALEE: BLUE GUM SWAMP/ SHAWS RIDGE TRAIL LOOP (8KM) https://www.strava.com/routes/4066364 Starting at the end of White Cross Rd at Winmalee, this pleasant 8km loop takes you through old growth Blue Gum forests on mostly single track. If done in the preferred clockwise direction, at the 4km point there is an option to add the challenging Bees Nest Hill out and back to your plans. Take a short right at the top of the hill to Grose Head South Lookout for a superb view through the lower Grose Valley. Continue around the loop, which eventually turns into Shaws Ridge Firetrail and back to the start.
3. SPRINGWOOD: SASSAFRAS GULLY & MAGDALA TRACK LOOP (9.4KM) https://www.strava.com/routes/4066377 Starting at the end of Sassafras Gully Rd, this lovely loop of approximately 9km meanders along and over a number of small creeks to the Perch Ponds junction. Look out for places to have a dip! The track then travels past Martins and Magdala Fallls which while small, are typically beautiful. The loop ends on the Magdala Track which takes you to Springwood Ave before a small road run back to the start. 4. FAULCONBRIDGE RIDGE TRAIL TO FAUCONBRIDGE POINT RETURN (13.5KM) https://www.strava.com/routes/4061832 A classic Blue Mountains firetrail run. This is a 13.5km out and back course on reasonably flat firetrail; the reward at the turnaround is an eyepopping view of the Grose Valley to the West, North and East to the Hawkesbury. For those more adventurous souls, take the small side track 1km from the turnaround for a drop down to the Grose River. Just be aware that what goes down must come back up! 5. WOODFORD: OAKS FIRE TRAIL (27KM) https://www.strava.com/routes/4066390 A favourite of Mountain bikers and trail runners alike, this is another classic firetrail course, starting at Woodford Station and travelling downill to Glenbrook Station, 27km away. While it is possible to run this in reverse, I highly recommend starting at Woodford to get the most gravity assistance you can get! Make sure you recover over a coffee and some top food at Café 2773 in Glenbrook. The owner is a mad trail runner himself!