Atherton Forest feature

5 places to go mountain biking in and around Cairns

World-class trails and magnificent rainforest scenery aren’t the only things on show along Tropical North Queensland‘s mountain biking trails. There’s also the odd koala, panoramas over the Great Barrier Reef and a few friendly cows to contend with.

If snorkelling, secret waterfalls, and hikes don’t quite quench your thirst for adventure, then bring your bike and prepare to tackle cross country and downhill courses as you explore some of the top mountain biking trails in Cairns.

Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park

New to mountain biking? Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park is the perfect track for beginners to practice their skills while exploring the Herberton Range State Forest and taking in the many beautiful lakes and waterfalls.

Dipping into gullies and creeks and rising to the ridge lines of the surrounding hills, there are currently over 50 kilometres of off-road single track trails to explore ranging in length from 0.9 to 10.5 kilometres with a mix of easy and intermediate ratings. There’s also a skills area where beginners can master mountain biking basics. Experts can also get in on the action, with some optional black grade expert tracks.

Getting there

The Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park track is easily accessible from the centre of Atherton. Enter the park by the Atherton Trailhead and Skills Park at 1 Vernon Street Atherton or the Herberton Range State Forest Trailhead, Rifle Range Road, Atherton.

Davies Creek Trail Network, Mareeba

Davies Creek Trail Network

Photo by @bicksnpieces

A wilderness experience that’s hard to beat, the Davies Creek Trail Network offers a remarkable ride for beginner to intermediate mountain bikers. Located 40 minutes from Cairns and 13 kilometres from Mareeba, these trails are fast and flowing and allow you to enjoy the surrounding waterfalls and rainforest cloaked ranges. Pedal seven tracks ranging from 1.7 to 10.6 kilometres spread throughout the park.

With a few tough climbs to negotiate, cool off with a dip in Davies Creek or have a rest at the nearby camping grounds.

Getting there

Find the Davies Creek Trail Network on Davies Creek Road, which can be accessed from the Kennedy Highway, approximately 13 kilometres from Mareeba.

Want more adventure? Get exploring with more of the best day trips from Cairns.

The Bump Track, Port Douglas

Starting in the Port Douglas hinterland, this infamous trail delivers an unforgettable adventure through ancient forests, past serene waterfalls and finishes with a ride along Four Mile Beach.

Originally carved out by gold miners, the track was once the only road out of Port Douglas, and is now a popular and challenging mountain biking favourite offering one of the biggest downhill rides in the region. In fact, the Bump Track is so well known for its thrills and stunning views it’s the last leg of Queensland endurance race, Reef to Reef.

Known for it’s truly epic scenery, the Reef to Reef mountain bike race starts from Weatherby Station (a 140-year-old property at Mount Molloy), before hurtling down the western edge of the Great Dividing Range, through rainforest, cane fields and finishing on Port Douglas’ famed Four Mile Beach.

The four day race can be run as a 35 kilometre classic or 70 kilometre endurance race, but if you’re not quite ready to take on the full ride, you can still take on Bump Track. Adventures Port Douglas offers guided half day ride of the historic trail.

Getting there

The bottom of the Bump Track can be accessed from Captain Cook Highway (turn off the Captain Cook Highway onto the Mowbray River Road a few kilometres south of Port Douglas, cross the river and then take the right hand fork onto Connelly Road, and the Bump Track starts on your left 3.5 kilometres from the highway) and the top of the track from Julatten (turn off onto the Euluma Creek Road from Julatten, then take the turn off down Black Mountain Road where you will find the top of the Bump Track 5.5 kilometres along the road).

Paluma to Hidden Valley and the Cassowary Coast

Cassowary Coast

Photo by @ridecairns

Experienced riders can hurtle through World Heritage rainforest on the Paluma to Hidden Valley trail (about four hours south of Cairns). Home to the annual Paluma Push mountain bike adventure, the trail winds through cattle country, past Paluma Dam and finishes in the historic Hidden Valley.

Keen mountain bikers visiting the Cassowary Coast should also check out the palm-lined 12 km Musgravea Track in Djiri National Park, or tackle the exciting trail from Cochable Creek up to Tully Gorge.

Getting there

The ride starts from the Paluma Village, four hours drive south of Cairns.

Smithfield Mountain Bike Trail Park, Cairns

Beginner or pro, a thrill-seeker or Sunday rider, the Smithfield Mountain Bike Trail Park has something for everyone, and is one of the best spots for mountain biking in Cairns. The park features 60 kilometres of trails seamlessly sculpted into its rainforest surrounds and is hailed by mountain bikers as the highest profile rainforest trail system in the world. In fact, the park has previously hosted the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.

Don’t have a mountain bike? No worries. Tropic Rides Bicycle Hire Shop offers bike hire, shuttles and advice for new and experienced riders.

Getting there

Smithfield Mountain Bike Trail Park is 20 minutes’ drive from Cairns Airport on McGregor Road, Smithfield.

Can’t get enough of those views? We don’t blame you. Keep your head in the clouds with this list of mountains you can climb (and camp on) around Cairns.