Closest Town: Grabouw
Grading: Intermediate | Duration: 1.5–2.5 hours
Location (Area/Province): Overberg & Southern Cape and Western Cape
Configuration: Circular, 10–30km
Start Point: Oak Lane Cottages
Access: Trail permits available at start
Beware of: Heat in summer; tree roots
Facilities: Ablutions at cottages
Share this route:
The Lebanon Forest has something to offer all types of mountain bikers. Take it easy on a family trail through scenic valley farms, or crank into the Lebanon Forest Reserve to carve your way down pine slopes on kilometres of thumping singletrack.
On your bike
These trails offer unique riding, combining undulating orchards, forested pine ridges and mountain fynbos with breathtaking views over the Elgin valley and surrounds.
The ride covered below is the Red route. From the start at Oak Lane Cottages, head back down the gravel road you drove in on, and look out for the arrows on the right of the road. These signs can be very difficult to spot, so you need to pay attention.
After 400m, turn off the main road and follow the arrows. After this short section of track, you’ll be diverted to the tar road for a couple of hundred metres, so please beware of cars. Now start the climb up through a shaded pine forest, with a short section of singletrack and then onto the jeep tracks leading to the top of the main singletrack at the 9km mark.
The singletrack you’re about to ride is the reason people love mountain biking. With such a wide variety of terrain and trail beckoning, it is virtually impossible to become bored. Kick off with a smooth and flowing open trail, then dip into the pine forests where they film spectacular footage for the Cape Epic MTB race each year.
Some mildly rocky descents take you further down into the valley, keeping you focused on the matter at hand as finally at the bottom you cross a small wooden bridge before climbing the singletrack and switchbacks back up again. Don’t worry – the climb is short, and soon you will be back on singletrack that’s sure to have you whooping and screaming with delight until finally you get spat out onto a jeep track that leads you down to and around the dam.
Enjoy the respite and views while you cruise through the forests, along the old N2 tar road for a while, along the other side of the dam and then up a small climb to reach the final short bit of singletrack that leads to a farm packing yard. Cross the tar road ahead and turn right onto the gravel road. Follow the signs back to the parking at Oak Lane Cottages. You have just ridden 24km with only 560m of climbing on some world-class singletrack … now that is a bargain!
Off the bike
Trout-fishing, bird-watching (more than 90 bird species have been spotted in the area), quad-biking, horseback riding, hiking, wine tasting, a round of golf at Arabella Country Estate.
Local MTB info: Michelle Loos
Telephone: +27 (0)83 461 8940
Website : www.lebanonmtbtrails.co.za
GPS: 34°12’46.0” South / 19°4’46.68” East