Closest Town: Fish Hoek
Grading: Intermediate | Duration: 1 - 2 Hours
Location (Area/Province): Peninsula and Winelands and Western Cape
Configuration: Various circular options – 9km to 21km
Start Point: MTB parking area
Access: Entry fee payable at gate; SANParks Wild Card must be loaded with annual MTB permit
Beware of: Watch out for dogs and hikers. Tackle the downhills with caution!
Facilities: Secure parking; ablutions and picnic site
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The mountain biking trail starts 1.9km from entrance gate – look out for a gravel parking area and sign to your right. This is not a purpose-built trail, so don’t expect fireworks to go off in your skull.
On your bike
Enter through the metal boom at the trail head and turn left 50m later along a rutted road, gently ascending towards the Elephant’s Eye cave (north). Pass the gravel turn-off to your left at 1.3km, cranking into the switchback ascending towards the Sentech radio mast visible in the distance.
Just on to 2km into the ride, the surface changes to dual concrete strips (which will help with traction along this steep section of the climb) before you eventually crest (2.2km). Pass the faint route to the fire lookout hut on the right and carry on straight up. Feel the burn as you look out over False Bay and the Atlantic, ascending in a westerly direction to top out at the ride’s highest point (775m at 4.5km).
This is where the fun really starts; follow the front wheel as you blast into a spiral of s-bends carving the fynbos ridge, but watch yourself on those berm take-offs though. It will take you minutes to zigzag all the way back to below the dam wall, and here you need to look out for the sole stretch of singletrack signposted to your right. There’s quite a bit of rock and some sandy patches to negotiate as you follow the course of the Silvermine River before turning left after just on 2km. Climb towards the tar road and cross it back into the MTB parking lot (9.3km).
Beef up your ride by zooming right down the tar road to just before the park entrance gate, where you hit a sharp right onto the gravel track. Vavavoom through the dip before dog-legging to your right, ignoring any turn-offs until 11.9km, where a gravel road slips off sharply to the left. Follow this and bang down onto the vertiginous Ou Wapad to link to Ou Kaapse Weg at 14.5km.
Work it, either back up the gruelling Ou Wapad, or otherwise along this infamous tarmac climb all the way back to the Silvermine turn-off (left at 18.8km) and through the gate (19.2km). A quick 2km climb will see you back at your car with a smile on your face.
NB: Silvermine West remains closed until further notice due to the March 2015 fires. Table Mountain National Park needs to repair the damage and ensure the location is safe for all users before the gates can be reopened.
Off the bike
Day hikes are popular, especially to Elephant’s Eye, a cave with a bird’s-eye view of the South Peninsula. Shady picnic sites and mountain streams offer cool respite in summer.
Contact: Table Mountain National Park
Telephone : +27 (0)21 701 8692
Website : www.sanparks.org
GPS: S 34º 14′ 35.6″ / E 18º 24′ 22.2″