Scottsdale Rail Trail

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It was a pretty bleak experience pulling into Scottsdale today, and not just because of the rain showers coming through.

It’s been just over a year since I was out this way last and things have gone downhill fast – it was like every second shop was closed, and every conversation in the supermarket muted and the people hidden.

But not the rail trail … last time I came and rode it the big challenge of the ride was finding it’s starting point, but not anymore …

Not going to miss that are you?

With that said, I did then miss the car park which was exactly where the sign said it would be … 400m up the road.  My excuse is that I got a bit of sensory overload with signs all over the place at the actual carpark (OK, there were three of them, but I’m easily confused) and as a result I proceeded to drive up the first kilometre of the new trail in my car, only realising I was meant to be riding it when I came to the first kilometre marker sign.


In defense of this navigational error I will say that the first kilometre is a new blue gravel road and it looks more suited to driving than cycling.

Regardless, the really good news is that there’s no more tentative finding your way onto the trail … everything’s signed …

But that’s where the joy ends I’m afraid … and not just because of the rain.

This is my recollection of the rail trail …

Here we go … hmm … that rain is starting to lift above a drizzle.

Oh look, another kilometre sign (2kms) … hope these signs are along the whole track.

Oh that’s pretty … better take a photo

ride, ride, ride …  this surface sucks.

Where’s the next km sign?

There it is, 3kms.  I think I’ll turn around when I get into the big gully, it was nice there and I don’t need to ride the whole trail …

God this rain is getting heavy.

This surface really sucks.

4km sign?  Seriously, I’ve only done 4kms.

Blue gravel?  Seriously on a rail tail?  my butt hurts – definitely turning around soon.

Ooohhh … smooth surface … and the 5km sign … nice … maybe I’ll keep going, maybe it was only the first section that was that rough … lucky I kept going.

When the f*ck will this rain STOP.

6km sign, 7km sign, 8km sign … Oh … yep, there goes my last little dry spot.  Let the chaffing begin.

Surface is getting crap again …

9km  sign … how long was this trail again 14km? 16km?  Maybe I should turn around now?

No – I don’t care if it goes all the way to Ringarooma, I’m going to finish this route …

time passes

I must have missed the 10km sign, it’s been way too long between signs otherwise.

Singing in the rain, I’m singing in the rain … I’m just singing and cycling in the rain …Oh my god, I’m singing out loud.  That’s not a good sign.

WTF …  there’s the 10km sign … I hate the rain, I hate this track.

11km sign

A road, I see a road … that must mean I’m near the old railway station … it wasn’t far from there to the end.  Woo Hoo.

Where’d all this loose gravel come from?  It’s hard riding in the rain, there goes my speed.  keep going … almost there.

12km sign, 13km sign … it wasn’t this far last time was it?  I should get to that gravel road and then I can either turn around or enjoy some nice bush riding.

Ah there’s the road …

Oh no … they’ve cleared the lovely bush section … gravel road here I go, here I go, here I go.  Don’t sing – nobody likes it when you sing … even in a blog.

14km sign

Is this frickin’ cloud following me or something?  It can’t rain this hard for this long.

15km sign … nope it’s not 14km long

16km sign … must be near the end.

WOO HOO – I can see the highway beside me, not far now … and yes there it is – the road where I started last time.   Finished.

Oh … it keeps going.

17km sign … not happy Jan.

Another road … it keeps going … I said I’d go to Ringarooma, so Ringarooma it is …

Around the next corner and … Track Ende.

Thank god … now all I have to do is head back again.

At least it’s all down hill from here  …

but it never stopped raining the whole way back and my gears started jumping again.


So why’d I put you through that monologue … because I don’t think the highlight of a rail trail should be the next kilometre sign along the way, and for me, today, that’s what it was.

Don’t get me wrong:  I love the idea behind this rail trail, but at the same time in my book a rail trail should be easy to ride, fun, scenic and interesting riding … and to be honest most of the ride up didn’t feel like that at all.

Except when passing through the occasional cutting, I pretty much felt like I was riding along a poorly graveled forestry road  … one which needed a nice soft pavement put on top of it …

So today … not so impressed.  Especially as I can compare how beautiful the top section was when I last rode it, when it was overgrown and wild, to what it is now … but I can see the potential off it when the surface wears in or gets a proper surface put on it, a few more interpretive signs are installed (a trailhead map of the route with distances would be awesome), and hopefully (please, please, please) they let the track get reclaimed a bit more back to a single-track experience … not a wide ugly scar of a road.

But for now, I’d either do it one way (downhill) do the circuit back via the road or just choose a shorter section of it to have a taste of what the trail has to offer … seriously some of those cuttings are gorgeous.

Yes … let me finish by saying the potential up this way is enourmous … the stunning flow tracks in Launceston, the proposed trails around Hollybank, this rail trail and of course the tracks around Blue Tier … give it a few more years and this region could be legendary.

Oh, and for the record … 5kms further up the road … the f*cking sun was shining like I was in the sahara desert … it only started to rain again when I got to Weldborough and started to put up my tent … of course.

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