This one is quite possibly the jewel in the crown for Queanbeyan-Palerang’s cycling trails. And that’s a big call, given the range of bicycle adventures to be had in the destination. So, what makes it so great? It’s the combination of the Wallace Gap gravel, the absolutely stunning Majors Creek Mountain Road descent into Araluen, combined with the grueling climb back out of the valley towards Braidwood; the comforts of great coffee, food and accommodation in the beautiful heritage-listed township of Braidwood; and the forests, views and vistas you’ll pass along the way. We’ve mapped this route to commence from Braidwood along the Cooma Road. While it’s a pleasant ride, the highlight is yet to come. Cooma Road is the most heavily trafficked road on this route, however, it’s still not very busy. You’ll likely see an occasional car or other vehicle.
This ride is a mix of sealed and gravel roads. The gravel sections span from the locality of Ballalaba along Wallace Gap Road to Majors Creek and then beyond, down Majors Creek Mountain Road into Araluen. Wallaces Gap Road is relatively wide and smooth with a few undulations, while Majors Creek Mountain Road is a whole different story! It’s incredibly steep, and a bit rough and patchy in places. Definitely easily conquerable by those with a few gravel km’s under their belt; but not for the complete newbie. You’ll appreciate some reasonable suspension here too. The alternative is, as noted below, to ride the route in reverse; climbing up this gravel road rather than descending down it. Either way, you’ll have a substantial climb out of the Araluen Valley. The choice is yours: downhill gravel and a paved climb up the Araluen Road; or a paved descent down Araluen Road and a gravel climb back up Majors Creek Mountain Road.
We recommend starting and ending this one in Braidwood. You can ride straight from the door of your accommodation; or park your car near Ryrie Park to the north of the main shopping area.
Food & Drink
There are no food options along this route, unless you make the 3km detour into the small township of Araluen where there’s a local pub serving up some basics, including cold beverages. You can get a water refill at the Araluen Campground. If it’s been a dry season, it’s best not to rely on this being a reliable source.
Alternative ride options
There are optional detours for this one, including shortening the ride as soon as you leave from Braidwood, and heading down the Majors Creek Road, avoiding Cooma Road. This is a good option if you’re wanting something a bit shorter. You will, however, miss out on the really nice gravel road, Wallace Gap Road, connecting the locality of Ballalaba and Majors Creek. To extend the journey, after ascending from Araluen, you can turn right onto Sawyers Ridge Road (gravel) and then left to Reidsdale Road (paved) and back to Braidwood. This extension adds around 15km to the ride and is a pretty route to take without too much additional climbing. You could also do this ride in reverse. Benefits are that you ride the significant road into the Araluen Road on paved road and then climb back out on gravel. The key downside to this is that you don’t witness the easterly views across the beautiful Araluen Valley descending from the Majors Creek Mountain Road. But really, either way, you can’t go wrong with this one. For those comfortable but not quite as confident on gravel, this reverse option might be a better one. Either way, you’ll have a slow and grinding but beautiful climb out of the valley.
- Road riding
- Gravel Road
- Accessible by bike
- Accessible by car