Railway Reserves Heritage Trail
Directions - Starting at the Mundaring Sculpture Park, from Roe Highway take Great Eastern Highway up into the hills until you reach the centre of Mundaring. Take a right turn at Nichol Street and follow this until the end where you'll find a car park for the Sculpture Park. The trail head is located on a series of undercover panels telling you about the different trails that run through the area.
The Ride - The Railway Reserves Heritage Trail is one of the more popular places in the Perth Hills to enjoy a walk or a ride and over the years it's one that I've visited on a few occasions without ever writing it up for the website. Running either side of Great Eastern Highway and utilising the old rail formations, this trail is an awkward length to walk but is perfect for a bike ride. My initial plans involved trying to walk the entire loop with my dog Sadie but bad weather got in the way and as the trail goes through John Forrest National Park, I needed to figure out a detour to avoid that section.
Because of that, plus it would take about 8-10 hours of my life for a trail that I know is nothing spectacular on foot thanks to walking most of it on the various Oxfam Trailwalker events over the years, this was always at the back of the future trails list. With a renewed interest in mountain biking thanks to joining my podcast partner on a couple of Munda Biddi trips over the winter of 2020, I have scheduled in my own end to end for August 2021. Because of that plus a motivation to get a little fitter, I have been riding my road bike a lot over the summer. Purchasing a new mountain bike for the Munda Biddi, it arrived a month earlier than expected so was keen to take it out for a spin on some gravel tracks. Switching my longer weekend ride from road to gravel, I travelled up into the hills to tackle the 42km Railway Reserves Heritage Trail (RRHT from now on) that I last cycled way back in January 2015 and did not enjoy thanks to my bike fitness being sub-optimal. With a bit of training under my belt this time, I was sure I would enjoy the experience and decided I would write up the trail from a cycling perspective instead of hiking as I think it's the better way as I'll detail over the course of this post.
This also marked the first time I would be taking out my new Nikon D5600 that had been purchased after the demise of my short lived D7500. Having tried to use a shoulder strap when cycling the Kep Track late in 2020, I realised that I'd need a better solution to having the camera handy for shooting cycle trails so also invested in a Peak Design Camera Clip that attached nicely to one of the straps of my hiking backpack. Being right in the heart of the suburban area of the Perth Hills, access points are frequent and very accessible so there are plenty of options if you want to start/finish in a different location. I chose the Sculpture Park because that's where the trail head is and decided to go in an anti-clockwise direction so I could ease into the riding and finish with the big uphill climb. After checking out the trail head, I spotted the Munda Biddi northern terminus and smiled because in five months time I would be here with a fully loaded bike and a 1100km ride ahead of me to Albany. Keen to see what the new bike was like on gravel, I took a few photos and headed off in an easterly direction. Joining up with the Kep Track, this section would be very familiar as I'd cycled it a few months prior as it heads all the way to Northam.