A quiet back country experience with a stunning sub-alpine pass, remote river valley, rustic huts, a welcoming natural hot spring and the historic St James homestead.
The is a true back country, cross-country ride where riders need to be prepared for all conditions. The majority of the trail surface is technical and suitable for very experienced riders. This is a ride best saved for the warmer months given the remote and high crossing with the partial circuit taking two days, or one demanding long day.
The St James Cycle Trail is an 'A to B' trip between Maling Pass carpark and the historic St James Homestead. If combined with the 25km Top House Road (not part of the official trail) the trail becomes a challenging loop.
The official trail can be ridden in one long day, however a more relaxed two-day journey gives more time to take in the mountain scenery, and stay at one of the rustic backcountry huts. The main trail is 59km, and if Guyon Hut is visited on a side trip then it is a 64 km ride.
The trail is suitable for expert riders and is a remote backcountry experience. The trail can be ridden in either direction, however it is normally experienced from north to south allowing a gentle climb of Maling Pass and working with the prevailing wind. The trail width varies from narrow single track to a more generous width on 4WD backcountry roads - take caution around blind bends for approaching vehicles.
There are some thick gravel sections of trail, and care also needs to be taken in exposed parts due to steep drop-offs beside the trail. The trail is rough and hard to see in places if the grass has not been maintained. There is a easy portion of trail (grade 2) from Peters Pass to St James Homestead.
Toilets are located at the various huts scattered along the trail. Apart from the backcountry huts, all accommodation and services are located in the thermal resort of Hanmer Springs. There are no food providers along this trail. There is no mobile coverage once out of Hanmer Springs - this trail is remote!