IMBA estimated rating: More Difficult (blue square)
L, R, SA=straight ahead, V=veer, A=acute, 1=1st.
This 25km Upper Loddon circuit ventures into the Upper Loddon Forest, crossing the once mighty Loddon River at each end. Farmland, lifestyle blocks but mainly forest. A few km of tarmac each end, some dirt road but mainly 4WD track.
A heart starting coffee at Old Glenlyon General Store must have upset our equilibrium as we decided to circuit anti-clockwise this time. More on that later.
Out onto the Malmsbury road across a woefully dry Loddon River, up the hill a tad and 1L onto Holcombe Rd. Tarmac gives way to dirt just before the pine girt Glenlyon Cemetery. It looked so peaceful we dicided then and there this is where we would like to be buried.
A right bend at Holcombe homestead saw us juddering our way onto Swords Rd towards a rise. A personage draped from their hatted head in fly barrier gauze, gave a secretive wave as we passed by their labours onto a smoother red dirt. At the L bend you could instead go SA onto Sandy Farm Rd for reputedly the best kept red wine secret in the area. Perhaps better done when on a clockwise circuit.
From the gas pipeline crossing, swooping down Swords Rd through forest, on a left bend we nearly overshot the right turn onto Ridge Rd 4WD track. Averaging 25k/h.
It’s sort of all downhill from 550m here to 350m at Drummond – Vaughan Springs Rd. But most of the drop is in the last km so enjoy the roller coaster. About 1.4km from Ridge Rd start, a track east would take you through a pleasant river valley with a short grunty climb at the end depositing you on Scobies Rd which bounds the Denver-Drummond lifestyle block area. It is an alternative starting point if you want a shorter out and back ride from a winery area.
Otherwise at Vaughan Springs Rd tarmac, like us you might have covered a lazy 10km in a comfortable 19.5k/h. Nibble and drink, then its L down to Loddon River. Ignore the picnic spot which has become derelict since Loddon flows dried up in summer. This photo of a Loddon R rock pool was taken 2 summers ago within the circuit. The haze is smoke from the Gippsland bush fires over 200km away.
So its easy up to Doxa Youth Camp on your right, where you head L. This pleasant flat dirt road festooned with manuka bivvies, lulls you nicely before VL onto the 4WD eponymous up & down track.
Those less fit might walk a few of the short sharp ups and be a bit tenuous on the short sharp downs. But it ain’t far and like us you could AL about 6k from Doxa onto a 4WD track for a bit of variety.
On this alternative, always keep R through the pleasant Kangaroo Creek valley (which if we could kayak up it would take us within 300m of home) then an easy climb followed by a bit of up and down. At the crest of a ridge SA instead of R and shortly go R onto red dirt Walls Lane (there’s a bridge to your L). Easily climb past farmland one side and forest the other then L at T onto Green Gully Rd (staying on Up & Down Track would bring you onto this road about 800m further north).
Ignore the winery signs if you must. Just after crossing the creek bridge it is a long haul up the tarmac, though interesting with lifestyle blocks and a very Canadian glimpse on your right. The climb gets easier after the first step and after step 3 a L bend brings you back into farmland. 1R then L at T onto Back Glenlyon Rd and a cruisy slope down or fun sprint back to the store for an ice cream or second coffee under red canopies and blue skies.
We much prefer the clockwise route as it is an easy lead in to the ride and the downhill finish to the Loddon R by the store is an exhilarating finish.
For a larger version of the route map, click on this one.