About the Rail Trail
The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail is located at the foot of the Great Dividing Range in North East Victoria, from the floodplain of the Murray River right to the base of some of Australia’s highest mountains. The main trail - Wangaratta to Bright - is 85 kilometes: the side branch that leaves the main trail at Everton and goes up to Beechworth is 15km each way.
The trail is an outstanding experience of the best the North East has to offer: surrounded by high mountains, the fertile alpine valleys have a rich history and are now recognized as one of Victoria's outstanding food and wine destinations.
Beechworth, perched in the hills above the valleys is a marvelously well preserved colonial era town and home to a renowned bakery, Honey experience and a wealth of food and history experiences.
Surface and elevations
The whole length of the trail is sealed in asphalt making it suitable to nearly all types of bikes.
From Bright at 304 metres above sea level, the trail has an overall gradual drop to Wangaratta at just 149 metres. However there are some significant climbs! Our sag wagon will be on hand to help out if needed. Between Myrtleford and Everton riders tackle the 120 metre climb to Taylors Gap ( and of course then enjoy the wonderful downhill on the other side – whichever direction your ride in!).
The most challenging hill is the side branch from Everton to Beechworth, where a moderate but steady climb over 15 kilometres climbs from an altitude of 230 metres to 530 metres at Beechworth. (Not sure about the hill? Hills for the Faint of Heart will give you some tips on getting ready!)
Bright – Myrtleford 30 km
Bright is situated in the alpine valley of Ovens River, right at the foot of Mounts Feathertop, Hotham and Buffalo, some of Australia's highest peaks. Bright is a buzzing town with a thriving food and drink scene, and is a base camp for cyclists of all types – trail, road and mountain bike. The first 6 km of the Rail Trail to Porepunkah is one of the most popular trail sections linking these 2 pretty towns. From Porepunkah the trail continues down the valley (with a couple of road crossings to be approached with care). On the way it passes little railway stations, wineries and open fields, many dotted with now disused hop drying timber buildings. Mount Buffalo makes a striking backdrop along the whole ride to Myrtleford.
Myrtleford – Everton 27 km
Myrtleford is a bustling little country town with gracious tree lined streets, serving the rich farmlands of the Ovens and King Valleys. Shortly after leaving Myrtleford the trail climbs steadily to Taylors Gap (watch the road crossing here), passing through woodlands and offering some great views back along the valley ( when you stop for a breather). The climb is rewarded by a down hill run most of the way to Everton, whizzing by puzzled cows and sheep, with the green hills a beautiful backdrop.
Everton – Beechworth 15 km
The little township (café / general store for grabbing a snack) of Everton is a kilometre off the trail itself. Turning off just before the old railway station at Everton, the side branch to Beechworth takes you from the valley up to this classic Australian town. The steady climb up through the hills produces quite a bit of puffing from trains and riders alike, and is a very satisfying challenge to over come. (Hills for the Faint of Heart will help you prepare for this).
The trail itself is quite special – far from the main roads and any sort of bustle, it quietly heads up through the trees, alternating between the fern and moss festooned cuttings, and elevated sections that give you a birds eye view of the surrounding fields and forest.
Beechworth – Wangaratta 42 km
Beechworth is a marvellously well preserved goldrush era Australian country town. Left behind by ‘modern development’ when the gold dried up, Beechworth has a vibrant new lease of life and is chock full of history, great places to eat and things to see.
The steady uphill climb to arrive at Beechworth becomes an absolutely glorious downhill when you leave. Kilometre after kilometer of steady downhill, exhilarating without being a white knuckle ride, takes you back down to Everton.
From Everton the trail leaves behind the alpine valleys, and traverses the wide open farmland that marks the edge of the vast Murray River floodplain, dotted with redgums. The trail drops gradually across quiet farmland, some distance from the main roads, each little former railway station along the way offering a shady restpoint and with it’s own story to tell.
Wangaratta is a large regional centre which offers exceptional public facilities for cyclists at the Bicycle Hub on the main street. ( Toilets, showers, tool and lockers) Apex Park where the Rail Trail starts is a green and leafy park on the banks of the King River.