Distance: 12.5 km
Average Gradient: 7%
Elevation gain: 859 meters
Here is a link to the Strava segment here:
Myers Creek Road is a very popular climb north of Healesville which follows the Myers Creek valley and is quite popular with recreational riders. The climb takes you through the beauty of the Yarra Ranges National Park, and through Paul’s Range State Forest. Hidden at the top of this climb is a 4WD track which is 3.3 km’s @ 10%. This road will take you to the Mount St Leanord car park, which you can take to get to the summit of Mount St Leanord, 1,021 meters above sea level. The climb from the base of Myers Creek Road, is arguably one of Victoria’s most difficult HC climbs.
The climb up Myers Creek Road is 8.5 km long. It is quite challenging as the gradient continually fluctuates, and has quite a coarse road surface which makes you work that little extra harder. It is a beautiful road to climb, continually twisting and winding its way up to Toolangi, with an average gradient of 6.5%, and a maximum gradient of 15%. You will rarely have a long stretch of road ahead of you. The majority of the climb averages between 5 – 7%, but does not let up.
Once you reach the peak of this climb, turn right onto Monda Road, which is hard packed gravel. After climbing for so long, your legs may be feeling a little bit tired. The sight of an unsealed road which goes skywards is not a pleasant one. The road kicks straight into 10% and and does not let up until you reach the top.
This is a challenging climb as the gradient continually fluctuates slightly. It has quite a coarse road surface makes you working that little harder. The climbs average gradient is highly deceptive as the road will hit sections in excess of 15%. Monda Road will feel a lot steeper than its average gradient suggests.
Monda Road is narrow, and 2 cars can just squeeze by. The climb up to the car park is 3.3 km’s in length with an average gradient of 10%. This climb should only be attempted by those who enjoy gravel grinding and feel comfortable with climbing steep roads such as Mast Gully Road and Terry’s Avenue. The climb is a real lung burner, but thankfully there aren’t too many long stretches. This is a climb which you can break your climb up corner by corner. The last km does get a bit steeper, so hold something in reserve. At the top of the climb the road flattens out and there is a makeshift parking lot for the Mt St Leonard lookout.
Mount St Leanord
Next to the car park is a gate to your right. If you push your bike through there is additional climbing to the top of Mount St Leonard lookout. During the winter months this area does receive Snow, and can get quite muddy. You should check weather conditions before attempting this climb over the winter months. Very few riders have attempted this climb, and you will feel a sense of achievement climbing such a difficult climb. Monda Road has a very consistent gradient. Although the surface is fairly good for an unsealed road. There are bumps and holes to negotiate through which makes it harder to get into a rythmn. Due to the steepness of the gradient. You will have to work with the bike to get traction which makes the last 3.3 km’s extremely hard.
This is a dangerous descent. As with all unsealed roads, the road surface can be damaged by the elements and care should be taken depending on the condition of the road. This descent is very steep, and care needs to be taken to avoid rocks and fissures in the road. There is just enough space for a car to pass you either way, however you will be pushed to the corner of the road which is not in good condition, and you risk puncturing your tires or losing control of the bike, and would advise to pull off the road and let vehicles safely pass you.
Mount St Leanord lookout tower
During the fire season the Mount St Leanord lookout tower provides an excellent lookout. Forming an important role in the early detection of fire danger. The tower also houses a wealth of communications equipment. The original tower was in the form of a small cabin perched precariously on top of a sawn off tree (see image below) and held in place by wire and several cables. Access was by a long (scary) ladder.
This was replaced in 1949 by a steel structure. In 1988 this tower was superseded by the present larger structure built by Telstra to a height of 37 metres.