Churchill National Park is located 30 km’s South-east of Melbourne and joins onto Lysterfield Park. This 271 hectare National Park offers a variety of Fire trails for Mountain Bikers or CX riders. There are a number of climbs throughout the park, which have a high degree of difficulty. Not only are they steep, but all of the trails are littered with gravel and traction is quite difficult. You will need a high level of fitness, to circumnavigate the park.
Churchill National Park is famous for its 173 different species of birds. Such as the Australian Wood Duck and the Pacific Black Duck. Most mammals are only active at night, so if you arrive early or leave late, you might be lucky enough to see one. The Park is also home to a large population of Wallabies & Kangaroos. Take care when riding to keep an eye out for them.
The entrance to the Park is off Churchill Park Drive. You can easily combine a ride around the Churchill National Park up to Lysterfield Lake. Just be mindful that the climb out of the Churchill National Park up to Trig Point is extremely steep. Many a cyclist has walked up it, however there are 360 degree views up the top that will make it all worthwhile.
If you haven’t visited the Churchill National Park, I would highly recommend it.
- Entry via Churchill Park Drive, Bergins Road and Lysterfield Lake
- 24 hour parking available on Curchill Park Drive
- Parking is available within the park (observe gate closing times)
- Picnic & B.B.Q facilities (next to main car park)
- Toileting facilities (next to main car park)
- No dogs allowed (National Park regulations)
- Joins onto Lysterfield Lake
Click on this link for a map of the Churchill National Park from Parks Victoria.
The Churchill National Park
Distance: 1 km
Average Gradient: 10%
Elevation gain: 106 metres
Traffic: Walking track
Terrain: Gravel (MTB or CX only)
Road Surface: Loose gravel
Here is a link to the Strava segment here
I’ve always considered this one of the hardest climbs I’ve ever done. Towards the top of this climb is a small section of gravel which peaks at 20%. This is always incredibly challenging to get up and hurts like a MF. It took me 12 attempts before I was able to climb this one without walking. This track joins the Churchill National Park to Lysterfield Lake. Which offers some stunning 360 degree views from the top. And would recommend to see at night.
Trig Point climb
The climb starts at the intersection of the Stonemasons Track & Lysterfields Hill Track. This climb is 1 km @ 10%, This is hard enough on its own. But there is a lot of loose gravel on this climb and it is challenging getting traction at times.
Keep an eye out as there is a large population of Kangaroos & Wallabies.
Once you reach the fence you leave Churchill N.P & enter Lysterfield Lake. You’ll need to pace yourself. Once you pass the second hairpin the path goes skywards. With the gradient sitting on 15% over the next 250 meters.
Your lungs will be bursting. Instead of offering respite the path gets steeper and as you approach this corner the path peaks at 20%. This is made extra challenging as the path is quite often in bad shape. It can be hard to find a good line to ride into.
The gradient decreases, but you’re heart will be racing so hard all you will be thinking of is getting to the top. Once you reach the sign pictured above turn left. There is only a short climb to the lookout. It is hard as there is no path, and you need to ride over the grass. The gradient isn’t steep, but after 900 metres of incredibly steep climbing there’s no shame in your legs giving up on you here.
The end of the climb is at the funny looking dish thing.
Lysterfield Park is situated approximately 30 kilometres south-east of Melbourne. The park has over 20 km of Mountain Bike single trails, as well as a network of fire trails. Its popularity has stemmed from the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and a network of single-tracks were created specifically for this event. These bike trails cater to riders of all ages and skill levels.
The great thing about riding around Lysterfield Lake is that you can choose your own adventure. You can easily mix up your rides. Choose a ride that winds its way through rock gullies. Bushes, boardwalks and flowing descents, or take on one of the parks many climbs. I have profiled a number of the most challenging & popular climbs in the park. Due to rough surfaces all of these climbs are much harder than the length or average gradient would suggest and would recommend for you to climb them on a CX or MTB.
Click on the links below to be directed to the climb write-ups:
|Link to climb write-up||Distance||Gradient %|
|Lysterfield Lake Preview|
|Glen Track||600 metres||4|
|Granite Track||800 metres||5|
|Trig Point (Lysterfield side)||3.2 km||4|
|Trig Point (Churchill side)||1 km||10|
|Woodlands Walk||1 km||10|
- Toilets available at main car park
- Fire trails are shared paths and riders need to be courteous to walkers
- Trails are all two-way traffic. You will need to keep an eye out for riders coming the other way. There is no rule over who has to give right of way. Heads up that there will be aggressive riders who will expect you to move out of their way, and will ride through you if you don’t. As a rule of thumb if you’re not in a hurry just pull over. Its much safer.
- Parking available at a number of spots around the park
- Lysterfield Lake is open 24 hours a day