What to ride

Home > Riding > What to Ride

No matter what type of mountain bike riding you are into, who you are with or how experienced you are, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef has the trail for you. From family recreational outings to the true adrenaline junkie, you will find a Cairns mountain bike trail truly out of this world to enjoy.

There are five unique mountain biking regions to explore in the Cairns region including two dedicated mountain biking parks where you will find easy, beginner-friendly trails up to the longer, steeper and more technically demanding trails.

If the trails are not your thing, there are countless pristine white-sand beaches to explore, meandering urban and suburban pathways for the whole family, or if you prefer, try one of the more than 600 tours that depart Cairns & Great Barrier Reef daily.

  • Family/RecreationOpen or Close

    The Cairns region has plenty of mountain biking trails to ride with the whole family. Whether it be in one of the amazing mountain bike parks at Smithfield or Atherton, or along one of the many pristine white sand beaches, you can always enjoy a family outing without too much effort or difficulty.

    Green trails are an option for the adventurous families, offering easy going and relatively flat trails. You can come across rainforest creek crossings, spot the many bird species in the area or simply take in your surroundings. The green trails are wide enough and safe for all ages.

    Alternately you can explore Four Mile Beach, meandering past never ending coconut trees and looking out towards the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas, or spectacular Mission Beach on the Cassowary Coast.

  • XCOpen or Close

    At the three mountain bike parks in the region, you can expect to experience every imaginable kind of terrain and take in diverse landscapes from the lush rainforest to a drier outback setting. Smithfield Regional Park is renown for its amazing rainforest backdrop and being home to the brutally challenging 1996, and now 2014 and 2016, UCI World Mountain Bike Cups as well as the 2017 UCI World Mountain Bike and Trials Championships.

    Head from the coast up the mountain range via Kuranda to Davies Creek, a network of trails where you can explore undulating outback terrain and pastures winding through multiple rivers and streams. Open scrubland offers wide vistas over the many ridges looking west to east. Fire roads and dirt forest roads offer endless opportunities to explore the region by mountain bike.

    Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park has unique cross-country riding through the mountain ranges with almost 70km of purpose built cross-country single track. Open ridges and volcanic rich pastures make up this area and offer fantastic opportunities to explore the cool, mountain highlands near beautiful Lake Tinaroo.

  • Trail / All MountainOpen or Close

    Trail riding around the Cairns region is for the more adventurous, and is sometimes in harder to reach spots. At Smithfield Regional Park and Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park you can choose your own adventure to map out a trail featuring just the right amount of descent to suit your taste, reach further up the hills and explore even deeper into the ridges.

    Alternately, you can hook up with the locals who will be more than happy to take you on any of the hundreds of trail rides they have unearthed and pass through terrain like nothing else. Be warned, these trails can be extremely raw and are not for the faint of heart.

    Be sure to pack snacks, lots of water and spares for these rides!

  • DownhillOpen or Close

    For the adrenalin junkies, Cairns is most famous for its rise in the 90s as a hot spot for gravity riding. Downhill grew to massive heights leading into the 1996 World Championships and at that point the region boasted many unique and varying downhill trails snaking down the mountain range. Now Smithfield Regional Park boasts a newly refurbished, world-class downhill course and the existing 2004 Nationals downhill course for a less difficult descent. The Kuranda Downhill Trail also holds its own as one of the country’s most renown downhill trails.

    The Smithfield Regional Park World Downhill course is a declared Restricted Access Area and is regulated by the Department of National Parks Recreation Sport and Racing. Access to the World Downhill course may only occur under a permit or with an existing authority holder or approved commercial tour operators.