High Country Rail Trail

This long flat rail trail runs from Wodonga on the Hume Highway to Tallangatta (49 km one way) and then another section to Old Tallangatta (8km one way) and finally if you can manage the logistics, you can start 700m above sea-level and ride a combination of rail trail and highway downhill to lake level which is 200m above sea level (35km one way down).  Its a pretty good ride as you can see by my photos, some views are so nice that you can imagine you are immersed in an oil painting. The trail is predominantly gravel so micro thin wheels won’t work. Definitely need a big tread and suspension in the Shelly station section.

Here is the Google map of the trail we rode >>

One day of riding

I think the best tactic for this trail if you are only spending one day is to work out how far you want to ride. Then park the car half that distance from Tallangatta, Huon station would probably suit most. Then you can ride across the Sandy Creek Inlet bridge which is spectacular and eat at Tallangatta, return after food to your car. If you want to get the best photos, ride to the Old Tallangatta Bridge for an extra 7km each way riding.

Two Days – There and back riding

Plan to stay overnight in Tallangatta. Day one head to Ebden and return if you can make it that far, as long as you ride to Huon Station, you will have seen a lot of things.

Day two can be a relaxing ride to old Tallangatta and a few extra kilometres until the trail stops.

A lot of people like to ride from Wodonga to Tallangatta. O’night. Ride back. 40km each way.  Haven’t riden past Ebden to Wodonga, wouldn’t know.

Two Days – Include Shelley Station

If you are lucky enough to have two vehicles and space to cart multiple bikes, you can drive a long way into the hills and start at Shelley Station just off the Murray Valley Highway. There you park your car and check all your bike parts carefully and then head off down the mountain on the rail trail.  The first 500m was very bumpy and the rest of the rail trail for the next 12 km is a gentle downhill run. But you will not be totally relaxing as you are forever moving around dodging sticks. Its is never a good plan to run over a big stick.  If it gets difficult, walk a bit.  Not for road bikes.

So this is all great fun and then you come to a big tressle bridge and the trail stops. You then have to move to the highway and roll another 25km down the highway to the valley floor where Old Tallangatta is. Its exhilarating as you rarely have to pedal but when the big trucks and cars occasionally roll by, its not quite so much fun.

Of course we stuffed up reading the map and its legend and ignored the dotted lines on the map on the rail trail thinking they wouldn’t be ready. As we couldn’t see the trail from the road, nothing told us to go back to the trail. Meanwhile the rail trail volunteers have been busy and a lot of the upper section of the track that we missed is actually OK to ride with an mountain bike.  That bits that should be available to ride on the trail are shown on my Google map below.

Note:  Two other riders told us at the pub that the lady from a Tallangatta bed and breakfast was taking their bikes up in a trailer to Shelley station and said she would explain where the trail was.  That could be very worthwhile.

Here is a government map of the trail in a pdf format >>

The first time I went 18 months ago.

A couple of interesting things happened on the ride the first time I went, I talked to guy who rode 100km from Wodonga to Tallangatta and back in his gum boots and I was hit by torrential rain. I probably should have taken my boots and I really enjoyed my potato scallops at the chippy in Tallangatta.

I discuss which ride is best to go on if you are driving down the Hume Highway on this page.

Here are the photos are from Shelly Station to Ebden near the turn off to the dam wall across three days, one of them wet.

Other options for the brave

Check north of the high country trail for other mostly dirt back roads that you can take to make a gigantic loop back to Albury.  Click on the tracks to see video links. Talk to the Information Centre in Tallangatta before you head off or discuss on Bikepacking Australia on Facebook.