This ride rolls along through meadows and parklands around the Prospect Reservoir for 27km. In all that time you only pass through about ten roads on well-designed crossings. Its a cyclists dream. Near Guildford you pass across the historic Greystaynes Aquaduct and travel along really consistent pretty flat wide concrete track for 7km. Its this end where you should start if you are not a great rider.
I will now tell you how you should do this trail. Arrive by train at Guildford station. Then navigate the circuit to Canley Vale where Vietnamese steamed pork buns or a bakery or even a restaurant awaits you. Now hop on the train and head home.
If you drive, you can use the 7km trail from Canley Vale back to Guildford that sort of follows the rail line and passes through Fairfield. Its easy enough riding but is not much to get excited about. For road bike riders, head as far as Camsley Hill City Farm, then return back whence you came for 40km of work. The ride to Canley Vale from there is on shared footpaths and not so suited to road bikes.
For kids, I suggest a trial run by arriving at Lizard Log Park where there is a kids loop or ride from Guildford to Prospect Dam with the older ones.
How to see the reservoir: At Walder Park, you need to ride a 100m to the north to William Lawson Drive. There you will get a wonderful photo of the reservoir.
Notes: From Guildford look for bike signs to Cecil Park. Once you get to the metal cow at Camsley Hill Farm, head down the creek following signs which say either Canley Vale, Fairfield, or Cabramatta. When you see Canley Vale village, you head off the trail for 500m to the shops.
The trail from Guildford to Canley Vale via Prospect Dam.
Canley Vale to Guildford
The trail that leaves from just north of Canley Vale back to Guildford is rideable but not as pleasant as the rest of the trail. There can be some rubbish on the side of the path and a few factories to ride past. Personally, I would catch the train back to my car if it was back at Guildford. Its called the Liverpool Trail.
Its a great achievement to ride across a big city like Sydney and the Liverpool Rail Trail lets think you have done just that. Thus it was on a mild winters day that I finally decided to do the big Sydney triangle by catching the express train to Parammatta from Redfern and as usual I arrived at the station with 3 minutes till the train arrived. I rushed down the stairs and ended up on the wrong platform. Lucky that platform had a train was going to Granville so I decided that I would start my ride from there. The plan was to return train from Glenfield back to either Green Square or Redfern after riding down the Liverpool rail trail. This trail meets some of the requirements for a rail trail in that the gradients are basically flat, its quite straight and it follows the train line which has lots of trains. All up this trail is 25km but I did 30 with my connections to Redfern Station. It takes 3 hours to do the loop with the train connections and the mandatory meal stops. Here are my notes.
I would recommend riding this trail from north to south starting at Merrylands, the signage seems better and the sun will not be in your face unless its summer and early or late. Its a reasonable ride on mainly concrete shared paths but quite urban.
If you want to ride a reasonable clean trail start at Merrylands or Holroyd Gardens. I rode from Granville Station to do all the rail trail but its not pleasant getting to the M4 cycleway. Parramatta Station to the M4 Cycleway is also is an ordinary experience.
Just after Guildford (see Guildford to Canley Vale) you cross the railway line and ride on the western side of the railway to Fairfield where you go under some original brick rail bridges your way across the bridge. Around Fairfield you will pass through two car parks and the trail is not quite so obvious but if the railway is to the west you will be fine.
I like to stop at Canley Vale for sweet pork buns or salad in a roll Vietnamese style, you do this by passing under the old bridge and heading up to the shops. Just after Canley Vale you have to balance your bike around an ordinary bridge crossing where you will soon arrive at Cabramatta. At Cabramatta, there is a lot pedestrian traffic so take it easy and soon after you come to a U-shaped road crossing where you need to be very careful. You cross a creek and then enter a wasteland at which time you swing under a bridge and start riding up a closed road for a km to Warwick Farm.
When you pass Warwich Farm station you will soon arrive at the Liverpool hospital. Keep near the railway line all the way to the Liverpool station as you pass through the hospital. No track markings at all. After Liverpool station, pass under the bridge by going on a narrow footpath under Newbridge Rd and then ride the bumpy shared path through the new buildings until the path is out in the open to the left of Powerhouse Rd.
From now the ride to Glenfield is a decent ride and around the last two stations, Casula and Glenfield is a great trail even for teens. At Casula, use the railway bridge to cross the track to the western side and have a coffee at the wonderful Powerhouse.
You can catch a train back from whatever station you choose along the trail including Glenfield. I completed my giant city triangle using the train to the city.
Merrylands to Parramatta (the direct route)
This is a ride can be summarised as as rubbish Urban but you have no choice if you want to make it to Parramatta.
After Merrylands, all seems good until you turn the corner and arrive at Boomerang street. At this point you should behave like a boomerang and ride back to Merrylands station but if you want to ride on, turn down Boomerang then Wallace and ride a short bit of unsatisfactory footpath under the railway bridge. Now follow a loop around and cross to end up at high street just off the M4 cycleway.
Finally you see good signpost and you helter skelter down High St and Raymond street to the eastern side of the railway line. Now a mixture of footpaths and roads takes you into Parramatta. The only good thing I can say about this part of the journey is that at 7:30 am on a Saturday, Parramatta wasn’t busy. I doubt that will be the case during the week.
External Link: Here is a brochure map for this trail not including Casula >> and on Rail Trails of Australia