Monday, June 12, 2023

The Bridle Track

Our annual Mudgee muster was upon us again, the ride out was over the Bells Line in the Blue Mountains. This year Geoff was bringing his mate Ray from WA on his ZX-12R as he was over in the eastern states to race his Mustang in the historic championships.

It was inevitable that Ray was going to get lost when any of us were involved, he got out of sight behind and we turned off and stopped around the corner, there's something to be said here about corner man marking system and then before you know it Ray was in Lithgow when the others headed down the Darling Causeway to Oberon.

I saw it happening so Geoff and I went and found him wandering about Lithgow, it was a cold morning around 10°c and the warm fire at the Tarana hotel was welcomed by all as we heated our cold hands by the fire.

Tarana Hotel was only about 15 minutes from O'Connell and as the others took the long route through Oberon we warmed up and partook in a tasty beverage.

It wasn't long before we made our way to the cafe for lunch and the meet up with the rest of the crew.

With lunch and laughs done and dusted we headed out to Bathurst for a quick fuel up and then onto Hill End. But rather than go up the usual route via Turondale Rd, Scotty and myself decided on doing the Bridle Track to Hill End. It had recently opened about 4 weeks before and Flyboy did it on his way home to Queensland and highly recommended it.

The Bridle track technically starts at the Turondale road junction about 15km from Bathurst but the first 22km is tarred until you get to the Box Ridge Road intersection where it turns to gravel road. The road is narrow and winds up around the hillside and then into a valley alongside the Macquarie River. 

The scenery along here is simply stunning, the riding was fairly easy going as well. It looks like they have graded the entire length of the track and it's in fantastic condition. You could easily get in here in a 2wd vehicle at the moment.

We stopped several times along the way to take some pictures of the stunning countryside.

As its only one lane all the way, you have to be careful of 4wd's coming the other way. Easy enough on the bike, but if there's two 4wd's then someone is going to have to back up to the nearest wide point.

The track was closed years ago at Monaghans Bluff due to a rock fall blocking the track. Rather than fix this they have put in a detour around it, and that detour is a steep up and over the mountain affair. I wouldn't attempt it if it was raining, its very steep on the Bathurst end and would be very slippery in the wet.

Scotty on Monaghans Bluff

Whilst stopping to take a couple of pics of Scotty coming up I could see the track below following the cliff line around the river. It would have been great to follow it around. 

The views from up the top of Monaghans Bluff are spectacular overlooking the river and valleys below. The road at the top is seriously wide compared to the rest of the track and you can easily drive 2 cars wide along the top.

The ride down from the top of the bluff and alongside the river was fantastic riding. We passed a few 4wd's along here coming the other way. Plenty of traffic on the weekend and it would be better to do the track on a weekday if possible.

Macquarie River

There are plenty of campgrounds along the track. It would be cool to do an overnight camping trip here at some point. There was a very narrow rock cutting going up the hill, wouldn't want to meet a car here and that's exactly what Scotty did, luckily the 4wd driver waited until he came around the corner.

It was starting to get a bit late in the afternoon and we decided to press on to hopefully catch the other guys at Hill End pub, but it was looking less and less likely as the faffing around taking photos was putting us behind(it was worth it). We managed to cross the Turon river water crossing with no dramas, it was only about 10cm deep and a bit muddy at each end with 4wd dragging water out, scotty had a few slides in it but was no problem. I went to get a picture but didn't want to keep riding through the mud so kept going.

There were what seemed like hundreds of jumps across the track on the way up, drainage ditches which were good fun. Last stop was at the top of the track which dumped us right at the back end of Hill End. There were plenty of kangaroo's wandering around in the paddocks next to the road too.

We had arrived in Hill End at 3:30pm and the other were nowhere to be seen, so rather than stop for a beer we continued on but just one more quick stop for a photo on the outskirts of town where the tree's were changing colours for autumn which made a majestic corridor of colours.

The Bridle track is now ticked off the list and was much easier than what I thought it was going to be, it probably took us about an hour and a half to ride through it. Some of the best country scenery around and a good ride, better of doing it on a weekday so there is less traffic.

From Hill End Scotty and I made our way into Mudgee and the Oriental Hotel for the night, double room was about $130. The oriental does a great meal and $8 pints was icing on the cake. Another good ride with good friends.

Next day was the ride back to Sydney, about half the group split and went in different directions, but we took the Bylong Valley Way. The dreaded causeway was full of water and I went through and didn't have any drama's, no one crashed in it which was good. 

Boys on Bylong Valley Way

We went  then down via the Putty Road, a couple of sportsbikes pissed me off going slow in the 10 mile twisties, but got round them and had some fun. Stopped in for lunch at Grey Gums before making our way home. Another top notch trip with good mates.


  1. Nice one, that Bridle track looks pretty nice. The gravel looks nice and fast too. Great pics!

    1. You can't go fast though as there are lots of blind corners and it is single lane with a big drop into the river on the left.......well, I guess you cold go fast......if you can swim with a helmet on!

    2. It was a good ride Andrew, you would have liked it. Can't go too fast though, as Dave says unless you like swimming in bike gear.

  2. Told you it was a nice ride and VERY easy. Maybe Geoff needs a lighter bike to go off road. I forsee a Ducati in his future....

    1. You Ducati snobs can't ride with us decent folk anymore.....

  3. your camera makes me look fat.....

  4. I'm just planning a route around Morocco to take my bike. Looking at this I think it would be worth recovering my journey. What's the best dashcam to use?

    1. The pick seem to be Gopro11 or DJI Osmo Action 3 for action cameras. I havent used my old gopro for 6 years. Editing video takes days and I don't need a second unpaid job.