The 40 km Fainter Trail is arguably the best of the mountain biking routes from Falls Creek to Mount Beauty township. It has fantastic views, a reasonable amount of single track, some technical rocky fire trail, less climbing than some other routes (although still substantial), passes interesting features and a finale of the Survey single track into Mount Beauty. The route starts in the higher levels of the Falls Creek ski resort near the Ruined Castle rock out crop it descends down to Pretty Valley Pondage, climbs up wind around mounts North and South Fainter, past Bald Peak, and dropping to Big Hill and the Mount Beauty mountain bike park. The route passes through saddles between the Fainters, at Bogong Jack and The Springs. On the route you pass Pretty Valley Hut, Tawonga Hut, Bogong Jack Hut and Springs Saddle Hut ruins. The start point is on the road to Pretty Valley near the turnoff to the Mt McKay loop and Road 24. This is effectively the top of the climb out of Falls Creek village, and avoids the 200 metres of ascent fro the Slalom Plaza car park. The ride finishes adjacent to Mount Beauty golf course club house, half a kilometre one way to Kiewa View and half a kilometre the other to the main street.
This route is in a remote alpine area, with no services, lack of vehicle access for substantial sections and intermittent mobile coverage. The route is physically demanding especially so as a result of tree falls due to dead trees as a result of the devastating 2003 bush fires. The number of blockages vary as the track is cleared every year or so and then more trees fall particularly over winter and spring, so you may find substantial blockages of the trail in dozens of places and navigating these will consume both energy and time. Lifting bikes through repeated blockages can be more tiring than uphill climbs. Accidents do happen in mountain biking, often when least expected, equipment fails and people get unwell. If things go wrong in areas like this you are a long way from help and it is a long time to walk out. Planning, preparation, fitness and common sense will minimise the risk.
When to do this ride
Falls Creek is a ski resort, the official snow season can run from early June to the beginning of October. For the vast majority of mountain bikers the most enjoyable experience will be to avoid riding this route through the snow. The conditions vary from year to year but normally the winter snow will have melted by early November and snow falls before before mid-May do not last. Snow can and occasionally does fall here on the Australian Alps any time of the year, even at Christmas on rare occasions. However the closer to Summer the shorter the time it stays on the ground. So planning to go the ride in November or May may give a slightly increased risk of an late or early snowfall. Staying in the area for longer gives more flexibility. If you are staying in Mount Beauty for a week in November or May you are almost certain to have a suitable day to ride the route. North East Victoria can get very hot in summer. However it can be up to 14 degrees Celsius cooler on the first half of the route than down in the valley. By starting early it would be a rare day that you could not get past the Fainters and all the main climbing is over. You would only need to be flexible by a few day to avoid an extreme heat wave that would make it unsuitable.
The total ride profile is deceptive because of the overall almost 1,500 meters of decent. There is some serious climbing on the Fainter trail and most but not all is in the first half to MT Fainter. You get a better impression by just looking at the profile for the fist half of the ride. However most of the climbing is not technical and is wide trail.
The most logical and convenient base for mountain biking in this area including the Fainter Trail is Mount Beauty which is located approximately half way between the Town of Bright and the ski resort of Falls Creek. The township of Mount Beauty has a hospital, doctors, ambulance station, full supermarket, pub, cafés, shops and full town facilities. Expect to find accommodation in Mount Beauty cheaper than Falls Creek. Outside the snow season there is no bus service between Mount Beauty and Falls Creek.
Planning and Preparation
GPS Interchange Files (gpx)
Fainter/Survey Track File.gpx Fainter Route Trail Head Way Point Pretty Valley Causeway Way Point Tawonga Huts Way Point Bogong Jack Hut Way Point Mt Fainter South Way Point Mt Fainter North Way point Bogong Jack Hut Way Point Fainter-Bald Hill FT Jct Way Point Spring Saddle Hut Site Way Point Fainter-W Kiewa Log Trk Intersection Way Point Top of Survey Track Way Point
Kiewa View Ride Guide
With intentions form Fainter Track Ride Guide pdf
The start point can be a bit tricky so here is a small video clip and a satellite that may avoid wasting time on the wrong track at first.
Some views of the Trail
We are a family of skiers, mountain bikers and road cyclists and our family has owned Kiewa View holiday house in Mount Beauty for over 40 years. We especially cater for cyclists with a garage for under cover storage and maintenance of bikes, facilities for bike cleaning, clothes washing and drying facilities and free WiFi.
During our Economy season for over half the year during Spring, Summer and Autumn our rates mean that Kiewa View is great value with as few as three mountain bikers who can each have their own room. Even cheaper if you are prepared to share. Deals include weekend, mid-week, week and 9 nights.