Gardens of Stone Ride
70km w/882m ascent
NOTE: We highly recommend that you look over the profile to understand the climbs and descents of this long and remote gravel ride.
Please note, there is no phone reception for most of this ride.
If you would like to shorten this ride and miss out on the first major climb of the day, you can drive and park ~10km from the original start location. This section of road and gravel is 2WD friendly if there has not been recent rains. There is a car park located at the junction for The Lost City and Glowworm Tunnel Road.
There are many places to start this ride from town, however we have selected the historic Blast Furnace as your departure point. A great central location with good parking, lots of history of Lithgow’s past plus clean bathrooms.
Go down the hill from the Blast Furnace and turn right. Then at ~600m turn left on Atkinson St. There is a small sign for State Mine Gully Road on the pole.
You are still on tarmac as you go over the rarely used train line and then you are officially on State Mine Gully Road. Please use caution as the ‘tarmac’ road surface along this section is full of potholes.
Go past the railway museum then at ~3km you will go past sign which says Newnes Plateau Discovery Trail. At ~3.4km you are finally off tarmac and onto buttery smooth gravel.
To start, there is a steep climb which averages ~5% with sections of +17%. This section is where you will be surrounded by spectacular sandstone rocks, deep green ferns and maybe even a rock climber.
Once you have crested the climb at ~7.2km, you are on a long ridge gravel road. Then you are predominately descending all the way to ~34.5km. The ridge riding offers beautiful views of the Gardens of Stone National Park.
You will enter the Wollemi National Park and then back into the Gardens of Stone National Park area before you reach a fork in the road at ~28km.
To the left, is the Glowworm Tunnel Road and to the right is Old Coach Road.
Continue along Old Coach Road then at ~30.7km you will come to a locked National Park gate. Wheel your bike through the gate and pedal along the fire trail, down to the Glow Worm Coach Track. Please use caution as before you reach the track it gets very steep with sections of -13%.
Along the Glowworm Coach Track you will need to walk your bike down the bush stairs. Feel free to explore the area which was recently upgraded in 2023.
Then it is time to climb. The initial climb out on the Glowworm Tunnel Road is less steep than the Old Coach Road but it still has sections of +10%. As this route is primarily and out and back, you will then ride along the ridge road you came down, predominantly climbing all the way back to ~63km.
Once past ~63km you are on the downward road back to the beginning, please use caution as you leave the Gardens of Stone National Park as it is quite steep before getting back to the township of Lithgow and the area of the Blast Furnace.
Two add-on options on the way back :
Option 1 : at ~60km – you will come to a car park area. There you will see signs to the Lost City, it is a nice out and back section which takes you to tremendous views of sandstone pagodas.
Option 2 : at ~66km – Dobbs Drift Lookout. Please use caution coming into this area as it is on the fast descent back to Lithgow. Once there, ride and walk out to the very end see more impressive sandstone pagodas and great views of the valley.
Start and finish: Lithgow Blast Furnace
Accommodation Information : To see a range of accommodation available in the Seven Valleys, click here.
Bathrooms/Facilities: Start & Finish
Food & Water: Several options in Lithgow but none once you are on the ride
Renshaw’s Bikes Lithgow: 199 Main Street, Lithgow NSW Ph: +61 2 6355 5500
Phone Reception: Coverage in the Lithgow is excellent, however there is very limited coverage in the remote areas including the National Parks. (See ‘Cycling Check List’ which lists the major mobile phone carriers coverage maps.)
Bikes: Gravel/MTB/Hybrid Flat Bar/ e-versions of these bikes with suitable gravel tyres
Paved v’s un-paved: 10% vs 90%
Highest & Lowest Elevation: 1182m above sea-level at 7 & 63km / 826m above sea-level at 34.5km
Level: Intermediate and up
Timing: 3:30 @ 20 kph/3:55 @ 18 kph/4:20 @ 16 kph/5:00 @ 14 kph
Cue-sheet: turn by turn instructions can be found on the Ride with GPS
Notes : If riding from Lithgow there is a tough climb to start this ride. It is also very remote and you will need to carry all that you need for this ride, food, mechanical spares etc. At the Glowworm Tunnel, you will need to walk your bike. There is also a very fast gravel descent to finish the loop.
Please make sure you go through the ‘Cycling Check List’ below.
- Your own cycling safety is your responsibility so stay aware and take stock of your surroundings
- Follow the road rules at all times
- Check your bike and equipment before you depart, i.e. tyre condition, well lubed chain, helmet condition etc. Make sure it is all in good working order and if in doubt take it to your local bike shop before you venture out
- Always tell someone where you are going and your estimated time of return
- If you open any gates, please close them immediately once you pass through them
- Check the weather forecast for the area where you will be riding
- Carry maps &/or a well charged GPS device for the area you are riding in
- Carry spare tubes, tyre levers, pump and multi-tool at a minimum
- Always carry enough water, food and suncream as you will be in remote areas
- It is highly recommended that you do not ride alone in remote areas
- Always be aware that roads and conditions regularly change, especially in NSW Forestry, National Parks and on country gravel roads
- Check the Live Traffic website for information about Road Closures: https://www.livetraffic.com/
- Phone coverage is not always available, but a well charged phone should be carried in case of emergency
- Mobile phone coverage providers:
Telstra : https://www.telstra.com.au/coverage-networks/our-coverage
Optus : https://www.optus.com.au/living-network/coverage
Vodaphone : https://www.vodafone.com.au/network/coverage-checker
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