Gravity Trail | Country Trail
Best suited for: Beginner, Intermediate and Experienced riders.
What we love about it: The sheer overwhelming volume of the descent! And the ridiculously incredible views. Yeah, there are various routes at Helderberg to suit various fitness and skill levels, but the real attraction is the massive descent. Of course you have to climb the 8km to start the descent from the top, but you can also join it from anywhere, depending on your available time and energy level.
The trails: There are four distinct sections of trail at Helderberg which all start and finish at Helderberg Farm, Somerset West. They are:
Green and Blue mostly stay low down at the base of the mountain and take you on twisty singletrack through eucalyptus forest, vineyards and indigenous vegetation as you ascend the slope. The Red is more challenging 10km than you would expect. The Black trail is only recommended for experienced riders because there’s 600m of ascent, which isn’t a technical climb, but it does take a while. The descent is just superb! There are different line options at places where advanced riders can detour onto more technical sections –technical in this case being jumps and drops which need to be taken at speed, although nothing super risky. But most riders are just fine on the ‘main line’, which is truly superb! It’s tiring to do the entire descent in one go, so stopping a couple of times on the way down to regroup or to catch your breath is not unusual. There are two more recognised downhill runs too, No. 1 is 1.4km long and No. 2 is 1.5km long.
The signage is good, but not great (November 2021). Fine for locals that know the trails, but not always easy to spot at speed on the descent.
The trails aren’t specifically graded, but are predominantly blue and black trails according to Trailforks.
There’s an established tea garden at Helderberg Farm with a play park for kids. For those who don’t have the local Wine Lands Cycling Club permit or the Winelands Trails permit, you can buy a day permit at the Tea Garden or at The Hanger Bike Company, the local bike shop on the property that’s co-owned by gravity aces Andrew and Jonty Neethling.
While Helderberg is a trails park that caters for all levels of rider, it’s predominantly a gravity rider’s haven. The views of the False Bay and surrounds when you reach the highest trails point are absolutely breath taking. The long descent is world class and a favourite for some of the world’s top mountain bikers, including Nino Schurter, Jolande Neff and Brendan Fairclough. The fact that Andrew Neethling is the local trail guide to the stars here is also quite something… Helderberg Trails is an iconic South African gravity trails venue that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated!
Day Permit Adult – R60 | Day Permit Scholar/Pensioner & Trail Runner – R30
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