MTO Jonkershoek

Stellenbosch - Western Cape Boland

Ridden this Trail? Review it now
Ridden this Trail? Review it now
Trails: 18
Total Distance: 102Km
eBikes: Yes
Shuttle-friendly: No
Cost: A day pass is R60 for Adults or R50 for students and pensioners
Security Rating: 4/5

Trail Park Summary

Wilderness Trail | Gravity Trail

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MTO Jonkershoek, located in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, is one of the best mountain bike trails to experience in SA.

Best suited for: 

Beginner, Intermediate and Experienced riders.

What we love about it: 

Its reputation. Everyone that has ridden Jonkershoek will tell you that it’s one of the best places they’ve ever ridden, including riders worldwide. However, anyone that hasn’t ridden Jonkershoek has heard of it.

In a region of mountain biking riches, Jonkershoek shines brightest for several reasons. Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is a World Heritage Site; in other words, it’s protected from development and benefits from active initiatives from various bodies to preserve its natural state. In short, the reserve comprises a valley between two mountains that meet in a corner (‘hoek’) without thoroughfare. The vegetation is primarily mountain fynbos with some pine-tree plantations; as a result, the bike trails vary from exposed and sunny to forested and shady.

There is 10km of gravel road that heads in and out of the valley; however, the network of singletrack trails on the mountain slopes brings mountain bikers here. Again and again and again…

There are no apparent routes at Jonkershoek, which is part of the appeal and confirmation of the ‘free’ nature of the ride there. So, it’s best to ride with a local or upload and follow one or more of the routes on Trailforks, ranging in the distance from 12-34km. Above all, Jonkershoek riding is more about vertical climbing and descending than distance covered. So, if it’s the distance you’re after, you need to ride somewhere else.

The southern side of the valley has less forest and more open riding. The northern side has more forest riding in the MTO plantations. You mainly use the contour roads to climb and then descend on some of the most incredible descending singletrack trails to the valley floor. Or to head to a different section and back up again. Irish Climb is a newish singletrack ascent that takes you steadily, over almost 5km, up to the level for the start of Armageddon 6. It’s a more stimulating way to get up than via the regular contoured fire roads and offers some incredible opportunities for scenic photographs.

Don’t expect much in the smooth, manicured trails at Jonkershoek; however, well built by a team led by Bennet Nel and consistently maintained, the routes include rocks and roots and some ruts. Best enjoyed on mid-travel full-suspension bikes and long-travel bikes for the more gnarly sections.

Armageddon is the main descent on the northern slope. It’s broken into eight parts, starting with Armageddon 1 at the bottom and counting to Armageddon 8. The two top sections, 7 and 8, are more suited to experienced, skilled riders, with 6 down to 1 ideal for most with a decent skill level.

The Fire Hut trail offers your primary singletrack fix on the opposite slope. Upper Fire Hut has a climb and a descent, joining Fire Hut 1 and Fire Hut 2 to take you back down to the valley floor.

The Plumber, Status Quo and Downhill are Double Black Diamond descending trails recommended for experienced riders only. Iron Monkey is Black Diamond, except for the top bit. Most of the tracks are Blue rated with some Green lower down. For more details and to upload routes to your GPS device, head to Trailforks here. There are also some detailed trail descriptions here.

The Absa Cape Epic events use Jonkershoek as part of their race routes every year. And the Savanna Origin of Trails when in the area.


Have you experienced MTO Jonkershoek?

Please tell us what you think by leaving a review of your ride.

Additional Trail Facts


The signage is really good. Kudos to whoever is responsible for this. And much gratitude to the local businesses that get involved with both funding and man/woman power when needed. Specialized, which has its South African HQ in Stellenbosch, is one of the largest supporters of the MTB Jonkershoek trails.


The Jonkershoek MTO Trails follow the IMBA grading system with Green, Blue, Red, Black and Black Diamond/Double Black Diamond symbolising Easy through to Extreme respectively.

Off The Bike

Since Jonkershoek is just 7km from Stellenbosch and not too far from Franschhoek, fine restaurants and good quality wine are worth lingering for. We highly recommend stopping off at Ride Inn, a cycling-themed restaurant on the Jonkershoek road where you can get something small or big to eat and great coffee.


It’s not just the incredible riding at Jonkershoek that stands out. It’s that it’s challenging going up and challenging going down – each of which can consume a lot of your energy and – after a while – a little bit of your soul. There’s almost too much to actually ride in one day – unless you’re on an eBike. Almost. Which is why you can’t wait go back for more.


A day pass is R60 or R50 for kids and pensioners.

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Trail Reviews
Yoshua Becker
18 August 2022
Great trails. Must ride when in Stellenbosch
07 June 2022
Trail update. Spent the weekend out on the trails. Trails are in the best condition i have seen them in. There is an extension to the Irish climb since i last rode there, so it is singletrack right up to the start of Armageddon, the last bit being quiet steep and technical. Armageddon is in great shape. The bottom section of the Red Phoenix has new berms and is ridding fast and flowy. We did upper Fire Hut and the other Fire Hut trails as well. If its big mountain riding you are after with the most amazing long descents then look no further. With out doubt the best riding in the Country.
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Raiyaan Fillies
07 June 2022
First time doing Irish to Armageddon. Irish 1-5 is a gradual climb that ramps up significantly for Irish 6-8. Really enjoyed Armageddon, the rocky technical descent was better than expected.
Robyn Williams
06 June 2022
Jonkershoek is truly a special place with so many combinations of trails that one can ride and views for days.
Philip Viljoen
06 June 2022
Excellent trail network with a good mix of trails for all abilities.
26 April 2022
Best trails on the planet
Trude Fortuin
07 April 2022
Love Res Phoenix 3-1
Michelle Fensome Scott
17 March 2022
Definitely worth a visit but go with someone who knows the area. We battled to find it and then when there - battled to find the trail we were wanting to get on. Other than that just beautiful and fun.
Philip van Schalkwyk
15 March 2022
Jonkershoek is awesome place to ride. Absolutely beautiful. And to some regarded the best trails in the Country. I love it.
Ant Rissik
28 February 2022
Ridden all year round. Top!!
Fred Leclezio
09 February 2022
Rode here as part of the Origin of Trails and it was epic. Long climbs and great single tracks testing all levels and catering for all trail preferences
Christiaan Van Aardt
03 February 2022
The best concentration of good quality trails in the area.
Engela Conradie
02 February 2022
Beautiful. Stunning scenery. Trails are immaculate. Loved Never Ending Story and the Irish switchbacks, mostly. Although it took an hour to get to the top of Saaltjie, there’s enough views to distract you. Will be back to do the full Fire Hut and a few Armageddon and Phoenix sections.
Dorian Toussaint
01 February 2022
This was a while back and I have only done 2 trails in the park but hell they were tough trails, plenty of climbing at a good gradient and gnarly downhills that made you feel alive. It was well marked but I felt the downhills needed a bit of maintenance. This should be a great ride for an ebike, help on the way up, awesome fun on the way down.
Michael Griffin
15 December 2021
Was the most amazing place to have my 1st ride after a 10 years of no riding!! Amazing amazing Amazing
Majdi Gamildien
04 December 2021
Has the most variety of trails, technical to flowy and most adrenalin packed trails in Western Cape
Team Tread
30 June 2020

There are no obvious routes at Jonkershoek, which is part of the appeal and confirmation of the ‘free’ nature of the riding there. Because of this, it’s best to ride with a local or upload and follow one or more of the routes on Trailforks, ranging in distance from 12-34km. But know this, Jonkershoek riding is more about the vertical climbing and descending than distance covered. If it’s distance you’re after, you need to ride somewhere else.

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