Must-Do Route: Paarl Trails (North)

Features: Rhebokskloof, Owloon and Ridgeback.


If there was a rainbow exclusively for mountain bikers, the ‘pot of gold’ at the end of it would be the combination of the trails traversing Rhebokskloof, Owloon and Ridgeback at the northern end of Paarl mountain.

If there was a rainbow exclusively for mountain bikers, the ‘pot of gold’ at the end of it would be the combination of the trails traversing Rhebokskloof, Owloon and Ridgeback at the northern end of Paarl mountain.

The farms form a natural horseshoe which means two things: One, switchbacks. Plenty of switchbacks. Two, limited access from the fortified north, making these some of the safest trails around. To top this, the variety is vast: solid climbs, jeep tracks, flow trails and plenty of single tracks – largely amongst trees with amazing views of the vineyards, dams and farms below in the valleys as well as the mountain ranges hugging Paarl to the east. The mountain is layered with granite that provides for interesting features and riding not found anywhere else. On the route you’ll pass by large granite boulders and the alleys they form, ride underneath these in other places or over them in other places still.

The ‘must-do route’ feature route starts off at Rhebokskloof, located less than 5 km north of the town of Paarl. Rhebokskloof offers a restaurant and secure parking well away from any service roads providing a feel of being much further removed from any town or city despite the convenience of only driving (or cycling) a short distance. 

Once you have arrived, head for the parking area towards the south of the farm (next to the wedding venue) from where the trail starts. The trails are well-marked and it should be easy to find your route to start the ascent towards the top of Paarl mountain via the Rhebokskloof and Owloon valleys. The climb includes a combination of single track and jeep track culminating in the Ares climb that will take you to the top. However, before you get there you will head down the mountain from Rhebokskloof to Owloon to experience some of the best flow trails around. Dubbed ‘Skydive’, this section is just shy of 3.5 km and enables a descent of 130 meters over the distance wrapped in wide, smooth switchbacks with large berms to allow you to really give it gas. At 28 km all the major climbing will be behind you and you will get to experience ‘Pinecone’, a 1.7 km descent among the pine trees that will take you back towards the valley at a descent of roughly 10%. Some stunning views towards the north await you. A quick turn and 125 meter climb will wrap up climbing for the day and will signal the start of the real fun!

This is probably the most opportune time to mention that this is proper mountain biking – bring your spares along. There are no shops selling spares nearby, so come prepared.

You hit the single tracks from the top of Paarl mountain with more than 10 km of single track heaven ahead. The best part? It’s all downhill and one of the most popular and certainly one of the best experiences you can have on a mountain bike! You’ll kick off your descent with the Gravel Grinder, a 5.4 km trail that takes you down 134 meters. From there you’ll hit Superbowl, a 4.7 km trail that takes you down another 147 meters before heading in to Butter me Up and lastly Stiffler’s Mom, who will pop you out right in from of the Rheboks Restaurant and Pizzeria for your post-ride beer and pizza overlooking meticulously manicured grass and tranquil dam. It’s a ride we guarantee that not only you won’t forget; You will be back!

This route is best suited for intermediate riders.

Details here:

An outride is schedule for this coming weekend. Join us at Rhebokskloof on 13 May at 08:00 to ride these trails with the very guys that’ve built them!

The team has selected a 15km loop and a 20km loop, both routes include some exciting flowing trails and the longer route includes “Pinecone”.

We will be meeting at 8am for 8:30am departure at the Rhebokskloof Restaurant Parking lot.

Questions of need to get in touch? Reach out to the friendly Paarl Trails WhatsApp Bot:

Wine Lands Trails is an initiative between Wine Lands Cycling Club, Paarl Trails, Banhoek Conservancy, Wellington (Wild Boar) Trails, Franschhoek Trails, Elgin Valley Trails, Bottelary Hills Conservancy, MTO and Stellenbosch Trail Fund to consolidate access to these trail networks under one regional permit.

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