Must Ride: Ernie Els / Alto

Views. For. Days.

Grading: Intermediate / Blue
Network: Wine Lands Cycling Club
Access: Wine Lands Regional Permit / Wine Lands South

This trail, built by Xterra legend Conrad Stoltz, starts from Ernie Els Wines. Park at the restaurant and start your ride from there. The trail is clearly marked with the Wine Lands Trails signs.

You start on farm roads that flow through the vineyards to the start of a singletrack climb up to the weather station above the farm. From there you have breath taking views of the surrounding farms and valleys – on a clear day you will be able to see Table Mountain and Cape Point.

Now the thrill starts with a winding singletrack down the valley into an indigenous wild olive forest. On your way down you’ll pass over some amazing granite rock boulders. These are not for the faint-hearted, but you have the option to take the easy detour route. Once at the bottom, you can either take the exit back to the restaurant or follow the route into the Alto side of the valley and enjoy a climb back up to the top of the wild olive forest.

From here you can then take the singletrack down the other side of the forest and head back to the restaurant. If you’re looking for some well-deserved refreshment, the restaurant offers a superb menu, from light snacks to a full lunch. You can also test your skills at the pitching green for a hole-in-one (the prize is a bottle of Ernie Els wine) and visit the Ernie Els Museum. The total distance is 8km, but the route links to the rest of the Wine Lands South network with farm roads to the nearby Stellenzicht, Dornier, Somerbosch and Spier trails, allowing you to ride any combination of 30 to 60km, even 100km on the long-distance Warrior Trail.

Cycling up to the top of Stellenzicht you enter another Conrad Stoltz-built single track that flows down the Stellenzicht valley to the Stellenzicht Wine Pod, where you can take a break and enjoy some coffee and Stellenzicht wines. From here you cross the Blaauwklippen road to enter the Dornier trails that take you up the side of the Stellenbosch mountain. At the top you get a beautiful view of the Blaauwklippen valley before you drop into a smooth flowing singletrack all the way back to the entrance.

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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