24 Feb 2020


One of mountain biking’s charms is the places it takes us and what it allows us to see, and we promise you, you’ll never have seen mountain biking in quite that same way as Alice Springs delivers it.

Flying into towards Alice Springs is like watching some incredible abstract painting unfurling in front of your eyes; a canvas of swirling colours and ripples, like a pond with a rock lobbed in. As you near Alice itself the ripples consolidate into larger and larger peaks and cliff lines, eventually compressing into the impressive McDonnell Range that looms over the town.

The trails are fast, open and serpentine, whipping through gullies and over rocky crests. The weather, especially from April to October, is perfect with clear blue skies practically guaranteed. The social riding and club scene is tremendous, in that welcoming way that only regional towns seem to achieve. The landscape is a breathtaking, ancient collision of reds, oranges and yellows. And the sunsets and sunrises are simply mind-blowing. It’s seriously special.

Alice Springs in motion, 60 seconds of tyre crunching, sweet singletrack goodness. 

Or sit back and hit press play and binge on our Ride the Red Centre YouTube playlist with 22 epic videos!

Hit play, teleport to Alice Springs via this link here.

Visit the Alice Springs Mountain Bike website here.

It’s not extraordinary that mountain biking exists in Alice (desert towns the world over have healthy mountain bike scenes, just look at Moab in Utah, or Fruita in Colorado), but what is incredible is the quality and sheer quantity of trails around town. There must be literally hundreds of kilometres of riding out there.

Hobart local Jackie Shapel’s first-time experience of mountain biking in Alice Springs was extra special.

“Travelling from Hobart I couldn’t get much more of a contrast arriving in Alice, the traditional land of the Arrernte (pronounced Arunda) people. Mountains make way to sandy rolling flats; dense rain forests are replaced with a sky that never seems to end. The warmth of the sun and air hit as you step off the plane, which was only surpassed by the friendliness of the locals as you roll into town.”

Read Jackie Schapel’s first-time experience here.

Three main trail ‘centres’ cluster around Alice, like a cloverleaf, all within a short ride from the middle of town. And once you’re out there, you really out there, you can lose sight of town and civilisation in a heartbeat.

The ultimate mountain biking family, and their ultimate family holiday!

When the Tucknott family went to Alice Springs they had the most incredible time. When they weren’t riding the sweet trails they were riding quad bikes through the wild landscape, flying a glider above it all, swimming in pools and waterholes, camping under the stars, learning history, hiking for sunrises, and watching art light installations broadcast on the cliffs. And more riding…

The Tucknotts know how to holiday, this mountain biking family had an amazing week in Alice Springs.
Camping at the end of a long ride on beautiful singletrack, you beauty.

This is a must-watch, the ultimate trip indeed!

Riding in the desert throws up constantly changing terrain and surfaces too; the trails are an evolving, engaging mix of rock, quartz, sand, shale. Luckily the almost complete absence of scrub means you’ve got visibility for miles, so you can always let it run and you’re rarely caught out.
Swimming holes from postcards. Very Insta-worthy.

The accessibility of the riding around Alice is another key part of its appeal. The only transport you need to worry about is getting from the airport into town, after which it’s no more than a 10-minute ride to the trails in any direction. Accommodation providers get it too, and an increasing number of hotels and apartments are billing themselves as mountain bike-friendly.

Outback Cycling is Alice’s hub for all things cycling. You’ll find everything you need here, from local knowledge, trail maps, bike and equipment hire sales, hire and plenty of tough tyres if yours aren’t up to scratch for the terrain.

Outback Cycling, the one-stop-shop for all things cycling in Alice Springs.

Weather-wise, there are parts of the year when mountain biking is pretty much off the cards – you wouldn’t want to be on the trails much after sunrise in the peak of summer – but Alice is at its best when large parts of the country are at their worst.

Throughout winter you can bet the bank on 28-degree days, cloudless blue skies and the most spectacularly clear nights imaginable. Even though the middle of the day is prime for riding, you’d be mad not to get up early for at least one sunrise, it’s magical watching the ridgelines change from the cool grey of the pre-dawn to an absolute explosion of reds and oranges as the first sun rays hit.

“People will tell you that the sunsets here are some of the most spectacular in the world but from experience, it’s probably best to witness it with your own eyes, as photos will never do it justice,” said Jackie Schapel on her first visit to Alice. “It’s like every colour has been painted in the sky and the darkness is slowly consuming the light to keep it safe for the night.”

Time your trip right and you might even catch the desert in bloom. Seeing the wildflowers come to life in the desert is a pretty amazing experience.

If we had to put our finger on what makes Alice Springs riding so appealing to us, it’s that it offers an experience that is uniquely Australian. The baking desert is one of the elements that characterise Australia – it’s the yin to the yang of the surf and beaches – but it’s the last place many of us explore, especially not on our bikes. One of mountain biking’s charms is the places it takes us and what it allows us to see, and we promise you, you’ll never have seen mountain biking in quite that same way as Alice delivers it. Check it out.

If we had to put our finger on what makes Alice Springs riding so appealing to us, it’s that it offers an experience that is uniquely Australian.

Visit the Alice Springs Mountain Bike website here.

The new trail maps are excellent, sure beats getting lost in the Australian desert!