Last updated March 29, 2023
Cargo three ways… This is option one, The Gravel Route. Following the better maintained fire trails/roads in the Canobolas State Forest, this route takes you out to Cargo around the back of Mt Canobolas and then back again the same way. This ride is a solid day out with a good amount of climbing, most on the way back. It takes you through established pine forests, over hills with with views of the district and then through the picturesque farming country around Cargo.
Cargo is a small village about 35k’s to the south west of Orange (or 45k’s via the dirt). There is not a lot there but it is home to a great little café called Timber Tales as well as The Cargo Inn, making it an excellent midway stop on a longer ride. It also has a small store and public toilets / water refill station.
The bulk of the route is gravel with bitumen sections near Orange and Cargo. The climbs are mostly steady gradient but there are a couple of steep pinches on the way home as you return to the pine forest on Edinboro Lane, that will test your gearing.
There is also a creek crossing on Edinboro Lane (not far from Cargo, about 36k’s in) which at the time of riding was reasonably deep and silty and just rideable (see photo below). If we have had a lot of rain you may not get through.
The road quality varies but for the most part (at the time of writing) is smooth gravel, small stones, slightly loose over hardpack. Keep an eye out for ruts, particularly on descents. At the time of riding there were potholes along Edinboro Lane. Of course this is all subject to change with time & weather.
Food & Water
Cargo (at 45kms): Timber Tales café is a great place to take a break with an excellent verandah. The Cargo Inn is an option for those looking for a cleansing ale. A water refill station is available outside the public toilets.
Watch out for
Road Condition: the gravel roads are excellent as of time of writing (this of course can change).
Traffic: Careful on Cadia Rd heading out to the forest which is subject to heavy mining traffic at shift change (early and late) and Cargo Rd on the way in to Cargo. Being a pine forest, log trucks are possible during logging operations.
Getting Lost: you are riding through the Canobolas State Forest well away from main roads. It has numerous fire trails running in different directions. Navigating can be tricky, although I have tried to keep this route simple. A lot of signage has been vandalised or removed, make sure you are using a bike computer or phone with good navigation, and carry enough food, water, tools and spares.