The Meehan Ranges on the outskirts of Hobart contains a complex network of tracks and trails heading up over the Meehan Ranges which make a great playground for beginner through to advanced riders. The best way to discover these trails is with someone who already knows them, or just download the GPX files and go exploring. The Hobart MTB Rides facebook group is a good group to find some riding buddies.
There are two trail heads for the Meehan Ranges - Flagstaff Gully Road (the main trailhead with lots of parking) and Belbins Road (secondary, with more limited parking).
To get to the main Flagstff Gully Road trail head by car, head out of Hobart over the Tasman Bridge towards the airport. About 3.5kms from the bridge, exit left onto the B33 which is signed towards Mornington / Warrane. As you exit the highway get into the right lane. The Mountain Bike Car Park is on your right (the big open gravel area, surrounded by large stones) as you come off this exit. To get into the car park, turn right into Flagstaff Gully Road and then there's an entrance into the carpark about 30 metres down the road. There's plenty of parking at this trail head.
By bike, the easiest way to get here would be to follow the recommended Hobart Airport Cycling Route out from the CBD until you get to the busy roundabout where you exit towards Mt Rumney / Cambridge to get to the airport. At this roundabout, go left across the overpass (you're on flagstaff gully road) and as you come off the overpass you'll see the car park in front of you to your right.
To get to the Belbins Road trailhead from Hobart, head over the Tasman Bridge, as above, and follow the A3 as though going to the airport. 6.5kms after driving off the bridge you'll see signs for an off ramp towards Richmond and Cambridge. Take this exit and 300 metres after you turn off the highway you'll see the well signed turnoff onto Belbins Road to your left. Follow this road 300 metres to the end and park somewhere around the roundabout, making sure you don't block the road. There's probably room for about 6 or 7 cars here.
If coming from the Sorell or Richmond direction then follow the highway signs to Cambridge and then from the Richmond Road junction in Cambridge (across from the BP) follow the B31 towards Hobart for 2.1kms. The main road swings left and goes under the highway, but you want to turn right here (don't go under the highway) onto the well signed Belbins Roadand again follow this 300 metres until the end.
There are no facilities at either park entrance. The nearest services are back in Cambridge (Belbins) or near Eastlands (Flagstaff Gully Entrance).
The map at the bottom of the page (which you can also download to Google Earth) shows most of the firetrails (orange) and single track (red) in the ranges, although I have left out some sections of old track which you'll still see on the ground but which are now being abandoned in favour of better lines. In essence Meehan Ranges is a great place for a short one hour ride or you could spend the better part of a day exploring all these trails.
The route described will just show you some of the better parts, after that it's up to you.
Trail quality used to be an issue, but has really improved in this area thanks to a combination of volunteer trail faires and professional trail building companies all working together to improve the park. There are still some pretty steep and technical trails, and there aren't signs around to warn you.
As always in Tasmania watch out for snakes.
Finally, dogs and horses are allowed in this area, so ride like you might find one around the next corner.
These trail notes start at the Flagstaff Gully trail entrance. If you start at Belbins just go to the middle of the notes.
From the car park, go past the gate and follow the obvious gravel trail (heading east) parallel to the highway. Less than 100 metres from the metal entrance gate you'll see a single track head off on the left, jump onto this and follow it for about 50 metres until it drops you back out onto the gravel road (it was just a short cut).
Don't continue on the single track on the other side of the road (that's the way you'll come back). Instead, turn left onto the gravel road and follow it for another 600 metres until you'll emerge out into an open area near the monster bridge. You'll see a set of dirt jumps in front of you on your left and up on the hill on your right you should a couple of flat areas where buildings used to be and also plenty of single track wending its way up the hill.
The cross country trail heads up the gully between the dirt jumps (on your left) and the open area (on your right). You'll know you've gone the right way if you have the (usually dry) creek on your right and you find yourself climbing some switchbacks (the Green Core Climb) after about a hundred metres.
If you follow this, you will gain nearly 100 metres in altitude in just 1.6kms on some tough track (it's marked green, but I think it's tough), and then you'll plunge down and lose all of this height in about 500 metres (Clarence XC descent). I would only recommend this section for fitter, intermediate riders. For beignner riders, keep your eyes open on your right at about the second switchback and you'll see a cutoff that drops down into the creek essentially bypassing this section as you can come down the Clarence XC Descent at the end of this loop anyway.
Either way, after either skipping or completing the new section, follow the track back down the gully on the other side of the dry creek, and then follow it as it switchbacks its way back up the little hill across the top of the open area and then follow the track straight ahead out onto the cross country loop (if you miss this don't worry, you'll just switchback down a couple of turns and realise your mistake).
Once on this bigger loop, just follow the track as it wends its way up and down and around and around for another 1.8kms where you will drop out onto a junction with another track, you want to go left and follow the track beside the highway.
For those continuing on, after a kilometre you'll come to another junction where you want to go left (the right hand fork just drops you down onto Belbins Road) and from there it is about 400 metres until you drop down into the Belbins Road trail head. Note that there is a black (right) and blue (left) descent option down into this car park.
To get onto these trails, enter the area from the Belbins Road carpark by going past the white boom gate. You come almost immediately to a Y junction and need to take the right hand fork which runs slightly downhill for 250 metres before coming out in an open area. Find the obvious fire trail at the far side of this open area that heads down to your right and across a creek. Almost immediately you'll see a track heading off on your right (ignore it) but then head down the single track you'll see heading off on your right almost straight afterwards (about 30 metres from the creek, no more).
Once on this single track, you should be able to pretty much follow your nose as it twists and turns for about 800 metres before re-crossing the track near where you turned onto it and continuing on as it switchbacks its way up the hill. Be careful over this next bit as there has been a lot of tack rerouting and it is possible to find yourself on the wrong track. About 2.5kms from the car park you'll cross a large fire trail onto a small track which runs around the hill. You only follow this track for just under 300 metres until you see another obvious single track heading off to your left. Jump onto this and follow it as it climbs around the side of the hill. At about 3.6kms from the Belbins carpark, the track comes back out near the firetrail, but you want to continue along the single track which takes you on a loop out along a spur to Golden Hill for about 800 metres and then straight back again along a lovely track. Just before you come back out at the fire trail, take a right turn up a piece of single track and switchback your way to the top of the hill.
When you drop back out onto the firetrail, you want to turn right and continue along around the main fire trail another 900 metres (Note: for those who like downhill fun, you can turn left here and look for some single track heading off to your right about 20 metres down the fire trail -this is the Wedge Rock track and is steep and fast riding).
You will come to the top of a small hill with a couple of non-descript tracks heading off to your right within 20 meters of each other.
Head down the first of these two tracks (or if you miss it go down the second and then just go straight ahead) following it as turns into a wonderful singletrack loop of approximately 1.5kms which will actually bring you back to near where you are now before turning off onto a fun section with a few log challenges until it drops you once again onto the firetrail (8.3kms). (Note: the more popular alternative now is to leave this track as it starts to climb and zip through onto the firetrail on an obvious right hand turn)
Turn right and continue down the firetrail for 200 metres where you'll find yourself at the bottom of a very steep hill going back up again (8.5kms). If you keep your eyes out on the left of the trail you'll see a track heading down to your left. This is the top of the a black descent track back down into the top of Stringy Bark Gully where you began. It is an excellent option for those with tired legs looking for a fun run back to their car.
Just beyond this is another track to the left (which you'll follow) and also a track to the right which is a connector around to Rocky Tom.
Follow the short piece of single track until it drops back out onto the fire trail (you've just avoided that steep climb you saw on the fire trail) continuing left and ignoring several (four or five depending on how you count them) tracks which head off to your right over the next 2kms. You will pass a blue park sign on your left during these 2kms as a progress indicator. Continue ahead until you start a bit of a climb keeping an eye out for the start of the clifftop single trackl on your right approximately 10kms from the start (could be less depending on which route you followed).
Jump onto this trail and enjoy this wonderful little track which runs right across the top of the cliffs before re-emerging onto a track 0.9kms from where you turned off. From this point turn left and it's 100 metres back onto the main meehan ranges fire trail. Turn right here and it's 400 metres to the top of the descent down into Clarence MTB Park (11.4kms) which is at the junction of a couple of tracks. You want to follow the single track heading down. This is the top of Corkscrew.
Follow the single track down, across the fire trial and down again on single track. Just below the road, you will have two options, you can just switchback your way all the way back down to where you started, or (if you want to ride over the bridge) below the first section of tight switchbacks, you'll go around a right hand switchback and then instead of switchbacking to the left, follow the route the goes straight ahead and this will take you across the top of the green corp climb and then down Dino Rumble (which both takes you past the dinosaur and over the monster bridge). This would be my recommended option.
Once across the bridge, you can just follow the trail out of the park you came in, or you can follow the meehan monster signs (if they're still there) which will take you along a few more sections of single track beside the highway before exiting you back out at the main carpark.