Stair training in the bush has some advantages over training in the city (Barangaroo) or suburbs (Mosman). It’s usually shady, less crowded, and the walk in on the track and out again afterwards provides a nice warm-up and cool-down. Here are some of our favourite training stairs in Garigal, Lane Cove and Ku-ring-gai National Parks.
Symons Track – Lane Cove NP
Symons Track is a recently built path linking Lady Game Drive to Shout Ridge, with lovely views as you climb up through the forest and from the large rocks at the top. There are 175 gorgeous sandstone risers to the lookout. You could turn around at the lookout rock and repeat, or you could keep going (turn left at the junction) for even more steps all the way up to Shout Ridge.
Park on Lady Game Drive or on River Ave (fees apply inside the National Park). Symons Track starts opposite the Park entrance (Max Allen Drive). Do a few stair intervals up and down without stopping and you’ll feel it the next day!
Natural Bridge Track – Garigal NP
The Natural Bridge is a rock platform across a creek in Garigal National Park. Park at the end of Currie Road in Forestville and warm up along the Currie St Trail. The Natural Bridge track descends from the Currie trail to cross the creek and then climbs the hill on the other side to Bluff Lookout.
There are 205 lovely wooden steps on the trail down to the creek that are perfect for interval training. How many hill repeats can you do? Keep an eye out for mountain bikes who ride in the area, as the bike path crosses the walking trail.
Flat Rock Stairs – Garigal NP
You can approach Flat Rock Stairs from a number of directions. The closest access point is the end of Killarney Drive. Or you can start at Currie St and combine these stairs with the Natural Bridge track stairs.
There are 235 lovely sandstone and wood stairs curling down the hill from Killarney Drive to Flat Rock Beach. The waterfall is best after rain, and the beach is good for a quick cool down dip after you’ve completed a few stair climbing repeats!
Timbergetters Steps – Garigal NP
Not for the faint-hearted! There are a lot of stairs from Seaforth Oval on the historic logging track down to the Bantry Bay. You can repeat the full climb top to bottom, but this makes for quite long intervals. We prefer to go down to the very bottom them start out climb, turning around at the tree stump that is bang in the middle of the path, some 300 heart-pumping steps from the bottom.
The truly energetic (masochistic?) could link Flat Rock Stairs, Natural Bridge Stairs and Timbergetters for a workout their quads would not quickly forget.
Other favourite bush stair climbs
We also love these bush stairs for interval training:
The Heritage Steps on the track between Quarry Rd and Rosemead Rd Picnic Area in Hornsby. These historic steps were renovated not too long ago – look out for the noisy cockatoos as you do repeats on these beautiful sandstone risers.
The hills around Bobbin Head offer a number of stair training choices. The path leading over to Apple Tree Bay has good climbs for training, but be careful of slipping on the steep wooden steps when damp. Birrawanna Track nearby is a better climb in wet weather. Behind the Marina, a rocky path climbs up from Warrimoo Track to Bobbin Head fire trail.
On the Two Creeks Track in East Lindfield, a path turns off to cross Gordon Creek. There are stairs here on each side of the creek crossing which are good for short, sharp stair intervals. How about seven repeats? Further away, some stairs climb steeply from the Two Creeks Track up to Wellington Road – also good for training.
The Sphinx Track, near the Toll Booth on Bobbin Head Road, has a number of sections that can be used for stair challenges. We like to do our repeats on the wooden steps that climb from the junction of the Sphinx and Warrimoo Tracks.
Do you have any favourite stair climbs in the bush to share with us?