Barrydale Scorpion MTB Gravel route

Overview: Two loops connected by a section of the R62 followed by an out and back into a Little Karoo kloof. Start along the Barrydale Bagel loop clockwise around the outskirts of the town. When you reach the Tradouw Pass continue towards Op de Tradouw to the next loop of dirt roads. This is followed by a fantastic Karoo kloof adventure.

 

 

 

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Start: From the Karoo Art Hotel (30 Van Riebeeck St, Barrydale, 082 441 9143).

Ride: Head North along Van Riebeek St. (One block on you will pass the Dutch Reformed Church on your left-hand side.) After just under 700 m you will reach a T-junction with the original mud wall with quince hedge (built 1877) that marked the boundary of the town. Turn left (uphill) keeping the wall to your right into Van Collier St and then immediately right again into Tennant St. The Barrydale High School is on your left and the Blue Cow coffee shop on the right. Tennant St is a dirt road and starts a big loop around the outskirts of the town. Look out for the friendly resident donkey on your left (3,4 km).  Continue past some labourer’s cottages with enthusiastic dogs. The road turns right and goes through a slight dip with a concrete weir across a stream (4,4 km).  A few hundred meters on you take the right-hand option at the fork. This is the extension of Claassen St which heads back into town. Continue up the rise. Just before you reach the first houses of Smitsville turn very sharply left (marked ‘Barrydale Hiking Trail’). Follow this track to a parking area and the start of the hiking trail (6,3 km).

Just to the right of the stile is a farm gate, go through this. There are three options of trail in front of you. Ignore the track on the right. The left is a dead end. The middle option resembles a single track / 4X4 route and is less distinct. Follow this up a slight rise as per the photo. Continue down the rough track on the other side until you connect with the main dirt road leading to Smitsville at 8 km. Turn left to follow this broad dirt road which snakes its way through the industrial area to the R324 Tradouw Pass (9,4 km). Turn right on the tar and follow this to the R62. Barrydale is just up the steep hill on your right. We turn left though and head towards Op de Tradouw and Montagu.

At 14,3 km there is a brightly painted house on the left with “Thank you from Barrydale” and “Karoo Daisy Restaurant 5km” painted in large letters. Turn left at the Moddera farm gate immediately past this. (It is easy to see the next section from here: You are heading through the houses and up the rise behind them as shown in the photo.) Bypass the electric gate and down towards the farm houses. The trail now goes through a farm gate on the left which is just before the houses. Head slightly right around the animal enclosure and upwards to another gate, just past the houses. Continue up the rise to ride along a game fence on your right. The trail turns downhill (away from the game fence) and goes through a watercourse and out the other side. Keep left at the obvious split in the road and follow this district road. Continue taking the left option until the road climbs up a slight rise back to the R62.

Turn right for 100 m along the R62 before turning left (Signposted ‘Soutkloof’). Cross the cattle grid and follow this road into the most wonderful Little Karoo kloof – the scorpion tail. Keep going as the kloof narrows and up the climb on the other side. The Kannaland Resort Gate is on your left. Continue straight to a gate marked Botterboom Private Nature Reserve. You can bypass the gate on the left. Continue up the road seeing the odd km marker. As you crest a rise close to the 10 km marker you will see a large gate on the next hill. There is a track that branches off to the right. Do not follow this. The gate is your turn around point. Enjoy the solitude before you enjoy 10 km of mainly downhill to the R62.

Turn left on this to head back to Barrydale. There is a steep climb just before town with the Joseph Barry Distillery on your right-hand side. At the crest of the rise turn right into Van Riebeek St. The Karoo Art Hotel is a few hundred meters further, on your left.

compiled by Leo Rust for