The journey to Falls Creek can take one of two directions, the back of Falls or the front of Falls.
For our ride, we rode up the front, it is one of the Seven Peaks and one of the great climbs in the area. A brief word on the back of Falls Creek… it is not for the faint hearted. For any beginner and intermediate rider, I would strongly suggest tackling the front of Falls Creek before attempting the back. The back of Falls leaves riders with no option other than to work really hard to get over the crippling steepness that makes up the first third of the climb.
The front of Falls on the other hand is much more manageable. It totals 20 miles rising 3800 ft. There are plenty of breaks on offer with quite a few descents and false flats, especially over the first two thirds. The average gradient is 4%, maxing out at 10%, which is almost a perfect number for a recreation climb, not to steep, not to shallow… it’s just right.
At just over 20 miles the climb is long, so be prepared to spend a lot of time with pressure on the pedals and make sure you take nutrition to sustain you to the top. As mentioned above there are lots of things to break up the climb, including many corners and switchbacks allowing you to get up out of the saddle and move around.
The scenery up Falls Creek is on a whole other level, switchbacks either open up to reveal sweeping landscapes or lush ferns which seem to carry on for miles. We rode up early in the morning, and the image of the sun breaking through the leafy foliage was enough to make us get off our bikes and take countless photos. As we got further up the climb, burnt out areas of forest became apparent. Huge sections of land had succumbed to fire, leaving these enormous white gums, stripped of their leaves and stark in contrast to the rest of the mountain. This was one of the more beautiful sights we witnessed on our climb. This too was a sight we had to stop and absorb, the sheer size and scale of these towering trees was incredibly moving and a reminder of the fragility of the land despite is vastness.
Once you get to the top of the climb there is more epic scenery to take in. Only a short ride from the village is Rocky Valley Lake, a huge body of water on top of the mountain. The lake is surrounded by an open and mostly flat path which offers riders a chance to get their legs back before descending. The lake also offers a huge range of activities for those staying in the Falls Creek Village. We saw a number of fisherman trying to hook a good sized trout, and in the summer time it is a popular area for boating, swimming and kayaking.
It is hard to top the views up Falls Creek, but the highlight of our day was about 6 miles into the climb when we passed an older gentleman, riding a 20 year old bike (being very conservative with that!), still with gear levers on the down tube, in hiking boots. Turns out he is a local school teacher at Mt. Bogong and commutes up the first half of the Falls Creek climb each day! An extraordinary effort that resulted in the gentleman developing calves of steel that would bring most cyclists to tears.
I really enjoyed Falls Creek and would recommend it as a must do, whether you are participating in the Seven Peaks Challenge or not, it is certainly a bucket list climb.
Here’s more of what we thought, as well as plenty of footage from the climb…