Kinglake

3rd category climbLength: 7.2km
Average gradient: 4.8%
Elevation gain: 349m

Views from the Kinglake climb.

Introduction

One of the most frequently ridden and most popular cycling roads in all of Victoria, the main climb to Kinglake is one that all Victorian cyclists should attempt at least once.

The devastating bushfires of February 2009 that killed 173 people also burnt out most of the trees on the roadside, providing phenomenal views into the valley below as you climb toward the township of Kinglake.

The start

The start of the climb is designated by the winding road sign as seen in the photo below. This can be found on the Heidelberg Kinglake Road (C746), roughly 6km north-east of the township of St. Andrews.

Start of the Kinglake climb.

The finish

The Kinglake climb ends at the second set of 60km/h signs as the road flattens out, just before the township of Kinglake.

End of the Kinglake climb.

At a glance

  • A very popular ascent that can be seen as two climbs in one.
  • The first section, lasting 4.8km, winds along the ridgeline with a gentle gradient.
  • The second section, from 4.8km onwards, is noticeably steeper than the lower slopes.

Climb details

After the first couple corners, you’ll find yourself precariously balanced on the ridge line where you’ll remain for the first 5km of the climb. The initial gradient of around 4% is maintained for these first 5km and indeed the climb can be divided into two distinct sections.

The first sees the road wind narrowly along the ridge line at a modest gradient before the second half, beginning at the 4.8km mark, sees the road heading away from the ridge line, straightening up slightly and increasing in gradient.

While you shouldn’t need to be reminded to keep left while on the road, it is especially important on the climb to Kinglake where the road is so narrow in parts that only one vehicle may pass at one time. The descent, too, should be handled with care as cars coming up the hill often cut corners.

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Location

The Kinglake climb is accessible from Melbourne but a round trip from the city to Kinglake and back will add around 120km to your odometer. Various routes can be taken to get to Eltham in Melbourne’s north-east, but from there it is a matter of following Main Road to the north which turns into the Kangaroo Ground St. Andrews Road (C728).

Once through the town of St. Andrews you’ll find yourself at a t-intersection where a right turn should be taken onto the Heidelberg Kinglake Road (C746).

Times

Being one of the most popular climbs in Victoria, the Kinglake climb has many riders attempting to set personal best times or see how their times compare to others within the community. If you are one such rider, head over to Cycle2Max to upload the details of your attempt. You can find the Strava segment for the Kinglake climb here.

33 Comments

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  1. Karl / Aug 20 2014

    I did this today (today is midweek Winter.
    I left from Diamond creek, went to the top and back (59km rtn)

    This is a real pretty ride.
    I didnt find it that difficult, but I wasnt trying to post a great time.
    Strava says its Cat 2, I dunno it didnt feel it.

    The road is very narrow, but there wasnt much traffic on the road. Nevertheless, as expalined in the summary, good to keep very well left.

  2. Ben C / Oct 17 2013

    I’ve driven the route but never rode it. Been looking to test out my legs for an extended period so I think I’ll give this a shot. The drop off on the left of the road even as a driver made me wary of riding the climb

  3. Anden / Aug 28 2013

    will b going up kinglake for the first time this saturday with a couple of friends….hope to catch a bunch of riders to ease the burns…. ;)

  4. John spencer / Jul 21 2013

    Get all cyclists off these roads. They are a menace to themselves and drivers!

    • George Alexander louis / Jul 25 2013

      Says the selfish, probably fat and lazy, driver who doesn’t appreciate the value of business the cyclists take to Kinglake on weekends.

    • Lach / Apr 13 2014

      Why both commenting on a cycling website then pal??

  5. Gaz Lowe / May 7 2013

    Very good description and rider information. It’s a good solid hit-out and represents an excellent base ride if you’re wanting to add some fitness and strength to your cycling. Very popular with intermediate to strong riders who are serious about their training regime.

  6. John / Apr 29 2013

    The Strava Link on this climb is not at the same locations, it seems to start and finish before the signs pointed out. There is a (Cycle2max version) that is spot on as far as first yellow sign and lst 60 sign. http://www.strava.com/segments/kinglake-cycle2max-version-629743

    • Matt / May 2 2013

      Thanks John, all fixed.

  7. Dylan Nicholson / Apr 7 2013

    Has anyone tried the climb out of Wallan up the South Mountain Rd then the Main Mountain Rd that gets pretty close to the highest peak in the area (Mt Disappointment)? The road surface looks OK from the little I can tell from Google Maps/Satellite view (no street view unfortunately).

  8. Drew Barr / Oct 28 2012

    I used to live at the bottom of the Kinglake climb. Went through a period when I couldn’t sleep, so I would do the ride in the moonlight, about 3am. Could go up and back and not see a single car, but the wallabies were a worry!

  9. Glenn / May 3 2012

    Catch the train to Hurstbridge; alternatively, catch the train back from Hurstbridge, particularly dependent on the wind. Remember a key cycling motto: “Don’t ride like the wind; Ride with the wind!”

  10. TW / Apr 10 2012

    Good work Tooraj. There are some routes that ‘make’ us as riders, Beach Rd for learning how to ride in a group; the ‘Round the Bay in a Day’ for riding longer distances; Kinglake for climbing (& Macedon, & Donna Buang…); and the 3 Peaks Challenge for testing yourself beyond what you could think was possible. All great achievements.

  11. Tooraj / Apr 5 2012

    Thanks for the details of this route. You’d be pleased to know you have inspired me to ride to Kings Lake and I loved it! I have just gradated from a hybrid to a road bike and been enviously noticing the folks wearing their Kings Lake jersey quite proudly.

    I found the road condition and surface quite good. The road was clean without any debris and the traffic was very light and slow moving (this was on a Tuesday morning around 8:30).

    Note, if you are afraid of heights, you will find riding some sections along the cliff edge with no to little road shoulder quite daunting. :-)

    Love your web site.
    Thank you

  12. James Stratford / Feb 12 2012

    A great alternate return route is to take a right at the main roundabout and down through the beautiful forest road to Toolangi. One of the most beautiful descents, then you’ve got the option of coming back via Healevsille and the Christmas Hills. Good coffee on the can be found at Picollo Mecannico in Diamond Creek, and there’s a new place in St. Andrews which also does a mean coffee and great wood fired food.

  13. Trevor / Feb 5 2012

    As of 4 Feb 2012, the road has been resurfaced at the last 1.5 km or so of the climb (the straight section adjacent to Jehoshaphat Gully) to now be a gritty, Alpine type surface. Riders should beware that there was a great deal of loose gravel covering nearly all of the descending lane. If you’re descending the same climb, be careful!
    Also, the Bakery appears to have closed. But, there’s a cafe next door, doing a roaring trade.

    • Matt / Feb 6 2012

      Thanks for the update Trevor!

  14. Robert Giles / Jan 5 2012

    Not many people seem to know, but there is a fantastic 30km loop add-on to riding Kinglake. Turn right at the roundabout at the top of the Kinglake climb, heading to the Maroonda Hwy. Left at the highway, use extreme caution single file only. A few ks along on the left is the Old Glenburn – Kinglake Road. Turn here and you will be rewarded with another magnificent climb back up to Kinglake and it makes the coffee at the backery even more rewarding.

    Happy Riding, Rob

    • BBB / Feb 13 2012

      I did this additional loop yesterday, and aside from the wind and two lots of rain in and around King Lake, it was a good little climb back up to KL.

    • Cammo / May 9 2012

      You mean Melba Hwy, not Maroondah Hwy

    • Jon Thornton / Sep 10 2013

      Thanks for the Kinglake-Glenburn Rd tip. I’m going to try that.

    • Jon Thornton / Sep 30 2013

      We had a go at the Glenburn Road climb yesterday. We took Robert’s suggestion. Starting at Kinglake, we took the Mt Slide Road to the Melba Hwy. At the Melba Hwy, we turned left. We then rode down to West Bridge Road and turned left. This took us to the base of the Glenburn Road climb.

      The Glenburn Road climb is a beauty. The road is quiet and picturesque. The climb has three parts; a flat section at the bottom followed by 5km of 5% followed by a few more kms of rollers.

      I found the Melba Hwy section a bit hairy. There was lots of fast moving traffic to contend with and the shoulder wasn’t very wide. The next time I do this climb, I’ll stick to Glenburn for both the descent and the climb.

  15. Anth73 / Dec 29 2011

    Just xn update on the precautions regarding road conditions. The road is 2 lanes all the way, there are no single lane sections. The descent needs to be taken cautiously due to several left hand bends that tighten in on you and numerous blind corners that are often cut by cars,

    Also, after heavy rain the road is usually littered with fallen rocks and gravel do take care.

    Cheers,
    Anth

  16. Murray / Mar 22 2011

    One of my favourite climbs and thanks to its proximity to Melbourne, my most frequent. It’s a 100km round trip from the city with a coffee break at Hurstbridge.

  17. Chris / Feb 24 2011

    That’s a nice ride but the traffic can be a bit hairy.
    Try Bald Spur Rd to the West.
    You’ll need an MTB.
    I have never managed to ride it non stop – but will one day.

  18. Anth73 / Jan 28 2011

    Just clarifying the finishing point. It’s at the second set of dual 60kph speed signs closest to the roundabout. The first set of dual 60kph signs measures the climb as 6.88km on my Garmin.

    I can’t tell which set are in your photo above, so perhaps a clarifying comment in your description would be useful.

    BTW – love your site. Thanks for all the effort you go to!

    • Matt / Jan 29 2011

      Hi Anthony. Thanks for that – yep, it’s the second set, closest to the township. I’ll clarify that now. :)

  19. John / Dec 17 2010

    Done this one a few times. Good fun ride, even an amatuer like me can manage it.

    • Matt / Dec 17 2010

      Yep, it’s a nice gentle climb. :) Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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