Pylons Loop (Warrimoo to St Ives Wildflower Garden)

A varied loop that links the Warrimoo Track and the Ryland Trail, returning via the Showground Trail and Muellers Track. The route makes use of a number of fire trails that service electricity pylons and connecting bushwalking trails. 

Having walked down to Christies Pool from the Warrimoo Track a couple of weeks ago and discovered that the trail continues up the other side of the creek, I’m back to hopefully complete a longer circuit. The loop walk starts with the Warrimoo Track and along a service trail that leads to the rough down to Christies Pool, from the base of the bushwalk’s first Pylon…

It doesn’t take long to descend the cairned trail to Christies Pool, a deep pool formed by the confluence of Ku-ring-gai Creek and Kierans Creek.

Rather than returning the same way as I did last time, I continue across Ku-ring-gai Creek and past a large sandstone overhang.

The track is pretty obvious, and is marked with cairns and metal squares, as it ascends fairly steeply up the ridge. There’s only one confusing spot where the trail seems to go back down towards the creek; ignore this and continue going up!

At the top of the ridge, the bushwalking track emerges onto a wide clearing above the valley.

Ryland Trail

The Ryland Trail exists primarily to service a number of electrical pylons – it stops at the end of the ridge where it meets the trail down to Kierans Creek, and initially follows the line of the electricity transmission cables.

It’s not the most scenic bushwalking (or mountain-biking) trail, with a wide section of bush cleared beneath the cables. It’s nice when the trail briefly swings away from the cables…

…although it’s not long before another set of pylons comes into view, with a view to the east of the cables crossing another valley on their way to a substation in Belrose.

Fortunately this is the last pylon for a while, as the Ryland Trail swings to the north, along the top of the ridge and away from the electricity cables again.

Cooyong (Neverfail) Trail

After about 2.5km along the Ryland Trail there’s a junction with the  Cooyong (Neverfail) Trail – also referred to as the Cooyong Track – which descends to Kierans Creek before joining up wth the Sandy Trail on the other side. I detour down this trail, also a wide service trail. In the distance is the Baiha’i temple, its white dome poking up above the trees.

The trail gets steeper as it nears the bottom of the valley, before it narrows at the very bottom to cross Kierans Creek.

I don’t go beyond Kierans Creek, but briefly explore the creek – I am planning a future loop similar to the one I’m doing today, but following Kierans Creek up from Christies Pool (rather than climbing up the ridge).

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Heading a brief distance upstream, there’s some nice pool and sandstone overhangs above the creek.

Then it’s back up the hill, past the junction with the Ryland Trail, continuing along the Cooyong (Neverfail) Trail towards Mona Vale Road. (This last section of the Cooyong (Neverfail) Trail is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Callamine Trail.) Ignoring the first junction with a service trail that goes down to a pylon, take the second junction – which leads to the base of another transmission pylon.

Showground Trail / St Ives Fire Trail

A narrow bushwalking trail continues from the end of the service trail, which leads to the Showground Trail (also known as the St Ives Fire Trail and officially called the “Show Ground Pistol Club Trail”). It’s nice walking, through eucalypt forest with the occasional ferny section (and a few weeds that reflect the proximity of the track to built-up areas).

The track soon widens, and is both a bushwalking and mountain-biking trail – although it would be pretty challenging as a bike trail.

The Showground Trail gets a bit “smoother” and wider as it skirts around the back of the St Ives Showground.

St Ives Wildflower Garden

According to one of my maps, there’s a trail that connects the Showground Trail to the Mueller Track in the St Ives Wildflower Garden; in reality there is no track. But it’s not too challenging to clamber down a few rocks and traverse the rop of Tree Fern Gully to meet the Mueller Track. (For an easier option continue straight ahead until you reach a fence, then follow the fence a short distance to your right where you can walk around it.)

The simplest and most scenic route would be to take the Mueller Track, which follows Tree Fern Gully Creek down to where it meets Ku-ring-gai Creek, and then follows Ku-ring-gai Creek. But it’s getting late, so I take a more complicated but quicker route through the St Ives Wildflower Garden. I turn left up the Mueller Track, which goes up to Lamberts Clearing, and and then the Bentham Track to Cunningham’s Rest. (Fittingly, this route takes me past the base of another electricity transmission pylon.)

From Cunningham’s Rest, the Fizgerald Track descends to the Mueller Track (the opposite end of the track that I was on not long ago), past some sandstone rock platforms.

Finally, the Mueller Track completes the descent to Ku-ring-gai Creek and the management trail that will take me back up to St Ives Chase.

Management Trails

The wide management trail continues along Ku-ring-gai Creek; it starts (or finishes) at Kitchener Road in St Ives.

To get back to the starting point, take the management trail that branches off to the right after about 400m, which crosses Ku-ring-gai Creek before heading up the side of the valley.

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The management trail ascends fairly consistently until it reaches the back of a row of houses, and then levels of until it reaches Phillip Road.

From the end of the maintenance trail, you can complete the loop by taking Phillip Road and Warrimoo Avenue, or continue straight ahead behind another row of houses to reach the bottom of Timburra Road.

It’s been an interesting walk, but a lot of sections are along management trails that service the eltectricity transmission infrastructure. If you’re into electricity pylon architecture, this is the walk for you… otherwise, this is not a bushwalk I would particularly recommend.

 0.0km Start of Warrimoo Track (St Ives)
 1.2km Turn right (south-east) onto service trail
 1.6km Rough trail from below electricity pylon
 2.0km Christies Pool
 2.5km Track up from Christies Pool meets Ryland Trail
 5.2km Junction with Cooyong (Neverfail) Track
       2.7km Side-trip down Cooyong Track to Kierans Creek
 5.7km Junction with service trail - ignore
 5.9km Junction with service trail - take this to the right
 6.2km Showground Trail starts from electricity pylon
 9.7km Turn of Showground Trail to join Mueller Track
 9.8km Mueller Track (St Ives Wildflower Garden)
10.1km Lamberts Clearing (take Bentham Track from here)
10.4km Fitzgerald Track
10.8km Mueller Track
11.1km Management Trail
11.5km Junction with management trail going up to Phillip Road
12.8km Phillip Road (trail continues behind houses)
13.0km End of Timburra Road
13.5km Warrimoo Track carpark
Location Start/finish at end of Warrimoo Road (St Ives Chase)
Distance 13.5km loop.
Grade Moderate/Hard. 500m total elevation gain. Some steep/rough tracks.
Season/s All year.
Map/s Interactive topographical map [AllTrails]
9130-4S Hornsby (1:25K)  Buy / Download
GPS Route Gaia GPS map with option to download GPX / KML file
Resources

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