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Castlemaine to Maldon Trail - Trail Description



Castlemaine to Maldon Trail

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Type: Rail-side trail
Location: 120km north west of Melbourne
Start/end: Castlemaine to Maldon
Status: Open
Length open: 18km
Surface: Coarse gravel
Terrain: Undulating
Best seasons: All
Public transport: Train, Coach
Features: tourist
Contact Region: Western Victoria
Approaching Muckleford station 2016. G Moore
Approaching Muckleford station 2016. G Moore
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes



This trail starts in Castlemaine and runs parallel to the Victorian Goldfields Tourist Train line to Maldon via Muckleford and is 18km long.

  • The rail trail is mainly on the maintenance track beside the railway line so is more undulating than a rail trail.
  • The towns at both ends are very attractive, and significant for their historical interest.
  • Maldon is notable for its 19th century appearance, maintained since gold-rush days.


This trail was constructed in 2016 and early 2017.

Some parts of the surface is rough, but definitely rideable with a mountain bike or bike with wide tyres. It is about 18km long and is a pleasant walk or ride. Most of the trail is parallel to the railway line, with a few deviations to avoid deep gullies.

This trail was officially opened on 18th March 2017, but some detail including signage is still to be completed.  Toilet facilities or water is not available on the trail. (The toilets at Muckleford are opened when the tourist train is at the station.)

The trail is mostly surrounded by open dry forest, with some glimpses of unforested hills and farms. At Muckleford the station is situated in a large clearing, with railway maintenance supplies and sheds.

The trail starts in Langslow St in Castlemaine and ends at the railway station in Maldon. Until it is completed the map shows the route starting at Martin Street, Castlemaine

Background Information

  • Castlemaine Station is on the Melbourne to Bendigo line and was established in 1862.
  • A branch line to Maldon (and onto Newbridge via Shelbourne) commenced a kilometre south of Castlemaine (from the Maryborough branch line) and was completed in 1884.
  • Bushfires in 1969 destroyed rail infrastructure between Maldon and Shelbourne and the line from Newbridge to Castlemaine was closed soon after this incident.
  • The railway line between Maldon and Castlemaine was preserved, and reopened as The Goldfields Tourist railway in 2005.


The trail is developed and managed by the Mount Aexander Shire Council. If you have any issues regarding the trail contact  Mount Alexander Shire Office 03 5471 1700.

A map of the trail can be downloaded here.

The Victorian Goldfields Railway runs heritage trains on the same route.

Support Services and Attractions

The Bike Vault - for bike hire located in Castlemaine

December 2019

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29 December , 2019 by RobertI

I rode from Castlemaine station and found it unclear where the trail went through town. The path over Campbells creek bridge at the Pyrenees Highway is confusing but worked it out. Next to Maltby Drive appears to be the best route since feral cyclists go there rather than Martin street. Yes its a rocky bumpy ride in parts met cars driving rather fast throwing up dust. That aside the sections with no vehicle access were better. Maldon is always lovely mid week and I will come back on a Wednesday when the train runs. This is still a new trail so I can see room for improvement with new sections without vehicle access

04 December , 2019 by

Two of us rode about three quarters of the way to Maldon from Castlemaine and back yesterday: it was a good ride. We were on hybrid bikes, my tyres are quite slick and while the surface is a bit rougher some some rail trails, it was no problem at all. Because the trail isn't on the rail line, there are some steeper climbs than on a rail reservation, so it it does require a bit more energy and strength in places, but nothing too bad. It is more slightly more downhill going into Catlemaine than going towards Maldon. There is a section on a back road with sparse traffic, not a problem. The ride out of Castlemaine was good - following the Campbell's Creek trail to where it meets the Pyrenees Highway and then the rail line. We needed to check the map (from the brochure downloaded in this site) a couple of times, and had to use Kennedy St on the town side of the V/line station to access it, but that is a very pleasant and easy section of the trail. Will do this again and go the whole way next time - probably do it on a day the tourist railway is running and go bike one way, train the other. Took the bikes up and back on the V/line train, and that worked perfectly.

21 October , 2019 by White

Rode this trail from Castlemaine to Maldon return yesterday. Very enjoyable ride with steam train passing a couple of times for photo opportunities. The track is great for mountain bikes and whilst more underlating and rockier than normal rail trail, it is an easy out and back ride with plenty of lunch places in Maldon. More downhill on way back from Maldon! Wild flowers throughout the state forests. It was a challenge to find some parking near the start in Langsley Rd (ended up parking across the highway which gave access to track into town - not marked as a carpark though). The track seems to start just before you cross under the rail bridge - once on it, it is very well marked. Whilst we didn't ride it, the track seems extend back into Castlemaine some 2km. Maybe some signage visible to drivers would be helpful. very enjoyable ride.

29 September , 2019 by madlaina

My rating for the trail itself is 4-5 stars, but I was only able to give it 2 overall due to the poor connection to town at the Castlemaine end. We caught the steam train from Maldon to Castlemaine with our 3 kids and our bikes and got some incredulous looks when I said at the ticket booth that I wanted a one way ticket and needed to load our bikes on the train. Apparently they hadn’t had a family do this in over a year. I found this a bit strange, but just filed it away for the time being. Getting off the train in Castlemaine, we started making our way to the trailhead. We had to do so with the help of google maps, as there was no signage as far as I could see. Getting to the trailhead involved riding up and down several hilly streets and crossing a couple of busy main roads - a nerve wracking experience when riding with kids. We nearly gave up and turned around before we even got on the trail. Once we reached the trail it was a different story altogether. The trail is well signposted and maintained and a joy to ride. It is hard going in places and probably stretches the description of ‘undulating’, but the scenery makes it well worth the effort. When we rode the trail, there were wildflowers all through the forest. We had a longer then planned stop at Muckleford to fix a puncture, before tackling the second half, which climbs steadily up to Maldon. The younger 2 (9y) struggled a bit, but made it all the way spurred on by the promise of ice cream in Maldon. I think this trail is ideal for families capable child riders. The length is just right, the scenery is stunning and there are lots of places to stop and rest, especially the halfway point at Muckleford, which has a lovely open grass are with picnic tables. In combination with tithe steam train, it could well be the ideal weekend family outing. BUT: Please give some thought to routing the trail from the Castlemaine trailhead to the station in a way that makes it safe for riders and easy to follow for out of towners.

13 May , 2018 by Dingoman

Great trail and plenty of great shops to see in Molden, I am 72 and did it easily.

31 March , 2018 by Dingo

My husband and I rode this trail on Good Friday 2018. We started in Castlemaine and rode to Maldon and then back again. Finding the beginning of the trail in Castlemaine was a bit of a nightmare. It does not start at the station and for a short while we were following some other trail out to Campbell's Creek. Going from Castlemaine to Maldon is mainly up hill, so going back was a breeze. The trail itself was good. However, it is rough and can be a bit tough in places. We rode it ok on hybrids, even though only MTBs are recommended. I enjoyed the trail, but it is not easy. And yes cars can drive on part of it, but we did not see any.

04 October , 2017 by Cheryl

This past weekend I travelled to Castlemaine to ride the new Castlemaine - Maldon Rail Trail. It is described as undulating. Myself and my husband, both good riders found the terrain to be quite hilly and quite physical. We only lasted about 5 kilometers on the trail as we found it quite dangerous when we came upon two vehicles within 10 minutes coming towards us on the trail. It was after the second vehicle that we decided to turn back and abandon this trail. The trail is not wide enough to accommodate both cyclists and vehicles. Bollards should be put in place so that vehicles cannot access this track making it safer to cyclists, runners and walkers. Cheryl

02 July , 2017 by eugbro

I did the trail on Friday, perfect winter weather. I used my hybrid bike with low tread, no issues. There a couple of ground hazards along the way but nothing major. The return ride from Maldon to Castlemaine seemed a little easier (more down hill action). The signage from Castlemaine, trying to find the beginning of the actual trail was frustration and hopefully will be addressed shortly. The train journey from Footscray on V/Line was great. Really had an awesome time.

14 June , 2017 by Shaz70

Did this trail yesterday, and loved it. Parked at Muckleford Station where there is heaps of room, there are also great facility's tables and chairs and toilets although was disappointed to find them locked. Headed towards Maldon , beautiful scenery gravel a little thick in places and I found a least a couple of the hills a little more steep than "undulating" but I am sure those with better bikes and better quad muscles will have no trouble, and it would not put me off doing again, in fact I can't wait. Castlemaine and Maldon lovely towns, with loads of history and very laid back. Thank you for another great trail for us to enjoy, aren't we Lucky !!!

31 May , 2017 by DK

Although not fully sign-posted, the trail now links to the Campbell's Creek Track at the Pyrenees Highway, so you can ride from Camp Reserve all the way out without dealing with busy roads. Signposting mostly completed, although a little confusing near Gowar Track. Overall a good ride with beautiful, quiet bush and only a couple of short road sections. Track is rough and loose in parts so narrow tyres are not recommended. Have done this four times over the last two weeks, and there is still a bit of track grading going on, so hopefully it will be a bit smoother soon.

18 March , 2017 by SmithCycle

IT'S OPEN!!!!! After a very warm Welcome to Country ceremony - this rail trail was officially opened today at the Muckleford Station, between Castlemaine and Maldon by Hon. Maree Edwards Member for Bendigo West. My party didn't ride it but were, along with many others, treated to a free steam (one way) and diesel (the return) train ride(Victorian Goldfields Railway), first class too! with refreshments supplied by the local Mount Alexander Council (I believe). Bikes were accommodated in the rear carriages for those intending to ride one way. I've done the ride to Maldon from Castlemaine on a number of roads/tracks both sealed and unsealed but not the trail so can only comment on what it looks like from the train. It looks like a lot of work has been done to improve the trail - graded some and topped it with a sympathetically coloured fine gravel. Signage and barriers at various road junctions has been added. When you get nearer to Castlemaine (where it used to be confusing even for local cyclists to work out where to go) it looks like they have added bitumen surfaces and some bike holding rails and more signage. It looks great and all the cyclist on board were enthusiastic (any improvements or money invested in cycling is great!). We drove to the Maldon Station and that too had improved surfaces and signage. Some very obvious paintwork just outside the Maldon Station on the main road heralds to all that a rail trail or at least a cycling track is afoot. But it only goes for about 30m or so and cyclists are directed back onto a trail into Maldon town. All in all very impressed so 5 stars from above. I intend doing it with my 10 yo within the next few weeks and will update again then. Regarding using the train to go one way (particularly if you are cycling with younger children) I've no idea how much a bike costs to transport or if this will be a possibility on a busy weekend.

09 November , 2016 by Gary

Rode this Rail Side Trail 8 Nov 2016 from Castlemaine to Maldon and return. Leaving Castlemaine Station there are some town streets to navigate until reaching the trail start proper. Very easy to follow the trail even thought there are no signs erected yet. I found it very rough after the recent rains and many areas with loose sand and gravel. Mountain type bikes will have no problem with the surface. Mosquitoes very bad the entire distance and this made it almost impossible to stop and look around. I would like to have been able to look at Muckleford Station area, but the mosquitoes were vicious. Many brick culverts to stop and look at along the trail and also some beautiful coloured rock formations in the many cuttings. Lovely and quiet in the bushland. Not much work being done to the trail except in one location nearer to Castlemaine, though posts have been erected along some sections. Maldon Station is a hive of activity but unfortunately there was no rail traffic the day I rode. No other riders or walkers seen. Both towns are very interesting to explore and food is available. Castlemaine by Rail public transport is very easy. Without the mosquitoes this will be a good trail for all ages. Another good effort for this mid sixties gent.

04 October , 2016 by Roberts

Hi there - saw this as something of an update, says its started work - so that's at least 2-3 months worth already assuming a start in July Does anyone at RailTrails have an update? Looking forward to it as I spent childhood holidays up there and caught the steam engine many times.

07 September , 2016 by Gary

Can anyone please provide an update on the works being carried on this Rail Side Trail. It was suggested that the work would take around 3 to 4 months. Thankyou in advance. Gary

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Construction to start on Castlemaine to Maldon Rail Side Trail

(Posted: 29/05/16)

 Construction is planned to start soon on the 18km Castlemaine to Maldon Rail Side Trail in Victoria.