- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Possible Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- former Railway
- The trail is 100 per cent off-road
- Excellent cafes at each end of the trail
- Best in dry weather
- Wineries, galleries, and peaceful rural and sea views combine to make this a great trail for a day trip or weekend visit
- The section near Merricks is popular with horse riders: part of it does not follow the original alignment so it is steeper than a typical rail trail
- Start at either end of the Trail, cycle or walk one way or both ways
- Ride on the roads to visit wineries, galleries or beaches on the way back. Note: take care if you choose not to return on the trail. There are no bike lanes on these roads, some of which roads carry very fast traffic.
There is a carpark and bike repair station near the corner of Point Leo Rd and Shoreham Rd, at the Red Hill Station Reserve behind shops. Story boards tell the history of the area. It is a downhill ride to Merricks: about 200 m along the trail, look for the plaque at the former station site, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the railway opening.
- From Merricks it is all uphill (except for a short 100 m downhill) to Red Hill. Park at Merricks Station Ground (look for the mobile phone tower at the entrance) on the Frankston-Flinders road, close to Stoniers Winery, about 150 m from Merricks General Store. There are public toilets here.
- Look for the ‘TRAIL’ sign on the cyclone fence, near the mobile phone tower. The narrow track runs beside the fence in the reserve to the start of the trail proper.
- Turn left and climb steadily for 2 km, with good views over Western Port to Phillip Island. After a sharp right turn the trail continues down the steep hill (with grapevines on the left) and through a horse jump where it meets the end of Tonkins Rd. The trail continues to the left and is now on the original rail easement. It ascends gently to Red Hill, first through pine trees (look for colourful fungi in autumn), then two small cuttings.
- The trail continues to Point Leo Rd behind Red Hill shops. Explore the shops, café or bakery and either return via the trail or other local roads.
- The trail is shared with walkers and horses and is very narrow in parts. It can also be muddy, and is unsuitable for road bikes in winter.
- There are excellent cafes at each end of the Trail, and Stonier Winery at the Merricks end.
We acknowledge the Bunurong people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.
Rail Line History
The line to Red Hill was built after a long campaign by local people, beginning in the 1880s. Opened in 1912 as a branch from Bittern on the Stony Point line, it mainly carried fruit such as apples, pears and strawberries to market in Melbourne. Six hundred people gathered to greet the first steam train climbing the steep 1 in 30 gradient to Red Hill.
As roads improved the train timetable was reduced to one train a week and the line closed in 1953 after only 32 years of operation. The rest of the former railway land between Bittern and Merricks is now in private ownership.
Riding between Merricks and Red Hill (2011)
The trail is also an equestrian trail
The steeper section up from Tonkins Rd from Merricks