Leg 3: National Arboretum (Arboretum Works Compound, Boundary Rd) to Cnr Majura & Phillip Ave, Dickson, 24 km
Download complete navigable leg 3 course map, with pgx file included
From the second transition point follow the fenceline along Boundary Rd track, which turns left downhill (N) and then right (E) to commence a steady climb of about 700m up to a white swing gate at the Cnr of Boundary & Himalayan Cedars Rd. Turn left at the gate to keep following the dirt road which turns right (E) to head steeply downhill with great views of Lake Burley Griffin in front of you. At the bottom of the hill turn left at the fence corner to cross the wooden horse stile and continue straight ahead on the “Cork Oaks via road” track, which you follow for about 800m. Turn right at the T-junction to follow the path under William Hovell Dr and after 130m turn right at the T-junction onto the bike path heading towards Black Mtn Tower.
After 250m turn left to leave the bike path and cross the pedestrian stile leading into Aranda Snow Gums Reserve. After 200m you will follow a walking trail denoted by a series of wooden posts. Keep a lookout ahead for these posts which first lead you parallel to an erosion gully on your right and then (after 400m) turn right to cross this gully to head N up onto a grassy track. Follow this grassy track for approx. 400m to reach a gate and a T-junction. Turn right to follow the 4WD track heading N for 600m until you reach a T-junction next to Caswell Drive. Turn right and after only 60m turn left to head under Caswell Drive.
Follow this track as it heads straight for 70m before swinging right, climbs briefly, and then gradually descends S back towards Lake Burley Griffin, running parallel to Caswell Drive for a few kilometres (becomes the “Woodland Fire Trail”) before swinging left (E) and climbing gradually for 160m and then swinging left again (N) to climb a very steep short pitch. At the top of this pitch you leave the main track to turn right onto the small ST ("Breakfast Hill") which heads steeply up towards Black Mtn. summit and Tower. This long, tough climb terminates at a T-junction with the Black Mountain Forest Trail, a ST which you will follow to your left to give you a scenic contour around the West side of Black Mtn (BM) until you hit the intersection with the main walking track on the N side of BM. Climb steeply up the cement track for approx 180m before taking a track to your left heading around the E side of the Mtn. This track swings right to climb up to meet Black Mtn Drive near Telstra Tower. Turn left and stick to the LHS of the road for only 60m or so before turning left to take a ST walking path for approx 350m which takes you down to the first Drink Station at the car park.
Just after the drink station (40m) turn left to take the path down towards the lookout platform but veer off to the right of the platform and downhill to take up a very faint track that becomes wider and more obvious after 100m or so and then becomes a rocky, steep FT that passes by the RHS of a water tank after 300m and drops steeply for another 150m before swinging left (N) to follow an undulating course along the East side of Blk Mtn. This finally descends to a large dirt road (Frith Road) which you follow right (downhill) for about 50 m before turning sharp left to take the road heading W back towards Black Mtn. After 100m keep right to stay on the main dirt road and continue straight ahead uphill past the turn-offs to Little Black Mtn (600m) and continue straight (W) 130m later at the top of the climb where you continue W across the intersection with the main N/S track that heads to the Summit.
Now you go straight ahead to leave the big FT and take a nice little ST (no bicycles sign) that drops down to the W and then bends SW for 350m or so, being very careful not to miss making a right hand turn at the first split in the ST. This will take you NW for just over 100m before reaching a wider fire trail, at which you will turn right and follow NE and then E for 500m before turning left and merging with the trail coming down from the Summit. After 40m stay left to continue down the main wider track along the ridgeline, heading N for 400m before it swings left (NW and then W) over the next 600m to bring you out to an intersection with an open, wide dirt road running parallel to a large set of double powerlines. Turn right here and follow the road under these powerlines as it heads NE for 150m, E for approx 1.2K next to Belconnen Way and then turns S and starts to undulate.
After approx. 500m turn left at the bottom of the 2nd major undulation onto a dirt road, heading down 40m to cross a small dry watercourse, climb up onto a small embankment, and turn right onto ST followed only 20m later by a left turn onto ST that leads 100m down to Frith Rd. Cross straight across the road and over the low guard rail and then turn left to head through the Barry Dr. underpass on the LHS. After exiting the tunnel turn hard left at the BNT/Stop sign to take a ST heading uphill into the trees. Follow the BNT track all the way through to the RDBT at Fairfax St/Dryandra St Belconnen Way where the Second Drink station and a Course Marshal will provide assistance.
Continue straight across Fairfax St heading N to join a bike path and follow this as it climbs left and NW up the hill for approximately 700m before making sure that you make a hard right turn under the big powerlines to enter the access gate to O’Connor Ridge. From here you will stay on the main fire trail always bearing left to stay near the road (Gungahlin Dr), which is comprised of about 400m of wide FT that narrows to another 600m of ST that passes by a dam and then starts to head W to reach a fence and gate near Ginninderra Dr.
Pass through the gate and continue heading West down the dirt road running parallel to Gungahlin Dr, which descends and 250m later passes a church and becomes Archibald St. Stay on the grass verge/footpath on the LHS of Archibald St for the next 840m (passing Buddhist Temple) until it dead-ends at a T-jn with Mouat St. Turn right to cross Archibald St and join the bike path, being careful after 180m to leave this path, turning left to cross the bitumen dead end and head to the pedestrian crossing/lights at Brigalow St (Course Marshal). After crossing continue left past the Lyneham Motor Inn and 60 m later turn right onto the bitumen bike path that runs along the RHS of the water canal. Follow this path for approx 650m before turning left at the end of the playing field (Blue and White sign; “Dickson shops 2K”) to cross the canal and join another bike path heading towards Lyneham High School. Take care crossing Goodwin St at the speed hump/ped. crossing. After 50m merge left to take the bike path towards Dickson shops (blue and white sign).
Take care crossing De Burgh St and continue straight on the path towards Northbourne Ave.
Scenario 1: Head Under Northbourne Ave
At this point, if the conditions are favourable, you will divert right across the grass to drop into the canal at a metal ladder just before Northbourne Ave (marker cones or arrows) in order to run under the two arms of the very busy Northbourne Ave and then exit the canal to the left at another metal ladder soon after the other side to re-join the bike path.
Scenario 2: Cross Northbourne Ave at pedestrian crossing lights
If conditions do not favour use of the canal (heavy rain prior to race) you will have to continue straight ahead on the bike path to cross Northbourne Ave at the lights and pedestrian crossing to continue along the bike path to Dickson.
Continue along the bike path to cross Challis St at the pedestrian crossing and then take care to cross Cowper St at the pedestrian crossing at the traffic lights (Course Marshal). Continue straight onto the bike path that runs between the canal and the houses and follow (without turns) this for approx. the next 1.3K to finish at the 3rd (final) transition area at the middle telephone pole (red tag 37387) in the grassy area on the west side of Majura Ave.