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Great Garden Route MTB rides – Storms River pass

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The Garden Route has terrific off-road riding, with large forestry plantations providing shade. (Photo: Ride24)
The Garden Route has terrific off-road riding, with large forestry plantations providing shade. (Photo: Ride24)

Storms River pass was Thomas Bain’s first work of engineering genius on the Garden Route. And for off-road cyclists, it is one of the must-do Garden Route rides. 

The pass features all those trademark details that Bain’s passes are renowned for, with sweeping curves and high retaining walls. These passes were designed for wagon traffic, and feature a reasonable gradient, making them perfect for cyclists.

As traffic in the area increased, Storms River pass was eventually closed to vehicles and now falls under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Board. This means the pass is still open for runners and cyclists to enjoy, allowing them to do so in a traffic-free environment. 

The pass culminates at one end of Storms River village; an ideal place to park your vehicle or stop for a coffee and bite at one of the quaint cafés or restaurants. 

Storms River pass sees riders pedal among massive indigenous trees of the Tsitsikamma forest. Here, giant elephants once roamed freely, and according to the locals, a few still do. 

Due to this pass's relative remoteness, you will very often only have the massive yellow woods for company. There is something special about sweating it out on a climb in the silence of immense natural beauty, which is the core appeal for many mountain bikers. 

The climb measures 9.3km and 239m in elevation gain, with the lowest point being the cement bridge over the Storms River, mid-way along the pass. This is also a great place to swim in warmer months.

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