Our little mountain offers some of the best bushwalking near Melbourne, with an extensive number of well marked, well-maintained hiking trails that make exploring Victoria’s alpine landscape easy. Well-marked and well-maintained, these trails are full of spectacular views and include plenty of places for a relaxing picnic.
Lake Mountain Summit Walk
Easy: 40 minutes return, steep areas.
An easy walk with plenty of spectacular views on offer, the Summit Walk is a great one for young families. With sections that take you through snowgum woodland and stops along the way that look out north to the Alps and south to Marysville and Melbourne, it is a fantastic addition to any big day
Echo Flat Walk
An easy interpretative walk along the ski trails. This walk starts at Lake Mountain Village. Follow Echo Flat trail and you will soon enter the Snow Gum woodland and see firsthand how well the snow gums are recovering since the 2009 fires.
Interpretative signs along this walk outline the history of the area and the remarkable way this environment regenerates after fire.
At the top of the hill, you’ll arrive at the Snow Gauge. From here you can look out across the headwaters of the Taggerty River and the Echo Flat heath land and moss beds. This is an area of high conservation significance and is listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). Late spring and summer are ideal times to visit to enjoy the profusion of stunning wildflowers.
Once you arrive at the Camp, return on Snow Gum and Home Trails.
Alternatively, you could choose a longer walk on the ski trail network.
This walk leaves from the south east corner of the Lake Mountain Village Car Park.
Interpretative signs along the walk highlight the impacts of both the 1939 and the 2009 fires on the Lake Mountain plateau. The signs identify the regrowth Alpine Ash trees from 1939, the new saplings growing since the 2009 fires and relics from the timber logging that occurred here after the 1939 fires.
The track leaves from the south side of the Lake Mountain Village Car Park and soon becomes a gentle incline to the summit. Although predominantly through Snow Gum woodland, Alpine Ash and Mountain Hickory Wattle are also abundant. All were severely impacted by the 2009 fires but the initial strong recovery has now become a battle for survival as the seedlings turn to trees and compete with each other for nutrients and light.
As the track approaches the summit there is a signposted short detour to the Marysville Lookout and some great views on a clear day. Retrace your steps back to the main track and continue to the summit.
From the summit take the track signposted to Alps Lookout. It’s a pleasant stroll through Snow Gum woodland and granite outcrops to a wonderful view of the Victorian Alps on a clear day and also a view of Jubilee Ridge where a small section of the resort escaped the fire. This ridge is the location of some of the few Leadbeaters’ Possums known to have survived the fires.
The next viewpoint is Sherlock Lookout, a 150m deviation from the loop, with a picnic table and views towards Melbourne. Turn around here and retrace your steps and follow the signs to Taggerty Valley Lookout, another rocky outcrop with views of Marysville and the Melbourne CBD on a clear day.
From here the track meanders across the plateau to the summit, and from there, pick up your original track to return to the Car Park.
Boundary Hut ruin & Keppel Hut
8km one way
A longer walk, from Gerraty’s Car Park, use the ski trail network to access the track to Keppel Hut. The quickest route is part Melbourne lookout to Triangle junction then to Panorama and Hut trails from where the track to Keppel Hut is clearly marked. This track descends quite steeply in parts, with some spectacular views out towards Mt Margaret. Keppel Hut is a popular camping spot on the headwaters of the Keppel Hut Creek.
Bjarne K Dahl Memorial Boardwalk
250m one way
A wheelchair-accessible boardwalk at Snow Hill car park, where the first skiers on Lake Mountain tried their skills in the 1920’s.
Signage along this interpretative walk outlines the characteristics of Snow Gums and Alpine Ash, the two eucalypts that dominate this plateau, as well as the skiing history of the area and the impacts of fire on these forests.
Snowy Hill Walk
4km walk one way
This walk is different in nature to walk higher on the plateau as it passes exclusively through forested areas. The track leaves the upper Snowy Hill Car Park through the gate from where signage soon directs you to turn right and climb gently up onto the ridge leading to Snowy Hill through Snow Gum and Alpine Ash. You will see signs, pole numbers and arrows along the track, these are relics from an old ski trail, ignore them and follow the main trail.
You will see many new ash seedlings now well above abundant wattle regrowth. The wattles are currently receding and the Alpine Ash are winning the battle for survival now occurring amongst the fire regrowth. Once at the top of the ridge you will notice a fine stand of Alpine Ash that was not burnt in 2009.
As the descent to Arnold Gap starts the track becomes damper and you’ll see a beautiful stand of Myrtle Beech to your left. These trees are a Gondwana relic surviving in rainforest gullies in Eastern Australia. As the descent becomes steeper it drops down to reveal stunning vies of Mt Juliet, Mt St Leonard and Mt Monda.
The dead tree trunks soon finish and Mountain Hickory Wattle begins to dominate as a result of the special fire history of this location. Burnt in 1926 and again in 1939 (and in 2009!) the early fires were too close together for the emerging Alpine Ash seedlings to have matured enough to produce seed when the second fire killed them. So this area has been dominated by wattles ever since, until 2009 when new seed was blown into the area and now new Alpine Ash can be seen emerging.
Just before you arrive at Arnold Gap, you’ll see a number of impressive old Alpine Ash trees that have survived both the 1939 and 2009 fires.
4km one way
Heading south from the Arnold Gap Car Park, sharing part of the LM2M MTB trail, this walk passes through stunning tall forests of Alpine Ash as it climbs towards Mt Arnold. This was the route taken by the first skiers who in the 1920’s carried their skis from the Woods Point Road, for a day’s skiing at Snowy Hill. They were a hardy group of enthusiasts!
Sections of this walk follow the Strategic Fire Break, constructed after the 2009 fires, as a future protection for Melbourne’s water supply. In places the track deviates from the actual fire break to ensure that it has a better flow and does not descend too steeply for mountain bike riders. Walkers should also use these sections to ensure they stay on the route and also as the walking surface is usually better on the formed trail.
A highlight of this walk is the ‘tunnel’ section where the canopy of Mountain Bitter-pea almost encloses the track as it follows along an old logging road. you are very likely to hear, and maybe even see Lyrebirds along this section. The track descends steeply to join the Lake Mountain Road just before the Lake Mountain Ticket Box.
Bjarne K Dahl Memorial Walk
Easy: 20 minutes return, flat & mobility-friendly.
Filled with interpretative signs, this boardwalk allows visitors of all ages and abilities to appreciate the splendour of our little mountain’s sub-alpine environment. It is the ideal way to begin understanding the ecology of bushfire in the Australian landscape while also learning more about the history of the local area.
What you’ll need
Whether you’re going for a short stroll or off on a big hike, it’s a good idea to take some essentials with you. We suggest additional clothes to keep you warm and dry if the weather turns nasty, a hat and sunscreen to help stop the sunburn, and a bottle of water plus something to eat in case you need them.