Route: Cathedral Range Southern Loop (VIC, Australia)

Submitted by davidscott79 on Sun, 11/21/2021 - 05:41pm
Location
Victoria, AU
Distance
10.9 km
Vertical Gain
680 m
Description

Commencing at Cooks Mill make your way in a southerly direction along the well formed Tween Spur Road. After about a kilometre of easy walking you will reach the recently opened (2012) Messmate Track to your right.

The Messmate Track winds it way across several wooded gullies connecting the Sugarloaf Saddle visitor area with Cooks Mill Heritage Site and camping area. It is quite a pleasant section of the hike and along its 3km length you will experience a gradual ascent until you reach Sugarloaf Saddle.

From the car park you have two options in order to gain Sugarloaf Peak. You can continue along the main track through attractive open forest to the start of a rocky ridge. The trail climbs the very crest of this ridge to Sugarloaf Peak. The alternative, and route for this hike is to take the lesser traveled Wells Cave track. This is recommended for experienced hikers only as it is steep in places, requires a lot of rock scrambling and unassisted climbing and traverses some exposed ledges en-route. While this track can be challenging in places you will be rewarded with a real sense of adventure and in my opinion is well worth the effort provided you have a head for heights.

On reaching Sugarloaf Peak you will be rewarded with amazing 360 degree views of the valley and ranges below.

From Sugarload Peak, the trail continues north, gradually ascending along the rocky and narrow 'Razorback'. There is a lot of rock hoping, scrambling and abrupt drops along the way. The going is fairly straight forward and the trail easy to follow (just stick to the ridge). Make sure you take the time to stop and appreciate the views as they truly are spectacular. After approximately 2.5km the trail becomes easier and the rocky ridge is replaced by open woodland. Soon after this a junction is reached as you arrive at the open grassy flat called The Farmyard. This is a great spot to stop for lunch or for an overnight camp. It is quite sheltered and protected.

From the Farmyard there is 15 minute side trail which takes you to South Jawbone Peak and another opportunity to take in the rewarding views.

After returning to the Farmyard turn east to follow the Jawbone Creek Track as it slowly descends Jawbone Saddle to the car park below. This section of the trail follows a series of man made steps and is quite easy to follow. Poles may be useful on this section to reduce jarring of your knees.

Continue your descent through Jawbones car park as the trail winds its way through open forest back to Little River and your starting point at Cooks Mill.

Source: https://www.trailhiking.com.au/cathedral-range-southern-circuit/

GPS Track

FKTs