This great overnight walk starts from Charlotte Pass and provides access to some of the best sights around the Kosciuszko National Park. Just a few of the features along this walk include reaching the summits of the two tallest peaks in Australia, looking down on some glacial lakes and crossing the famous Snowy River.
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This walk passes through a remote area and sections have no visible track. At least one person in your group should have training and experience in off track walking and navigation. Even with these notes and a GPS these extra skills and equipment are required.
Cross sectional view of the Main Range Track - Loop from Charlotte Pass camping near Mt Townsend bushwalking track
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Main Range Track - Loop from Charlotte Pass camping near Mt Townsend bushwalking track
Overview of this walks Grading - Based on the AS 2156.1 - 2001
These details are new. This new feature still requires more testing and refining. Please use the 'Walker Feedback' for report specific issues. Please e-mail Matt if you have any general comments. Hope you find it helpful.
Under this standard, a walk is graded based on the most difficult section of the walk.
Very steep (4/6)
Quality of track
Rough unclear track (5/6)
No directional signs (5/6)
Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Forecast, unforecast storms and severe weather likely to have an impact on your navigation and safety (5/6)
No facilities provided (5/6)
*This summary of grading information is new and still in testing
Some more detail of this walks Grading
Here is a bit more details explaining the grading looking at sections of the walk. Gradient
14km of this walk has short steep hills and another 6km is flat with no steps. Whilst another 6km has gentle hills with occasional steps and the remaining 1.6km is very steep.
Quality of track
20km of this walk follows a clear and well formed track or trail and another 4.5km follows a rough unclear track. The remaining (3.5km) follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles.
21km of this walk is clearly signposted and another 4.5km Has no directional signs. The remaining (2.4km) has directional signs at most intersection.
10km of this walk requires no previous bushwalking experience and another 9km requires some bushwalking experience. The remaining (8km) requires a leader a with moderate level of bushwalking experience.
Around 25km of this walk is affected by forecast, unforecast storms and severe weather events that may impact on navigation and safety, whilst the remaining 3km forecast, unforecast storms and severe weather likely to have an impact on your navigation and safety.
14km of this walk has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced) and another 11km is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats). Whilst another 2.3km has no facilities provided and the remaining 790m has limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged).
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This walk leads through an extreme alpine environment and all walkers must be well prepared. During summer, be prepared for both very hot and cold weather, high winds, rain, snow, extreme UV levels and some sections of snow or ice on the ground. Before starting this walk, check advice with Snowy Region Visitor Information Centre (02) 6450 5600, the weather forecast and the snow conditions then change your plans as needed. These notes, grades and walking times have been written for use in the summer months only. Between May and the end of October, this walk is likely to be covered in snow/ice, visitors should carry and be prepared to use snowshoes or cross country skis. When there is a chance of significant snow on the ground, visitors will need particularly strong navigation and snowcraft skills - tracks and signage may not be visible. For most visitors, it is best to consider this walk closed during the colder months.
Between the long weekend in June and October, the road between Perisher Village and Charlotte Pass is closed by the RTA. It is possible to organise oversnow transport.
End of Kosciuszko Road
Snowy River crossing Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 785 m
Time = 18 mins
Climb = 1 m
Descent = -122 m
From Charlotte Pass (at the turning circle at the end of Kosciuszko Rd), this walk follows the 'Main Range Track' - 'Blue Lake Lookout' sign downhill along the wide paved path. The walk winds down past the stone path (on your right) and continues beside the 'Glaciers shaped this ancient landscape' information sign. The path continues down through lightly scattered snow gums to the bottom of the valley, approximately 650m further. Just past the 'From the mountains to the sea' information sign, this walk crosses the Snowy River using the stepping stones and comes to a strip of land between the two creeks. (Crossing the river is dangerous and is not advisable when the water is flowing over the stepping stones).
Snowy River crossing
Alt = 1717 m
At the lowest point of the the Main Range circuit track is the confluence (meeting) of the Snowy River and Club Lake Creek. The walking track uses stones in the river to try to get across with dry feet. Since the track crosses just above the confluence there is an 'island' halfway across. These creeks may become impassable after rain and snow melt. This is lovely place to rest and enjoy the water and valley.
Snowy River crossing
Int of Main Range and Blue Lake Lookout tracks Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 3.23 km
Time = 1 hr 7 mins
Climb = 306 m
Descent = -33 m
Veer right: From between the two creeks, this walk heads north along the wide track to cross Club Lake Creek using the stepping stones. (The creek may not be safe to cross when water covers the stepping stones). The walk then follows the wide, paved track fairly steeply up the hill. After a short time, the track becomes gravel and continues up the hill for about 400m further before passing a 'Mountains of Soil' information sign, where the track soon becomes less steep. After about 1.5km, the track passes a 'Created by glaciers' information sign and reveals some views down to Hedley Tarn (on your right). The track continues up the hill and between the granite boulders to then head down the other side of the ridge. The walk leads down to rock-hop across Carruthers Creek, then follows the wide, paved path up the hill, passing the 'Remnants of an ancient sea' information sign and coming to a paved area, with a view to Blue Lake and some information signs marking a three-way intersection.
Int of Main Range and Blue Lake Lookout tracks
Blue Lake lookout Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 643 m
Time = 14 mins
Climb = 8 m
Descent = -72 m
Turn right: From the paved area, this walk follows the dirt track next to the stone seat, heading east towards Blue Lake. The rocky track winds down and around the northern side of the ridge to a platform with an information sign and a fantastic view of Blue Lake.
Blue Lake lookout
Hedley Tarn Optional sidetrip: Track: Moderate - bushtrack,undefined,undefined
Length = 1.44 km
Time = 29 mins
Climb = 23 m
Descent = -103 m
Continue straight: From the lookout platform, this walk heads east down the rocky bush track to the bottom of the valley at the eastern end of the lake, and into the shallow gully, where the walk comes to the intersection of the Little Twynam track a short while later. Veer right: From the south eastern tip of the lake, this walk follows the Blue Lake creek into the shallow gully, where it comes to the intersection of the Little Twynam route about 150m downstream. Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the bush track heading south-east, down-stream alongside the creek flowing out of Blue Lake to Hedley Tarn. The walk heads through to the southern end of the shallow gully and around the western side of Hedley Tarn, coming to the southern side. (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then continue straight to continue along this walk.)
Alt = 1844 m
Hedley Tarn is a beautiful glacial lake just south of Blue Lake, from which you can see right across the valley to the end of Kosciuszko Road at Charlotte Pass and is well worth the trip down from Blue Lake.
Blue Lake lookout
Carruthers Peak Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 2.39 km
Time = 49 mins
Climb = 231 m
Descent = -17 m
Turn around: From the platform, the track heads west, uphill away from Blue Lake. The rocky track climbs up around the side of the hill, coming to a paved area with an information sign, stone seat and an intersection with the Main Range track. Veer right: From the intersection, this walk heads west, uphill away from Blue Lake. The walk initially heads along a short section of paved path before continuing along the wide gravel track. The track winds gently uphill for a while, keeping the wide valley to your left. The walk comes to a saddle and a three-way intersection, marked with a 'Main Range Track' signpost. Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Main Range Track' sign across the saddle then uphill along the clear track. The track winds up along the ridge and in time comes to a rocky clearing on the eastern side of Carruthers Peak (where a short detour will reveal views down to Club Lake). Here the walk bends right and follows the clear track as it winds up the hill to the views at the top of Carruthers Peak.
Alt = 2139 m
Carruthers Peak is a prominent mountain that is found along the Main Range track, from which you can see great views down over Club Lake and out across the valley to Charlotte Pass. Carruthers Peak was named after the NSW Minister for Lands and Premier, Joseph Carruthers. This name was given in 1991 by Richard Helms, who had previously named it Crummer.
Int of northern Lake Albina and Main Range tracks Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 2 km
Time = 41 mins
Climb = 25 m
Descent = -102 m
Continue straight: From the top of Carruthers Peak, this walk follows the clear track west as it winds down the ridge. After about 50m, the track passes an 'I30' survey marker (more good views) where the track bends left and follows the stone path and steps down the hill. At the end of the stone path, the track bends left and heads down the hill, over a few lengths of metal grate and comes to a saddle with good views down to Club Lake (on your left). The walk then continues across the saddle, following the clear track to soon pass the 'Rarest Alpine Plant Community' information sign. Heading around the side of the hill (keeping the valley to your right), the walk then comes to another rocky saddle. About 320m beyond this saddle, this track leads to a very faint intersection where the ridge (that leads to the northern end of Albina Lake) on the right meets the main track.
Int of northern Lake Albina and Main Range tracks
Int of southern Lake Albina and Main Range tracks Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 1.7 km
Time = 37 mins
Climb = 63 m
Descent = -108 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, the walk follows the gravel Main Range track south, keeping the valley and Albina Lake to your right. The track heads downhill and then winds around beside a rocky saddle (a short side trip to the left over the small rise reveals some views into the valley). This walk continues along the clear track as it traverses fairly gently around the side of the very steep hill. In a few places, the track has been cut into the rock and provides great views down into the Albina Lake - take care not to slip. The walk continues to another large saddle and just as the track starts to dip down past the saddle, the track comes to a faint intersection with an old management trail (leading to Lake Albina, on your right).
Int of southern Lake Albina and Main Range tracks
Int of Main Range and Muellers Peak track Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 523 m
Time = 11 mins
Climb = 17 m
Descent = -25 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, the walk follows the rock-paved Main Range track south. The track steadily winds around the side of the hill (keeping the large valley to your left). After heading between a rocky outcrop, the track becomes gravel and starts to head over the ridge before gently winding down the hill. Just before flattening out on the large saddle, the track comes to a faint intersection (with the Muellers Peak and Mt Townsend tracks on your right) marked with a rock cairn (on your right).
Int of Main Range and Muellers Peak track
Muellers Peak Route: Hard - undefined
Length = 794 m
Time = 23 mins
Climb = 111 m
Descent = -4 m
Turn sharp right: From the intersection, the walk leaves the main path and heads north, off track, following the top of the ridge line. The walk climbs moderately steeply up the grassy hill. Near the top the walk comes to a rocky outcrop and the top of Muellers peak.
Townsend plateau Route: Hard - undefined
Length = 1.49 km
Time = 36 mins
Climb = 104 m
Descent = -59 m
Continue straight: From Muellers peak, this walk heads north, down the rocky ridge. The walk continues along the ridgeline working a way around the many boulders then around another smaller peak to come to a saddle and minor track intersection (with a pad that leads down to Lake Albina). Veer left: From the saddle, this walk heads north-west up the ridge line, keeping Lake Albina on your right (as it soon goes out of view) to climb up the hill. After a short time the walk finds a well worm foot pad which leads up between a few rocky outcrops to the large flat saddle between Mt Townsend and Alice Rawson Peak.
Mt Townsend plateau
Alt = 2161 m
This bush campsite is in the saddle between Mt Townsend and Alice Rawson Peak. The large, reasonably flat grassy area with a scattering of boulders has no facilities or water supply. Camping is not permitted in areas that drain into the glacial lakes, so only camp and toilet on the north side of the saddle (this limits the amount of nutrients ending up in Lake Albina). There is some shelter from south-westerly winds, but the campsite is exposed to the elements. An alternate campsite at Wilkensons Creek to the south may provide more shelter.
Mt Townsend peak Optional sidetrip: Route: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 207 m
Time = 7 mins
Climb = 41 m
Descent = 0 m
Turn left: From the saddle/plateau, this walk heads west, following the well worn foot pad towards the top of Mt Townsend. The pad leads around to the north eastern side of the peak, over a few boulders to find remains of an old building and a tall rocky outcrop. Here the walk scrambles up the rocks to find a concrete pillar and great views at the peak of Mt Townsend. (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then turn right to continue along this walk.)
Alt = 2199 m
Mt Townsend is the second highest peak on the mainland of Australia and arguably the more impressive out of it and Kosciuszko. This point of view started the tradition of walkers climbing to the peak, putting a rock they'd find at the bottom in their pack and adding it to the top, in an attempt to make it the highest peak instead of Kosciuszko.
A little known fact is that Mt Townsend was once called Mt Kosciuszko when it was originally thought that it was the highest peak, but when various measurements showed that the now named Kosciuszko was slightly higher, the NSW Lands department decided it would be easier to swap the names around instead of re-educating the public.
Int of Main Range and Muellers Peak track Route: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 2.25 km
Time = 56 mins
Climb = 45 m
Descent = -196 m
Turn around: From the saddle/plateau between Mt Townsend and Alice Rawson Peak, this walk heads south-east following the well worn foot-pad. The pad soon crosses a small creek and leads down the hill, tending right along the side of the ridge. The pad leads just below the saddle north of Muellers Peak, then continues to head fairly gently downhill around the side of Muellers Peak. Keeping Wilkinsons Creek valley below to your right, this walk heads around the side of the hill, crossing a few gullies before gently climbing up to the northern end of a large saddle where this walk comes to the gravel Main Range Track.
Int of Main Range and Muellers Peak track
Int of Main Range track and Kosciuszko walk Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 1.65 km
Time = 42 mins
Climb = 162 m
Descent = -9 m
Veer right: From the intersection, this walk heads south along the main track to the low point in the saddle (where there is a faint intersection with a pad leading down to Wilkinsons Creek on your right). Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads south along the clear track, climbing up out of the saddle and along the side of the hill, keeping the valley to your left. The walk heads up many stone steps for about 600m, then flattens out for a little while before coming to a clear and signposted three-way intersection. (Here, the track on the right leads up to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko.)
Int of Main Range track and Kosciuszko path
Mt Kosciuszko Track: Hard - footpath
Length = 972 m
Time = 23 mins
Climb = 76 m
Descent = -15 m
Turn sharp right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Mt Kosciuszko' sign uphill along the upper track. This track winds steadily up and around the peak of the mountain, passing a stone-paved section of track, and also a metal grate before climbing a few steps to the cairn at the peak of Mt Kosciuszko.
Alt = 2222 m
Mt Kosciuszko is the highest peak on the Australian continent, at 2228m above sea level. It was named by the Polish explorer Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki and named in honour of the Polish national hero General Tadeusz Kościuszko. Now a popular tourist attraction, thousands of people walk up to the summit each year. On a clear day, the 360-degree views from the summit across the roof of Australia are fantastic. There are higher mountains elsewhere on Australian territory. 'The highest mountains in Australian Antarctic Territory are Mt McClintock (3490 meters) and Mt Menzies (3355 meters).' .
Rawson Pass Track: Hard - footpath
Length = 1.65 km
Time = 39 mins
Climb = 23 m
Descent = -127 m
Turn around: From the cairn at the peak of Mt Kosciuszko, this walk heads down the steps and past the information sign. The walk heads gently downhill along the gravel track then over a metal grate and a stone path, where the gravel path then leads the rest of the way around the side of the peak to come to the signposted intersection with the 'Main Range Track'. Veer right: From the intersection, this walk follows the gravel track towards 'Rawson Pass' gently downhill, keeping the main valley to your left. The track almost immediately passes an 'Alpine Walks' information sign and map as it continues south. After about 500m, the track becomes a stone path that leads a little further to the clearly signposted three-way intersection at 'Rawson Pass'.
Alt = 2119 m
Rawson Pass is where the old Kosciuszko Road, from Charlotte Pass, meets the metal walkway from Thredbo. It is home to highest public toilet in Australia, this recently-added facility is perfectly positioned for those taking the walk up to the top of Kosciuszko. Rawson Pass is well signposted and 500m south east of Mt Kosciuszko (by straight line). There is also a place for to park mountain bikes for those cycling along the old road from Charlotte Pass.
Seamans Hut Track: Hard - servicetrail
Length = 1.62 km
Time = 31 mins
Climb = 15 m
Descent = -114 m
Veer left: From the intersection at Rawson Pass, this walk follows the 'Seamans Hut' sign along the stone path. The walk soon passes the bicycle parking area then Australia's highest toilet block (on your right). The walk then continues along the management trail as it winds down along the side of the hill to a gap and the clearly signposted 'Seamans Hut' on your left.
Alt = 2020 m
This hut was erected in 1929, after a young skier named Laurie Seaman perished in a blizzard when he was separated from his group. The hut was built using money donated by Seaman's parents, for the use of those who might need emergency shelter in the mountains. It was renovated in 1938 due to fire. Seamans Hut is a 7m x3m granite stone building with a wood stove, although there is little wood in the area.More info
Snowy River bridge Track: Hard - servicetrail
Length = 1.5 km
Time = 27 mins
Climb = 0 m
Descent = -95 m
Continue straight: From 'Seamans Hut', this walk follows the management trail as it winds down the hill. After about 450m, the trail passes a flat clearing with views (on your left) where the trail bends right to head down to the valley. After a little while, the trail crosses the concrete bridge over the signposted 'Snowy River'.
Snowy River bridge
End of Kosciuszko Road Track: Hard - servicetrail
Length = 4.48 km
Time = 1 hr 27 mins
Climb = 73 m
Descent = -164 m
Continue straight: From the bridge, this walk follows the management trail east, passing the 'Snowy River' sign. The trail soon bends left, coming to the un-signposted concrete Merritts Creek bridge. Continue straight: From the bridge, this walk heads uphill along the management trail, keeping the main line of snow poles to your left. The old road soon leads past a 'CP 4' sign (on your left), over the ridge line and down the other side. The trail gently winds down along the side of the hill, enjoying views of the Snowy River and valley to your left. The old road passes a few creeks and more 'CP' signs along the way. A little while after the 'CP 1' sign, the management trail enters a nice grove of snow gum trees then heads up a small rise to find the turning circle at the end of Kosciuszko Rd at Charlotte Pass (with the toilet block to your right).
Fire Danger This walk passes Monaro Alpine fire area which currently has a LOW MODERATE rating and No fire ban in place. (Tomorrow the Fire Danger Rating is LOW MODERATE, No fire ban.) (Downloaded 4 years ago) This walk passes Southern Slopes fire area which currently has a LOW MODERATE rating and No fire ban in place. (Tomorrow the Fire Danger Rating is LOW MODERATE, No fire ban.) (Downloaded 4 years ago) Please Note: Each park may have its own fire ban, this rating is only valid for today and is based on information from the RFS Please check the RFS Website for more information.
Region: South Coast & Highlands Park feesCampingFacilities Current Park Closure information for Kosciuszko National Park Closure information last downloaded Sunday 27th of September 2015 07:00 AM Closed areas: Thredbo Diggings campground closed to caravans Thredbo Diggings campground is currently closed to all caravans and camping trailers due to continuing wet conditions. There will be limited sites available for tents. Caravans and camping trailer sites are available at Ngarigo, Island Bend and Tom Groggin campgrounds. For more information please phone (02) 6450 5620.
Closed areas: Island Bend campground partially closed due to maintenance Partial closure of Island Bend campground due to maintenance. Camp sites are now available at the lower camp at Island Bend in Kosciuszko National Park. Other sites have been fenced and will remain closed for 6 to 12 months following capping works to ameliorate the asbestos risk and to allow for revegetation. Please observe all signs and closures. For more information, please contact Andrew Miller at the NPWS Jindabyne Office or on 0427 437391 or visit the NSW National Parks safety page. Download a map of the closed area.
Closed areas: Winter road closures The following roads will be closed until the October long weekend, unless weather allows them to be opened in late September:
Behrs Flat trail
Blue Waterholes trail
Broken Cart trail
Bullocks Hill trail
Cabramurra - Khancoban Road (KNP5)
Four Mile Hill trail
Geehi Dam Road (Olsen's Road)
Goobragandra Powerline Road
Kings Cross Road
Long Plain Road
Major Clews Road
Perisher to Charlotte Pass
Pocket Saddle Road
Port Phillip trail
Tantangra Dam Road
Three Mile Dam access trails
Davies Plain track
and all associated subsidiary roads and access trails. The Murray River crossing into Victoria at Tom Groggin campground is closed until 29 October 2015 due to winter road closures by Parks Victoria. There will be no access into Davies Plain, Mt Pinnibar and Tom Groggin fire trails in the Victorian Alpine National Park. Penalties apply for non-compliance. For more information, please contact the NPWS Tumut Visitor Centre on (02) 6497 7025 or the NPWS Snowy Region Visitor Centre on (02) 6450 5600, or visit the NSW National Parks safety page.
Closed areas: Thredbo Valley track reopening Sunday 27 September 2015 Sections 1 and 2 (Thredbo to Ngarigo) of the Thredbo Valley track will be reopening on Sunday 27 September 2015. The track from The Diggings to Skitube- Bullocks Flat, Bullocks Hut and Lake Crackenback Resort will remain open. The Bullocks and Muzzlewood tracks will also remain open. For more information, please contact the Snowy Region Visitor Centre, Jindabyne on (02) 6450 5600 or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines.