A difficult but completely rewarding day hike and rock scramble that offers some of the best views within two hours of Melbourne.
The Cathedral Range State Park is notorious for its challenging day walks and rock-climbing. This tough but fantastic day walk starts at the Sugarloaf Saddle Carpark at the southern end of the park. The carpark here has picnic facilities and toilets that can be used prior to starting the walk.
From the carpark, head up Canyon Track to begin the ascent to Sugarloaf Peak. While initially easy, Canyon Track quickly turns into more of a rock scramble requiring the use of both hands and feet. Throughout the ascent, the views to the east and south are phenomenal. In some sections, special attention is required to follow the orange track markers as there is no discernible path across the rock faces.
Reaching the peak offers fantastic 360-degree views across the many valleys and peaks in the area. This location is regarded as one of the best views within two hours of Melbourne, so the tough ascent is well and truly worth the effort.
From Sugarloaf Peak, follow the aptly named Razorback Track north along the main ridge. The track here alternates between a worn path and a scramble over rocks that requires good concentration to pass safely. Along this section of the track, keep an eye out for wildlife like skinks, copperhead snakes and peregrine falcons.
After following the steady descent along the Razorback, the track begins to weave to the western side of the range through forest before opening up onto The Farmyard campground. Here, there is ample camping space for those wanting an overnight break from the tough walk. There is also a short detour to the east to the summit of South Jawbone Peak, which offers some fantastic views back toward Sugarloaf Peak.
From The Farmyard, follow Jawbone Peak Track down off the range to the Jawbone Carpark. This section of the walk follows a well maintained, but steep downhill path. From Jawbone Carpark, organised walkers can have someone meet them with a car for pickup, otherwise they can follow Cerberus Road to the south back to the parking at Sugarloaf Saddle.
The hard climb to this peak offers some of the best views within two hours of Melbourne.
The climb up Canyon Track involves some difficult rock scrambling.
The trail along Razorback Track offers panoramic views on both sides of the sharp-topped ridge.
Large sandstone rock faces line the track on the eastern side, offering protection from the sun and some interesting viewing.
The bridge across Jawbone Creek takes walkers through rainforest, a marked difference from the drier vegetation at the top of the Cathedral Range.
The carparking and other facilities at Sugarloaf Saddle make for a great place to begin walking from.
This walk was completed by Wild Melbourne, a not-for-profit specialising in nature engagement and dedicated to connecting people with nature. Please visit our website to find out more.