The 22km Main Range Track is said to be one of Australia's great day walks, beginning and ending at Charlotte Pass, Kosciusko National Park.
Hikers will follow the challenging Main Range Track, across rivers, through mountain rangers, alongside glacial lakes and to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko.
When we completed the hike in late May 2018, the trail was 70% covered in snow. This made for a challenging yet rewarding and extremely scenic adventure.
hiking the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest mountain
various hiking terrains
easy to access
Distance/ Elevation Gain / Duration/ Terrain
22km/ 1095/ 5-9 hours (depending on fitness level) / various - paved, stepping stones, snow (depending on the season), dirt, gravel and grass.
Details of the walk
We used the following Alltrails track notes
(0km) End of Kosciuszko Road → Snowy River Crossing
Distance: 790m. Time: 18 mins. Altitude increase: +1m. Altitude decrease: -122m. Type: Hard track.
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 besides the ‘Glaciers shaped this ancient landscape’ in formation 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
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.
(0.79km) Snowy River crossing → Int of Main Range and Blue Lake Lookout tracks
Distance: 3.2km. Time: 1 hr 7 mins. Altitude increase: +306m. Altitude decrease: -33m. Type: Hard track
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.
(4.02km) Int of Main Range and Blue Lake Lookout tracks → Blue Lake lookout
Distance: 640m. Time: 14 mins. Altitude increase: +8m. Altitude decrease: -72m. Type: Hard track
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.
(4.66km) Blue Lake lookout → Carruthers Peak
Distance: 2.4km. Time: 49 mins. Altitude increase: +231m. Altitude decrease: -17m. Type: Hard track
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.
(7.05km) Carruthers Peak → Int of northern Lake Albina and Main Range tracks
Distance: 2km. Time: 41 mins. Altitude increase: +25m. Altitude decrease: -102m. Type: Hard track
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.
(9.04km) Int of northern Lake Albina and Main Range tracks → Int of southern Lake Albina and Main Range tracks
Distance: 1.7km. Time: 37 mins. Altitude increase: +63m. Altitude decrease: -108m. Type: Hard track
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).
(10.75km) Int of southern Lake Albina and Main Range tracks → Int of Main Range and Muellers Peak track
Distance: 520m. Time: 11 mins. Altitude increase: +17m. Altitude decrease: -25m. Type: Hard track
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).
(11.27km) Int of Main Range and Muellers Peak track → Muellers Peak
Distance: 790m. Time: 23 mins. Altitude increase: +111m. Altitude decrease: -4m.
Type: Experienced only
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.
Mt Townsend plateau
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.
(13.55km) Townsend plateau → Mt Townsend peak
Distance: 210m. Time: 7 mins. Altitude increase: +41m. Altitude decrease: -0m. Type: Experienced only
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. At the end of this side trip, retrace your steps back to the main walk then Turn right.
(15.81km) Int of Main Range and Muellers Peak track → Int of Main Range track and Kosciuszko walk
Distance: 1.6km. Time: 42 mins. Altitude increase: +162m. Altitude decrease: -9m. Type: Hard track
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.)
(17.45km) Int of Main Range track and Kosciuszko path → Mt Kosciuszko
Distance: 970m. Time: 23 mins. Altitude increase: +76m. Altitude decrease: -15m. Type: Hard track
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.
(18.43km) Mt Kosciuszko → Rawson Pass
Distance: 1.6kmm. Time: 39 mins. Altitude increase: +23m. Altitude decrease: -127m. Type: Hard track
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’.
(20.07km) Rawson Pass → Seamans Hut
Distance: 1.6km. Time: 31 mins. Altitude increase: +15m. Altitude decrease: -114m. Type: Hard track
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.
(21.69km) Seamans Hut → Snowy River bridge
Distance: 1.5km. Time: 27 mins. Altitude increase: +0m. Altitude decrease: -95m. Type: Hard track
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’.
(23.2km) Snowy River bridge → End of Kosciuszko Road
Distance: 4.5km. Time: 1 hr 27 mins. Altitude increase: +73m. Altitude decrease: -164m. Type: Hard track
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).
at least 3.0 litres of water
waterproof hiking boots/shoes
jacket, gloves, beanie, thermals (clothing to suit all conditions)
first aid kit/survival kit
Stay/ Play/ Eat
We stayed in Crackenback which is 13km from Jindabyne. Some of our favorite food and drink spots are below. There are plenty of other options, information @ www.destinationjindabyne.com.au
Coffee - CBD Coffee, Beats & Drinks
Burgers - Burger Biz
Breaky/Lunch - Birchwood Cafe Jindabyne
Healthy Eats and Treats - The Market Jindabyne
Accommodation - Stayz
Enjoy your adventure!