Mount Rufus Circuit

6 h, 9 h 30 min to 2 days

19.2 km
circuit

↑ 776 m
↓ -776 m

Hard track
Starting behind the Visitor Centre at the end of Lake St Clair Road, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, this circuit walk takes you to the summit of Mount Rufus via the Watersmeet, Mount Rufus and Shadow Lake tracks. This long walk takes in a variety of vegetation types, including myrtle beech, tall eucalypt woodlands, snow gums, alpine heath and grasslands. Summiting Mount Rufus (1416m) provides panoramic views of the Tasmanian Central Highlands. Follow the Watersmeet Track for about 400m until reaching the Mount Rufus Track junction. From here, it's about 7.5 km to the summit. The track leads directly ahead to the mountain ridge, through sub alpine snow gum forest. On a clear day, the summit provides sweeping views over Lake St Clair, Mt Olympus, Frenchmans Cap and the headwaters of the Franklin River. The walk returns down the ridge line that tracks north towards Mt Hugel, and then through Richea Valley (named after the Richea pandanifolia, a tall palm-like plant that grows here). On the other side of the valley the track goes by the edge of Shadow Lake, where you can take a side trip to Forgotten Lake and Little Hugel, or continue back to Lake St Clair. There is also a campsite near Shadow Lake for you to rest. This is a challenging walk, with steep climbs and some rough terrains. A large section of the return is on boardwalks. With an altitude of 1416m, Mount Rufus is sometimes subject to severe weather, so come prepared. Let us begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.
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Safer Bushwalks
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
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Getting There
Transport options and directions
Start (-42.1164503,146.1744949)
Mode Car
DirectionsFrom Lyell Highway, A10, Derwent Bridge.
  • Turn on to Lake St Clair Road, C193 then drive for 5 km
  • Turn left and drive for another 325 m
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the car park at the end of Lake St Claire Road (near the visitor centre), head towards the said visitor centre. Cross the road via the crosswalk and head along the ramp. Then head down the small set of steps and keep right. When you come to the picnic tables outside (to your left), turn left and head along the concrete path. Keep left at the intersection shortly after, following the "All walking tracks" sign. About 130 metres later, keep right at the Y intersection. After another 400 metres, turn left at the 3-way intersection (following the signage for Mt Rufus) to continue along Mount Rufus Circuit (clockwise).....
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
There is a car park (about 55 m back from the start).
After 85 m pass the "Visitor Centre" (10 m on your left).
This sign is wheelchair accessible.
After another 20 m pass the toilet (10 m on your right).
After another 45 m pass the restaurant (15 m on your right).
Turn left.
After another 15 m continue straight.
After another 120 m continue straight, to head along Watersmeet Track.
Keep right.
After another 145 m continue straight, to head along Watersmeet Track.
After another 265 m pass the sign.
At the intersection of Watersmeet Track & Mount Rufus Circuit turn left, to head along Mount Rufus Circuit (a walking track).
After another 235 m (at the intersection of Mount Rufus Circuit & Larmairremener tableti) continue straight, to head along Mount Rufus Circuit.
After another 3.8 km (at the intersection of Shadow Lake Link Track & Mount Rufus Circuit) turn left, to head along Mount Rufus Circuit.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. An optional side trip to Gingerbread Hut. To start this optional side trip turn left here. On returning from this side trip continue straight when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 3.3 km (at the intersection of Mount Rufus Circuit & Gingerbread Track) turn right, to head along Mount Rufus Circuit.
After another 8 m come to the "Mount Rufus".
After another 4.1 km cross the ford.
After another 870 m (at the intersection of Shadow Lake Circuit & Shadow Lake Link Track) continue straight, to head along Shadow Lake Circuit.
After another 370 m cross the bridge (about 10 m long)
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. An optional side trip to Little Hugel Mountain. To start this optional side trip turn sharp left here. On returning from this side trip turn around when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 125 m (at the intersection of Shadow Lake Circuit & Shadow Lake to Forgotten Lake) continue straight, to head along Shadow Lake Circuit.
After another 4.1 km cross the bridge (about 7 m long)
At the intersection of Larmairremener tableti & Shadow Lake Circuit turn left, to head along Shadow Lake Circuit.
After another 140 m (at the intersection of Watersmeet Track & Shadow Lake Circuit) turn right, to head along Watersmeet Track (a vehicle track).
After another 740 m (at the intersection of Watersmeet Track & Fergie's Paddock Track) continue straight, to head along Watersmeet Track.
After another 20 m come to the "Fergy's Paddock camp site" (125 m on your left).
After another 80 m (at the intersection of Mount Rufus Circuit & Watersmeet Track) continue straight, to head along Watersmeet Track.
After another 265 m continue straight, to head along Watersmeet Track.
After another 145 m continue straight.
After another 150 m pass the car park (75 m on your right).
Turn right.
About 175 m past the end is "Lake St Clair Lodge".
There is a fee to use this campsite. This campsite has showers.
Then pass the "Visitor Centre" (7 m on your right).
This sign is wheelchair accessible.
After another 35 m come to the end.

An optional side trip to Gingerbread Hut.
Turn map Directions & comments
At the intersection of Mount Rufus Circuit & Gingerbread Track Start heading along Gingerbread Track (a walking track).
Mount Rufus (about 8 m back from the start).
After another 560 m come to the end.
"Gingerbread Hut".
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 570 m to the main route.

An optional side trip to Little Hugel Mountain.
Turn map Directions & comments
At the intersection of Shadow Lake Circuit & Shadow Lake to Forgotten Lake Start heading along Shadow Lake to Forgotten Lake (a walking track).
After 540 m come to the camp site (30 m on your right).
After another 30 m cross the bridge (about 70 m long)
After another 1.8 km come to the end.
About 15 m past the end is "Little Hugel".
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 2.5 km to the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Mount Rufus Circuit


Grading
Class 4/6
Hard track
Length 19.2 km
Time 6 h, 9 h 30 min to 2 days
Quality of track Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Signage Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
Experience Required Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Weather Foretasted & unexpected storms and severe weather may impact on navigation and safety (4/6)

Some facilities on route
Camp site: There are 3 on route, on average they are 5.1 km apart with the largest gap of 14 km.

Hut: There is one 8 km (plus an extra 1.5 km along side route) from the start.

Toilet: There is one 50 m from the start.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Toilet
50 m[toilet]
Hut
8 kmGingerbread Hut
Camp site
13.5 km[camp site]
Camp site
18.5 kmFergy's Paddock camp site
Camp site
19.3 kmLake St Clair Lodge
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