Red Hill Nature Reserve

10 Jan

I love Canberra in January. Maybe I’m making too much of it, but I love the (relatively) quiet roads, and that it feels like the few of us around have the city to ourselves. Most of all, I love the days that seem to stretch out – getting home from work and still having hours of daylight left. It’s the perfect opportunity to get out and explore some more walks which are right on our doorstep. (Here’s one we did this time last year.)

Just like the shock I felt I caused with admitting I’d never walked up Mt Ainslie, I’d also never walked up Red Hill. Admittedly, we try to find access to walk about Mt Mugga Mugga (Red Hill’s neighbour) but struggle to work out where to park, so Red Hill seems the natural second choice.

Unlike the obscure access to Mugga Mugga, there are plenty of access points to Red Hill. We park at Flinders/Mugga Way intersection and begin what I expect to slowly meander to the top.

Beginning our walk from Flinders/Mugga car park

Beginning our walk from Flinders/Mugga car park

Our change in plans means I haven’t studied the map closely – or, more truthfully, at all.

We come across a few stairs. No biggie.

Easily conquered

Easily conquered

The path also intersects with the Canberra Centenary Trail  which keeps to side of the hill, and we see a few signs pointing either side (the summit of Red Hill is also an official ‘detour’ of the Canberra Centenary Trail).

We don't follow the Centenary Trail. We're heading to the top!

We don’t follow the Centenary Trail. We’re heading to the top!

This is the way!

This is the way!

There seem to be a few more stairs than I would have expected. Fortunately, there are plenty of bench seats to enjoy the view, which starts to spread out before us as we gain height quickly (I guess thanks to those pesky stairs).

One of many rest stops

One of many rest stops

This is a shorter route than I anticipate, and as a result there are a lot more stairs then I anticipate…

Never ending!

Never ending!

Be warned… if you want to take a rest thanks to all these stairs, watch where you put feet.

Plenty of ant nests!

Plenty of ant nests!

More steps, more rest seats

More steps, more rest seats

Each time we encounter someone coming down (or, let’s face it, passing me), they say hello! One fellow is kind enough to say, “It’s cruel!” I can only wheeze out a smile in response. I’m not sure if it’s the time of the year or simply the location, but this is the friendliest walk I’ve ever been on.

Look, it’s not that bad. It’s steep, but short – kinda like Booroomba Rocks. It’s still a slog, and I’m gasping for breath at the top, but it’s probably more of an indication of my fitness than the walk’s difficulty.

Informative sign at the top

Informative sign at the top

Lovely views over Canberra

Lovely views over Canberra

Looking towards Woden

Looking towards Woden, with Davidson Trig in the distance

We make the decision to follow the saddle down and up again to what I believe to be Davidson Trig. No stairs this time – just very steep trails, which are a bit slip-slidey.

Looking down the saddle as we head up to Davidson trig - to the right of the bottom of the saddle is an easy going trail which takes us back to the car

Looking down the saddle as we head up to Davidson trig – to the right of the bottom of the saddle is an easy going trail which takes us back to the car

It’s another slog – and, being a baldy, it’s windy up top!

View from Davidson (?) trig with Mt Ainslie in the distance

View from Davidson (?) trig with Mt Ainslie in the distance

Long grasses frame a lovely vista

Long grasses frame a lovely vista

We head back down the saddle and turn right, avoiding having to go up the hill again. It’s an easy stroll down a much gentler path, and my knees thank me. It pops us out near the Centenary Trail, and the car park appears. For a good workout, take the stairs, and for something easy on the knees/not slippery coming down, take this path.

WALK SNAPSHOT

Time required: This was a bit under an hour… if we’d just done up the stairs and back and skipped Davidson Trig, it would have been much quicker.

Height: 750m – an elevation gain of about 130m?

Distance: I won’t lead you astray by guessing; I’m simply not sure.

Views: Good-excellent. They’re lovely views – Boyfriend thinks they’re some of the best in Canberra – but you can’t quite see everything that matters.

Flora and fauna excitement level: Medium – there are lots of birds and plants. The ACT Govt also provides this handy brochure as a guide!

Effort expended: Medium. It’s a steady workout but it pays dividends.

Quality of track: High, particularly the stairs. The quality is a little more concerning heading to Davidson Trig – you want to be steady on your feet, or not afraid or sliding/hitting your bottom.

Value for effort: High. Like most of the Canberra Nature Walks, I wish I’d discovered it sooner.

Date: Monday, 6 February 2013

Where: There are many access points, but we park on Mugga Way, where Flinders Way intersects, in Red Hill

Cost: Free

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile

Want more? There’s a handy dandy map from TAMS, as well as the aforementioned brochure.

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4 Responses to “Red Hill Nature Reserve”

  1. Alison (from Chifley) January 10, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    We approached from the northern end a couple of weekends ago near Melbourne Ave side which is where the signposts from the centenary trail take you on the detour. It pops you out just near the car parking bit where you can look down on Parliament House. I can recommend that walk if you want to do it again.

  2. whisperinggums January 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    Having just spent a few days walking in Kosciuzko National Park, as we do annually, I feel your pain, particularly re steps. Must do this Red Hill walk. Somehow I haven’t walked many of the ACT hills besides a few in Namadgi.

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