Backstairs Track - Little Joe Loop - Tramway
  • Length: 12km

  • Duration: 4hrs

  • Grade: 4

  • Style: Circuit

  • Start: Warburton Main Street

  • End: Warburton Main Street

  • Location: Warburton

  • Closest Town: Warburton

  • Distance from CBD: 75km

  • State: VIC

  • Latitude: -37.75470193

  • Longitude: 145.6888072

Keep the Trail Access info current...

Winding Road
Large Car Park
2WD Access
Bitumen Road

Select items to indicate conditions for access to the trail.

2WD Access

4WD Access

Public Transport

Bitumen Road

Gravel Road

Steep Road

Winding Road

Speed Bumps

Vehicle Ford

Entry Fee

Large Car Park

Small Car Park

Accessible Parking

Accessible Toilet

Public Toilets

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Picnic Shelter

Picnic Table

BBQ Facilities

Campfire Pit

Camping Area

Keep the Trail Features current...

Rough Trail
Dog Friendly
Steep Terrain
Gravel Path


Select items to indicate features found along the trail.

Concrete Path

Timber Boardwalk

Gravel Path

Sandy Trail

Rough Trail

Undefined Trail

Prams & Strollers

Manual Wheelchair

Motorised Wheelchair

Bicycle Trail

Mountain Bike Trail

Historic Rail Trail

Dog Friendly

Urban Walk

Coast & Beach

Historic Lighthouse

Waterfalls & Lakes

Rainforest Walk

Goldfields & Mining

Heritage Walk

Aboriginal Art

Alpine Region

Alpine Huts

Exposed Ledges

Rock Scrambling

Steep Terrain

Bush Bashing

River Crossings

Scenic Viewpoints

Well Marked

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Fishing Spots

Swimming Spots

Overnight Campsites

Trail Running

Horse Riding


Backstairs Track - Little Joe Loop - Tramway is a 12km, grade 4 circuit hike, located in Warburton, Victoria. The hike should take approximately 4hrs to complete.

Hike Summary

For walkers who want to tick off a summit, here's a trek that will get the heart rate up, Mount Little Joe - the 469m mini-mountain that stands proudly to the south-west of town, between Warburton and Millgrove.

The access to Little Joe is one of the prettiest sections of this loop, taking walkers west along the Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail before turning up the Backstairs Track at Scotchmans Creek. Named for a cunning old Scotsman who fossicked for nuggets on this spot, Scotchmans Creek was one of the earliest goldfields in the Upper Yarra district (opened late 1859) and was one of the Valley's richest sources of gold.

Before starting the climb up the southern flanks of the valley, the route takes you through historic Dolly Grey Park. Backstairs Track itself – once known as Blackstairs Track - used to link Old Warburton to the 'new' Warburton, the steps long ago worn down by packhorses.

At the top of Backstairs Track, the route swings off to the rear flank of mighty Mount Little Joe, named after Portuguese Joe, a 'packer' friend of local historical character, Yankee Jim (James McAvoy). Steel yourself here because the wide track up Little Joe plows straight up very steeply to the summit. At least at the top you can catch views across the valley through stands of trees burned in Black Friday and Ash Wednesday as you catch your breath.

The route then loops back around passing under the north side of the summit, heading out to the rear-side entry of Little Joe. For a shorter walk (9km), from here you can head back down Backstairs track and into town. Or for 3km of extra exercise, take the diversion into Old Warburton where you can pick up an old benched tramway that edges along pleasantly back to the high side of the Warburton township. A leisurely drop downhill into town and it's time for café rest-stop!

For more information about this trail go to Visit Warburton

More information

For more information about this trail go to Visit Warburton

Getting there

From Melbourne City to Yarra Valley (via Eastlink Tollway) - Make your way onto the Eastern Freeway and travel towards Ringwood. The Eastern Freeway turns into the Eastlink Toolway after Springvale Road. If you have an Eastlink or Citylink pass, continue on the Eastlink Tollway and go through the Mullum Mullum tunnel - make sure to stay in the left lane as the turnoff is straight after the tunnel ends. Turn left after exiting the tunnel towards Ringwood. Turn left onto the Maroondah Highway towards Lilydale. Once past Lilydale, turn right at the Warburton Highway turnoff to explore the Warburton Valley. Continue on Station Rd. Drive to Highfield Rd.

By Public Transport Public Transport Victoria has regular trains heading to Lilydale Station. From Lilydale Station, catch a Martyrs bus to travel to Warburton .


Can be done any time of the year, although Backstairs Track, Little Joe and Tramways Trail can get muddy and slippery in winter.

GPX File

Total distance: 12210 m
Max elevation: 514 m
Min elevation: 155 m
Total climbing: 652 m
Total descent: -652 m
Download GPX File

Alternative Trail - 9km

You can choose to just complete Mount Little Joe Loop and return down Backstairs Track. If you're not after too much vertical ascent, cut out the Mount Little Joe Loop, which will save your legs from just over 4km and 312m of vertical.

GPX File

Total distance: 9121 m
Max elevation: 514 m
Min elevation: 155 m
Total climbing: 534 m
Total descent: -534 m
Download GPX File

Hikes Nearby

11 thoughts on “Backstairs Track – Little Joe Loop – Tramway (12km)

  1. Just a heads up for March-May 2019.
    We completed this walk today and came across a notice that there will be fuel reduction burns on Mt Little Joe between 15 March and 31 May 2019. The sign is at the start of the steep climb (120m climb over 900m)

  2. Did the full hike today. Went the round in the given direction and would recommend to do so, cause the the steeper parts that can slippery are uphill and good to walk. Would recoomend hiking poles as well for the two steep parts, the rest can be done without.
    Burning seems to me, is history, but still saw the notice like Darren Edwars noticed.
    The climbs pushed the heart rate and there are realy nice trails in it.
    Thanks for sharing. was worth the drive there.
    Good Parkin Spot as well and nice Cafes with good food around (Enjoed a wondeful Burger @ ” Three Sugars Cafe”)

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