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

  • Duration: 4hrs

  • Grade: 4

  • Style: Circuit

  • Start: Warburton Main Street

  • End: Warburton Main Street

  • Closest Town: Warburton

  • Location: Warburton

  • Distance from state capital: 75km

  • State: VIC

  • Latitude: -37.75470193

  • Longitude: 145.6888072

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.

Summary

For walkers who want to tick off a summit, here’s a trek that will get the heart rate up, Mt 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 Mt 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!

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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 .

About the region

With the Yarra River meandering through the town, lined with gorgeous trees and numerous parks, Warburton offers a relaxing experience. The Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail begins here. Warburton is where it all begins. Just one hour from Melbourne, the Warburton Valley is life at nature’s pace. Always green, Warburton is where the Yarra River runs clear.

Tips

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

 

Total distance: 12210 m
Max elevation: 513 m
Min elevation: 154 m
Total climbing: 651 m
Total descent: -651 m
Download GPX File

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Alternative Trail – 9km

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

 

Total distance: 9121 m
Max elevation: 513 m
Min elevation: 154 m
Total climbing: 538 m
Total descent: -538 m
Download GPX File

Please note that you need to be registered and logged in to download GPX Files. If you aren't you will automatically be redirected to the registration/login screen before being returned to this page. Then click the download button again. By downloading any GPX files from this site you agree that its use, and reliance upon, is entirely at your own risk. These files are for non-commercial, personal use only. I will endeavour to ensure the accuracy and currency of the data, but accept no responsibility in this regard, or the results of any actions taken, when using the digital route files.

 


For more information about this trail go to Visit Warburton

 

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