bears-head
  • Length: 15.8km

  • Duration: 7hrs

  • Grade: 4

  • Style: Circuit

  • Start: Lohs Lane

  • End: Lohs Lane

  • Closest Town: Myrniong

  • Location: Lerderderg State Park

  • Distance from state capital: 77km

  • State: VIC

  • Latitude: -37.561338005450594

  • Longitude: 144.36397332408137

Summary

This challenging Bears Head Circuit hike is one of my favorite Lerderderg hikes as it descends into one of the remotest and least visited sections of the Lerderderg Gorge.

The surroundings are spectacular and experienced hikers will enjoy a genuine sense of isolation and adventure.

A remote gorge walk along the Lerderderg River. It’s a demanding walk into one of the more remote areas of the Lerderderg Gorge. Steep sections, river crossings with some rock scrambling required. Approximately 2.5km follows the river bed so some wading may be required depending on water levels.

Getting there

Follow the Western Freeway 9km past Bacchus Marsh and take the Myrniong exit. Continue
along the Myrniong-Greendale Road for 1km, then turn right on the Mt Blackwood Road. Follow this
narrow surfaced road north for 8km and turn right onto Lohs Lane. Drive a further 500m to the gate and
park on the right.

Tips

Suggested items to pack: Day Pack with Picnic Lunch and at least 2-3 litres of water.

The descent into the gorge via Ah Kow Spur is steep and slippery. Take great care in this section of the track. There are multiple river crossings and rock scrambling which make this hike suitable for experienced hikers only.

Hiking poles recommended and I also highly recommend water shoes if you have them as it will make the crossings easier.

 

Total distance: 15823 m
Max elevation: 629 m
Min elevation: 269 m
Total climbing: 637 m
Total descent: -636 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 the download begins. By downloading any GPX files from this site you agree 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.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Bears Head Circuit (15.8km)

  1. We attempted this hike late March 2016. There was no water in the river but we missed the start and came down MacKenzie’s track instead of Loh’s Lane. This added several hours of rock hoping through the river. It was about 2pm when we finally got to the Bear’s Head track. Bear’s Head is really only suitable for rock climbers and people with no fear of heights. It is extremely precipitous with sheer cliffs dropping off either side. Having already twisted my knee and with shaking ankles after hours of rock hopping, discretion got the better part of valor and we retreated. This presented a problem. Going all the way back was not an option. We opted instead to go up An Kow’s spur. Despite searching we could not find the marker to indicate the beginning of the track. The spur itself is obvious enough – given there is no other way out of the gorge. So we headed off with compass and map. The climb is extremely steep and although we did encounter a cairn at the top of the ridge we could find no obvious path. With compass we simply continued to head on more or less the right bearing, occasionally backtracking to avoid cliffs. It was about 6.30 pm when we finally crossed the Loh’s Lane track. And grateful we were to see it. I had visions of us spending the night. So, I guess my view is, you need to be a rock climber or at least not frightened of heights, don’t rely on markers or maps. It was exciting but I’m too old for this stuff. 🙂

    1. Wow. Sounds like you had an and adventure. Just wanted to comment (for the benefit of other readers) on bears head range and Ah Kow Spur.

      Bears head is challenging but I wouldn’t say you need to be a rock climber to tackle it. But you do need to enjoy a rock scramble and have a head for heights to consider it. I would happily take my young boys in this section (but they love rocky terrain).

      The track on Ah Kow Spur is really steep and well defined. It commences right in the bend of the river at safety market LER513 and continues steeply uk the spur. The track is well worn all the way back to Lohs Lane as in wet weather you can be on all fours climbing up or down the spur. If you download the GPX file below and load it onto your GPS you will have no trouble finding it.

  2. Just finished this hike (September 2016) and wanted to say it’s pretty difficult in spring when the river is high.

    The decent into the gorge was tricky as the ground was slippery, so if you’re planning to go when the ground will be wet I’d advise against this route if you’re unfit and particularly if you have injuries.

    We followed the river and had to scout out good places to cross which involved taking off your shoes and wading in the water about knee to half way up your thigh in height. So thanks for the tip to bring footwear for the river crossing!

    It meant the pace was rather slow going. We started the walk at 8am and got to the end of the river part, I.e. the start of bears head track at around 4:00pm.

    We still had a good 4.5 hours of hiking to left at this point, and sundown was at 6:30. Luckily there was a management dirt track connecting bears head and the Ah Kow track which shortcut a good 2 hours of walking.

    It was good fun looking back, but we ran the risk of being stuck if we ran out of sunlight which was a very real possibility. Our pace was on the slow side, sure.. but it’s a good lesson to always pack in case of emergency.. such as being stuck overnight and having gear to keep you warm.

    TL;DR – enjoyable but challenging hike. Steep decent, slippery underfoot. Unmarked river section with several crossings; difficult in spring. Took our group a solid 10 hours of hiking; start very early to ensure you don’t run out of sunlight if you’re not walking in summer. Bring emergency gear in case you get stuck.

    1. Hey Tom. Great feedback on your experience. Thank you. Just a note to others about the short-cut management track mentioned. This is a reference area meaning no one is allowed in there. If you get caught you will be fined for trespassing.