This hike will take you to the Cradle Mountain Summit via the superb lookouts at Hansons Peak and Marions Lookout. On a good day the views are absolutely breathtaking. But you will need to be well experienced hiker, with good rock scrambling skills plus a head for heights.
Start at Dove Lake Carpark then head left to start the circuit around the lake. Continue along this, take time to check the view from Glacier Point. Then shortly after this you will see the junction to head up to Hansons Peak. Take the left to head uphill. The track then starts a steady climb upwards. There are a few points where you will need to scramble up some very steep sections, so take care. At the junction with the Twisted Lakes track take the right to head up Hansons Peak. Once you have admired the breathtaking view continue along the rack until you arrive at the junction with Face Track and Lake Rodway track. This is at Rangers Hut.
Take the right to continue along Face Track. This section is very rugged with some steep sections requiring good rock scrambling skills. If you do find this section too difficult then reconsider the trip to the summit as that is much tougher going. Continue along Face Track, disregard the turnoff to Lake Wills (unless the weather is turning bad, as this is a good option to get you back down to the Lake if so). Shortly before the junction the trail levels out.
Depending on time a short trip down to Kitchen Hut is a good lunch spot before you head up the Summit. The trip up the summit initially is a well marked and easy trail. But it rapidly turns much more difficult and gets progressively more difficult the further you head up. So if you are finding things too nerve wracking then turn around, as it doesn’t get any easier. Also do take time to mentally note where the trail markers are as at places they can be very difficult to see when you get closer to them. Time taken to reach the summit in this section can vary from an hour to two hours depending on your climbing ability.
Once you have marveled at the spectacular views head back down. Take the trail to Kitchen Hut then take the right to follow the Overland. Continue along this to Marions Lookout to admire the stunning view from here. You could take the right down to Dove Lake if you wish to shorten the trip back to the car park. Otherwise continue left to head towards Wombat Peak. Just before the peak head right to the Wombat Pool/Lake Lilla trail.
At Lake Lilla disregard the turnoff on your left to Ronny Creek carpark. Continue to the right along the trail, then at the next junction near the boat shed continue left to go back to the Car park.
Cradle Mountain lies at the northern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. It is 1 1/2 hours from Devonport via the B19 and B14 south to Sheffield, then C136 and C132 to the park entrance.
From Launceston, it is a 2 1/2 hour drive on the Bass Highway (A1), then the signposted route via B13 and C156 through Sheffield.
From the west, drive 2 hours along the A10 and C132 from Queenstown or 1 1/2 hours from Burnie via B18 through Ridgley, then the A10 and C132 to reach the park.
From the Village either take the Shuttle Bus or drive all the way to the Dove Lake Carpark. If taking the shuttle take note of the last departure time as this hike can take a long time.
The circuit can be taken either way. This was describes going via Hansons Peak, but you could also go via Lake Lilla and Marions first. Timeframes for either way are roughly similar.
Ensure you know the weather forecast for the day and be prepared for any conditions as the weather is very unpredictable at all times of the year.
It is a long and quite challenging hike, so only attempt if you have a high degree of fitness and experience plus a head for heights.
Hiking poles will be very useful for this.
Max elevation: 1514 m
Min elevation: 931 m
Total climbing: 901 m
Total descent: -901 m