The Mount McLeod hike explores the Northern Buffalo Remote and Natural Area and at its furthest point summits Mount McLeod, the highest peak (1529m) on the northern corner of Mount Buffalo. If you are looking for that sense of remoteness that can’t be found anywhere else in the park then this hike is for you. The Mount McLeod hike commences at the Reservoir picnic area and follows, what is during winter, the Mount McLeod ski trail (a closed vehicle track). A short distance (approx 670m) along road you will need to locate the signposted Short Circuit Track on your right. This track provides a nice change from the road walk which this route follows on the return journey.
After approximately 1.5km you will rejoin Mount McLeod Road. Turn right and continue northeast below Andersons Peak onto the North Buffalo Saddle. Continue in the same direction along a ridge-line which provides occasional glimpses of the surrounding valley and rocky peaks. At approximately 6.4km from the trail head you will reach Dels Plain, followed by Second Plain. Dels Plain is an official overnight hikers camp should you decide to turn this into an overnight hike. Dels Plain is an idea camping area among the snow-gums with open areas, inviting snow-grass, plenty of shelter and even a composting toilet so you can put those shovels away. Water can be procured from a number of small creeks in the plain but it is wise to check with the Ranger before heading out to ensure they are actually flowing. As with all water it is wise to treat, boil or filter it before consumption. Even in Alpine areas giardia is present and on a recent trip to this area one of our teams was infected after not treating the water that was collected.
If you are camping overnight it is a good ideas to drop your packs and set up camp before heading on to the summit of Mount McLeod. From Dels Plain, continue east then south for a further 1km to the summit of Mount McLeod. Like most Buffalo hikes the views of the surrounding plateau and beyond to the Oven Valley really open up as you reach the top. If you are camping overnight, return to your campsite at Dels Plain. Whether making this a day hike or overnight to return to the trail head you simply need to retrace your steps and follow the trail back. On reaching the short circuit track you have the option of turning left to return to the start or continue along Mount McLeod Road.
About the region
The Mount Buffalo National Park is a national park located in the alpine region of Victoria, Australia. The 31,000-hectare (77,000-acre) national park is located approximately 350 kilometres (220 mi) northeast of Melbourne in the Australian Alps. Within the national park is Mount Buffalo, a moderately tall mountain plateau, with an elevation of 1,723 metres (5,653 ft) above sea level. Mount Buffalo is a moderately tall mountain plateau on the west side of the Victorian Alpine region. The top of the mountain has striking granite boulders and rock formations. From the north, the mountain is quite remarkable, with the highest accessible point being a prominent peak called The Horn. A walking track leads to The Horn and visitors can enjoy a 360 degree view from the top.
Drive towards Bright via Hume Highway, Wangaratta and Myrtleford. Take the turn off to Mt Buffalo near Porepunkah. Drive up to the Buffalo plateau, continue past the road to the chalet and drive until you see the Parks Office on your right. The gravel road to the reservoir is on the right about 500m past the Parks Office. If you reach the VicRoads depot you have gone to far. The road is suitable for 2WD vehicle but take care and drive slowly. Park at the end of the road near the reservoir.
- Water is only available from a hardened access point located approximately 100m southwest of the campsite – where the stream crosses the track. Always boil, treat or filter water before drinking as Giardia is present. Advanced bookings and payment are required.
- Fires are prohibited at the campsite and it is recommended to bring a fuel stove.
- The campground has a capacity of two people per site and a maximum capacity of 10 people.
- You can book online or call Parks Victoria on 13 19 63.
Max elevation: 1504 m
Min elevation: 1255 m
Total climbing: 660 m
Total descent: -660 m