The Mount Pilot Circuit hike explores the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park which is located between Beechworth and the low hills surrounding Chiltern and includes the striking Mt Pilot Range and Yeddonba Aboriginal Cultural Site.
The hike commences at the junction of Mount Piloit Track and McGuinness Lane. Park your vehicle in any available clearing along the gravel road and head north along the Mount Pilot Track as it gradually ascends the Mount Pilot Range. After approximately 5.5km you will reach The Old Coach Road. Turn right at this point and follow the road to the Mount Pilot car park and summit of Mount Pilot where you are rewarded with a 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside. On a clear day Mt Buffalo is easily recognisable on the southern horizon.
From the summit the hike now follows a narrow foot trail west from the firetower towards a big black stump. The trail starts on the left hand side of
this stump; follow it through an open granite slab and on to the Bakery Wall and a popular rock climbing area of Mount Pilot.
From the Bakery Wall, follow a series of rock climbing trails as it winds throughout the large granite slabs and boulders of Mount Pilot. The trails in this area are not always easy to locate but are marked by small wooden ground pegs with yellow arrows. There are two sections where you will need to lower yourself down steep rock slabs using a chain fixed to the rocks. When the trail can no longer be located you will need to pick your way north through the dense scrub on the eastern side of a spur. Cross the spur to the west before descending into a gully near the foot of Mount Pilot.
Warning; this section is completely off-trail and excellent navigation skills will be required.
After crossing the gully, locate the signposted Yeddonba Aboriginal Cultural Site. The heritage area takes you on a short circuit which provides an insight into local Aboriginal culture. After completing the circuit you will end up at the Cultural Site car park and Toveys Forest Road. Follow this road west for 1km and locate a foot trail on your left. Follow this trail south as it traverses around the western foot of Mount Pilot, ending at the Old Coach Road. Turn left, then right onto the Green Break Track and follow this south towards McGuinness Road. Turn left at the junction and follow the gravel road for a further 1km back to the start point.
About the region
Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park (21,636ha) is located between Beechworth and the low hills surrounding Chiltern and includes the striking Mt Pilot Range and Woolshed Falls. The park protects a Box-Ironbark forest with a diverse range of natural and historic landscapes.
The park is predominantly open eucalyptus forest of Red Stringybark, Blakely’s Red Gum, Grey Box and Mugga Ironbark. Prolific spring wildflowers include wattles, orchids, lilies, bush peas and many other native species. Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park contains the highest number of mammal, bird and reptile species recorded at any Box-Ironbark site. Over 200 bird species have been recorded in the park including threatened woodland species such as the Regent Honeyeater, Swift Parrot, Turquoise Parrot and Square Tailed Kite.
There are a number of established picnic sites located throughout the park. Reedy Creek is a popular area for campers and prospectors. Camping and accommodation are available in the nearby historic towns of Chiltern and Beechworth
Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park is 275km north east of Melbourne and 34km north of Wangaratta. Follow the Hume Freeway to the Beechworth turnoff. Follow the Beechworth-Wangaratta Road through Beechworth then follow the Beechworth-Chiltern Road north for 9.9km towards Chiltern. Turn right at McGuinness Road and drive for 1.6km to the junction of the Mount Pilot Track.
Warning; There is a section of this hike that is completely off-trail. Excellent navigation skills will be required.
Max elevation: 555 m
Min elevation: 332 m
Total climbing: 562 m
Total descent: -549 m