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Lerderderg State Park...
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The Razorback - Chadwick and Ah Kow Spurs hike is a fairly demanding walk into remote areas of the gorge and encompasses one of the steepest climbs on known trails in this park.
Start along the Razorback track and descend into the river gorge. Following a small section of river walking you will ascend the Lower Chadwick Track (just because its another hill to climb). Back down into the gorge via the McKenzie Track then leaves you with approximately 2km of river to hike along before ascending the Ah Kow Spur. It is a nice climb out, is very steep and sure to have your heart pumping.
About the region
Rising in the Great Dividing Range, the Lerderderg River has cut a 300 metre deep gorge through sandstone and slate, almost bisecting the park. The park has a wide variety of vegetation and wildlife and some interesting relics of gold mining. Lerderderg State Park encompasses scenic and geological gorge formations surrounding the Lerderderg River as well as the volcanic cone of Mount Blackwood. The adjacent and separate block called the Pyrete Range forms part of the park. The Lerderderg is known for its remote setting and the 300m deep Lerderderg River gorge is a dominant feature. Private land abuts the park to the south and the Wombat State forest abuts to the north and west.
Lerderderg State Park (incorporating the former Pyrete State Forest) is a 14,250-hectare park located between Bacchus Marsh and Blackwood, an hour's drive from Melbourne, Australia. There are several maintained tracks for walking through the park and camping is allowed.
The park is named for the Lerderderg River which has cut the 300 metre deep Lerderderg Gorge through sandstone and slate, almost bisecting the park. Parks Victoria maintains six designated walks: three short walks of 3.5 km or less; Blackwood-O'Briens Crossing and return (22 km); O'Briens Crossing-Cowan Track loop (14 km); and the overnight walk O'Briens Crossing to Mackenzies Flat (20 km).
In addition, one leg of the Great Dividing Trail, the Lerderderg Track, passes through the park, entering from Blackwood in the park's northwest, and exiting south towards Bacchus Marsh. Bicycles are prohibited from one section of this track, due to a conservation area.
From Melbourne, follow the Western Freeway 9km past Bacchus Marsh and take the Myrniong exit. Continue along the Myrniog-Greendale Road for 1km, then turn right on the Mount Blackwood Road. Follow this narrow surfaced road north for 10km to pull into a turnoff on the right at Square Bottle Track (just 250m past Shuter Track). Park near the gate overlooking a small dam.
- A section of this hike (at least a 2.5 kilometres) follows the Lerderderg River. You may need to cross several times to find the best path so poles and water shoes will benefit if you have them. Wading may also be required.
- Suggested items to pack: Day Pack with Picnic Lunch and at least 2-3 litres of water.
- Do now enter the gorge following heavy rain.
- Hiking poles recommended and I also highly recommend water shoes if you have them as it will make the crossings easier.
Max elevation: 724 m
Min elevation: 296 m
Total climbing: 917 m
Total descent: -916 m