Uriarra Loop
  • Length: 3.5km

  • Duration: 2.5hrs

  • Grade: 2

  • Style: Return

  • Start: Uriarra East Picnic Area

  • End: Uriarra East Picnic Area

  • Location: Uriarra Crossing

  • Closest Town: Stromlo

  • Distance from CBD: 15km

  • State: ACT

  • Latitude: -35.2439106

  • Longitude: 148.9519705

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2WD Access

4WD Access

Public Transport

Bitumen Road

Gravel Road

Steep Road

Winding Road

Speed Bumps

Vehicle Ford

Entry Fee

Large Car Park

Small Car Park

Accessible Parking

Accessible Toilet

Public Toilets

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Picnic Shelter

Picnic Table

BBQ Facilities

Campfire Pit

Camping Area

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Uriarra Crossing...

Select items to indicate features found along the trail.

Concrete Path

Timber Boardwalk

Gravel Path

Sandy Trail

Rough Trail

Undefined Trail

Prams & Strollers

Manual Wheelchair

Motorised Wheelchair

Bicycle Trail

Mountain Bike Trail

Historic Rail Trail

Dog Friendly

Urban Walk

Coast & Beach

Historic Lighthouse

Waterfalls & Lakes

Rainforest Walk

Goldfields & Mining

Heritage Walk

Aboriginal Art

Alpine Region

Alpine Huts

Exposed Ledges

Rock Scrambling

Steep Terrain

Bush Bashing

River Crossings

Scenic Viewpoints

Well Marked

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Fishing Spots

Swimming Spots

Overnight Campsites

Trail Running

Horse Riding


Uriarra Loop is a 3.5km, grade 2 return hike, located in Uriarra Crossing, ACT. The hike should take approximately 2.5 hours to complete.

Hike Summary

From Uriarra East picnic area, follow the Murrumbidgee River downstream towards its junction with the Molonglo River. The trail then follows the Molonglo River upstream, returning through open grazing country. The steep Molonglo River gorge creates conditions that are different from the surrounding tablelands, allowing an unusually high diversity of plants. Mist trapped in the gorge acts like a protective blanket. The Pale Pomaderris (Pomaderris pallida), a nationally vulnerable shrub grows here as well as the unusual Anchor Plant (Discaria pubescens).

Shepherds Lookout - History

Named after nearby property owners, Shepherds Lookout is the ACT's northern-most viewing point of the Murrumbidgee River. The power lines spanning the river mark the border between the ACT and New South Wales.

Hundreds of stone tool scatter sites in the area are evidence that the Ngunnawal Aboriginal people have lived in the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo catchments for thousands of years. The river provided water as well as fish, yabbies and water birds. The first Europeans to the area came in search of the Murrumbidgee River in 1820. On the opposite bank, there was a sand mining venture that operated until the early 1980s. Behind it lies the Retallick rural lease, one of the first properties in the area.

The deep river pool below provides important habitat for platypus and native fish including the endangered Macquarie Perch and Murray Cod. Black Cypress Pines, Callitris endlicheri, grow here on thin rocky soil. Their winged seeds are protected in tough woody cones and are a favourite food of Gang Gang Cockatoos.

The adjacent Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre was built in the 1970s and is the main wastewater treatment facility for Canberra. Trees along the Shepherd's Lookout Loop were planted in the 1970s to rehabilitate a road and temporary workshed sites associated with the construction of the centre.

Getting there

Take the Uriarra Road from Weston Creek, or via Coppins Crossing and Belconnen. You can also walk from Shepherds Lookout which is accessible from Stockdill Drive in the suburb of Holt.


  • Dogs are welcome at the river and picnic areas, however we ask that you don’t take them on the walking trails.
  • Toilet facilities are provided.
  • No bins are provided - please take your rubbish home with you.

For more information, a location map and facilities please visit the ACT Government Information Portal.

Hikes Nearby

2 thoughts on “Uriarra Loop (3.5km)

    1. Thanks you Kerri, I have updated the information to better reflect the closest town. Gees, even Canberra was closer than Crestwood.

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