The most common feedback I get from readers of The Bushwalking Blog is that they “just want more hikes to do”. I get it – hiking is my passion too. I do more hikes than I’d ever have the time to write about, so that’s why I’ve decided Bare Bones Bushwalking is now a thing. Not every hike has a story I can attach to it and some I just don’t get around to writing up, so in an effort to share ALL of (or at least more of) the hikes with you I’m doing this. A more simplified blog post that gives you everything you need to go and do the hike yourself. Make your own stories.
I’ve visited Sugarloaf Peak more times than I can count.
If you’ve been reading The Bushwalking Blog for a while you’ll have heard about how I even hiked up it in a school dress, which was unfortunate for my mate who was behind/below me as I climbed.
All but one of those times was as part of the Cathedral Range Northern Circuit. I’d actually always been a bit nervous about descending Sugarloaf Peak the same way I ascended, until the day I proposed to my now wife there. That’s when I realised how great it was to do just as a short hike.
The return trail to Sugarloaf Peak is very short indeed, at only 2 kilometres return, but well worth it for the views and the “almost” rock climb on the way up. If you’re in the area and don’t have time to do a full circuit, consider doing this instead.
You’ll need to be okay with heights and be very careful ascending and descending. Try not to be too distracted by the views of the surrounding Little River and Acheron Valleys while you walk/climb. There are plenty of places to stop for a rest along the way and take it all in. It’ll be much safer that way.
As for navigation, the track is well formed for the first few hundred metres but then turns into a rocky scramble. Just keep an eye out for the well placed orange trail markers.
Those looking for an extra challenge can ascend via the signed Wells Cave Track instead of Canyon Track, although I’m yet to tackle this one myself so I can’t give much advice. From what I’ve read it’s much steeper and even more “rock-climby” and yes, it does take you through a small cave which is a bit of a tight squeeze.
Need to Know
Last Visited: 2016
Length: 2 km
Time: 2 hrs
Grade: Moderate – Difficult / Grade 5 (according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System).
Style Return (optional circuit – same distance)
Region: Melbourne / North-East Victoria
Park: Cathedral Range State Park
Closest Town: Buxton (24 km)
Path Taken: Sugarloaf Saddle – Canyon Track (optional ascent via Wells Cave Track is much more difficult) – Sugarloaf Peak – Canyon Track – Sugarloaf Saddle.
Car Access: From Melbourne, take the Maroondah Highway and follow it through Healesville to Buxton. Continue past Buxton for 9.5 km, turning right into Cathedral Lane (signed Cathedral Range State Park). After 2.7 km turn right into the signed park entry gate and drive 10.8 km to Sugarloaf Saddle. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road from the carpark.
Map: All tracks are shown in Parks Victoria’s Park Note for Cathedral Range State Park. As always, I recommend using a toppgraphic map like this one by VicMap
Have you visited Cathedral Range State Park? Got it on your bucket list? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.
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