Saturday 11 February 2023: Camels Hump, Johns Peak, Tidbinbilla Peak * – L/M.This is an ideal trip for new (and long time, and old) walkers wanting to experience the area. Although long-ish and with a good total climb, most of the distance is on fire trail and well-established footpad routes. There are two very easy scrambles up to Camels Hump and Johns Peak. Awesome views from many vantage points. Visit Camels Hump, Pierce Hill and trig, Johns Peak, Tidbinbilla Peak. Around 16km and 900vm. There is no water on the crest, so that will increase our pack load, depending on the heat of the day. C, P, J, T available for RU⇧4it.
A forecast 32°C day in Canberra, so Pierce Hill was omitted.
From Garmin Connect – Distance: 15.16km | Climb: 957m | Time: 4:17 moving + 2:48 of stops = 7:05 | Grading: L/M; H(12).
Photographs Photographs are available here.
gpx File The gpx file is available here.
With the high temperature forecast we were well watered up. But it ended up being quite reasonable up on the Tidbinbilla Range, a welcome breeze with us at various times.
We walked from the Mountain Creek car park up to the bottom of Camels Hump at individual/small group paces. Regroup points at major intersections such as Spur 1 and Spur 2. Started walking at 7.42am and covered the 6km in 1hr 40mins.
We took our time climbing to the Camels Hump cairn. A first visit for a few in the party. A few new purple footpad marker arrows. The climbing route swings round an exposed rocky nose on the crest in one place, so it’s very manageable. The grand view captured in still and video.
We took a leisurely smoko.
Always on the lookout for something different, our exit was down the NE spur. Pleasant going in places.
We hit the fire trail at a bend, below which is the map-marked but misplaced Elsies Falls on the headwaters of Hurdle Creek.
We tromped the fire trail round the east side of Camels Hump and down to the Johns Peak turnoff. It was now 10.45am. Had a chat with a group of three walkers, one new in Canberra and loving the walking experience.
Many would know the Johns Peak track. It begins in grand style.
Passes the old comms tower burnt out in 2003. I collect photos of it like I collect numerous photos of the Mt Domain cairn.
The route becomes a well developed footpad, with the occasional marker arrow. It skirts to the SE of SH1322, then runs along the crest of the Tidbinbilla Range.
Another easy scramble up to Johns Peak, again recorded in still and video.
Again, a few new-ish arrows to keep us on the straight and narrow.
We arrived at 11.45am. A few minutes for a water break at the top, an excuse for me to regain my breath.
It might be the end of marked trail, but I’d encourage anyone here to go on. The route to Tidbinbilla Peak is nearly of the standard to Johns Peak, a little rockier in places. Yes, there are no track markings, but there are certainly signs.
From Johns Peak, the track heads west to SH1491, then SW with a final climb to Tidbinbilla Peak at 1561m. We arrived at 12.35pm.
More superb views, similarly recorded.
I’d plopped down on arrival – in the ants. We moved, then moved again, but really didn’t find an ant free spot for a relaxed lunch.
It’s really all over bar the shouting from here, downhill, but a further 4km back to the car park. We left at 1pm and tootled south to the Tidbinbilla Mountain route T-intersection, marked by a couple of cairns.
Here we continued SE down the exit footpad. Phillip was in the lead and set a nice pace down the 450vm descent. It drops from the cairns at SH1556 to meet the Camelback Fire Trail at the 1110m contour, a distance over the ground of 1.7km.
Before this route was established, it used to be a bugger of a descent, swinging and squeezing through the wattle regrowth. Easy-peezy now.
A little detour to try to find a tree that Martin Chalk showed me 12 years ago. No joy finding the AD16 blaze tree.
We popped out on the fire trail at 2.15pm, to be greeted by the ACT’s floral emblem.
Gaiters off, we swanned down 2.1km to the cars.
Thanks all for your company and contributions.
Relive the trip
Here’s where we went.
The AllTrails map is here, where you can pan and zoom.
11 walkers – Dave A, Andrea C, Teresa H, Richard H, Dagmara K, Ming L, Daniel P, George P, Phillip S, Tilly T, me.
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