Photo 08 Line of pegs 9.34

Sunday 29 January 2023: Rediscovering Red Hill Trail ! – S/R,X. An attempt to rediscover the alignment of the Red Hill Trail in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.


From Garmin Connect – Distance: 3.94km | Climb: 196m (Elev Corrections Enabled) | Time: 0:59 moving + 1:18 of stops = 2:17 | Grading: S/R,X; M(8).

Photographs Photographs are available here.
gpx File The gpx file is available here.
Track Notes

Much joy at much expense this morning – two pairs of glasses ripped off my head, one prescription. But only a mild reprimand from my dear wife.

This is not the Canberra Nature Park Red Hill Trail that you might be thinking of. This morning’s rediscovery was in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, up from the Mountain Creek car park.

Spurred on by a recent chat with terrylea-hikergirl, I had a look at the 8627-2S Tidbinbilla 1:25000 topo map ©2003. It shows the Red Hill Trail. The Trail is not shown on the current e-topo version of Tidbinbilla ©2017.

Red Hill Trail on 2003 Tidbinbilla map

Of course, the area was devastated in the 2003 bushfires.

Using OziExplorer on the map pumped up to the highest resolution, I carefully created a proposed track as best I could following the Red Hill Trail.

Proposed Red Hill Trail rediscovery route

terrylea-hikergirl did a recce of the Trail last Sunday, and kindly shared her gpx file with me. They saw several less than 15cm high star pickets associated with the old track.

terrylea_hikergirl’s Red Hill Trail recce from 22Jan23

I had an appointment at Mountain Creek car park this morning, so decided to go out early. Ten cars lined up at the TNR gates when the early Ranger came through. Drove to the car park in ever increasing showers and sat in the car during the steady rain. A group of lady trail runners and other walkers took off in the weather, making me feel rather wimpish. 

Headed off at 8.10am. Still showering a bit. My plan was to walk up the Camelback Fire Trail to the Spur 1 turnoff and walk down to meet the northern extent of Red Hill Trail.

All this worked well, except that the bush was wet and, with an old coat from the car’s boot (weather forecast was for afternoon showers!) which is not very waterproof, I got soaked. Still, the lure of the hunt urged me on.

Relatively easy going to start.

Photo 01 8.47

I met the Red Hill Trail pretty much where I expected to, imagining that there was some clearance in the tree canopy. No real evidence on the ground.

Photo 02 9.04

At 9.15am I saw the first of today’s low star pickets, no doubt used in the construction of the Trail now reclaimed by the bush.

Photo 03 9.15

I won’t bore readers with photo upon photo of similar, but for interested pedants like me, there are several more in the photo album.

The going was very slow, pushing through the wet regrowth, searching for evidence of the Trail, watching the GPSr, taking photos and marking waypoints.

At 9.42am I stopped the hunt. I had a 10.30am appointment in the car park and still had 500+crow-metres to go. So I made a general B-line back.

By good fortune I came across the Trail again at another star picket.

Photo 11 9.48

Crossed a stream, which Graeme Barrow referenced as Sawpit Creek in his great book ’25 Family Bushwalks In and Around Canberra’. I have the 4th edition of the book, now 30 … Bushwalks, published in 2002. Possibly called Sawpit Creek because Rayners Sawmill was located downstream.

Photo 12 Stream 9.52

Some grand old trees in places and some ferns.

Photo 13 Fern 10.15

Broke out onto the car park at 10.26am, sated and soaked.

A return trip, a full day, is definitely needed, to both cover the lower part of the western leg of the Trail, and the entire eastern leg.

Track Maps

Here’s where I went.

Track overview Rediscovering Red Hill Trail
Track detail Rediscovering Red Hill Trail

The AllTrails map is here, where you can pan and zoom.


Just moi.

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