The Snowy Mountains has many claims to fame, but none quite as iconic as Kosciuszko National Park. Spread across more than 690,000 hectares that encompass Mount Kosciuszko, limestone caves, and the Snowy River, Australia’s Kosciuszko National Park is synonymous with breathtaking natural beauty.
There are few better ways for visitors to immerse themselves in this national treasure than by exploring it on foot. The region’s best walking trails, most of which lead out from well-facilitated campsites, transport hikers through the national park’s diverse landscapes of temperate rainforests, subalpine woodlands, dominating summits and Indigenous cultural sites.
Read on for the most popular hiking trails in Kosciuszko National Park.
Kosciuszko National Park Hiking Trails
1. Jounama Creek Walk (6km)
Jounama Creek Walk takes hikers on a continuous loop from the Jounama Creek camping area, where tranquil mountain creeks and waterfalls highlight the scenic trek. Visitors walk alongside Jounama Creek most of the way before reaching a large picturesque pool and turning back for camp. Hikers should keep an eye out for diverse wildlife including the pygmy possum.
2. Main Range Track (10-25km)
The Main Range Track is a unique trail, as hikers can tailor their adventure to suit their fitness level. The official trail begins at a part of the Snowy River just below Charlotte’s Pass, where visitors then climb through alpine herbfields while passing two spectacular lookouts, Hedley Tarn and Blue Lake. It’s here that hikers can choose to turn around for the ten-kilometre hiking option.
Those who continue on will climb up to Carruthers Peak for striking uninterrupted views of the Snowy Mountains. An exposed ridge takes hikers across the Main Range and rewards the effort with stunning vistas of Club Lake and Lake Albina. After reaching the Summit Walk, hikers can then set their sights on Mount Kosciuszko’s summit, a challenging yet utterly invigorating experience.
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3. Summit Walk (9-18km)
With four different trail options, hikers have an even greater level of customisation on the Summit Walk. The shortest walk is a relatively easy nine-kilometre return trek to the Snowy River along the old road, which was closed to public vehicles in 1976. This walk alone offers numerous opportunities to see the snow gums, heath and herbfields that populate the region.
Those looking for a longer hike can continue on after crossing the Snowy River, tackling a gentle climb all the way to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko. The first landmark is Seaman’s Hut, an alpine residence with two rooms and a foyer built from rock. Hikers can then turn back for the 12-kilometre option, continue on to Rawson Pass for a 16-kilometre walk, or trek it all the way to the peak.
4. Kosciuszko Walk (4-13km)
Beginning at the top of Thredbo’s Kosciuszko Express Chairlift, the Kosciuszko Walk is a popular option for those who want the incredible Snowy Mountains views without the strenuous climbs. The four-kilometre Kosciuszko Lookout option includes a crossing over Merritt’s Creek and a scenic trek along Rams Head Range.
Hikers can extend their walk by covering all this before crossing the headwaters of the Snowy River and reaching a saddle overlooking Lake Cootapatamba. Hikers can then follow a well-maintained trail to Rawson Pass, passing Ethridge Range along the way. Lastly, the old road takes hikers up to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko and then back to Thredbo.
5. Nichols Gorge Walk (7km)
Part of the Blue Waterholes walking areas, Nichols Gorge Walk includes tall limestone cliffs and glistening streams of clear mountain water. Hikers can set off from the car park to Cooleman Caves, which can be explored further with a torch. From there it’s a 1.5-kilometre leg upstream of Cave Creek to Murray Cave.
Visitors will need to ascend a gorge to reach an open plain filled with depressions and a sizeable sinkhole. Further along Cave Creek, hikers will eventually come to Blue Waterholes, an utterly breathtaking swimming spot surrounded by limestone rocks. The nearby Blue Waterholes Road then leads hikers back to the car park and campsite.
The Snowy Mountains: A Hiker’s Paradise
Just the beginning of what outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy on their next Snowy Mountains holiday, these five hiking trails are only the tip of the iceberg. Adventure, natural beauty and incredible views await those willing to lace up their hiking boots and set off through Kosciuszko National Park. Choosing one or more of the trails offered in the Snowy Mountains sets visitors up for an unforgettable hiking experience full of unique landmarks, diverse wildlife and rewarding challenges.
With camping and alternative accommodation available, Kosciuszko National Park provides ample reasons to extend your stay and explore the park even further, as there is plenty of adventure ready to be discovered.
Do you love to hike? Let us know if you’ve hiked Kosciuszko National Park or if it’s on your bucket list in the comments below.