MT LOCH SUMMIT HIKE:
A super accessible, stunning summit walk in Alpine Victoria – that’s the Mt Lock walk in a nutshell. At just 8 km return you can get up to the summit and back within a few hours, while taking in some incredible views of the Alpine region. Most notably, the Razorback ridge up to Mt Feathertop, which is just one mountain range over.
Highly recommended for anyone staying in the Bright / Mt Hotham region looking for a half day adventure from Spring through to Autumn (or winter if you’re up for some snow shoe action).
- Start/Finish: Mt Loch Car Park.
- Distance: 8 km return walk.
- Time: 2 – 3 hours.
- Grade: Medium – easy going, but some steep decline/inclines.
- Gear: Runners will do the job. Be prepared for changeable alpine conditions.
- Where: Great Alpine Road, 1km before Mt Hotham Village.
- Nearest Town: Harrietville.
- Provisions: At least 1 L of water per person. Snacks to get you through.
- Explored: In autumn. Best from Oct – May.
WHERE TO START THE MT LOCH SUMMIT WALK
The walk starts from Mt Loch car park, which is just 1 km shy of Mt Hotham Village on the Great Alpine Road. It’s well sign posted and there’s a huge water storage facility in front of the car park – you can’t miss it.
If coming up from Bright or Harrietville, the drive’s an adventure in itself, with stunning views opening up as you get higher into the alpine peaks of Victoria. If there’s snow around, be sure to bring chains and be prepared to use them.
The Mt Loch summit trail (which starts as a vehicle track) begins to the left of the water storage facility and heads towards the summit, which you can see in the distance (4 km). The slopes to your right are part of the Mt Hotham ski resort, so you’ll see plenty of signage, ski runs and idle lifts. Come back in winter for that adventure.
TIME TO GO OFF-PISTE
This walk is pretty straight-forward if you stick to the vehicle trail, so we recommend mixing it up by going off-piste and exploring more of the unique alpine environment. You get that opportunity around half way to the summit. Take a right at the Teletreat ski run, and drop down to the creek running through the gully below.
If you’ve got a thirst on, you can top up your drink bottles with the freshest water in Victoria, before heading up towards the summit via one of the ski runs on the other side.
While the terrain is relatively easy going, it’s a solid climb, so you’ll be up for a breather near the top. Kick back and take in the magnificent views of Mt Hotham. It really is spectacular up here.
MAKE A BEELINE FOR MT LOCK SUMMIT
Continuing onwards and upwards, you’ll eventually intersect the main trail. However, as this trail is part of the much longer Great Alpine Walk, it’s not obvious which track to take to the summit. The easiest way forward is to simply continue off-trail and make a beeline directly towards the summit, which is in full view for the majority of the walk.
During this upper section of the hike you’re rewarded with a true sense of adventure. The views open up for miles in all directions, while you fill your lungs with mountain air and listen to the breeze sweeping across the open ridge.
The alpine grasses, flowers and shrubs accentuate the unique environment and help to make this hike a memorable adventure.
DISCOVER THE COLUMNAR ROCK FORMATION
As you get near the summit, there’s an incredible rocky outcrop that will no doubt draw you in – who could resist exploring this place! The columnar rocks have been eroding from the main rock wall and forming an impressive collection of large, brick like blocks.
This area is really interesting and great photo fodder, but be careful near the wall as there are plenty of loose rocks making it a dangerous slope to climb.
REACHING MT LOCH SUMMIT
Just a few hundred meters past the columnar rocks you’ll reach Mt Loch’s summit. At 1,887 m Mt Loch is the 4th highest mountain in Victoria and provides an amazing 360 degree view of the surrounding mountain ranges.
Give yourself plenty of time to take it all in and have a bite to eat / drink while you’re up here, but as it can get super cold, you probably won’t be hanging around too long. (Note, if ever there’s a hike to take a thermos on, this is it).
TAKE IN THE UNIQUE ALPINE ENVIRONMENT
After conquering Mt Loch’s summit, it’s time to head back the way you came, which is great because you get an entirely new perspective on this stunning place.
The native alpine flora is something that you don’t get to see very often (as well as a few mountains of course), so there’s no doubt you’ll be loving this hike.
HOW TO GET TO MT LOCH FROM MELBOURNE
We suggest you base yourself in Bright or Harrietville and make the trip up to Mt Loch from there. Harrietville is a solid 4 hr drive north east of Melbourne. Starting out along the Hume Highway, you’ll need to turn off at Snow Road, just shy of Wangaratta, and head towards Alpine Victoria.
Bright and Harrietville are both beautiful alpine towns and only 20 mins apart, so it’s easy to get around and enjoy everything the region has to offer.
From Harrietville, allow 40 mins to get to Mt Loch Car Park if the conditions are favourable i.e. no snow, which would certainly slow you down. The temperature can drop dramatically up here, so ensure you take a plenty of warm clothes – for real. And as always in alpine environments, make sure you check the weather forecast and know what to expect.