10 best day hikes in the Grampians

The Grampians National Park is one of the best places in Victoria for hiking. The fourth-largest national park in the state is an incredible area of sandstone ridgelines and forested slopes. It marks the dramatic end to the Great Dividing Range which starts thousands of kilometres away in Queensland.

The park is an extremely popular place to spend a weekend or longer, with countless trails to explore on foot and incredible viewpoints. Hiking is the most common activity in the Grampians and there are options for everyone, from short easy trails to steep, climbs up to lofty peaks.

After an extended stay in the Grampians ticking off plenty of hikes, I’ve compiled this blog post of the 10 best day hikes in the Grampians. Whether you’re planning a short trip or something longer, these are the walks that deserve your time and effort.

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Check out my vlog on the Grampians here!

Grampians National Park: What you need to know

Access

The Grampians National Park is in western Victoria, Australia, 260km or a three-hour drive from Melbourne.

Halls Gap is the main town at the heart of the national park. It’s small but it has all the essential amenities you’ll need for your trip to the Grampians, including a very helpful tourist information centre where you can pick up brochures and maps.

The Grampians are a popular place to visit for both domestic and international tourists. The park can be very busy on long weekends, public holidays and during school holidays.

Trails in the Grampians are marked with arrows on rocks and trees and most junctions on walks have signboards with basic trail information including distances and time estimates.

Orientation

The Grampians are divided into three sections:

Southern Grampians | This section is dominated by the Serra Range that stretches from Dunkeld to Halls Gap. To the east, you also have the Mt William-Duwil Range which features the highest point in the park at 1167m. To the west, there’s the Victoria Range which is far less travelled and more rugged.

Central Grampians | This is the main part of the Grampians around the small town of Halls Gap. It’s dominated by the Wonderland Range which has plenty of short day hikes, waterfalls and interesting rock formations.

Northern Grampians | The Mt Difficult-Gar Range stretches north from Halls Gap with a number of jagged peaks. At the northern end, you’ll find Mt Stapylton and it’s orange cliffs which are popular with rock climbers.

When to visit

The best time to visit the Grampians is in Autumn and Spring when the weather is perfect for most activities including hiking. In Summer, days can be hot and the risk of bushfires and snakes are common. Winter can be a good time to visit, as the area is usually much quieter, however, you’ll have to deal with wet trails and some cold and foggy mornings.

Read next: The Ultimate Travel Guide to the Grampians

Mt William
View from Mt William

Where to stay

Camping is popular in the Grampians and there are 12 campgrounds operated by Parks Victoria, three of which are free. The rest can be booked through the Parks Vic website here. Plantation Campground is the largest Grampians camping area and is free to use, with good toilet and shower facilities. It’s often full by Friday evenings, especially on long weekends so plan accordingly.

If you prefer to stay indoors, then I can recommend the Grampians Eco YHA. This is a great hostel that gets rave reviews from both budget backpackers and mid-range private room guests. They have a couple of large kitchens and lounges and a nice outdoor area to relax in warmer weather. They’re just 1km from Halls Gap centre. Prices start from $40 per night for a dorm bed, check their availability here.

History

The Grampians is the area known as Gariwerd by Aboriginal people. It has a cultural history dating back 22, 000 years and is home to 80% of all the rock art found in Victoria. It’s been listed on Australia’s National Heritage List for its importance in the Aboriginal culture.

Safety

The risk of bushfires can be severe in the Grampians, especially in summer. Check the latest updates on the Vic Emergency website here, before heading out.

Mobile phone service is limited in the national park. You’ll have signal in the major towns, including Halls Gap, but it quickly disappears on most of the roads and campgrounds. You should be able to find a signal on top of the peaks and above the treeline on some trails.

Clean drinking water can be hard to find on the trail and at the campgrounds. Halls Gap has a public drinking water tap facility near the central car park where you can fill up for the day. Campgrounds looked after by Parks Victoria have tank water, although it might not always be safe to drink without some filtering system or purification.

Responsibility

Leave no trace on the trails. Carry all rubbish out with you, including toilet paper.

Do not feed the wildlife. Dogs and domestic pets are not allowed in the park area.

Campfires are only permitted in the designated fire pits at the campgrounds.

Grampians Map

Grampians map
Source: Visitor guide downloadable at Parks Victoria website

10 best day hikes in the Grampians

Here are the 10 best day hikes in the Grampians that you should consider for your next trip. This list includes both short easier walks and challenging hard climbs, but they all have sensational views as a worthwhile reward.

Read next: The Ultimate Day Hike Packing List

The Pinnacle
View from The Pinnacle

The Pinnacle

  • Start/finish: Wonderland car park
  • Distance: 4.2 km return
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Location: Central Grampians

This is undoubtedly one of the most popular hikes in the Grampians. The Pinnacle lookout sits right on the edge of the Wonderland Range and looks out over Halls Gap.

You can start this walk from either the Sundial Carpark or the Wonderland Carpark, with the Sundial route being slightly easier. I did this hike from Wonderland Car Park, which is just 4km from Halls Gap town. It’s often busy though with limited car spots.

Follow the trail as it heads down from the car park. It then splits into two, but both trails meet again not far ahead. I recommend taking the option to the left. This takes you through the Grand Canyon, where there’s a bit of rock hopping and some steel ladders.

After you emerge from the canyon, turn left and continue on the well-marked trail. It takes you above the treeline and over the exposed rock to Silent Street, a skinny crevasse. Once you pass through the rock faces, climb the steep metal ladder and over some more exposed rocky ground until you reach the edge of the ridge.

You’ll find the main fenced Pinnacle lookout jutting out over the edge. This is where most people wait to take their turn for photos. Otherwise, you can explore either side of the lookout and find spots that aren’t as crowded but be careful not to get too close to the edge that isn’t fenced off.

You then return the same way you came up.

The Balconies
The Balconies

The Balconies

  • Start/finish: Reeds Lookout
  • Distance: 2.2 km return
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: Central Grampians

This is the shortest and easiest walk on this list, but I’ve included it simply because the view is outstanding and really is a must-see. The short walk starts at Reeds Lookout, a 12km drive from Halls Gap town along the same road that you find the Wonderland Car Park turnoff.

The view from the Reeds Lookout car park is incredible in itself and the fenced-off viewpoint has a beautiful panorama over the entire national park. However, it’s worth walking the 1km to The Balconies lookout along a sandy flat track.

The Balconies is a famous photo point with a rocky ledge that attracts keen Instagrammers who like to snap a photo of themselves on the ledge with the rolling ridgelines of the Grampians in the background.

At the time of writing (May 2020), they have erected a fence to stop people from climbing out onto this famous ledge. But, the view from the nearby official viewpoint there is still worth the short walk. I’m not sure if they have plans to reopen the actual Balconies ledge again to people.

It’s also worth noting that Reeds Lookout and The Balconies are the best places to enjoy the sunset in the Grampians National Park. Make sure you arrive early to get a nice spot and watch the sunset over the horizon directly across from the lookouts.

Boronia Peak
View from Boronia Peak

Boronia Peak

  • Start/finish: Tandara Road
  • Distance: 6.5 km return
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Location: Central Grampians

This is surprisingly one of the least popular walks in the central part of the Grampians National Park, and yet the view is incredibly beautiful and it’s easily accessible from Halls Gap.

There is no official car park for the walk, but you can park at the dead-end of Tandara Road in Halls Gap. From there, follow the well-worn trail through the forest. Take the left trail at the signposted junction and begin the climb up to the peak. It’s a well-made trail with rocky steps cut into the slope.

Eventually you’ll get to the top of the ridge. From there you have to climb a little over rocks to reach the viewpoint. You can see down to Halls Gap and across to Bellfield Lake with the long Wonderland Range stretching right across in front of you.

Return the same way.

Mt Rosea
Mt Rosea summit

Mt Rosea

  • Start/finish: Rosea Car Park
  • Distance: 9.4 km return
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Location: Central Grampians

Mt Rosea is the most popular of the longer and more challenging hikes in the Grampians. It starts from Rosea Car Park, an 8.5km drive from Halls Gap and not too far from Sundial Car Park.

From the Rosea Car Park, you want to take the signposted track off to the left that winds its way through a beautiful forest. As you climb higher, you emerge from the trees to a more exposed rocky and sub-alpine landscape. This is where the fun begins. There’s lots of rock hopping and relatively easy scrambling as you continue up to the top of the ridge. Keep an eye out for the painted arrows on the ground to ensure you’re going the right way.

As you get to the top of the range, the trail swings right and you have to navigate through caves, crevasses and boulders as you continue up towards the high point of Mt Rosea. You’ll eventually come to the base of the rocky ridge where there’s a junction. Turn left and walk along the rock face for 100m up to the fenced-off viewpoint of Mt Rosea.

You can enjoy the 360 degree view of the Central Grampians before returning the same way.

Mt Stapylton
View from Mt Stapylton

Mt Stapylton loop

  • Start/finish: Stapylton Campground
  • Distance: 12.2 km return
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium-Hard
  • Location: Northern Grampians

Mt Stapylton is one of the northernmost peaks in the Grampians.

Most people ascend Mt Stapylton from Mt Zero Car Park which is a much shorter and more accessible trail. However, for a longer day hike with far fewer crowds for the most part, I suggest you start from Stapylton Campground and complete this longer loop. The campground is 50km from Halls Gap or just 30km from the popular Plantation Campground along a corrugated dirt road.

From the northern end of Stapylton Campground, follow the trail across flat grassland for 1.5km until you cross over Pohlners Road and get to a junction. Take the track to the right which winds its way up to the top of the ridgeline. At the next junction, follow the sign to the left to Mt Stapylton and traverse a rocky escarpment following the painted arrows on the ground.

The trail keeps to the right of the gully for the most part but is a single track through overgrown shrub, so keep an eye out for the arrows. Eventually, you’ll climb steeply to meet up with the bare rocky ramp that is used by people coming up from Mt Zero Car Park. Turn right and follow the arrows as they navigate around the rocky summit of Mt Stapylton until they finally wind your way to the top.

To reach the very rocky summit of the mountain requires a fair bit of climbing, so if you prefer, you can stop near a cave just below the summit and admire the 360-degree views from there.

Take the same trail back down the rock face to the junction where you had met the main trail. Instead of turning left, continue on the main trail straight ahead towards Mt Zero Car Park. The track descends steeply into a gully which is surrounded by a natural amphitheatre. You might see rock climbers on the steep rock walls around you.

You’ll come to a junction and you need to take the signposted track to your left, which will take you back towards Stapylton Campground. When you get back to the first junction from the start of the walk, turn right and you’ll follow the same sandy trail through shrubland back to the campground.

Briggs Bluff
Briggs Bluff

Briggs Bluff

  • Start/finish: Beehive Falls Car Park
  • Distance: 10.5 km return
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium-Hard
  • Location: Northern Grampians

Together with Mt Difficult, this is one of the most challenging hikes in the Grampians. Briggs Bluff was also one of the most enjoyable hikes for me with the incredibly stunning landscape of the Northern Grampians making the views for most of the hike worth the effort.

The walk starts from Beehive Falls Car Park, which is a 23km drive along a dirt corrugated road from Halls Gap. It’s a shorter 13km drive if you’re staying at Plantation Campground.

To start the walk, you need to take the fairly flat sandy track to Beehive Falls. From there, hop across the creek at the bottom of the falls and start the rocky climb through the cliffs. After a sweaty steep hike, you’ll somehow emerge on top of the rugged landscape.

The trail then follows the stunning ridgeline with the incredible sandstone cliffs on either side of you. Take a moment to admire this landscape that is millions of years old. The trail seems relatively easy and flat but it soon dips into a gully and then begins another steep climb through rocky terrain. There’s even a steep rock staircase built into the cliff to get you to the top.

You’ll reach a junction. The right track takes you across to Mt Difficult in the distance. The left track is the one you want to take, which covers rugged terrain and exposed rock towards Briggs Bluff. Ensure that you follow the yellow arrows, as the trail is not always as worn and obvious in this section. As you ascend the final rock slab, you’ll come to the edge of the ridge and the top of Briggs Bluff.

The incredible view looks across the plains in front of you and stretches back to Mt Difficult in the opposite direction. There’s no fence on this cliff edge so be careful how close you get to the edge!

Return the same way.

Mt Difficult
Mt Difficult

Mt Difficult (Mt gar)

  • Start/finish: Troopers Creek Campground
  • Distance: 8.5 km return
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Location: Northern Grampians

The name of this Grampians hike is enough to make you realise what it’s about. The walk up to Mt Difficult is a challenging climb under cliffs to an incredible viewpoint of the Northern Grampians. For many, this is some of the most rewarding hiking in Victoria.

The trail starts at Troopers Creek Campground. The quickest way to reach it is to drive for 30 minutes along a dirt corrugated road from Halls Gap. Otherwise, you can drive out east to the Western Highway and come back into the Grampians park along Roses Gap Road.

Follow the trail that leads southeast out of the campground. It’s relatively gentle but just for a short time. The track relentlessly climbs up a rocky slope with switchbacks taking you through a gully below some cliffs.

It then winds its way left towards Mt Difficult. It’s a fun time, as you clamber over caverns, overhangs and boulders and squeeze your way through rock faces. There are consistently good views though which only persuade you to keep going.

You’ll eventually reach the end of the ridgeline before climbing steeply again towards the peaks ahead. You’ll reach a junction where you’ll find a flat campsite that is used for overnight hikers. From there you need to turn left and follow the cairns along the exposed rock to the Mt Gar summit.

The view of the Mt Gar Range are some of the best in the entire national park and worth all the effort to reach.

Return the same way.

Possible longer hike: You can connect both Briggs Bluff and Mt Difficult by a trail that crosses the ridgeline between the two points. For a real challenge, you can start at Troopers Creek Campground and hike this section up to Mt Difficult. You can then continue across to Briggs Bluff, before descending down to Beehive Falls Car Park. You just need to arrange a carpool of some sort to connect the start and end. This hike is 15.5km and should take around 7 hours. Another option is to do this as an overnight hike and camp at the flat camping area below the Mt Difficult summit.

Mt William
View from Mt William

Mt William (Mt duwil)

  • Start/finish: Mt William Car Park
  • Distance: 4 km return
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy-Medium
  • Location: Southern Grampians

This is probably my least favourite walk on this list, simply because it just follows a sealed road for 2km up a hill to a communications tower. However, Mt William-Duwil is the highest point in the Grampians National Park and it’s really a must-see for any trip.

Start this walk at the Mt William Car Park, almost a 30-minute drive from Halls Gap along a winding road. From there, it’s just a short walk along the paved road for the remaining ascent to the communications tower and highest point in the park. When you reach the fenced off communications area, walk around it to the back of it and you’ll find a plaque and sign pointing to the peaks that you can see around you.

The panorama of the entire Grampians National Park stretches right in front of you and it’s certainly a must-see viewpoint.

Mt Sturgeon
Mt Sturgeon

Mt Sturgeon (Mt wurgarri)

  • Start/finish: Car Park at the junction of Grampians Road and Victoria Valley Road.
  • Distance: 7 km return
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium-Hard
  • Location: Southern Grampians

This is one of the most popular southern Grampians walks. There is a small carpark at the junction of Grampians Road and Victoria Valley Road where the trail begins.

From there, you walk through scrubland and forest on a sandy track circling the base of the mountain. Soon the walk turns into a hike and the climb begins up a steep rocky trail to the crest of Mt Sturgeon.

As you get closer to the top, the views over your shoulder across the Grampians ranges stretching to the north are impressive. Keep heading up until you eventually reach a saddle where you walk across the bare rock to the peak and incredible viewpoint.

From the top, you can see down to Dunkeld town and across to the stunning peaks rolling to the north. In one direction you have flat farmland and in another, incredible mountains.

Return down the same track.

Mt Abrupt
View from Mt Abrupt

Mt Abrupt (Mt murdadjoog)

  • Start/finish: Mt Abrupt Car Park on Grampians Road
  • Distance: 6.5 km return
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium-Hard
  • Location: Southern Grampians

For me, this is one of the best viewpoints out of all the hikes in the Grampians. The sweet rewards from this short but steep hike are worth your time.

There is a parking area off to the side of the Grampians Tourist Road across from the trailhead. From the car park, you need to cross the road and find the rocky steps which take you onto the trail in the bush.

The trail is almost immediately steep as it zig-zags its way through the forest up to the ridge saddle between Mt Abrupt and Signal Peak. The landscape becomes sub-alpine with beautiful views after this point, as the trail swings to the left and heads south towards Mt Abrupt peak.

You’ll come to the base of the mountain and the last 1km is a steep rocky climb to the summit. The panoramic views from the top of Mt Abrupt are outstanding. You can see across to Mt Sturgeon in one direction and sweeping views to the beautiful Signal Peak in the other. The Serra Range seems to roll forever into the distance to the north.

Return the same way.

Planning a trip to the Grampians? Read next: The Ultimate Travel Guide to the Grampians

If you’re interested in other places to go hiking in Victoria, read:

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