A fantastically challenging walk, the Frenchmans Cap Walk is considered one of Tasmania’s toughest hiking routes. This renowned 27 mi/43 km out-and-back trail is considered by many a ‘best of’ hike encompassing all that hikers love of Tasmania, from forest and glacial valley to lake and mountain tops. This arduous but spectacular hiking route starts and ends along the Lyell Highway in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Tasmania, and is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
This multi-day hike has a total elevation gain of 5425 ft and takes on the exposed summit of Frenchmans Cap at 1446 metres. Graded as Difficult, this hiking route is only recommended for experienced hikers and bushwalkers and the summit of Frenchmans Peak itself is best attempted (and highly advised) only in good weather and by those not perturbed by heights or exposure. For information on how we grade trails, please click here
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Free parking is available at the trailhead, at Frenchmans Cap car park, where the hike starts by crossing the swing bridge over Franklin River. Climbing up through rainforest and into the mountains, it passes over the slopes of Mount Mullens and then downwards to heath and forest, over boardwalk leading to Lake Vera, where the first of two shelters, Vera Hut is located. The unmanned huts on trail are well-equipped with composting toilets, bunks, tables and stoves and camping is also available nearby.
It then passes Lake Vera and climbs again to Barron Pass at 950 metres, taking on an exposed and rocky mountainous upland section that eventually leads to vertical steps and onto your next plateau, through moorland to reach the next shelter, Tahune Hut, that sits beside Lake Tahune.
Preparation is key on this multi-day hike as you can expect changeable weather in the region, especially in the exposed sections which are notoriously windy and gusty, and has been known to blow hikers off their feet.
After Tahune Hut it’s onward to the summit of Frenchmans Cap, with some steep ascents, switchbacks and rock scrambles to reach the peak for magnificent 360-degree mountain peak views, but only during good weather, as the peak is frequently met by strong winds and is extremely difficult to navigate in poor visibility, whilst the quartzite rock becomes slippery and dangerous in icy or wet conditions.
Hikers are required to register for this hike which usually takes between 3 – 5 days to complete. (Caution is advised on trail times as this depends on multiple variables. For more info, click here
‘A valid parks pass is required for entry to Tasmania's national parks’ so make the most of your time in Tasmania and plan other walks on your route planner or walking app before you go. https://passes.parks.tas.gov.au/
Dogs are not allowed in Tasmania’s national parks and reserves for the protection and conservation of the park and its wildlife.
Photo Credit :User:Bourgeois