|Trail||Donna Buang Walking Track|
|Type||One way / Out and Back|
|Grade (if available)||Difficult; TrailScore technical Black 38/45, TrailScore general Black 8/10|
|Start||Warburton Main St|
|Finish||Mt Donna Buang Viewing Tower / Summit|
|Distance||9km (one way) / 18km (out and back)|
|Ascent||1170 m (one way)|
|Descent||70 m (one way)|
|Max Elevation||1265 m|
|Features||The best hill climb close to Melbourne, steep single track, lush tree fern forests, gigantic mountain ash and myrtle beech, Mt Donna Buang Summit and viewing platform|
|Facilities||Toilets: Warburton township, Donna Buang Summit, 10 Mile Picnic Area (accessible en route), Rainforest Gallery (car access on return, Donna Buang Rd), Car parking: Warburton township, Donna Buang Summit, 10 Mile Picnic Area|
|Notes||Best completed in summer and shoulder seasons; muddy, slippery, potentially snowbound and difficult going in winter; car shuttle required if walking one way|
There’s an element of the trail running fraternity – the mountain goat class – who seek to run the steepest gradients on offer Down Under. While super slopes aren’t for everyone – nothing wrong with preferring flat, flowy and fast, of which Warburton Valley has plenty to choose from – anyone looking to train for events with steep inclines needs a steep training ground. The best and longest steep trail climb within goat’s bleat of Melbourne is found shooting up the flanks of Mt Victoria and Mt Donna Buang, only an hour from the CBD.
Beginning on the banks of the Yarra River, the Donna Buang Walking Track stretches 9km and rises an impressive, if lung and leg busting, 1170-vertical metres. Perfect fodder for mountain goats.
Those tackling its length rise up through towering mountain ash and ancient myrtle beech trees, pushing on into a dense rainforest jungle populated by gigantic tree ferns. The trail reaches Mount Victoria then one final saddle featuring a mystic atmosphere, especially when the mist rolls in as it often does, before Donna’s 1245m summit.
The finale is stepping up the viewing tower, a 21m rise that on a clear day delivers views across the Upper Yarra Valley back towards Melbourne.
ALTERNATIVE: For an easier, shorter run that does not require a car shuffle, drive to the summit car park. Run back along the trail towards and over Mt Victoria, eventually popping out on Mount Donna Buang Rd. Walk roadside uphill for approximately 1km until you reach the 10 Mile Picnic Area. Pick up the linking trail at the rear of the car park taking you back on to the main Donna Buang Walking Track you came down on. Run back to the summit. Approximately 6km.
INFORMATION Parks Vic info sheet
The Walks eGuide features over 200 walks and trails in the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley. Covering all ability levels, whether your walk is dog-friendly or where to find your nearest toilet is covered in the Walks eGuide. At $15, it's a steal so grab your copy now!