|Type||One way / Out and Back|
|Grade (if available)||Moderate to Difficult; TrailScore Technical Black 31/45 TrailScore general Black 7/10|
|Start||Big Pats Creek|
|Finish||Jct Road Seven and Brahams Rd|
|Distance||11.3 km (one way)|
|Ascent||409 m (one way)|
|Descent||26 m (one way)|
|Max Elevation||628 m|
|Features||Gentle but consistent hill climb through native forest, mountain grey gum and mountain ash, historic tram ruins and artefacts|
|Facilities||Toilets: Big Pats Creek|
Car parking: Big Pats Creek
|Notes||Best completed in summer and shoulder seasons; muddy, slippery and difficult going in winter; expect variable track condition and downed trees; car shuffle required if walking one way|
Richards Tramline is a solid run of around 11km that passes through some pretty forest that – similar to the Walk Into History that starts/finishes nearby – is anchored in the area’s logging history.
You can tackle it either as an out-and-back in one big 22km day, take on a slightly shortened length and then return via a dirt road (15km all up) or organise a car shuffle and run one-way only. For this you drive to the junction of Road Seven and Brahams Rd and leave one car here before returning to the car park at Big Pats Creek.
Setting off from Big Pats Creek, the Tramline follows the route cut through the forest by William Richards in 1916 so he could move highly-prized timber from outlying sawmills deep in the bush to the train line lower in the valley. The route wanders and not only to maintain a gradient suitably gentle for moving logs (and as it happens walking), Richards was forced to make tight turns to skirt private land on which he would have had to pay high fees.
Though most signs of the Tramline’s infrastructure have long been consumed back into the bush, there are still a few old sleepers and dog spikes that hint at more industrious days gone by. Such history provides food for thought as you run amongst the tall tress before arriving at Road Seven and your car.
It should be noted that whilst the trail condition is adequate, it is not as well maintained as other trails in the area and has a rough and ready feel to it. In some areas the surface can get boggy and runners should expect to clamber over the odd downed tree, but that just adds to the adventure.
ALTERNATIVE: For an easier route that does not require a car shuffle, opt to run 8km along Richards Tramline to where you will find a trail veering off to your left. Taking this diversion will deposit you out onto Mississippi Rd. You can then take a gentle run back down that road until you reach Big Pats Creek. This is an approximate 15km loop.
You can also determine the length you run by following the Run It guide as far along the trail as you want to before turning around and heading back to the start.
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!