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Canberra Walks: The Best Hikes in the ACT

Keep active by hitting up one of these walks in Canberra.

Mount Ainslie

Canberra is an absolute delight when it comes to walking. From family-friendly meanders circling the lake to hiking Mount Ainslie, there are walks to suit all kinds of moods. You'll find bush tracks, lush vegetation, snowy gums and wildlife. If you fancy getting out of town, it won't take long at all to hit the bush. But not all walks were created equal and we're here to help you decide where to spend your precious few hours of fresh air and steps. Grab your hiking shoes and read on for the best walks in Canberra. 

Mount Taylor (Image Credit: Trail Maze)

Mount Taylor

On the other side of Canberra lies the Mount Taylor walk. Start this hike from the car park on Sulwood Drive at the Mannheim Street Intersection and make your way up to the top to take in the views of the Tuggeranong Valley on one side and the Woden Valley on the other. The walk is 3.8km up and down and is the perfect way to get into the great outdoors solo or with friends and kids.

Starting point: The National Bicentennial off Parkhill Street, Pearce

Duration: 45 mins

National Arboretum

National Arboretum 

If you're looking for nature-packed walks, the National Arboretum should be top of your list. This national treasure boasts over 44,000 rare and endangered trees across a site that spans 250 hectares. There are plenty of trails to enjoy from short 1km trails to the 7.2km explorer track that takes you through wild, habitat and research forests. This walking haven even boasts a cafe at the Village Centre should you find yourself getting peckish. 

Mount Tennent (Image Credit: Visit Canberra)

Mount Tennent

If you really want to get your heart rate up and challenge yourself, walk the trailhead up to Mount Tennent. The hike is 15km up and down and has an elevation of 1375 metres. There are plenty of spots to rest along the way and the mountain is a mix of gradual and steep incline. Don’t forget to take lots of water and snacks with you and it can also get quite chilly at the top so pack a jumper.

Starting point: The Namadgi Visitor Centre after-hours car park

Duration: 3.5-6 hours (depending on your fitness level)

Lake Burley Griffin (Image Credit: Visit Canberra)

Bridge-to-Bridge, Lake Burley Griffin

Who says you can’t enjoy a slice of nature in the middle of the city!? The 5km bridge-to-bridge (Commonwealth Bridge to Kings Avenue Bridge) walk around the iconic Lake Burley Griffin is a popular walk for those who want to get in a brisk walk during their lunch hour or those who like to indulge in a coffee midway – yes, please. The walk also allows you to view Canberra icons along the way like the National Library, the National Carillon, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Sculpture Garden and more goodies.

Starting point: You can start anywhere along the basin of the lake in between the two bridges.

Duration: 1.5 hours

Red Rock Gorge (Image Credit: Visit Canberra)

Red Rock Gorge, Kambah

A pleasant walk for all fitness levels, this trail starts from the Kambah Pool carpark off Kambah Pool Road. The trail (9km one way) eventually leads to Pine Island Reserve or you can opt to do the most scenic part of the route to Red Rock Gorge on the Murrumbidgee River which is only 2km one way.

Starting point: Kambah Pool car park off Kambah Pool Rd

Duration: 30 mins to Red Rock Gorge and 3 hours one-way to Pine Island Reserve

Booroomba Rocks (Image Credit: Visit Canberra)

Booroomba Rocks

Make a glorious day of it and head out to Namadgi National Park. Just an hour’s drive from the centre of Canberra, Booroomba Rocks in Namadgi offers stunning views of the Brindabella Ranges. You can opt to do several walks in the area, but the shortest walk is 4km return from the Booroomba Rocks car park. Namadgi is truly beautiful.

Starting point: Various starting points, but the 4km return walk starts at Booroomba Rocks car park

Duration: 1 hour

Mount Ainslie

Mount Ainslie

Ask any Canberran what one of their favourite hikes is and they’ll say: ‘Mount Ainslie is a beauty’. Hike from the base up to the top and be blown away by breathtaking views of the city or walk around the mountain on one of the many walking trails. The hike to the top is 4.2km up and down and offers those who want a workout a fairly steep climb in parts. Make like a true Canberran and head up to see the sunrise!

Starting point: Behind the Australian War Memorial off Treloar Cres, Campbell

Duration: 1hr 45 mins

Canberra Centenary Trail (Image Credit: @chiefly_alison via Visit Canberra)

Canberra Centenary Trail 

Up for a challenge? The Canberra Centenary Trail is a 145km trail that will guide you past and through Canberra's most iconic natural, man-made and historical points of interest. You'll travel through urban and rural landscapes and receive a complete history lesson along the way. 

You can break the trail up and tackle it segment by segment or challenge yourself to complete the whole thing in one go. 

Duration: 7 days 

Gibraltar Peak (Image Credit: Chris Holly via Visit Canberra)

Gibraltar Peak 

Easily one of the top contenders for best walks within the Tidbinbilla nature reserve, Gibraltar Peak is all about the views.  The sweeping view on a clear day makes the steep track well worth it! 

Please note: Gibraltar Peak has significant cultural significance for the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of this land. Please ensure you stick to marked tracks and respect the area. 

Duration: 3 to 4 hours 

Starting Point: Dalsetta Carpark 

If you loved this edit of the best walks in Canberra and are looking for more trails to explore, be sure to check out our edit of the best hikes in NSW as well as the best hikes in Sydney

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