This is the second in our series of Great Circuits for Day Hiking and Trail Running Near Melbourne. These circuits are close enough to Melbourne to complete in a day trip by car, and offer awesome training opportunities in some lovely forest.
From the lush verdant gullies abounding with ferns and mosses to the hilltop woodlands reigned by majestic Mountain Ash, the Tanglefoot Circuit in Toolangi State Forest is unsurpassed in its natural beauty. The route is about 15 kilometres long and crosses relatively gentle terrain. Only an hour and a half drive from Melbourne, this is a fantastic trail to get out and stretch your legs on.
The ground is quite soft underfoot and pleasant to tread on, which is especially nice if you happen to be suffering from any impact injuries. Watch your step though as the clayey earth can be slippery slick, as can the leaf debris (and the boardwalks, for that matter). Also to note: carrying something to remove leeches can often prove useful!
Route: The Tanglefoot Circuit
Distance: 14.5 kilometres
Elevation Gain: 478 metres
The route described here is the combination of the two shorter routes known as the Myrtle Gully Circuit and the Tanglefoot Loop.
The route starts from the carpark at Wirrawilla Rainforest Walk, where there are some picnic tables and a drop toilet. The Wirrawilla Rainforest itself is stunning, and it’s worth taking a detour and following the short boardwalk circuit along the creek to enjoy this area.
From here it’s a gradual ascent up the Myrtle Gully trail, which is stunningly rich with ferns and mosses. The trail gains a little more than 200m over 3.5 kilometres before reaching the junction with the Tanglefoot trail.
You then head south along the Tanglefoot trail, which meanders along below the ridge line through the woodlands and towering Mountain Ash. After 2.5 kilometres you reach a junction where a track branches off to the west and descends steeply, returning to Wirrawilla carpark to complete the Myrtle Gully Circuit.
Instead of heading west at the junction, continue south along the Tanglefoot trail for another 4.5 kilometres to reach Monda Road. Keep and eye out as there’s a good chance of sighting lyrebirds and other fauna along the way. At Monda Road you turn right and take the road for a short distance to regain the trail which now heads north along Quarry Road.
The final 4 kilometre stretch along the disused Quarry Road involves a steady descent on comparatively even ground. Although perhaps not as impressive as some of the forest in the hilltops above, it is still very beautiful and makes for a gentle end to the circuit.
Although it does cover a decent distance, this circuit isn’t extremely demanding. The forest is superb in all its diverse facets and the trail is lovely to travel on. This is a great circuit for that day of lighter exercise when you want to spend more time enjoying your surroundings.