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The Best Hike in Northern Kosciuszko | 3 Days Exploring the Jagungal Wilderness

The Best Hike in Northern Kosciuszko | 3 Days Exploring the Jagungal Wilderness

Chloe, Anne and Anna (Doods) recently spent three days walking through the Jagungal Wilderness, a bucket list experience for any bushwalking enthusiast. The 40-ish kilometre loop via Round Mountain Trail and Grey Mare Trail, including summiting Mount Jagungal, encompasses everything there is to love about hiking in Australia. This loop has some of the most beautiful historic Kosciuszko high country huts, never-ending views across to Mount Jagungal, rolling hills and deep valleys, plenty of lovely little streams (including the headwaters of the Tumut River) and a mountain peak to bag. Not to mention the wildflowers, birdlife (Wedge-Tailed Eagles!) and the unbeatable feeling of being immersed in a remote wilderness.

Featuring Anne Shanahan, Anna Johnson and Chloe Symons. Filmed and edited by Dean Johnson. 

Day 1: Round Mountain Trail Head to Derschkos Hut | 14km

After a brief stop to check out the newly rebuilt Bradley and O’Briens Hut, we began our three-day journey from the Round Mountain trailhead car park. From here, we followed the Round Mountain trail, weaving around Round Mountain itself.

Hiking the 40km Jagungal Loop in Kosciuszko National Park
Hiking the 40km Jagungal Loop in Kosciuszko National Park
Hiking the 40km Jagungal Loop in Kosciuszko National Park

Mount Jagungal loomed over us in the distance, growing taller as we made our way towards Derschkos Hut for the night. Derschkos Hut was built in the 1950s by the Snowy Mountains Authority for use by a hydrologist named Derschkos.

Hiking the 40km Jagungal Loop in Kosciuszko National Park

After a quick snooze in the shade of the quaint and incredibly well-maintained hut, we found our campsite for the night, where we pitched our tents on the rise adjacent to the hut. We were blessed with an incredible view across the plain towards Mount Jagungal and we spent the evening mesmerised by the alpenglow, lighting up the mountain as the sun went down.

Derschkos Hut in the Jagungal Wilderness in Kosciuszko National Park
Camping near Derschkos Hut overlooking Mount Jagungal
Camping near Derschkos Hut overlooking Mount Jagungal

Day 2: Derschkos Hut to O’Keefes Hut via Mount Jagungal | 9.2km

We awoke to a perfect morning; coffees drank as the sun peaked over Mount Jagungal and a cruisy morning crossing the plain with the most spectacular view of the mountain towering over us.

Watching the sunrise over Mount Jagungal in Kosciuszko National Park
Watching the sunrise over Mount Jagungal in Kosciuszko National Park
Hiking the 40km Jagungal Loop in Kosciuszko National Park
Mount Jagungal stands at 2061m, the seventh highest mountain in Australia, and on the northern face of Mount Jagungal rises the beloved Tumut River. The plan for the day was to ascend the mountain following the footpad up and form our own track back down to meet Grey Mare Trail. We waded up the mountain through head-high shrubs before reaching a clearing that gave us a taste of the views yet to come.
Hiking Mount Jagungal in Kosciuszko National Park
Hiking Mount Jagungal in Kosciuszko National Park
As we followed the ridge to the mountain peak, we had expansive views of Northern Kosciuszko on our left and the more jagged peaks of the Main Range to our right. Upon reaching the summit, we were blessed with one of the best views in all of Kosciuszko. We could see all the way to the Victorian Alps! Layers and layers of mountains surround us. Lunch was enjoyed in the company of the 360-degree views before making our descent, creating our own path down the opposite side to where we ascended the mountain.
Hiking Mount Jagungal in Kosciuszko National Park
Hiking Mount Jagungal in Kosciuszko National Park
This decision, which meant to be a time and kilometre-saving shortcut, resulted in a 2km bush bash that took us 3 hours. However, with much second-guessing, sharp scrub against raw skin, a broken trekking pole and a close call with a stump, we eventually emerged onto the Grey Mare Trail with great relief! Home for the night was O’Keefes Hut with its lovely ‘formal’ dining room. O’Keefes hut was built by AS O’Keefe in 1934 to support local grazing.
O'Keefes Hut in the Jagungal Wilderness in Kosciuszko National Park

Day 3: O’Keefes Hut to Round Mountain Trail Head | 15km

It’s always exciting waking up on the last day of a multi-day hike, knowing there is a car stocked with fresh clothes and snacks waiting for you. Not to mention the shower and comfy warm bed waiting at home!

O'Keefes Hut in Jagungal Wilderness in Kosciuszko National Park
Hiking Mount Jagungal in Kosciuszko National Park

It was much easier hiking this morning, with gentle ups and downs. Plus, the weather was a bit cooler than the previous two days, thanks to the cloud cover. We made quick tracks and by early afternoon, we were enjoying lunch by the Tumut River in a very impressive valley.

The Tumut River flowing through a valley in the Jagungal Wilderness
The Tumut River flowing through a valley in the Jagungal Wilderness

Anne, who carried a fly rod for the last two days (on her first-ever overnight hike!) finally had her chance to shine and took this opportunity to drop in a line! Unfortunately, the fish weren’t playing the game. However, none of us were upset about the lazy hour we spent soaking up the sun before the climb back out to the car.

Fly fishing the Tumut River in the Jagungal Wilderness of Kosciuszko National Park

We slowly eased our way through the last 4ish kilometres of the day (mostly all uphill!), soaking in our surroundings and stopping to admire the view back down the valley. We stopped at the remains of Round Mountain Hut, soon to be rebuilt, to admire Mount Jagungal off in the distance with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. A huge shoutout to Anne for completing not just her first overnight hike but her first multi-day hike that included climbing a mountain and to Dean for keeping us all on track, even when there was no track!

Hiking the 40km Jagungal Loop in Kosciuszko National Park
Next article Easy Way or the Hard Way | Batlow to Tumbarumba 4WD Bikepacking Adventure with Chris and Pat

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