Walking Since 1939

Backstairs Track – Little Joe Loop – Tramway


Distance: 12km

Bookings are not required for this walk, just turn up at:   9:45am   Ringwood station, in front of the Ringwood RSL on Station St.

The leader will organise car-pooling and provide directions to the location of the walk.  Drivers are really appreciated to help car-pool walkers between the meeting point and the walk location. There is free all-day parking nearby if your vehicle isn’t needed for transport, but please check parking signs.

The drive from the meeting point to the starting point of the walk will take about 50 minutes and is 100 km return.

The walk will take around 4 hours including breaks.

Expect to return to the meeting point around 5.00pm.

Walk Description

For walkers who want to tick off a summit, here’s a trek that will get the heart rate up, Mt Little Joe – the 469m mini-mountain that stands proudly to the south-west of town, between Warburton and Millgrove.

The access to Little Joe is one of the prettiest sections of this loop, taking walkers west along the Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail before turning up the Backstairs Track at Scotchmans Creek. Named for a cunning old Scotsman who fossicked for nuggets on this spot, Scotchmans Creek was one of the earliest goldfields in the Upper Yarra district (opened late 1859) and was one of the Valley’s richest sources of gold.

Before starting the climb up the southern flanks of the valley, the route takes you through historic Dolly Grey Park. Backstairs Track itself – once known as Blackstairs Track – used to link Old Warburton to the ‘new’ Warburton, the steps long ago worn down by packhorses.

At the top of Backstairs Track, the route swings off to the rear flank of mighty Mt Little Joe, named after Portuguese Joe, a ‘packer’ friend of local historical character, Yankee Jim (James McAvoy). Steel yourself here because the wide track up Little Joe plows straight up very steeply to the summit. At least at the top you can catch views across the valley through stands of trees burned in Black Friday and Ash Wednesday as you catch your breath.

The route then loops back around passing under the north side of the summit, heading out to the rear-side entry of Little Joe. For a shorter walk (9km), from here you can head back down Backstairs track and into town. Or for 3km of extra exercise, take the diversion into Old Warburton where you can pick up an old benched tramway that edges along pleasantly back to the high side of the Warburton township.

(Walk description courtesy of Trail Hiking Australia website).

What to bring

• Day pack
• Sufficient water (2 litres, more on hot summer days)
• Lunch and snacks
• Hat, sun screen
• Suitable outdoor clothing (no jeans/sneakers!)
• Rainwear & warm jacket
• Proper walking shoes/boots

Refer to our Gear Checklist page for more details.   If you are not properly equipped, the walk leader can decide not to let you participate on this walk.

Booking Fee:

YHA Bushwalking Victoria Members: Free
Non-members: $7  (please pay the leader CASH at the start of the walk, no credit cards)

Passengers must pay the driver their share of car-pooling costs as described on the Car-pooling page. Please bring cash for this purpose.

Still have questions?

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Contact the leader using the “Enquiry” button below BEFORE 8 pm on the preceding Wednesday.

Activity Date(s)


March 1, 2020 9:45 am


March 1, 2020 5:00 pm







Andrew W

You can click this button to send the Walk Leader an enquiry first:

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