Tracks & Trails

Mt Ainslie Summit Walk
Tracks & Trails | bushwalking | history | Australian Capital Territory

Mt Ainslie Summit Walk

Top views of the nations capital

by Susie Baber  |  3 December 2022

4.5km return | Moderate | 1.5 – 2.5 hours

Mount Ainslie stands proudly behind the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and its peak, 846 meters above sea level, offers panoramic views of Lake Burley Griffin and the nation’s capital, framed by Tidbinbilla Range and Namadgi National Park. Mount Ainslie was named after James Ainslie, one of the first Europeans in the area, arriving with his sheep in 1825.

If you are short on time you can drive to the scenic lookout, or there is a choice of running paths that will take you to the top. For a lovely afternoon walk however, the popular Mount Ainslie Summit Walk or Kokoda Memorial Trail is the most direct route to the summit. More than 200 people a day take advantage of this walking track and it is easy to see why, with such spectacular views at the top.

The walk starts from Remembrance Park in Treloar Crescent where there is memorial explaining what happened on the Kokoda Track in Papau New Guinea during the Second World War. There is more interpretative signage along the walk with interesting facts about local flora, aboriginal heritage spanning the last 21,000 years and how European settlement in the area has changed the natural landscape.

The sealed walking path zigzags up the mountain taking in some beautiful flora and fauna along the way. Criss crossing the path are various dirt tracks and fire trails used by bike riders to enjoy the nature reserve, but if you stick to the concrete path you really can’t get lost. The walk starts off with a gentle slope but in places does get steeper with rock stairs before levelling out and zigzagging up the hill again. As you climb there are glimpses of the view through the trees, promising that all that ‘up’ will be worth it when you get to the top. Near the end there is a long set of steep stone stairs requiring a final burst of energy to make it to the lookout.

The views from the lookout are ample reward for all your hard work. Spectacular in all directions. There is more signage with information about the history and design of the city and, much to my delight, a water refill station. Relax on the sandstone walls and appreciate this unique perspective of the city before heading back down the way you came.

Share this story