Rufus Hugel Tracks
Cynthia Bay - Shadow Lake - Little Hugel
This is a delightful walking area close to Lake St Clair and can be completed as a day walk, but to get the most from it, three days are ideal.
The country is in the dolerite belt with part also on exposed sandstone so there is a bit of variety in the mountains.
From the visitor centre at Cynthia Bay a wide track leads off to meet the junction of the Hugel and Cuvier Rivers, hence the name Watersmeet for this spot. A large bridge to the right crosses the point immediately below where these rivers meet and this over this is the Overland track to Cradle Mt, whilst to the left is the track to Shadow Lake. Up to this point the well developed high use track is never a great distance from the shores of Lake St.Clair, even though it is well and truly hidden by the vegetation, but from here it turns and winds its way upstream beside the Hugel River. Almost immediately enters an old myrtle forest until a substantial bridge crosses the Hugel River after some 200 metres.
At this bridge the boardwalk to left is the track the Heritage track but the one to Shadow Lake crosses over then gently climbs through mixed forest to a plateau area. Although the track is quite old, much of it is in good order and parts have been upgraded over recent years by using rocks to allow it to handle a high volume of walkers.
During this part of the walk the river is close and you get glimpses of it below as it rushes down and when not it can be heard. Many good views of Mt Rufus and then when on plateau Little Hugel and Mt Hugel. A small pretty tarn gives fine views and good photo opportunity, including Mt Olympus behind. From here it is through Banksia groves to the Shadow Lake shore. Beaches of brownish gravely sand are on the northern side. Ample camp sites at Shadow
From Shadow Lake to nearby Forgotten Lake is on good boardwalk built over a wet button grass plain which has overcome what was once an unpleasant section. There are new boardwalks and other hardening from Forgotten leads to Little Hugel.
The climb to Little Hugel is through a wetter forest with Pencil Pines, Pandanis and Myrtle until the rock scree is reached. It is then a clamber up the rocks to the summit.
To the west of Little Hugel there is a series of alpine plateau and on the first is a tarn surrounded by cushion plants and other high altitude shrubs together with a pleasant , if somewhat exposed, campsite. The plateau above this untracked and leads on to Mt Hugel.
Cynthia Bay to Watersmeet 0:15
Shadow Lake 1:15
Forgotten lake 0:25
Base Little Hugel 0:30
Little Hugel 0:15
Tarn on shelf 0:15
From the plateau on northern end of Hugel (near Little Hugel) it takes about 45 minutes to summit. Includes a boulder field.
Shadow lake - Mt.Rufus
From Shadow lake the track heads around the southern shore, passes a junction with a new track that links to the Rufus Track, and crosses an interesting plain with patches of Scoparia then climbs gently through a long gully to a ridge joining Mts Hugel and Rufus. Sandstone country is now a feature and cliffs and weatherworn rock formations are present.
Turn left and follow track to summit. At the summit cairn there is a route east back to Cynthia Bay or south to Rufus Canal Rd.
The Cynthia Bay route follows along top of mountain then goes down a small bank at which point a clear track leads all the way back.
Shadow lake to Saddle 1:30
Summit Rufus 0:40
Shadow junction 0:50
Overland track Cynthia Bay 1:10
Shadow Lake - Rufus Track Link
This track links with the Shadow Lake and Rufus tracks and runs between the two from its junction soon after Shadow Lake. A wide variety of vegetation is passed - several Eucalypt communities - a couple of plains with good views to Mt Hugel rainforest with old myrtle and some nice areas of heath and colourful bushes in Spring early summer.
The track is relatively new having been put in somewhere close to year 2000. A little over 2 kilometres is traversed with a rise of about 130 metres. The few short ascents are stepped with rocks or other means
The track commences a short distance after leaving the shores of Shadow lake from a well signed junction. The whole section through to the Mt Rufus track is of very high quality and easy to follow, with extensive lengths hardened including where needed the installation of boardwalk. Marker poles are present, so even in snow conditions the track should be obvious.
Initially a short boardwalk leads over heathland to a open forest and onto the foot of a valley plain where a snaking boardwalk takes over, including a nice bridge over the clear fresh looking waters of the Hugel River. Good views of the Hugel and Rufus mountain regions are obtained A short area of woodland follows before another small plain, with surrounds of a variety of bushes that would be a delight in the Spring and early Summer months. Beyond here you pass through dense forests with many pockets of old rainforest as the track gradually climbs to meet the Mt Rufus track.