Tracks and trails


The Arboretum has over 20 km of multi-purpose, family-friendly, walking and cycling tracks for public enjoyment. Equestrians may also enjoy the Arboretum in designated areas. The ACT Centenary Trail and the Bicentennial Trail run through the forests connecting the Arboretum to greater Canberra.

Download a Forest and Walking Tracks and trail map [PDF 3.7MB] (or pick one up from the Village Centre) and discover the Arboretum’s spectacular forests, gardens, forest sculptures and views.

PLEASE NOTE: TRACK MAINTENANCE WILL TAKE PLACE THROUGHOUT THE ARBORETUM UNTIL 30 SEPTEMBER 2020. SIGNAGE WILL INDICATED CLOSED TRACKS AND WORKS UNDERWAY.
Walking trails

Walking trailExplore over 20 km of walking tracks suitable for all ability levels. Take off by foot and discover the Arboretum’s 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees. Grab a free tracks and trails map from the Village Centre or download it here. Make your own adventure or choose one of the suggested popular walks below.

Remember this is a multi-purpose track. Walkers and joggers should exercise special caution at road junctions, car park entrances and exits and on steep gradients. Walkers and joggers are required to give way to horses.

Central Valley Path

1.5km one way | Moderate

Follow the slope towards the lower dam, explore ceremonial tree plantings and feature gardens in the zigs and the zags of the Central Valley. Offering sensational views, the path connects to several other longer walks. Track gradient and surface suitable for prams and assisted wheelchair use.


Himalayan Cedar Track

2.1km return | Moderate

Starting near the Pod Playground, the trail winds through several forests, past the iconic Wide Brown Land sculpture and on to the majestic Himalayan Cedar forest where a picnic deck and free electric barbeques are nestled with the tall trees. This walk features fantastic views and trees that change colours throughout the seasons. Want to drive? There is a sealed path to the picnic area from the Himalayan Cedar car park.


STEP Track

1km return | Easy

This easy walk starts near Pod Playground and goes to the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park (STEP, Forest 20), a regional botanic garden with a rich variety of eucalypt trees, shrubs and grasses native to the local area.


Mountain View Track

3.3km one way | Moderate - Hard

Soak up the many stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Feel like some exercise, the hills will get your legs and heart pumping.


Dairy Farmers Hill Track

2.3km return | Moderate

Walk up Dairy Farmers Hill, home to the larger than life sculpture Nest 111 and see one of Canberra’s most photographed and iconic views. Want to drive? There is a sealed path from the Dairy Farmers Hill car park to the lookout.


Explorer Track

7.2km return | Easy

Explore a world of trees in the southern forests! From trees extinct in the wild, habitat trees, research forests and many beautiful natives, this walk is for those who want to stretch their legs and minds. This walk is a favourite for dog lovers – remember dogs on leash are welcome at the Arboretum.


Cork Oak Trail

(from Cork oaks car park) 1.9km return | Easy

The entrance to Cork Oak forest is an easy 150 metre walk from the Cork Oaks car park. Go through the small gate into Forest 2 and follow the trail into the tranquil, nearly 100 year old Cork Oak forest.

(from Himalayan cedars picnic deck) 1.3kms return  | Moderate

For a longer, more challenging option, start at the Himalayan cedars picnic deck, where the trail descends through 3 fascinating forests to the Cork Oaks car park, then continue through the gate into the beautiful Cork Oak forest.


Accessible paths

Sealed paths suitable for prams and wheelchair access connect the carpark to the Village Centre and Pod Playground at the northern entry, as well as access to the Central Valley path. From the southern deck of the Village Centre, sealed and flat surfaces give access to the Event Terrace, Gallery of Gardens and the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion.


ACT Centenary Trail and Bicentennial National Trail

The Arboretum forms a connection between Stromlo Forest Park and Black Mountain/north Canberra. The ACT Centenary Trail weaves through the site taking walkers or cyclists through many of the Arboretum's most beautiful forests.

Cycling

CyclingThe family-friendly multi-purpose tracks at the Arboretum are popular with cyclists who come to enjoy the forests and stunning views. Cycling is permitted on all designated roads and unsealed tracks and trails. Whether you’re on a road bike or a mountain bike, starting out or experienced, the Arboretum welcomes all respectful, trail-sharing bike riders.

Bike racks are located at the top tier of the carpark and on the north deck behind Pod Playground. Bicycles are not permitted inside the Pod Playground.

Please observe all onsite speed limits of 40km/hr for sealed roads, and 10km/hr for shared paths including all tracks and trails.

Cyclists should exercise special caution at road junctions, car park entrances and exits and on steep gradients. Cyclists are required to give way to horses, walkers and joggers.

Organised cycling events be booked through the National Arboretum Canberra. For more information visit our Venue Hire page.

Dogs

Lady walking a dogThe Arboretum is the perfect location for you and your four legged friend to stretch your legs. Please keep dogs on leash at all times.  Dogs are not permitted in buildings or the Pod Playground (with the exception of service dogs).

Dog owners are expected to carry bags and clean up after their dogs. No disposal bins or bag dispensers are provided, consistent with the policy across Canberra's urban parks and open areas.

So what are you waiting for? Enjoy the great outdoors with your best friend today.

Equestrians and horses

equestrianThe Arboretum welcomes recreational horse riding and provides a purpose-built horse yard in Forest 13 (close to the Village Centre). Please refer to the Equestrians and horses brochure [PDF 3.5MB] for recommended routes for equestrians (prepared in conjunction with the ACT Equestrian Association). For more information, contact the Arboretum.

Equestrians should exercise special caution at road junctions, car park entrances and exits and on steep gradients. Cyclists, walkers and joggers are required to give way to horses.

Horse riding is permitted

  • on all unsealed roads (fire trails) throughout the Arboretum
  • on the wide, cleared alleys between each forest
  • along the marked Bicentennial National Trail (BNT).

Horse riding is NOT permitted

  • on the sealed roads throughout the Arboretum, except to cross the road when necessary
  • on other tracks, pathways or lawns, including the Events Terrace, Amphitheatre and the Ceremonial Pathway (also known as the zig zag path) in Central Valley
  • within any of the forests or gardens (except forests along the Bicentennial National Trail).

Horse holding yard

The horse holding yard, (with water trough and mounting block) is located in Forest 13, close to the Village Centre. Riders can take a break here, relax and enjoy the great surroundings.

Horses can be secured in the holding yard, provided one responsible adult stays with the horse(s) at all times.

Please observe the onsite information signage about horse etiquette, safety and rider obligations.

Drinking water

Drinking water for horses is available at

  • the water trough in the horse yard in Forest 13, close to the Village Centre
  • the front dam near the main entrance to the Arboretum, near Forest 27
  • the 'farm dam' in Forest 2 near the northern entrance/exit to the Arboretum
  • the 'western dam' in forest 36 (sides are fairly steep)

NOTE: The 'southern dam' in Forest 91, near the entrance/exit to the Arboretum from Equestrian Park IS NOT recommended for horses due to the rocky sides.

Horse tethering

Horses may be tethered to, or within, the horse yard in Forest 13, across Forest Drive from the Village Centre. Horses may not be tethered to trees.

Horse floats

Horse floats may NOT be unloaded within the Arboretum grounds unless as part of an approved event or function. Horse float parking is available at the nearby Yarralumla Woolshed carpark, with easy access to the Arboretum’s south entrance. Equestrian access to the National Arboretum Canberra is through the north and south pedestrian entrance points and the National Zoo and Aquarium underpass.

Ball sports

Ball sport games or other related activities such as frisbee throwing are discouraged near young trees and forests to avoid possible damage and are not permitted within the POD Playground.