Epic Hike to Mount Feathertop via Razorback Trail

The Razorback Trail connects Mount Hotham to Mount Feathertop via a north-south ridgeline and is the most popular hiking route leading up to Victoria’s second highest peak, Mount Hotham.

Start from Hotham village near Diamantina Hut and follow the Great Alpine Road until Federation Hut and MUMC Hut are close by for overnight hiking. Federation and MUMC Hut are within short walking distance for an enjoyable overnight hiking adventure.

Getting There

Mount Feathertop can be reached via several routes, but one of the best and most scenic is the Razorback track. This remarkable trail connects Mount Hotham to Feathertop via the ridge between them – starting high above tree line it offers breathtaking views all the way along its length.

This track is grade 3-4 and, while most of it is easygoing, there may be steep ascents or descents along its route. Furthermore, terrain can become rough at times; therefore wet weather should not be recommended when walking this trail. Before beginning any expedition it would be prudent to consult either Vic Emergency app or local forecast for updates as well as bring plenty of food, water, sun protection measures and extra layers in case bad weather strikes!

Harrietville residents looking for access to the track head should travel north along the Great Alpine Road until you reach Diamantina Hut, then west to Federation Hut for parking and camping (see below). Federation offers great camping opportunities as well.

Beginning here, follow Razorback Track southbound until reaching Stony Creek Tops and climbing. It is at this point where you will first have an uninterrupted view of Mount Feathertop itself! Once more climbing will lead you out of the trees into Federation Hut camping area. Here, there is a toilet, water tank (though sometimes not full) and ample flat space for tents – ideal if camping overnight on Mount Feathertop with no own tent or limited gear!

After several kilometers, you will hear running water – this is a natural spring and is the ideal place to fill up your water bottle! As you continue up onto the ridge, amazing sights of alpine range peaks and valleys come into view, providing an unforgettable sight. At Bungalow Spur you will reach both ends of Razorback Track as well as the start of Bungalow Spur Track; which are both amazing trails.

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The Track

Mount Feathertop is one of Victoria’s most iconic alpine peaks, drawing hikers year round to its summit. Hikers often climb this 11km ridgeline between Mt Hotham and Feathertop known as The Razorback for access.

The Razorback Trail lies mostly above tree line, providing panoramic views throughout your walk and providing an opportunity to experience the rugged beauty of Victoria Alps. However, due to its exposure, this is not recommended as an entry level alpine hiking experience may be needed before venturing onto this track.

As this hike requires multiple days to complete, especially if you’re new to alpine hiking, we advise taking at least several. Beginning from Mt Hotham via Razorback you will ascend a series of steep and uneven steps which eventually bring you to the summit, passing many rocky outcrops offering breathtaking views along the way.

On a clear day, it is possible to see all the way across Kiewa Valley towards the mountains that mark its border with NSW.

As I walked, I noticed the sun beginning to sink behind the horizon and the wind picking up, reminding me of the ever-changing weather conditions on this walk. Temperatures vary wildly between lowlands and mountains – it might be 35C in Harrietville while snow could fall on Mt Feathertop!

After an exhausting climb up the mountain, I finally reached its summit. It was breathtakingly beautiful; so much so, that I took time out for tea and lunch on its magnificent deck – incredible views greeted me as a sense of achievement washed over me. Additionally, there were great memorials on top such as one to honor those from Australian Alpine Club who lost their lives during World War II on this mountain.

At about one kilometre down from the summit, you’ll find Federation Hut, an overnight hiking hut popular among Mount Feathertop enthusiasts. This makes an excellent location to set up camp for an overnight trek – and will save time on the return journey down Bungalow Spur Track!

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The Summit

The Razorback Track is an immensely popular way to explore Mount Feathertop, starting above treeline and taking in stunning views from start to finish. If you prefer longer hikes, combine it with other trails such as Northwest Spur/Tom Kneen Track or Bungalow Spur Track to form a loop around Mount Feathertop for even greater views – ideal for overnight trekkers or car shuffle arrangements between friends!

After 9.5km on the Razorback Track you will reach a T-junction where Federation Hut and Bungalow Spur Track meet below you, as well as an eye-catching snow gum tree and memorial plaque. From here it is just 1.5 km to the summit of Mount Feathertop!

At the top of the ridge you will discover an iconic pyramid-shaped summit which stands out among Australia’s other alpine peaks. There is even an unorthodox crucifix installed there by pioneers who helped construct both Great Alpine Road and mining infrastructure for mining operations nearby in 1931; plus incredible panoramic views abound throughout your stay at Mt Hotham! Winter brings even more magic as Mt Hotham area becomes covered in snow!

Ascending Bungalow Spur Track can be challenging in poor weather conditions. That is why it is crucial to come prepared with all necessary gear, familiarizing oneself with its terrain.

Gold miners of yesteryear used this trail as an access route between mines in the region and their mining camps. At that time, huge machinery such as steam engine boilers and stamping batteries would be hauled up the steep slopes on drays drawn by bullocks or horses – these old men sure had balls back then!

Returning to Diamantina from Diamantina can be accomplished via car swap or driving along the Great Alpine Road, or taking Bon Accord Track down as an alternate route and sidestepping some of the more difficult terrain of Bungalow Spur – however this option should only be undertaken if hiking at high altitude and mountainous terrain is very familiar and comfortable for you.

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The Return

The Razorback trail is an extensive journey but surprisingly well-marked and straightforward to complete. This journey covers rugged peaks and grassy plains as it winds along gullies marked by scars from bushfires in 2013.

Soon you will come to the Feathertop Hut ruins, originally constructed in 1965 by Melbourne University Mountaineering Club to serve as an overnight shelter for hikers making their way up Mount Hotham summit hike. It serves as both the start and end point for this hike.

As soon as you pass by the hut ruins, you will begin your ascent through the treeline towards the Australian Alps ridgeline. Although most of it remains free from vegetation, there may be occasional dips into forest cover where vegetation remains dense – as you near Mt Feathertop its views become increasingly expansive and breathtaking!

After several hours of hiking you’ll reach Mt Feathertop’s summit, offering stunning panoramic views. This massive cliff-like peak has steep slopes leading up to its summit – it stands out for not having an oval summit dome like most nearby mountains do and features its distinctive razor-sharp profile.

On your return journey to Federation Hut, you should hear running water. Here there is a natural spring, where you can replenish your supply if necessary.

A path down the northwest spur leads to a saddle where you will connect with the main trail leading to Mt Feathertop’s summit. From here, your hike becomes increasingly difficult with steep, often loose climbs along exposed ridgelines requiring overnight hiking as it should not be attempted under wet or windy conditions.

From the summit of Mt Feathertop you can walk down to Federation Hut, approximately 1 km away. Here there are great camping spots nearby the hut; stay here up to five nights! This is an excellent way to transition from day walks into overnight hiking in Victoria’s High Country.