Major Clews Hut trail

Khancoban area in Kosciuszko National Park

Overview

This 4WD and mountain bike trail takes you past historic Major Clews Hut, near Khancoban, in western Kosciuszko National Park.

Where
Khancoban area in Kosciuszko National Park
Distance
16km return
Grade
Hard
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
Opening times

This trail is subject to seasonal closures.

Please note
  • This is a return track from Alpine Way to Major Clews Hut, but can connect with Geehi Walls track for a 34km loop.
  • Major Clew Hut trail is unsealed and steep in parts. It can become boggy when it rains and involves a small creek crossing. For your safety, it's best travelled in dry weather, and shouldn't be attempted by 2WD vehicles.

Head off Alpine Way, around 17km south of Khancoban, to explore Major Clews Hut trail. This popular 4WD trail travels through alpine ash, blooming yellow wattle, and montane forest as it descends steep ridges and gullies. You can also mountain bike this challenging trail, if you're well-prepared and watch out for 4WDs.

After driving 8km in a north-westerly direction, you’ll reach Major Clews Hut. Stop to stretch your legs, enjoy a picnic, and take a good look at this historic mud brick hut in the shade of a liquid amber tree. The hut was built in the late 1950s as a residence for the colourful Major Clews, a surveyor for the Snowy Mountain Scheme who mapped the area.

Return along the same track (uphill), or connect with Geehi Walls trail which loops 13km back to meet Alpine Way. From here, it's another 12.5km back to the start of Major Clews Hut trail via the impressive views of Scammells lookout, or 2km south to picturesque Geehi Flats campground and picnic area.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/4wd-touring-routes/major-clews-hut-trail/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Major Clews Hut trail.

Getting there and parking

Major Clews Hut trail is located in the Khancoban area of Kosciuszko National Park.

To get there from Khancoban:

  • Travel south along Alpine Way for around 17km and turn right onto Major Clews trail

To get there from Jindabyne:

  • Travel west along Kosciuszko Road for 3km and turn left onto Alpine Way
  • Continue along Alpine Way for 98km and turn off to the left onto Major Clews Hut trail

Road quality

  • Check the weather before you set out as Major Clew Hut trail is unsealed, steep in parts, can become boggy when it rains, and involves a small creek crossing. It's not recommended for 2WD vehicles.
  • It's compulsory for all 2WD vehicles to carry snow chains in winter, between June and October long weekends, on Alpine Way between Tom Groggin and Thredbo. The Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) recommends snow chains are carried by all vehicles driving in the park in winter, including 4WD and AWD, in the event of extreme weather. Visit the Live Traffic website for current conditions.

Parking

Parking is available at the Major Clews Hut site.

Facilities

The nearest toilet facilities and picnic areas are located at Scammells lookout and Geehi Flats campground and picnic area.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Major Clew Hut trail is recommended in dry weather only. Check the depth before attempting to cross Swampy Plains Creek.

Alpine safety

Alpine areas present special safety issues. Conditions can be extreme and may change rapidly, particularly in winter. It’s important to be prepared and find out how to stay safe in alpine areas.

Cycling safety

Hundreds of cyclists head to our national parks for fun and adventure. If you're riding your bike through a national park, read these cycling safety tips.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Prohibited

Gathering firewood

Firewood is not supplied and may not be collected from the park. Please bring a gas or fuel stove if you intend to cook.

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas. The alpine resorts of Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte Pass, Selwyn, Ski Rider and Kosciuszko Tourist Park are exempt, though some commercial and outdoor places within these resorts may have no smoking areas.

Visitor centre

Nearby towns

Khancoban (17 km)

Plan ahead for your Snowy Mountains getaway and check out what's on in Khancoban. Extreme athletes love the Upper Murray Challenge that consists of a 38-km bike ride, a 26-km paddle and a 25-km run. The annual Khancoban TroutFest takes place every November at several area fishing holes.

www.visitnsw.com

Jindabyne (101 km)

For those heading to the Snowy Mountains snowfields, Jindabyne is a great place to hire or buy all of your skiing and snowboarding essentials from equipment to fashion.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Major Clews Hut trail is in Khancoban area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Unique landscapes

Olsens lookout, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Murray Vanderveer

The Western Fall of Kosciuszko National Park’s Main Range is the highest and steepest part of the Snowy Mountains. Mount Townsend and Abbot Peak block the view to Mount Kosciuszko, but their towering, rocky peaks are a breathtaking backdrop to the Geehi Plains, 1600m below. The mountain range captures the westerly air stream allowing tall mountain ash forest to grow in the moist soil below the treeline. 

The man-made landscapes of the Snowy Hydro Scheme, one of the civil engineering wonders of the modern world, are also on show. Murray 1 and 2 Power Stations are close to Khancoban, while the scenic drive to Kiandra travels across the very top of the Tumut Pond Reservoir wall.

  • Scammells lookout Scammells lookout, 1000m above sea level, offers marvellous views of the rugged Western Fall of the Main Range, and makes a scenic picnic spot just off Alpine Way.

Historic alpine huts

A man walks towards Bradleys and O'Briens Hut, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Murray Vanderveer/OEH

The Khancoban area is home to many of Kosciuszko National Park’s picturesque historic huts. Built as shelter or fishing retreats for graziers and prospectors, or like Major Clews Hut, by Snowy Hydro Scheme workers, the huts provide a window into the past. The 8km return Geehi Huts walk is a great way to see Geehi, Keeble’s and Old Geehi Huts, all constructed from river rocks. Be prepared for several river crossings. Bradleys and O’Brien’s Hut is hard to miss along the Khancoban to Kiandra drive. You can also stretch your legs on a short walk to the rustic Patons Hut or Round Mountain Hut, made out of corrugated iron and surrounded by wilderness.

  • Geehi huts walking track Explore Geehi huts walking track by foot, bike, horse or 4WD. This short track, near Khancoban, boasts historic huts, river crossings and magnificent views of the Snowy Mountains in Kosciuszko National Park.
  • Round Mountain Hut walking track Round Mountain Hut walking track winds through the Jagungal Wilderness Area in central Kosciuszko National Park. A great Snowy Mountains walk or ride, it offers view and spring wildflowers on its way to the rustic hut.

Discover western and central Kosciuszko

Khancoban Visitor Centre, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold

Khancoban Visitor Centre is a convenient stop to buy passes, get maps, information and inspiration before you enter the park. Alpine Way is the main, year-round route through this area. It offers lookouts, campgrounds, picnic areas, walking tracks and bike trails along its 108km length between Khancoban and Jindabyne. The area's upgraded section of the Bicentennial trail is popular with horse riders, who can also take advantage of horse camps near Geehi and Tom Groggin.

  • Khancoban to Kiandra drive Picturesque Khancoban to Kiandra drive links Alpine Way with Snowy Mountains Highway, in Kosciuszko National Park, and takes in scenic dams, historic huts, mountain forest, and the highest town in Australia.
  • Khancoban Visitor Centre Khancoban Visitor Centre, on Alpine Way at western entry point to Kosciuszko National Park, is a great place to pick up maps, information and buy a parks pass for your Snowy Mountains adventure.
  • Kosciuszko – Alpine Way drive A driving or motorbike tour along Alpine Way scenic drive is a great way to discover the spectacular mountain views, serene campgrounds, magnificent walks, rides, and heritage of southern Kosciuszko National Park.

Remote wilderness and rare species

Round Mountain Hut walking track, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Murray Vanderveer

In recognition of Kosciuszko's unique value as a conservation area, it’s been named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. More than half of the park, over 350,000ha (almost 865,000 acres), has been declared wilderness, including the Jagungal, Western Fall and Indi wilderness areas, located in the Khancoban area. The park's alpine and sub-alpine areas are home to rare plant species found nowhere else in the world, such as the Southern corroboree frog.

  • Round Mountain Hut walking track Round Mountain Hut walking track winds through the Jagungal Wilderness Area in central Kosciuszko National Park. A great Snowy Mountains walk or ride, it offers view and spring wildflowers on its way to the rustic hut.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Common wombat. Photo: Ingo Oeland

    Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

    A large, squat marsupial, the Australian common wombat is a burrowing mammal found in coastal forests and mountain ranges across NSW and Victoria. The only other remaining species of wombat in NSW, the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat, was considered extinct until relatively recently.

  • Brush tail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

    One of the most widespread of Australian tree-dwelling marsupials, the common brushtail possum is found across most of NSW in woodlands, rainforests and urban areas. With strong claws, a prehensile tail and opposable digits, these native Australian animals are well-adapted for life amongst the trees.

  • Eastern common ringtail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus)

    Commonly found in forests, woodlands and leafy gardens across eastern NSW, the Australian ringtail possum is a tree-dwelling marsupial. With a powerful tail perfectly adapted to grasp objects, it forages in trees for eucalypt leaves, flowers and fruit.

  • Emu, Paroo Darling National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

    The largest of Australian birds, the emu stands up to 2m high and is the second largest bird in the world, after the ostrich. Emus live in pairs or family groups. The male emu incubates and rears the young, which will stay with the adult emus for up to 2 years.

  • Platypus climbing on to a submerged tree branch. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

    Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

    One of the most fascinating and unusual Australian animals, the duck-billed platypus, along with the echidna, are the only known monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, in existence. The platypus is generally found in permanent river systems and lakes in southern and eastern NSW and east and west of the Great Dividing Range.

  • Short-beaked echidna in Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

    Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

    One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.

  •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

    With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

  • Swamp wallaby in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

    The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

Plants

  • Billy Button flowers at Peery Lake picnic area. Photo: Dinitee Haskard OEH

    Billy buttons (Craspedia spp. )

    Billy buttons are attractive Australian native plants that are widespread throughout eastern NSW in dry forest, grassland and alpine regions such as Kosciuszko National Park. The golden-yellow globe-shaped flowers are also known as woollyheads. Related to the daisy, billy buttons are an erect herb growing to a height of 50cm.

Environments in this area

Major Clews Hut walking track, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Murray Vanderveer