• Distance 5.32km
  • Altitude max 916m
  • Altitude min 665m
  • Duration 2 hours
  • Trail type Return
Three Stars

Three Stars

Worth Doing

The Australian Hiker Experience Rating is a measure of the overall quality of a walk. It is intended to help you decide whether to walk a trail, not to measure anything objective. Consider this our personal take on the walk.

Grade Four

Grade Four

Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signage may be limited.

The Australian Grading system is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds

Big Monks Summit Track ACT (5.32km)

Canberra Nature Reserve

Nearest Town

The closest suburb to the trailhead is Banks, ACT

Starting Location

Car park on Orange Thorn Crescent adjacent to the large water storage reservoir

Finish Location

Car park on Orange Thorn Crescent adjacent to the large water storage reservoir

The car park on Orange Thorn Crescent is very small only catering for about four cars so if you don’t turn up early expect to park along the adjacent street – make sure you park off the road so you don’t obstruct resident access

Best Time of the Year to Walk

Year round although if walking in mid-summer go early to avoid the heat

Big Monks Summit Track Review

The Big Monks Summit Walk in Canberra is a walk that’s all about the views. Views down towards Mount Tennent and Namadgi National Park, views down to the Tuggeranong Valley below, views up towards the summit of Rob Roy Summit and views to the north into the centre of Canberra.

There are two difficult parts to this walk with the first being getting to the trailhead. Arriving at your start point requires you to weave in and out of the suburb of Banks – the easiest way to get there is by entering ‘Big Monks’ into the Google Maps app on your car or phone. If you are using a paper map, you are heading towards the suburban water tank on Orange Thorn Crescent. Once you arrive you will then need to find a parking space. The trailhead parking consists of space along the side of the access road otherwise you’ll need to park along the adjacent street but please be considerate of local residents.

This walks starts by heading up hill on the right hand side of the large water tank – this is the second difficult part of this walk. While the trail is almost all uphill until you reach the summit, the first 700 metres is very steep, with a gradient of about 1:6. The fact that this first section of the walk is on bitumen road provides a good indication it is steep and the main reason the grade for this walk is 4. On this basis, if you are looking for an easy walk then this isn’t it. Having said that, once you get past this first section the walk does become much easier although is still essentially uphill apart from one small section.

There is limited signage on this trail and you need to stay on the management road until you reach a turn point at about the 1.8 km mark directing you right towards the summit of Big Monks. Again you will continue uphill but the slope is not steep. As you approach the summit you will reach a saddle and if you head right about 150 metres you end up at the TRIG station on the summit which really does provide some excellent views. I also suggest walking down to the saddle and over to the left to the lone Kurrajong Tree on the lower summit as this provides additional views that you don’t quite get from the Big Monks summit itself.

Once you’ve had your fill of the views head back down the hill. The downhill walk provides you with some excellent views you won’t have noticed on the way up across the adjacent valleys and into the southern residential areas of the Tuggeranong Valley. As you approach the bottom of the walk it’s here you’ll again hit that really steep section of the trail – it’s so bad there are warning signs for pedestrians and cyclists to pay attention. Take care as you walk down this steep section!

Overall this walk is light-on for bird and animal life but it’s the views you come for. I’m really coming to love this end of town and will definitely come back to walk this trail again when I have the chance. This trailhead is also the start of the longer Rob Roy walk and if you are feeling so inclined, you can head off track to explore the Rob Roy Nature Reserve for some hidden little gems that dot this area.

Trailhead start gate just off Orange Thorn Crescent. This is the main entry for this walk

Suburban water tank at the trailhead

Heading up towards the reserve entry. The turn into the reserve is about 90 metres up from the entry gate

Entry into the Rob Roy Nature Reserve. This is one of the most ‘industrial’ reserve gates in the Canberra area

Views into the suburbs on the way up

Sign warning about the steep slope

Bitumen road on the first 700 metres of trail. This is a flatter section of this road

On to dirt and the trail flattens out

Slope warning sign just off the edge of trail

A short downhill section

Mount Tennent summit covered in cloud

More views

Panorama view from the trail

There is a sign just in the middle of this image on the edge of the trail

Trail sign. If you go right you’ll head to Big Monks. Go left and you head on towards Rob Roy Summit

Up towards the summit

Through the gate

The saddle below the summit

Big Monks summit

The summit of Big Monks

Panorama from the summit

There really are some great views from this summit!

Lone Kurrajong Tree on the lower hill


Heading home

Panorama view

View down on to Tuggeranong Valley

Tuggeranong Hill as veiwed on the way down

View on the way down

Almost to the car park

Through the gate

Back to the trailhead

Getting There

The main trailhead at Orange Thorn Crescent is around 30 km from the Canberra GPO and around a 30 minute drive. Getting to the trailhead requires you to weave through the suburb

Things to know

  • Phone: There is excellent phone coverage on this trail (Telstra)
  • Water: You need to bring your own water
  • Toilets: There are no toilets on this trail
  • Trail: This trail consists of formed track
  • Dogs: No dogs allowed on this trail
  • Other: 
    • This walk is an out and walk back experience
    • The first section of this walk is very steep and as bad as it is going up, the return leg is worse so take care
    • No camping is allowed on this trail
    • Bring adequate shade (hat, long sleeves etc) in the hotter months

Trailhead car park


This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

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