• Distance 3.2km
  • Altitude max 687m
  • Altitude min 633m
  • Duration 1 hours
  • Trail type Loop
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 Three

Grade Three

Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections a rough surface and many steps. Walks up to 20km.

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

Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds

Orchid Track ACT (3.2km)

Black Mountain Nature Reserve

Nearest Town

The closest suburb to the trailhead is Aranda, ACT

Starting Location

Trailhead car park along Belconnen Way (at the base of Black Mountain), ACT

Finish Location

Trailhead car park along Belconnen Way (at the base of Black Mountain), ACT. This car park will cope with up to 10 cars

Best Time of the Year to Walk

Year round. Avoid peak hour to allow for easy access to the car park

Orchid Track Review

The Orchid Track is the second of the main walking tracks that starts at this trailhead and while I’m not positive I’m guessing its gets its names from the numerous native orchid species that have been identified in the area – 50 species in all! Just don’t expect to see all particularly if you’re not there during the flowering season which can vary!

Like the Little Black Mountain Walking Track this option is almost entirely on management trail with just a short section around half way that connects two separate roadways. The quality of the management road and trail tread is good so this track is accessible to all levels of walker. Like the Little Black Mountain Trail, part of this walk takes in the Canberra Centenary Trail so expect to see the occasional trail marker from time to time.

The most difficult thing with this track is accessing the trailhead car park located along Belconnen Way which is a busy dual carriage road at the best of times – try not to access it during peak hour because you will struggle to slow down for the turn off. You may also struggle to get back out of the car park at the end of your walk with because of the speed and volume of the traffic.

The second negative is that Black Mountain is a spider web of trails and if you are new to this area it can be hard to tell which particular trail you are on. To remedy this I suggest you download the paper map on the Friends of Black Mountain website. But even then, there may be some doubt about whether you’re on the correct trail at times. This was the second trail in this network that Gill and I had walked so it was much easier to work out where we were going. The spider work of tracks does provide plenty of options to ‘go bush’ if you feel like exploring but we would suggest you first become familiar with the main trails to provide a point of reference.

Start this walk by going through the access gate and heading up the trail until you come to a sign that says ‘Link Trail’ which is about 100 metres in. If you turn left here you will be on the Little Black Mountain Trail. Follow the Orchid Track signage and go straight ahead but if this is your first visit to the area, head to the extensive information kiosk which is just on the left turn as it provides some more detailed information on the Black Mountain Reserve.

As you head up the road you are following the large power lines on your right and you will be heading towards the main roadway and will increasingly hear the cars as you approach. As you get close you turn to the left and hit what appears to be a dead end gate. The trail is to the left hand side of this gate – it is at this stage you go off the management road onto a pleasant section of roughly 300 metres of trail. You will also be able to see the houses located across the main road in the adjacent residential suburb of Aranda. At the gate, you will get good views towards the Brindabellas located on the western border of the ACT.

Up until this stage I could either take or leave this walk but it’s in this area that you start feeling more remote and lose much of the traffic noise. This back half of the trail is where its all at – kangaroos and cockatoos are common. The bushland on Black Mountain isn’t really that old – much of the area was denuded of tree grow given its early farming history. As a result, most of the open forest is regrowth and as such pretty much the same age and size. It is still enjoyable to walk through although if doing this walk in the hotter months, I suggest making sure you have water and decent sun protection.

Once you leave this short bush trail you pop back out onto the management road again and start heading back towards the Link Trail. At this stage I didn’t realise that the trail on the way out had circumvented a largish hill. You will eventually come back to another obvious intersection and at this point turn left on your return back to the Orchid Track start point. From there turn right and take the short-ish walk back to the trailhead and car park.

This is by no means the best walk on Black Mountain and the traffic noise on some sections disturbs the peace but the walk does provide a point of difference and gives you some glimpses of the summit and Black Mountain Tower.

Would I do this walk again? Probably not but it was worth doing at least once and is an easy to access and relatively easy walk close to the centre of the city.

Entering through the gate to start the walk

This is a dog free trail

Trailhead signage not far from the gate

Head up the hill

Approaching the Link Trail. The turn is just visible on the left of this image

Link Trail sign – continue walking straight ahead here. If you turn left you are on the Little Black Mountain Trail which is another option from this trailhead

Information kiosk just off the Orchid Track

Walk past the Link Trail turnoff and continue on the Orchid Trail

The first section of this track follows the high voltage powerlines on the right hand side

A number of optional bushtracks come off the Orchid Track if you want to do some exploration

Bush example off the trail

Down the road

Black Mountain Tower through the trees

Residential area across the main road below

Views to the road below. You won’t see this road unless you walk up to the fenceline

The track continues to the left of the gate

Views to the Brindabella Mountains from the gate. The trail continues on the left side of the gate

Views to the Brindabellas from the Orchid Track

Formed path through the bush

Through the bush

Black Mountain Tower from another perspective

Turn left back onto the management road

Management Road on the back of the track

Lemon Waxcaps Fungi

Hello Cocky – there were a few on the back half of this trail

Mum and Joey

Approaching the intersection with the Link Trail. The Canberra Centenary Trail marker is also visible in the image

Turn left again

Back to the trail kiosk and turn right

Back to the trailhead car park

Back on to the road. You can only turn left here as the road is one way

Getting There

The main trailhead car park is along the base of Black Mountain on Belconnen Way. To use this car park you will need to travel from the city along Belconnen Way. This trailhead is around 5 km from the Canberra GPO and around a 5 minute drive. Be careful otherwise you will drive past the entry

Things to know

  • Phone: There is good phone signal on this trail (Telstra)
  • Water: You need to bring your own water
  • Toilets: There are no toilets on this trail
  • Trail: This walk is on dirt management road
  • Dogs: Dogs are NOT allowed even if on a leash
  • Camping: No camping is allowed on this trail
  • Other: 
    • It’s worth taking a copy of the paper map to help with the navigation. Once you’ve done it once, it’s actually pretty easy

Turn off into the car park. You will need to turn off Belconnen Way heading towards Belconnen Town Centre to use this car park. Avoid accessing this car park during peak hour

Car park signage at the entrance to the car park

This car park will comfortably fit around 10 cars if everyone parks straight


This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

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