Corin Dam car park
While this walk is in Namadgi National Park the starting location is well away from the central park itself and crosses into the Bimberi Wilderness. The road to the Corin Dam car park is well signposted but may be closed due to snow so look out for the warning sign when you turn off Tidbinbilla Road onto Corin Road. While there is good parking and picnic facilities in the area below the car park, there are no water facilities (yes it is a dam) and the toilet facilities are out of action at present. The car park will comfortably take about 12-15 cars but if by some chance the car park is full, there is another car park on the Canberra side of the dam about 150 metres away
There are good warning signs for road conditions so pay attention to ensure that you can access the dam if doing this walk during the winter months
Corin Dam car park
For experienced hikers, year round given the snow conditions during Winter. Summer is the best time for inexperienced hikers or those who lack snow experience
WARNING: If you are doing this hike in Winter then snow shoes are a good idea. You also need to keep an eye on the weather forecast as heavy snow/blizzards are always a possibility
WARNING: If you are doing this hike in Summer then seeing snakes is highly likely
The Pryor’s hut walk is an extension to the 13 km Stockyard Spur Walking Track for those with a bit of extra time and/or energy. The walk to Pryor’s Hut is just over 16 km so an extra 3 km doesn’t sound too much however if you are doing this in mid winter where there is a strong likelihood of snow and a possibility of a blizzard so those extra 3 km can be a hard ask.
The walk starts at the Corin Dam car park and heads up on the right-hand side of the management trail. We were warned that the incline in the first two kilometres was very steep but experiencing is believing. It is REALLY steep, about 580 metres in the first 2 km with a series of winding walkways interspersed by stone and railway sleeper steps – lots and lots of steps! About 200 metres along the first part of the trail, there is a seating area where you can take in the amazing view down over Corin Dam and catch your breath! The next spot to catch your breath is at the top of the steep rise – congratulations, you’ve completed the first two kilometres.
From here the track undulates upwards and while there are a few inclines, they are short and not nearly as steep. The bush at the top of the rise opens up and this is the start of ‘Stockyard Spur’. Continue along the trail for a few kilometres and you will reach the summit and the turnaround point for the Stockyard Spur walk. Turn slightly to the right at this point and head about 50 metres and you will reach a rocky outcrop which offers stunning views of Mt Ginini. Stockyard Spur is an ideal place to take a break for either lunch or morning tea before walking the extra distance to Pryor’s Hut.
Once you’ve had your break head back onto the trail towards Mt Gingera and you come across another outcrop over to the left offering sweeping views down to Corin Dam and the Bimberi Wilderness. Walk a bit further to the left and you will clearly view Mt Gingera. The trail heads downwards from here before then starting a steady incline until you approach Pryor’s Hut which is located at a low point on the trail. The first time you do this walk you may think you have gone off trail but trust the trail as it loops back hard to the left and takes you towards Pryor’s Hut.
Pryor’s Hut was built, in 1952 by Lindsay Pryor, as a shelter for those working in the Alpine Botanical Gardens annexe part of the Australian National Botanic Gardens. There are toilet facilities at this hut and the hut itself provides emergency shelter if you get caught out in the weather. Spend some time looking at the hut and its surrounds before starting your journey back.
The return for this walk is the way you came so its a simple matter of doing a U-turn. While the upwards incline is a challenge, we passed some hikers on the way down giving their knees a rest from the steep steps. We did this walk in September and once we reached the top of the steep climb, we were surrounded by heavy snow. It was glorious and surprisingly much warmer than when we were gearing up in the car park. The walk on the return leg was challenging as the air temperature warmed and the snow became slushy which resulted in walking being combined with sliding.
This is a very popular hike and despite the heavy snow covering, we were surprised by the number of hikers, trail runners and overnight hikers on the trail. On the other hand, the footsteps in the snow from the day before did help us navigate the track given the trail markers are very few and far between. The trail however is obvious in the first section and would be easy to follow in the absence of the snow.
If you aren’t up to the challenge for snow, look at doing this walk in the warmer months (Mid October-early March). We’ll do this walk again next year in Winter but with snow shoes next time.
Corin Dam. You cross over the dam to reach the car park
Trail head signage. Head towards Mt Gingera
Toilets at Corin Dam car park
The trail head to Pryor’s Hut follows the Stockyard Spur walking track and is very obvious at the end of the car park – it is located almost dead ahead after you drive into the Corin Dam car park. Head towards the right and down the hill to the picnic area. The toilet block from 40-ish years ago is out of order
The majority of the 30 or so walkers we saw on the day didn’t fill out the trail register. Please do because it helps the emergency services in case of any problem
You will reach just over 1700 metres altitude on this walk so expect snow in the colder months of the year
You’ve been warned! This is a very challenging walk for the first two kilometres
Lower lookout about 200 metres into the walk provides good views of the dam
A view of the start of the trail. Its steep!
Trail markers are limited. This is one of the few we saw. There is no interpretive signage on this trail
Start of Stockyard Spur and also a helipad if needed
This tiny fungus caught my eye on this walk. Its often the little things that grab your attention
Wattle in flower on the lower part of the trail
Scribbly Gum. I love these
This is a wilderness area and it looks like it
The snow starts gradually then builds up in the cooler months
What else do you do but build a snowman (not us)
Approaching the summit at Stockyard Spur
The further you go on this trek the deeper the snow. On this section of the trail the snows anything up to about 50 cm deep
Mt Ginini panorama from the top of the hill. Spend a few minutes here having a break before progressing on to Pryor’s Hut
View to Mt Gingera about another 5o metres to the left as you reach the summit at Stockyard Spur and start heading to Pryor’s Hut
Pryor’s Hut. This hut consists of three rooms and there is also an outside toilet. The hut was built in 1952 by Lindsey Pryor as an annexe to the Australian National Botanic Gardens
Pryor’s Hut side view
Pryor’s Hut entrance
Inside Pryor’s Hut
Interior of Pryor’s Hut
Pryor’s Hut with toilet in the back left of the image. this photo was taken in March without any snow
If you do this walk in late Winter expect a very slushy return which can be slippery
Remember to sign out of the trail register on the way back
The trip from the centre of Canberra is approximately 1 hour and 60 km from the centre of Canberra. Turn off Tidbinbilla Road onto Corin Road and travel to the very end of Corin Road where you’ll park your car.
Corin Road is a sealed road but is prone to frost and ice, and can be closed during periods of snow and Total Fire Bans. Make sure you review the whether forecast before you head off.
As you travel down Corin Road, you’ll pass the turn off to Gibraltar Falls on the left, as well as Square Rock and Smokers Flat car park. You’ll know you’re getting close when you see the sign advising you are entering the Namadgi National Park. Corin Road ends at the Stockyard Spur car park and trail head.
This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker