Information about hiking, walking, trail running and mountain biking at the You Yangs Regional Park, less than an hour from Melbourne
About the You Yangs
The ‘Youies’ as I affectionately call them are about 60 km west of Melbourne and 22km from Geelong.
Lara is 10kms from the You Yangs and Little River is about the same.
The Park is open from 7:00am to 5:00pm year round and 7:00am to 6:00pm during daylight savings. It has one of those metal spike things at the exit so you can drive out after the park has closed but you can’t drive in unless you want punctured tyres!
The You Yangs is a great place for mountain biking, hiking, trail running and rock climbing.
Horse riding is permitted and dogs on a leash are also allowed.
Melway reference: Key map 11
From Melbourne, take the Princes Highway and exit at Little River. Pass through the small town of Little River and continue for 3km then turn left into Farrar Road for 1.7km and then turn right into Branch Road for about 4km to the park entrance.
Turn right into the park and follow the signs to the Turntable Carpark, which is where the East/West walk begins and it gives you easy access to the summit of Flinders Peak and the Branding Yard Circuit track.
Call the Parks Victoria office at Lara:
Phone: 03 5282 3356
Duty Ranger: 0408 512 580
Picnic tables and bbqs, toilets, disabled toilets and an information centre near the park entrance.
Wildlife in the You Yangs
I’ve hiked and run and mountain biked out there many times and have seen snakes and many wallabies, the occasional koala and lots of wild goats!
Hiking and Trail Running
The You Yangs are a great place to go hiking or trail running and under an hour from Melbourne.
It’s probably best to steer clear of the Stockyards and Kurrajong Plantation areas as these are the mountain bike tracks and unless you’re up for dodging out of the way of speeding and high flying mountain bikers, best to stick to the strictly feet only walking tracks!
Trails+ runs the annual You Yangs 50|50 ultramarathon including distances of 50 miles (80km), 50k, 30km and 15km for the less ambitious. This is a fantastic, well-supported, friendly event on a great course held annually in July. I should know because I always volunteer to man an aid station out there 🙂
Here are some great trails to get you started:
- East West Circuit
- Flinders Peak (3.2km, 450 steps and 200m elevation gain, 1hr, moderate)
- Big Rock and Branding Yard Circuit (11km, 3hrs, moderate)
The You Yangs is an excellent place to go mountain biking, but be careful! I know of lots of people who have taken some major spills out there, myself included!
There are permanent mountain bike courses set up in two areas:
- Kurrajong Plantation
Bikes are not permitted in the Western Plantation or on any of the walking tracks throughout the You Yangs.
For something more tame, you can cycle around the 12km sealed Great Circle Drive.
There are regular mountain biking events taking place in the Park.
- Parks Victoria – You Yangs Regional Park – free PDF
- Parks Victoria – Stockyards Mountain Bike Tracks – free PDF
- Parks Victoria – Kurrajong Plantation Mountain Bike Tracks – free PDF
- VicMap ‘You Yangs’ – buy the topographic map for $8.95