Lake Mountain

1st category climbLength: 21.3km
Average gradient: 4.3%
Elevation gain: 908m

View from the Lake Mountain climb.

Introduction

The average gradient of this climb might give you the sense that you’re in for a reasonable easier ride. And to some extent that’s true … once you get past the tough opening section. Rising sharply out of the fire-affected town of Marysville, the first 4.5km of this climb ascend at a painful 8% before a more gentle gradient takes you to the summit.

Lake Mountain still bears the scars of the devastating Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009 but you’ll still appreciate the great views that are available throughout the climb.

The start

The climb to the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort begins at the roundabout which marks the intersection of Marysville Road (C512), Marysville Buxton Road (C508) and Marysville Woods Point Road (C512).

If you are timing your ascent, start your watch as soon as you turn onto the Marysville Woods Point Road (C512).

Start of the Lake Mountain climb.

The finish

The Lake Mountain climb ends at the entrance to the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort carpark.

End of the Lake Mountain climb.

At a glance

  • A climb in two parts: a very tough opening section and a considerably easier second section.
  • The first 4.4km of the climb are very steep with an average gradient of over 8%.
  • Beyond the 4.4km mark the climbing is much easier with several flat and downhill sections.
  • Turn left at 10.3km to continue the climb to the Lake Mountain resort.

Climb details

A warning to recreational riders: the first 4.4km of this climb are very challenging and should not be attempted unless climbs like Mt. Donna Buang can be completed without too much difficulty.

The pain begins as soon as you turn onto the Marysville Woods Point Road (C512) with the gradient hovering around the 8% mark. 500m up the road the gradient somehow increases, maintaining its pitch for around 600m before flattening off slightly. A further 500m into the climb a sweeping left-hand bend sees the road tilt upward again, remaining that way for several kilometres.

A long right-hand bend at the 2.4km mark holds the gradient at a painful 8% for around 2km until finally, after 4.4km of sub-10km/h grinding, the road flattens off.

With the hardest part of the climb done, you can afford to sit up and relax as the road flattens off and descends for 500m. The road then tilts gently upward again for a relatively painless 4km before flattening out again and descending for over a kilometre to the Lake Mountain turn-off.

After turning left to begin the second half of the climb (at 10.3km), you will notice the road narrows quite considerably. 11.2km after starting the climb you will pass the winter tollbooth before enjoying a short, sharp descent. The climbing resumes with a mixture of easy gradients and short flat sections as the road winds its way casually toward the summit.

As you climb past the 15km mark, some impressive views are possible to the left of the road and by the 16km mark, your hard work is done. As the road escapes from the tree line the gradient decreases and is only altered by the briefly-steeper sections at 17.8km, 19.2km and 20.3 km.

The climb that started so painfully finishes rather innocuously as the road opens out into a massive carpark at the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort.

Profile

This profile was created using Bike Route Toaster. To see the full version of this profile, complete with elevation details, click here.

Location

Lake Mountain is located around 120km north-east of Melbourne and is best accessed via the lovely town of Marysville. The drive from Healesville to Marysville through the Black Spur is one of Australia’s most breathtaking journeys with pristine old growth forest lining the road-side.

Healesville can be accessed by taking Maroondah Highway (B360) through Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, and taking the right-hand fork at the Melba Highway/Maroondah Highway junction in Coldstream.

While the drive up the Black Spur is simply magical, it is not a recommended route for cyclists due to its narrow lanes and many blind turns. In addition to this, a ride from Melbourne to Lake Mountain return is well over 200km, a very long day by anyone’s standards.

Times

If you aren’t content with the challenge of reaching the summit of this climb, Cycle2Max also has a page dedicated to the climb’s best times. Click here to add yours or to see the times posted by some of the best riders in the state. The Strava segment for the Lake Mountain climb can be found here.

47 Comments

leave a comment
  1. Sean / Sep 7 2014

    This the today for the first time in <1h 11m from Marysville to the summit (stopping to pay). Nice easy climb, roads are less windy and in better condition than Donna Buang so nice and safe to fly down. Beautiful weather, looking forward to getting out there and doing it again soon!

  2. Davo White / Jun 1 2014

    Nearly got their last weekend ! Set off from Healesville, via Woori to Warburton. The ride up to the Lake Mountain road is superb (40k of climbing) but the rain and mist deterred me. Carried on over to Marysville. Being from Healesville I’d love to do the loop , just the Black Spur traffic deters me !

  3. LesRevenants / Mar 27 2014

    Many thanks for the site. i recently visited victoria from western australia and did a couple of rides that i read about here. i wanted to say thank you for letting me know about Chum Creek
    and Lake Mountain. in particular it helped me greatly to know that the tough start of the lake mountain ride softens up after 4 kilometres. if i hadn’t known that i probably would have quit !
    i’m looking forward to coming back and trying some of the other rides.
    thanks again

  4. Matt M / Feb 5 2014

    I’ve finished this climb twice now, as a mostly recreational cyclist inspired by this site on a friend’s recommendation and I’ve come to realise that I kind of hate it, or rather it hates me.

    My first time (08/01/14) was alright, in retrospect, a tough, hot start made easier through, basically: sheer determination, followed by a very manageable dull ache of a climb, but a great descent as reward, gentle for a long time until that steep part.

    The second time, ugh… I must’ve picked a really bad day (25/01/14). First sign: swarms of march flies I was totally unprepared for (I had no Aerogard/Bushman/anything) continually attacking my ankles, calves and forearms, destroying any rhythm I could’ve got in the steep opening section that I needed so much concentration for last time. This lack of rhythm probably hurt me later on; at the time, all I could do was swat, swear and grind up. Finally at the first flatter section I got some speed up and the flies dropped off, briefly, but the worst was to come…

    It wasn’t particularly hot, but it must have been hot enough, with the road surface just “new” enough and also I must have been going just slow enough to pick up molten tar and gravel on both tyres, to the point where I had a ~3-inch wide “donut” of tar and gravel around my back wheel/tyre. This locked it up entirely at the chain stays when I was finished. That I completed the climb at all, slowly and jarringly, was a shock, really.

    The only good parts of that day for me were getting to drive over Black Spur twice, a spectacular road! (I’m not sure if it’s too “commercial” for this site, but the Great Vic this year gets to travel over Black Spur with a road closure on one of the days, I can’t wait!) I really wanted to love this climb as a local-ish mountain and the closest of the 7 Peaks but I think it hates me, and that’s ok: I’m happy with Donna Buang!

    My advice beyond the above: make sure it’s not too hot when you go, and/or hope there hasn’t been any recent road resurfacing “attempts”! Finally, love the site, appreciate all the hints and the inspiration I’ve drawn from the descriptions to prepare for the 3 Peaks, get those 7 Peaks stamps or just get out and climb mountains in general, we’re lucky to have such a great reference, cheers Matt!

  5. Jo Brett / Jan 25 2014

    Thanks for the great site. Did this climb today with my 15 year old son. He romped up it – me, well I was a little slower! Your description of the climbs is a great resource – thank you for the effort you put in to them. Very cold (2 degrees) and raining at the top today, even so – I really enjoyed this ride.

  6. bon / Nov 6 2013

    hey,
    just wondering how this compares to donna?
    thinking about giving it a go tomorrow.

    • Matt de Neef / Nov 6 2013

      Overall, probably slightly easier. But that’s debatable because the first 4.5km of Lake Mountain are very challenging, harder than anything Donna Buang throws at you. The rest of the Lake Mountain climb is much easier though. Hope that helps!

      • Scott / Nov 18 2013

        Completed Lake Mountain on Sat. With my 33 yo son (I’m 65) as first ride of 7 peaks challenge . He found it quite easy having borrowed my Cannondale with plenty of gears…I found it a little tougher but after the first 4.5 ks quite enjoyed it. A lot like some of the rides in Europe having been to the alps following the Tour in July but of course the vegetation is different. The descent was magnificent …lovely sweeping bends with good visibility and very little traffic. Last 4 ks required some touching of the brakes but that’s only because I’m a bit cautious (72k/h fast enough for me). Overall a great way to start the challenge and now looking forward to Mt Buller soon.
        Scott

  7. lauren / Apr 23 2013

    I think I’m going to be the only one who says that they hated this climb. I really HATED it. I found it to be one long hard grind the whole way up. The first 4kms were brutal but I was prepared for that. No, it was the following 17.3kms that I loathed. I got so bored and I was grumpy to boot because I ate an energy bar that didn’t agree with me. (Mental note: don’t try out new bars on a really taxing ride.) The only reason I did it was because I wanted the stamp for my 7 Peaks passport.

    However, it was certainly one cracker of a descent. Topped 72km/h on the first straight bit in the final 4kms (but that was only because it was my first go at Lake Mountain and I don’t know the descent).

    The sausage rolls from the Marysville Bakery tasted pretty bloody good though!

    • GlennR / Nov 3 2013

      It feels like a shorter Hotham to me; the tough start, false flats, downhill section and real changes in treeline. It’s one of those climbs that if you want a fast time you have to really be on every gear due to changes in gradient. But if you’re just after a good ride with mates it’s got beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife.

  8. Chamitha / Feb 26 2013

    A great ride up but don’t forget the awesome decent! The relaxed gradient and soft corners keeps you free wheeling at a pleasurable 40-50Km/h for those of us that are less adventurous with barely a need to touch on the brakes until the last few Km’s.

  9. Deano / Feb 17 2013

    For those looking for water at the top of this climb, when none of the facilities are open, don’t despair. There is water in a small running creek just behind the first main building. There is a little walking track just off the car park which heads north and not far along you will hear the running water. Better than the stuff out of the tap!
    You may also notice water running just of the high side of the road in the last 3-4km of the climb. Guaranteed in the spring, not so in the summer.

  10. Chairman Mao / Feb 6 2013

    That was simply a top ride… those first 4 km are killers, and then it gets much more comfortable. And the feeling you get when you hit the top… breath-taking views, and of course a very nice ride down the hill! Top drawer!

    • Matt / Feb 7 2013

      So good isn’t it?! :D

  11. Dave / Feb 2 2013

    Did this climb today and was virtually on my own the whole way from Buxton aside from a handful of motorcycles and cars. Being up the top all alone, I thought to myself, ‘there is no other place I’d rather be.’ I’m new to cycling and it’s rides like this that make me love the sport more and more each day. Brilliant ride and equally as brilliant website.

    Cheers,

    Dave

    • Matt / Feb 3 2013

      Thanks so much for the great comment Dave. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  12. Scott Turner / Jan 13 2013

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for organising a great ride yesterday. Fantastic day with so many like minded people. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride up, the hard work was all worth it. Me and my riding buddies are starting to plan some of the next 6 already, now that we’ve put one away it’s not so daunting !
    See you out in the hills again some time.

    Cheers,
    Scott

  13. Chairman Mao / Jan 11 2013

    Will be in Aus next weekend so decided to take this challenge – looks about what I am used to in Taiwan, so hopefully I have not put on too many kilos over Christmas. Anyone passing by a fat bastard in a football shirt going very slowly up the road will know it’s me.

    See you at the summit!

  14. Dave / Jan 11 2013

    Well, I guess i was ready for it…….

    Stamp number 1 in the 7 peaks passport. LOL.

  15. Dave / Jan 10 2013

    Thanks very much matt. Unfortunately I’m tied up on Saturday, but will try to catch you on another ride.

    For your interest, the marysville visitor information centre does have passports…..I gave them a ring today.

    Starting to get a little nervous about the ride tomorrow. Not sure if I’m ready for it. One way to find out I guess.

  16. Dave / Jan 9 2013

    Hi matt,

    Having just come back from the peninsula, and doing arthurs seat circuits, I thinks it’s time to give lake mountain a crack.

    I have a question though, but more about the 7 peaks than the ride itself.

    As I do not have a passport yet, do you know if they are available from the visitor centre in marysville?. The 7 peaks website advertises about 2 weeks delivery, and I was planning on giving it a go before then.

    Many thanks matt, and a fantastic website!.

    Cheers

    Dave

    • Matt / Jan 9 2013

      Thanks Dave, much appreciated! Do you know that we’ve got a big group heading out there this Saturday for the 7 Peaks Domestique Series? It would be great if you wanted to join us! Details here: http://theclimbingcyclist.com/the-7-peaks-domestique-series/

      As for passports, I’m honestly not sure. They might have some at the visitor’s centre, but otherwise you could always stamp a bit of paper and include that in the passport when you send it off.

      Cheers!

  17. Steve / Dec 29 2012

    Hey Matt,

    Firstly thanks for the brilliant site. I moved back to Melbourne last week after living in Brisbane for the past 6 years and while I was in Brisvegas I often read your ride descriptions to prepare for climbs like Donna Buang and Arthurs Seat which I did when visiting Melbourne at various times.

    Since arriving back in Vic this week I’ve ridden the Humevale, Kinglake and Mt Macedon (Gisborne & Woodend sides) climbs all of which were very enjoyable. Then today I climbed Lake Mountain and loved it, even the rather chilly descent! Your description was spot on as usual and definitely helped take the stress out of tackling a new climb for the first time. I thought other readers might be interested to know that I decided to park in Buxton rather than Marysville which gave a perfect warm up for the legs of around 11km on a quiet, flat road before commencing the climb.

    Thanks again and I look forward to continuing to work my way through those climbs on your site that I am yet to conquer.

    • Matt / Jan 1 2013

      Thanks very much for your kind words Steve. Glad the site has been useful! All the best with the climbing in the new year! :)

  18. Geoff Lawyer / Dec 19 2012

    Hi Matt,

    Great description of the Lake Mountain climb, I did it yesterday for the first time with a 6pm start from Marysville and despite the initial tough start (initial cadence was 45 using standard gears until the 4.5km mark) was a dream climb.

    You describe it exactly as it is, which certainly helps with the “head demons”.

    I was the only person on the road with no other cars passing me at all for the ascent.

    Your website is always a must check before doing any climbs.

    Geoff

    • Matt / Dec 19 2012

      Thanks Geoff, glad you found the write-up useful! :) Glad you had a nice ride too!

  19. Damien / Dec 9 2012

    Hey Matt, long time reader first time commentator. Love the site and your interesting and humble writing style. Makes for mandatory reading before each climb!
    Went up for the first time on Sat 8th from Marysville via Buxton, for a warm up. The ride out and back from Buxton was nice despite no decent shoulder with the light traffic (including trucks) surprisingly accommodating.
    Once off the rally circuit that is Woods Point rd we were greated with amazing views and peaceful serenity, magical.
    Like others have said, nothing open at the top including toilets. My partner and I shared our water with a guy on empty and doing Donna on the same hot day. So go prepared and make use of the local community shops, they need it.
    Regarding gearing, Matt makes it pretty clear…it’s a mountain with a Macedon South esq start!!

    • Matt / Dec 9 2012

      Thanks for this Damien. :) I reckon the folks at Lake Mountain need to get their act together lol. Even Donna Buang has a toilet block (or two!) and water near the top. Such a shame! Glad you enjoyed the ride though!

  20. Tooraj / Dec 6 2012

    Great write up again Matt. Thanks.

    I did this last Sunday. Great ride, but it did get chilly descending. Fortunately I had taken a jacket. It was 12 degree.

    I still can’t get over the sight of all those dead trees as far as the eye could see. The town and houses have been rebuilt, people have moved on, but the bush with those massive dead gumtrees still bare the scares of Black Saturday. It was very sobering.

    Just for future reference, to warm up ride up to Buxton and back. It is about 20 km return and fairly flat.

  21. OldnSlow / Nov 18 2012

    Finally have a stamp in my 7peaks passport, Great ride and as you have noted the first part was hard from the get go, but once past that it is really a majestic place. It started to rain at 8kM, by 10kM I was soaked and to round off the day, at 15kM it snowed, my pic’s are the polar of yours and sitting in my study now looking out the window at the sunshine I’m starting to wonder if it was all a strange dream. A harsh way to learn but next time I will carry a jacket and gloves. Thank god for the bakery at Marysville, hot food and coffee.

    • BillyJoe / Nov 28 2012

      I did Mt Donna Buang on the same day. I had a similar experience in that it rained all the way up and snowed at the top and I nearly froze to death on the way down.
      I repeated the ride last weekend when it was fine and sunny and much more enjoyable – an added challenge is to run up to the top of the tower two steps at a time (not much of a challenge for me because I am actually a runner rather than a cyclist).
      I’m planning to do Lake Mountain this weekend.
      Either that or a Donna Double!

    • BillyJoe / Dec 2 2012

      I got home late after a party last night, and I also had some mild soreness in my quads from overzealous training on rollers during the week, so I decided to do Lake Mountain rather than the Donna Double.

      The weather was ideal for riding: mostly cloudy but with periods of sunshine. I found the first 4.5km hard but manageable and the rest was very manageable. I caught onto the tail of a group of three riders a kilometer from the top. They were expecting coffee and cake but all the shops were deserted.

      It took me exactly the same time as Mt Donna Buang last Sunday: 92 minutes! The Lake Mountain ride is further than Mt Donna Buang (21.3km vs 17.4km) but, overall, the grade is not as steep. The return ride was definitely easier at Lake Mountain and I quite enjoyed it all the way down to Marysville. I did lower the handlebars a little to make it easier to reach the hand-brakes.

      All being well, I will try the Donna Double next Sunday, maybe from Launching Place. The other peaks will have to wait until the Christmas holidays and maybe then I get some idea if the Three Peaks is a pipe dream or not.

  22. Nic / Oct 22 2012

    Great post, mate. Very much looking forward to doing it on Sunday. Think I might ride from Narbethong to Marysville to warm up the legs (it’s about 11km). Is the road still as narrow there as it is along the Black Spur? I can’t for the life of me remember.

    • Matt / Oct 22 2012

      Thanks Nic. From memory the road is pretty narrow, but not as bad as the Black Spur. There’s also a really nasty climb in there somewhere. I’m not sure if it’s on the Healesville side of Narby or the Marysville side though!

      Anyone know?

      • Brad / Oct 26 2012

        There is a nasty climb between Narbethong and Marysville. I hate even driving my car up there. I agree with Matt that the Black Spur is narrower.To be honest, I wouldn’t want to ride along either of those roads unless they were closed to all other traffic.

        Cheers

  23. damian / Dec 29 2011

    amazed that none of you are talking about gear selection – obviously this will vary depending upon the rider and their form, but guys, you really need to offer more information about these climbs, than what has been spoken about thus far…

  24. Dom / Mar 21 2011

    That should be “Quiet”

    Not “quite”!

  25. Dom / Mar 21 2011

    Years ago when I had a motorcycle the Reefton spur road was a favourite Sunday ride because it was so quite (the long climb and bends also the main attraction). At that stage there was a 5km unsealed section between the Lake Mountain turn off and the Cumberland junction that has since been sealed. Now it has been sealed the traffic might have increased. Caution – most of the traffic will be quite fast – you will hear them coming from miles away though. I guess a bit like my ride up the final stage of Lake Mountain yesterday morning competing with the Alfa car club and a Porsche 911 turbo.

  26. chris / Jan 25 2011

    Great post this one, you summed up the ride perfectly. Although personally I actually find Donna Buang to be a tougher ride than this one as Donna does not offer any point of rest (the elbow at the creek might be considered a very minor respite) combined with a very steep final 300 metres upto the tower.

    Indeed Lake Mountain is a very enjoyable climb once you conquer that initial 4 and half k’s.

    • Matt / Jan 25 2011

      Interesting point Chris. I guess you are right about Donna – you only get those few hundred metres to rest at Cement Creek. I just reckon that the initial 4km of Lake Mountain are really tough and if you are an inexperienced climber it’s not going to be a whole lot of fun. Actually, it’s not a lot of fun anyway!

  27. Glenn / Dec 24 2010

    Hi, nice blog site. I have climbed Lake Mountain from Reefton. It is 40km of mostly uphill, there is one section of sustained downhill of around 2km. Nice ride.

    • Matt / Dec 25 2010

      Hi Glenn. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. I’m certainly keen to do that climb at some point – thanks for the tip! Are the roads nice and quiet out that way?

      • Anthony / Jun 17 2014

        I realize this is a pretty old comment – but just having done the reefton side of lake mountain earlier this year (Feb 2014) I can say that it is a really very quiet enjoyable climb. Not sure if you have done it by now Matt but I would love to see your write up on it!

        Love the site, Keep up the great work :)

        • Matt de Neef / Jun 17 2014

          Good call! I really should write it up!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Mt. Baw Baw (Melbourne, Australia) | Mo's Cycling Blog
  2. Riding the 7 Peaks in one go: part one | CyclingTips
  3. Lake Mountain – 7 Peaks Challenge. | Another MAMIL
Leave a Comment