by Michelle Kneipp Pegler

The Leven Canyon: in this busy, populous world we live in, it’s hard to find such a wild and dramatic area that is so easy to reach. If you want to experience these sorts of places you mostly have to trek through kilometres of difficult terrain.

Leven Canyon - Bush Walks

Leven Canyon:  Gunns Plains/Nietta, north west Tasmania

At Leven Canyon it’s easy! Just walk along the very well-maintained track to Cruickshanks Lookout. It’s a 20 minute return walk suitable for all ages and in no time you will arrive at the viewing platform. Experience the breathtaking views of the Canyon floor 275 metres below (where the Leven River flows) and views of Black Bluff and the surrounding countryside.

Leven Canyon - Cruickshanks Lookout

Cruickshanks Lookout over Leven Canyon

Black Bluff

Black Bluff is usually the first peak in this area to have a covering of snow in winter due to its exposure to the prevailing westerly winds. There’s a testing 6-7 hours return walk to Black Bluff through alpine vegetation up to the 1,339 metre summit. From here you get rewarded with views from Cradle Mountain to the Great Western Tiers. The track starts at Taylors Flats off Loongana Road. Be aware though: it’s not regularly maintained or well marked.

Leven Canyon - Black Bluff

Black Bluff seen en route to Leven Canyon, Tasmania

Fresh Tasmanian Mountain Air

Leven Canyon is Tasmania’s deepest limestone ravine so it’s worth stopping for a while and taking in the fresh Tasmanian mountain air while you survey the spectacular views. Even though Leven Canyon is only a 45-minute drive from Ulverstone (in Gunns Plains/Nietta in the north west region of Tasmania) it feels like you are a million miles away from civilization.

Leven Canyon - Leven River

Leven River at the Canyon floor

Other Walks in the Leven Canyon Reserve

  • the Forest Stairs Walk: a 45 minute return walk that includes 697 stairs and some steep terrain.  Here you can enjoy listening to and watching some of Tasmania’s endemic birds and view the amazing variety of ferns that grow in this area.
  • the Edge Lookout Track: a 30-minute return easy walk for all ages taking in wet forest to drier cliff-edge vegetation.  On this walk you can see the Canyon walls up close.
  • the 20 minute return easy Fern Walk is suitable for all ages and features beautiful old tree-ferns up to 5 metres tall and 150 years old.  This area is home to the small mammals of Leven Canyon such as the eastern pygmy possum, dusky antechinus and long tailed mouse.
  • for a more strenuous walk try the Canyon Floor Walk.  Drive to the start of the walk just off Loongana Road then follow the downhill track to the canyon floor.
  • more experienced walkers can then continue to Devils Elbow, which is an hour return from the footbridge.  It’s a challenging walk and is part of the Penguin-Cradle Trail.
Leven Canyon - From Cruickshanks Lookout

Magnificent forest views over Leven Canyon

Appetite for National Parks & Reserves, Tasmania

After these walks have worked up an appetite why not have a picnic or barbecue at one of the tables or the picnic shelter? This area of the almost 2,500 ha reserve is very well set up and has toilets and information about the Leven Canyon and surrounds. As with other reserves and national parks in Tasmania, be prepared for changing weather conditions. The track surfaces may be slippery at times and be covered in ice. And don’t forget to stay on the tracks provided to protect the unique environment.

With so many and varied national parks and reserves in Tasmania that are just a drive away, it’s a hard decision to pick which one to see first when you are holidaying in our island state. As with the Leven Canyon, you won’t be disappointed with what you find when you get there.

Leven Canyon - Walks

Michelle: Leven Canyon, Tasmania

Michelle Kneipp Pegler writes a blog called Leven River Farm about the ups and downs of her Good Life and occasional forays delving into the lessons of the past.

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Map: Leven Canyon Tasmania…

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