This spectacular hike has been on my To-Do-List for a very long time. Described as “a spectacular labyrinth of alpine lakes and tarns, dolerite peaks, ancient but fragile forests of Pencil Pines and unique alpine vegetation”. The Walls of Jerusalem is said to be one of Tasmania’s “Great Walks” - which some would say surpasses the Overland Track in magnificence and beauty. It's a great balance of a challenging but manageable climb at the start and stunningly spectacular landscapes throughout.
Day 1 - Mersey Forest Rd to Dixons Kingdom Campground
Distance: 12 km
Time: 4-5 Hours
This first section of the track starts from the car park near Lake Rowallan. You can easily get there by travelling via Mersey Forest Road (Route C171) for 29 kilometres before turning left into the Walls of Jerusalem car park access road. There are no public transport options available but if you don’t have a car, you can arrange Cradle Mountain Shuttles to take you there. If you drive, make sure to leave your national parks pass on the dashboard of your car or you will get a fine.
From the car park at the trailhead there is a boot cleaning station, used to avoid spreading invasive diseases and plants and a pump operated disinfectant station. Once you’ve cleaned your boots and signed the walkers logbook it’s time to head on your way up a steep 2 km climb to Trappers Hut (1.5-2hrs).
Those first 2km of the trail really gets the heart pumping with an incredibly steep 600 meter incline in elevation. Leading up to the hut you’ll cross a number of small creeks with the major creek being just before the hut. Built in the mid 20th-Century, the hut was used by fur trappers to dry animal skins. This hut is a great chance to have a snack and take a break after the gruelling climb.
From here to the Walls is the steepest part of the hike but it’s only a 700 meter climb before the track levels out and you get some relief. Here you’ll come to a junction where you take the main track up to the Walls, the other track leads to Lake Adelaide.
The Walls / Lake Adelaide Junction
As the track levels out, it gives you a chance to take in the views and magnificent vistas and the mountains to the west, given you are 1200 meters above sea level, the views are amazing. This section is dominated by beautiful alpine landscapes of lakes and tarns, known collectively as Solomons Jewels. In the background you can start to see King Davids Peak - the tallest of the mountains and the beginning of the West Wall through the ancient conifer forest, snow gum and pencil pines. Just before reaching the creek the boardwalk track descends to a spectacular grassy plain as you come into Wild Dog Creek Campground.
Wilddog Creek Boardwalk & Platform
The camp consists of a series of 10 wooden tent platforms, with a composting toilet and even piped water. This makes a great place to stop and have lunch and refill your water bottles. Although the campground looks inviting I recommend continuing another 1.25 hrs and 4kms to Dixons Kingdom Camp.
This makes for quite a long first day but If you base yourself at Wild Dog Creek it is a poor location for side trips. For walkers based at Wild Dog Creek it’s a 3km round trip to reach the junction at Damascus Gate where the side trips start. Dixon’s Kingdom is only a 1km backtrack to the junction.
After passing through Herods Gate which is the mountain pass laying between Mt Ophel and King Davids Peak, you’re now within the Central Walls. From here, the next 2kms are a fairly gentle journey Just past the trees, a boardwalk path goes left. It’s a short 100m walk to the Pool of Bethesda, a beautiful little tarn that makes a great snack spot. Here the track rises as you pass through the two impressive peaks of King Solomons Throne and The Temple. From Demascus Gate follow the boardwalk through the Pencil Pines to Dixons Kingdom.
The brand new tent platforms at Dixson's Kingdom are second to none. New full capture, fly-out toilet facilities have been built at the major campsites of Dixons Kingdom and the northern end of Lake Adelaide. No toilets had previously been provided at Lake Adelaide.
Various new tracks have been developed and track upgrades undertaken within Jaffa Vale, between Dixons Kingdom and Lake Ball, in low lying areas around Lake Adelaide, and connecting the new campsites and toilets at Dixons Kingdom, Water is available in the stream as you come into Dixson's Kingdom campground and there are 2 new large water tanks near the drop toilets.
Tent Platforms Dixson's Kingdom
I received the new Dan Durstan X-Mid 2 Pro DCF tent a few months back and was keen to set it up for the first time and take a closer look. It was a little difficult to set up on the new platforms which aren't really designed for trekking pole tents. But we managed to fashion tie out points with bits of string, through the platform grate.
Be careful of how brazen the native possums are in this area. These guys seem to be fearless and quite obviously used to humans. They will saunter through the camp and raid any tent or campsite where food is available.
Day 2 - Solomons Throne, The Temple
Distance: 7 km
Time: 4.5 hours
Using Dixons Creek as a base to explore today, it’s time to tackle the side trips. The trailhead for the Mt Jerusalem hike is conviently located at the end of the Dixons Kingdom campground. Solomon's Throne and The Temple are a 1.2km backtrack to the junction.
Time: 40 minutes return
It’s a bit of a rock scramble up a steep trail but the views from the top are spectacular. The initial climb is a section of meticulously placed stones which invites your to ascend Solomons Throne. The final rugged climb was between two massive rock formations called the chute.
The Chute Solomon's Throne
Time: 40 minutes return
From the top of Solomon's Throne, The Temple looks like an unimpressive pile of rocks compared to the walls of Solomon’s Throne. Don't judge this pile of rocks by looks alone. It turns out the Temple is by far the best place in Walls of Jerusalem to get a photo of the actual walls! You can see all the eastern wall from Solomon’s Throne all the way to King David’s Peak.
The view from the summit of the Temple. You can see the intricate rock stairs on the track in the foreground. Solomon’s Throne and King David’s Peak are in the background.
The Hike Down
After a freezing cold night of -3 degrees we were up nice and early to head back to the car. Sipping on hot coffee and enjoying breakfast we were sorry to be leaving this beautiful part of Tasmania.
A boardwalk leads the way out of Herod’s Gate and along the plateau. Passing through some beautifully clear alpine lakes and tarns, you begin the descent. Man-made stairs and boulders aid the descent before Trappers Hut is reached, signalling 2.7 km to go.