Summiting Mount Sprent | South West Tasmania’s Best Kept Secret

Tasmania’s southwest is like no other place in Australia. On every turn, another rugged peak rises from a valley of barren buttongrass plains peppered with dense temperate forests and ice-blue lakes. But while most of the iconic Southwest mountains take days to explore, Mt Sprent will take just half and you’ll likely have it all to yourself.

Simply put, Mount Sprent blew our minds. The 7.5 km return hike takes you on a journey through gnarled forests, fields of buttongrass and between obscure bone-white boulders. All the while, providing incomparable views of Lake Pedder and the sprawling southwest mountain ranges.

But I will warn you, Mount Sprent is no walk in the park. You’ll gain over 300 m of elevation in the first kilometre as you follow an unmarked track through the rough and muddy myrtle forest. That said, If you’re up for the challenge, we can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. 

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to successfully summit Mount Sprent, including what to expect, the best time to hike and where to stay nearby.

Standing at the summit of Mount Sprent overlooking Lake Pedder and the South West National Park

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Summiting Mount Sprent For Incredible Views Of Lake Pedder

7.5 km return

3.5 – 5.5 hrs

Grade 4


Elevation Gain
765 m

Highest Elevation
1058 m

Entrance Fees
Tasmania Parks Pass

Where Is Mount Sprent?

Soaring above the northwest corner of Lake Pedder deep in Tasmania’s southwest, Mount Sprent’s summit borders both the Southwest and Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Parks – two of the best national parks in Tasmania for adventure lovers. 

The trailhead for Mount Sprent begins at Serpentine Dam, 2 hrs 30 minutes west of Hobart and 4 hrs southwest of Launceston.

How To Get To Mount Sprent

Much of Mt Sprent’s charm comes from the fact that you won’t find it listed on any Tasmanian tour itineraries. But this also means that the only way to reach the trailhead is by your own means.

The drive itself will leave you breathless as you wind your way through the most remote areas of Tasmania and we suggest allowing enough time to stop at the many scenic lookouts along the way.

Directions From Hobart To Mount Sprent

Note: Type Serpentine Dam into Google Maps for the correct car park location. The set location for Mount Sprent is slightly off and can cause a little confusion.

To reach the trailhead for Mount Sprent, leave Hobart via the Brooker Hwy heading northwest towards New Norfolk. You’ll arrive in New Norfolk 36 km later and continue through the town onto Glenora Rd (B62).

After 18 km, veer left at Bushy Park onto Gordon River Rd (B61). Follow this road for 111 km until you reach a left turn onto a dirt road with signs to Serpentine Dam. 3 km later, you’ll find yourself at the car park beside the dam.

Mount Sprent Trail Notes

Walking towards the old tunnel at the beginning of the Mt Sprent Hike

As you turn onto the dirt road leading to Serpentine Dam, you’ll find no mention of Mount Sprent on any sign you come across. But trust that you’re in the correct place and follow the road to a small car park to the right of the outlet tower. 

Your journey will begin by slipping past the fence and walking across Serpentine Dam. A rough staircase snaking up the left side of the rock wall will propel you towards the walker’s log book and the first concrete indication that you’re on the right track!

Ascending Through The Myrtle Forest

Hiking through the Myrtle Forest at the beginning of the Mt Sprent walk

It’s all hands on deck as soon as you step away from the log book and begin the ascent through a gnarled myrtle forest. Roots and ruts infiltrate the trail, leaving you to cling tightly to branches while heaving yourself up between trees.

Without any form of markers to keep you on track, you’ll rely on following the worn trail and the deepest ruts through the forest. And just before you begin to question your decision for climbing Mt Sprent, you’ll pop out of the dense trees and receive your first glimpse of Lake Pedder below.

Crossing The Buttongrass Plains

Crossing the button grass plains on Mt Sprent at sunrise

After a short break to catch your breath and admire the evolving views, you’ll continue clambering through the transitioning terrain where stunted banksias and woolly tea trees begin to take centre stage. The open landscape encourages even deeper ruts, but you’ll find sporadic wooden planks acting as steps to help you over the trickiest sections.

Soon even the banksias begin to shrink as you enter the boundless buttongrass plains. The stunted vegetation allows for continuous vistas across Lake Pedder and the many mountain peaks soaring into view. But this is nothing compared to what’s to come!

You’ll find a small reprieve after 1 km as the terrain flattens out for roughly 300 m, however, the mellow gradient also increases the number of muddy bogs the unmarked trail funnels you through.

Note: The mud on this track is impossible to avoid, especially after heavy rain. We suggest wearing waterproof hiking boots and gaiters for this walk, particularly in winter when you’re almost guaranteed wet weather.

Beginning to climb again, you’ll slowly make your way along the white shale trail to the small peak hiding Mt Sprent’s summit from view. At the 2.5 km mark, you’ll notice a distinct shift occur as you ascend into the alpine. The buttongrass moorlands are left behind and in its place, an alpine herbfield filled with scoparia, pineapple grass and pepperberry trees blanket the landscape.

Traversing The Ridgeline To Mount Sprent’s Summit

Traversing the ridgeline of Mt Sprent towards the summit

After scrambling between a collection of colossal boulders, you’ll find yourself standing beside the small peak. The remaining trail is finally revealed and uninterrupted views of Mt Sprent encourage you forward. 

Cautiously crossing the increasingly muddy terrain and scampering up bone-white boulders, you’ll slowly make your way to the saddle below Mt Sprent. At this moment, you’ll hardly believe your eyes as you stare out across the southern ocean to the west and Lake Pedder to the east. We told you the views only got better!

After absorbing the wildly beautiful landscape, one final steep climb – with a few minor scrambles thrown in – is all that stands in the way of you and Mt Sprent. Multiple tracks criss-cross towards the peak, causing confusion as you attempt to pick the right trail. But with the summit in plain sight, it matters very little which track you choose as long as you stay off the fragile vegetation – our suggestion is to try and stick to the most worn.

Exploring Mount Sprent’s Summit

Standing at the summit of Mt Sprent overlooking Lake Pedder and the South West National Park

Finally, after 3.6 km, 765 m elevation and roughly 1.5 – 2 hours, you’ll be standing atop Mount Sprent. What you’ll find waiting for you, no words can adequately describe. With little chance of seeing another soul, you’ll feel as if you have the entire mountain range to yourself.

Everywhere you look, rugged mountain peaks draw a serrated line across the horizon. In the south, you’ll find the iconic shapes of Mount Anne, Federation Peak and the Western Arthurs Traverse. While the north reveals the white quartzite dome of Frenchmans Cap.

Down below, Lake Pedder sprawls across the landscape, lapping at the foothills of the folded mountains and looking every bit like a fjord. You could honestly spend hours wandering across Mt Sprent’s rocky peak, enjoying the solace and the incomparable vistas.

But eventually, it’ll be time to return to Serpentine Dam.

Returning To The Trailhead

Walking down from the summit of Mt Sprent in Tasmania

Retracing your steps across the unmarked trails proves to be a little trickier on the descent, requiring extra attention to stay on track. But as long as you take your time and continue towards the small peak to the north, you’ll easily return back to the worn track beneath the giant collection of boulders.

Once you arrive at the buttongrass moorland, the track is much easier to follow. But if you’re concerned about losing your way, we recommend tracking your hike with Alltrails. This is the app we use to track all our hikes and we love being able to refer back to the stats afterwards.

The hike to Mount Sprent took us 3 hrs 10 minutes moving time and 5 hours total including spending a good chunk of time soaking in the views from the peak. While it’s certainly not an easy hike, with a healthy dose of challenge and elevation, if you’re an intermediate to advanced hiker then Mt Sprent is a must!

Best Time To Hike Mount Sprent

Traversing the ridgeline of Mt Sprent towards the summit with my hiking poles

Due to a slightly lower elevation, it’s less common to find Mount Sprent covered in snow. This allows for relatively consistent hiking conditions year-round – aside from an increased amount of rain during winter and early spring.

But in our opinion, the best time to hike Mt Sprent is between March and May. These months provide the best chance for clear skies without suffering intense heat on the exposed ridgelines.

Leave No Trace

Mount Sprent is a lesser-known hike, which means you won’t find any facilities within the area or on the mountain itself. Please respect the wild and follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles while you’re hiking Mt Sprent – or any mountain for that matter.

It’s as simple as staying on the trail, carrying all your rubbish with you (including tissues and food scraps) and planning your toilet stops before you reach the trailhead. And if you do have to poop in the wilderness, dig a hole at least 20 cm deep and 100 m away from a water source, do your business and then cover it and your toilet paper back up.

The closest toilet to Mt Sprent is at Gordon Dam, 10 minutes north. 

What To Bring

While Mt Sprent only takes half a day to complete, it is a challenging hike in the wild southwest of Tasmania where the weather can change on a dime. We recommend packing a bag full of the essentials for this hike, including a down jacket, gaiters and a rain jacket.

Essential Hiking Packing List

  • Topographic Map and Compass – It’s best to avoid relying solely on your phone, which can run out of battery. 
  • Digital Map – In addition to a paper map, you can use AllTrails to download the route and follow along with the inbuilt GPS.
  • First Aid Kit – You can visit this post if you’re unsure what should go into a first aid kit for hiking.
  • Emergency Beacon – Our emergency beacon lives in our hiking packs permanently.
  • Reusable Water Bottles Avoid taking plastic water bottles that can break easily and add to the overwhelming amount of plastic pollution. We also suggest bringing a water filtration system to treat river water.
  • Head Torch Don’t forget the spare batteries! Look for a headtorch with a minimum of 100 lumens. 
  • Sturdy Hiking Shoes We recommend hiking boots over trail runners for longer hikes, where the trail is unstable and can become very muddy. 
  • Long pants or gaiters Tasmania has a thriving population of leeches.
  • Down Jacket and Thermals Staying warm while hiking is extremely important and these items play a key role, the mountains are unpredictable, best be prepared.
  • Rain Jacket and Rain Pants Rain pants are optional but can provide an extra layer of warmth in miserable conditions. 
  • Sun Protection – The UV rays are stronger at higher altitudes.
  • Sleeping Gear – Make sure to pack a tent, a warm sleeping bag and an inflatable mat for overnight hikes. The mountains can get very cold at night, even in summer.
  • Cooking Stove Nothing beats a warm, satisfying meal after a big day of hiking.
  • Emergency Snacks – You can never have too much food and who doesn’t love snacks!
  • Camera Gear – We never travel anywhere without our camera, tripod or drone!

Where To Stay Near Mount Sprent, Southwest Tasmania

You’ll find very few towns within the rugged southwest, which only adds to the alluring landscape. However, it does mean that unless you’re willing to camp, your options are limited.

The closest accommodation option to Mount Sprent is the Pedder Wilderness Lodge, located in Strathgordon. And the closest town with basic goods and a range of places to stay is Maydena

Our favourite place to stay near Mount Sprent is Ted’s Beach campground, 17 minutes east of the trailhead. The dreamy campsite allows you to camp right on the shores of Lake Pedder and is equipped with toilets and non-treated water.

Other Campgrounds Near Mount Sprent

Final Thoughts

Mount Sprent has quickly become one of our favourite day hikes in Tasmania, providing a healthy dose of challenge and breathtaking vistas for almost the entirety of the trail. While you will certainly work for these views, we can guarantee that Mount Sprent is worth the burning legs.

Have you hiked Mount Sprent? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below. And if you have any questions regarding the walk, please feel free to reach out and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

Happy Hiking 🙂