Styx Tall Trees Forest Reserve | How To Explore Tasmania’s Tallest Trees

The southwest of Tasmania is a place you can go to escape. The landscape will engulf you in its wild and untamed wilderness, where mountains rise obscurely among vast buttongrass valleys and verdant rainforests hide in the folds of the precipitous slopes. These rainforests are shaded by some of the largest trees in the world, the giant ash – aka eucalyptus regnans – and the best place to see these giants is in the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area.

After a long and arduous environmental debate, the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area now protects one of the most carbon-dense forests in the world from logging. And as of 2013, the Styx Valley also became part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. 

We’ve spent a great deal of time wandering through the enchanting forests of Tasmania, feeling dwarfed beneath the enormous old growth and captivated by the infinite amount of fungi and moss species filling the forest with colour. But none have been quite so easily accessible or void of crowds than the Styx Tall Trees Walks

In this guide, we’ll explain the various walking trails that carve a path between the giant ash and provide you with inspiring images to fuel your wanderlust for the fairy-tale worthy forests of southwest Tasmania.

Standing inside one of Tasmania's Biggest Trees in the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area

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Exploring The Giant Ash In The Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area

Where Is The Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area

The dense forests of the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area are situated between Mount Field National Park and Southwest National Park, with the tea-coloured Styx River running through the middle. 

The closest town to the Styx Valley is Maydena, a rural locality made famous by the world-class downhill mountain bike trails that descend the steep slopes bordering the south side of town. 

The Styx Valley is 30 minutes south of Maydena, 1 hr 40 minutes west of Hobart and 3 hrs 15 minutes south of Launceston. 

How To Get To The Styx Valley

The Styx Valley is accessible from the Gordon River Rd that runs through Maydena and onto Gordon Dam, where it ends. Due to the absence of public transport or tour options for the Styx Tall Trees Forest Reserve, you’ll need a car to explore the valley. We recommend using Rental Cars to find the best deals on car hire. 

Directions From Hobart To The Styx Tall Trees Walks

If you type the Styx Tall Trees walk into Google Maps, it will come up with the Styx State Forest. While this pinpoint is correct, Google will try and take you along a private road with no public access. Instead, you’ll need to drive through Maydena until you reach the right turn onto Florentine Rd – approximately 3 km west. 

A couple of hundred metres after turning north onto Florentine Rd, you’ll come across an intersection. Take the right-hand turn onto Styx Rd where you’ll then drive underneath a bridge. Follow Styx Rd for 14 km until you reach a car park with a toilet block. 

Car Park in the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area next to the Styx Tall Trees Walk

Use the directions above to ensure you arrive at the desired location without any unfortunate mishaps. 

Directions From Hobart To The Tolkien Walk

To reach the Tolkien Walk trailhead, you’ll continue past the car park and toilet located on Styx Rd and take the first right onto Styx Spur 13 Rd. A short way up the Spur road, you’ll veer a little to the right and find a green sign indicating the Tolkien Track.

The Walking Trails Within The Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area

Walking the Styx Tall Trees walk surrounded by massive mossy trees

Within the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area, there are three walking trails that showcase various parts of the forest. The two that begin beside the toilet block are the most popular and accessible for a wide range of abilities. The Tolkien Track, found further along Styx Rd, is better suited to the adventurous as you’ll likely find yourself climbing between fallen trees in search of the pink tags marking the overgrown trail. 

As each track takes less than two hours to complete, it’s highly possible to fit all three within a day. We recommend beginning at the toilet block with the Styx Tall Trees walk and the Styx Forest walk before making your way further into the forest for the Tolkien Track. 

The Styx Tall Trees Walk

1 km circuit

20 – 30 minutes

Elevation Gain
10 m

Grade 1 (Parts are wheelchair accessible)

Car park, Toilet, Informative signs

Entrance Fees

Taking the bridge on the Styx Tall Trees Walk in Tasmania

Immediately after leaving the dirt road, you’re flung into a densely green woodland via a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk. The boardwalk follows the road for a few metres before diving deeper into the thick forest, leading you closer to the largest tree along the walk – aptly named ‘Big Tree’.

Tree ferns, myrtle and sassafras spread their limbs throughout the forest, creating welcomed distractions along the easy trail. After approximately 500 m, you’ll reach an open platform surrounding The Big Tree. 

The Big Tree towers over 500 m above, with a girth of at least 20 m. Wandering around the base of the ancient giant ash is the only way to comprehend the enormity of this beautiful tree. 

Biggest Tree Canopy in the Styx Tall Trees Forest Reserve in Tasmania

The wheelchair-accessible boardwalk ends here, where two other paths fork off from the large platform. You can return the way you came or continue onto the natural trails to experience the rainforest further. 

To continue deeper into the forest, you can choose either of the two dirt paths which inevitably create a loop back to the Big Tree. 

As you wander the forest trail beneath the tall canopy of giant ash, you’ll find yourself distracted once again by the thriving understory. Roots carpeted by moss rise from the decaying forest floor, where multiple species of fungi grow from the decaying trunks. 

Fallen tree along the Styx Tall Trees Walk

Once you’ve completed the loop back to Big Tree, you can either return to your car via the boardwalk ramp or retrace the middle path back to a set of stairs that descend to the road.

The Styx River Walk

1.3 km return

20 – 30 minutes

Elevation Gain
52 m

Grade 1

Car park, Toilet, Informational Signs

Entrance Fees

Standing at the rivers edge on the Styx River Walk

Beginning on the opposite side of the road to the Styx Tall Trees walk, a wide path descends through a windswept woodland towards the Styx River. The pleasant descent is shaded by skinny beech trees, with a few ancient giant myrtles towering above. 

After approximately 500 m, the track levels out and edges closer to the river. The path bordering the water’s edge is filled with wildflowers of white and purple sprouting from the tall plants. A number of trails (some legit and some not) will take you to the banks of the Styx River.

One of the trails forking from the main track takes you to a wooden chair and an interpretive sign, while another ends at a boarded platform. From the platform, a long stretch of coarse sand allows you to sprawl beside the river and dip your feet in the tea-coloured water, stained from the buttongrass fields upstream. 

Although the return trail will only take 30 minutes or so, you could easily while away a warm and sunny afternoon swimming and snoozing on the banks of the Styx River. 

Sitting by the river after completing the Styx River Walk

The Tolkien Walk

3 km circuit

1 – 2 hrs

Elevation Gain
160 m

Grade 3


Entrance Fees

The Tolkien Track is far more rugged than the two above, with nothing but pink tags leading the way through an overgrown forest. However, this was the location of the major environmental protests back in 2003 when Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society sat at the top of ‘Gandalfs Staff’ in a successful attempt to save the giant ash from logging. 

Throughout the circuit, you’ll find homemade signs for the notable eucalypts that are mostly named after the famous Lord of The Rings trilogy. The trees to keep an eye out for are Cave Tree, Felled Giant, Gandalfs Staff and Morannon ‘Black Gate’.

We have yet to complete this trail, but it’s on the list for the next time we find ourselves in the southwest of Tasmania.  

Best Time To Visit The Styx Valley

River in the Styx Tall Trees Forest Reserve

The Styx Valley can be visited year-round where each season brings something unique. You’ll have the nicest swimming weather in summer and the best chance of a clear day in autumn. In winter, you might see snow capping the larger mountains surrounding and in spring the wildflowers bloom. 

But in our opinion, the best time to visit is summer or autumn. Wild winds and wet weather is most common through winter and spring, making your visit a little less comfortable. 

Leave No Trace

Many locals and environmentalists have worked extremely hard to preserve the beautiful forests found in the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area and now it’s our turn to ensure the valley stays safe and pristine. 

When you’re visiting the Styx Valley – or anywhere for that matter – please follow the 7 leave no trace principles and leave a location the same or better than you found it. There are no bins provided anywhere in the conservation area so you will need to pack out everything you take in, including tissues and food scraps.

Juvenile Fern coiled up in the beautiful Styx Tall Trees Forest

What To Bring

The walks within the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area are all short and require little more than a sturdy pair of shoes and perhaps a reusable water bottle. However, if you’re planning to walk the Tolkien Track as well then we suggest wearing hiking boots and long socks to avoid leeches and snakes. 

Where To Stay Near The Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area

The Styx Valley can be visited as a day trip from Hobart but if you’d rather spend more time exploring the rugged southwest, there are plenty of accommodation options to suit all styles. Our favourite place to stay in the southwest is at the Edgar Dam Campgrounds on the banks of Lake Pedder. 

Camping Near The Styx Valley




Final Thoughts

The Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area is not a place we’d usually find ourselves, as we generally migrate to the imposing mountains such as The Needles or Mount Eliza. But we surprised ourselves by truly enjoying our exploration of the Tall Trees. 

We hope this guide has helped inspire you to explore this area next time you’re in the southwest. And as always, please feel free to ask us any questions in the comments below or share your experience in the giant eucalypt forest. 

Happy Hiking 🙂