|Maps:||LPI Mountain Lagoon 9031-3S 1:25000|
Colo Meroo is an excellent grassy camping area near the Colo River. This walk follows Gospers and Mailes Ridges from the village of Mountain Lagoon to Meroo Trig, where a steep descent takes you down to the river. There are good views from Mailes Ridge of the Colo River over 350m below.
The walk is best in spring and autumn, particularly spring as the wildflowers are out, but is suitable for any time of the year.
The walk starts and finishes on Sams Way in the small town of Mountain Lagoon.
From Richmond, follow signs to Lithgow along Bells Line of Road. Take the signposted turnoff on the right to Mountain Lagoon at Bilpin after about 28km. Follow Mountain Lagoon Rd for 12.0km to a turnoff to the left to Bean Lane - the last few kilometres are unsealed. Continue along Mountain Lagoon Rd for another 500m and turn left on to Sams Way. Follow Sams Way for 1.2km to where a fire trail branches off north, and there is a sign saying "Walking Tracks - Colo Meroo and Tootie Creek". Park your car here.
From 11 Sep 1999, last checked 04 Nov 2017
Day 1: Mountain Lagoon to Colo Meroo (12km, 110m ascent, 5-6 hours)
From Sams Way, head north along the fire trail for 400m, ignoring a number of driveways, to a fork in the trail and a locked gate. The left hand branch is the T3 Track (signposted as the Tootie Creek Track). The right hand branch is the Gospers Ridge Track, signposted to Colo Meroo. Take the right hand branch and follow it. After a short steep uphill, the fire trail crosses a saddle and heads downhill. A side track to the left leads up to Conder Trig, a pleasant but unremarkable detour. The main trail heads downwards alongside an impressive valley of lush ferns, around Conder Hill and on to the ridge. From here the fire trail heads mostly downwards to the east for about 1.5km, with only a few short uphills. It then heads roughly north east for about 1.5 km, and then roughly east for another 1km. By this stage the fire trail is more like a wide foot track. As it swings north, note a track heading off to the right at MGA848985. This side track continues down Gospers Ridge to Upper Colo, so take the left branch heading north on to Mailes Ridge.
Continue north on an obvious foot track which mostly keeps just to the eastern side of Mailes Ridge. After a couple of kilometres the ridge starts to narrow, and there are great views of the sand banks in the Colo River several hundred metres below from numerous vantage points.
From here on the track becomes much less distinct, as up until now it has been shared with mountain bikers. It also becomes more rocky and a bit overgrown, and there are plenty of spots where both hands and feet are required. There are occasional track markers - star pickets with a small green square with a white walker painted inside - but these are sporadic, and you can go a while without seeing one. In general, from here to the descent at the end of the ridge, the track follows the top of the ridge, or along the eastern slopes just below the top. If you lose the track, it is usually easiest just to keep to the ridge until you pick it up again.
The best lookout is at a wide rocky platform at MGA845009, about 700m beyond the high point of the ridge, partway down towards the saddle. Be careful near the cliff edge as some of the cliffs are undercut and the edges thin in places.
Beyond the lookout, the track drops further down into the saddle, crosses it and climbs up the rocky ridge on the other side. It traverses the tops for about 1km, heading first north, then east, to a small clearing and possible high camp at MGA847027. Then begins the steep descent to the river, following the spur to the ENE.
The descent stays mostly near the nose of the ridge with the exception of one section where it drops off the right hand side to negotiate some small cliffs. Some easy scrambling is involved in that section. Return to the nose of the ridge as soon as possible.
Near the bottom of the ridge the track becomes an old 4WD trail, before emerging on to a service road with a signpost pointing left to Colo Meroo. A short walk of 200m brings you to the pleasant Colo Meroo Picnic and Camping Area. There is a large shelter and a couple of pit toilets (BYO loo paper). A 200m walk down another trail fringed unfortunately by lantana will bring you to the river itself. Water can be obtained from here, though it is probably safest to boil it.
Day 2: Colo Meroo to Mountain Lagoon (12km, 580m ascent, 5-6 hours)
The following day, return the way you came.