Frenchmans Cap

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 This peak dominates the central mid-western region of Tasmania. It is visible from the ocean and its angled profile gave rise to its name as it looked like a cap that was popular with the french at the time. It is a massive block of quartzite which has been carved on all sides by glaciers. The main feature is the 500m high south-east face with the other sides being bounded by 200m high cliffs.

Access to the peak was not easy as a deep gorge which is the Franklin River bounds the peak on its north and western sides. The easiest approach to the peak is from the eastern side. Where possible the track followed open grass plains but was extremely muddy and became known as the 'Sodden Loddens'. In recent years, national park staff re-routed parts of the track into drier forests and it is now a mostly mud free walk (it still has muddy patches but is nothing when compared to what it once was). There are two huts along the track. The final climb to the summit has an awkward rocky slot that some find is a difficult scramble.


 As the peak was visible from the ocean, it was climbed very early in tasnmanias european history. The peak may have been climbed in 1841 by Strzlecki but was definetly climbed in 1853 by the surveying party of James Sprent. A track was cut in the area by gold fossickers and in 1910 one of these tracks went as far as North Col. These tracks were forgotten about until the were rediscovered in 1932 by bushwalkers. This formed the basis of the current track.


 The peak is located south of the Lyell Highway in western Tasmania. It can be seen in several places from the Lyell Highway


 There are two approaches from the Lyell Highway. The main route is a well made track that crosses a small range and then climbs to Lake Vera where there is a hut. It then continues climbing through rugged country to North Col then Lake Tahune where there is a smaller hut. This hut is scheduled for relacement during the 2017-2018 summer. During that period, camping will be banned at Lake Tahune. A steep climb then leads through cliffs to the rounded dome like summit. The other approachto the peak via Flat Bluff and Irenabyss is usually used as an exit to make a circuit walk. It is untracked and only suitable for experienced walkers. From the peak it heads north descending steeply into the Franklin River. Swim the river then climb over Flat Bluff then down to the Lyell Highway.

Maps and Track Notes

The most detailed notes of all the recognised routes to the peak are published in South West Tasmania by John Chapman.
The best map is the Tasmap 1:50,000 Frenchmans Cap

Track Profile

The profile is displayed for the one way trip from the road to the summit. Most walkers then return along the same track back the start.



A general entry permit to a Tasmanian National Park is required. The best value for bushwalkers is the 2 month Backpacker Pass which provides entry to all national parks. There are no bookings or quotas on numbers of bushwalkers visiting the park. 

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Snail Mail Address
John Chapman, PO Box 5042, Laburnum, 3130, Australia
Photographs and text are copyright 2000-2017 John Chapman.
Last updated : September 29th 2017