Historic Corn Trail Track Notes - by Dawn Evans
An 18km walk from the top of Clyde Mountain, through wilderness forest, to the head of the Bolero Valley. It winds through forestry land which has never been harvested. Known as the Optimist Section, due to the fact that anyone who thought to put a road through it was an optimist.
It was first used in the 1830s pioneered by the settlers of the Bolero Valley to trade produce with their neighbours on the Southern Tablelands. The major crop carried was corn, transported by packhorse usually led by the womenfolk. A shed was built at the top of the mountain from which carts would transport produce to the towns of Braidwood and Araluen.
The track was also used to bring cattle from the tablelands for coastal agistment. Also by gold prospectors hopeful of striking it rich along the Buckenbowra River and at Araluen. The Corn Trail also provided the first link from the coast for travelers. In 1854 another route was opened over the Clyde Mountain roughly following the present Kings Highway.
Access: turn off the highway 20km from Nelligen, west of Batemans Bay. Follow the Misty Mt Road 14km to a turnoff then a further 4km of rough road to the carpark. A nasty creek is encountered near the junction of the highway, which is subject to flash floods. Scenic views of the Budawangs: Mounts Owen, Cole, The Castle and Pigeon House, as well as the Clyde Mts. Old growth forest, rainforest and burrawangs dominate this steep road.
This carpark and the two creeks at the bottom of the walk are well worth a visit in dry weather. A car should be left here for walkers. It takes 50mins from Nelligen to the lower carpark. Second car drives back to the highway and a further 8km to the top of Clyde Mt and turnoff to the top Corn Trail carpark. Walk from the top down, approximately 6 hours. The top of the escarpment can often be covered in mist while the lower slopes are bathed in sunshine.