Essons Valley Tracks


A fantastic hidden gem of a walk complete with historical information, perfect for kids and dog friendly.

Esson's Valley tracks is a bit of a hidden gem in Picton, not as commonly talked about like the Snout track or Tirohanga walks but just as beautiful. The track take you to see the reservoirs that feeds Picton's water supply, you visit both Humphries Dam and Barnes Dam and can read all about some of the history on each dam along the way.


Heading up to the start of the track on Garden Terrace road, you park at the end of the small narrow street.
The start of the track is a bit of a open 4WD track that passes some nice picnic areas then gradually into beautiful lush bush. Not to far in to the track you will come to a fork in the track to the left Barnes Dam and to the right Humphries Dam. If you only had time to do one of these I would suggest Barnes Dam.
We were going to do both so we headed up to the right to check out Humphries Dam which is the older of the two dames established in the 1920's. It did not take us to long only about 30min to reach the dam, passing by lots of old pipes that are no longer in use along the way which the kids loved.
Up at the dam there was a picnic table to sit and have a rest, it is all open to the water so if you are taking little kids make sure you stay close to them.
After a wee rest with the kids we headed off to check out the Barnes Dam.


After getting back to the junction we headed off to check out Barnes Dam which was established in the 1950's and still used today. I was surprised at how different each track was to the other, the Humphries Dam track was more open with a slight incline and a flatter track. The Barnes Dam track is slightly more technical with a few more ups and down, more lush dense native bush than the other. You also cross over the pipe line often and even in the height of summer it was muddy in places. But still an easy walk to do that I fell most kids could achieve easily, there are a few spots along the way that it the path narrows and drop off to the river so keep an eye on little ones and keep them close by.
It took us about 35min to reach the Dam and when we got there we were greeted by a pretty impressive waterfall.
You can head up the steeps to the top of the dam to have a look over the fences, it is a rather high climb with just small rails so make sure you take care and kids should all be accompanied by an adult as it is easy to slip. Also the viewing platform is small so I recommend only two people at time, but it is definitely worth checking out for the view.
The whole trip up to both Dams and back to the start took us around 2hrs with stops. Even on a really hot day it was well shaded most the time with beautiful native bush.
We really enjoyed this walk and would definitely do it again, it would make for a great field trip for schools with all its rich history.


Munchkin Review 

" The Dams were so cool, the big one was loud and had so much water in it. Marcus O'Donnell, aged 9yrs


Adventure Notes


What to Bring

- Good walking shoes
- Drink bottle
- Sunblock

Time and Distance

For both Dams, approx 10km and 2hrs return.
Each Dam on there own approx 45min return at most.

Munchkin Info

- Not Pram Friendly
- Open waterways so keep little ones with in arms reach
- Dogs are allowed off leash so keep kids who are not familiar with dogs close by.



Other Info

- Dog allowed
- No toilets so get kids to go before you leave


- Picnic Tables

Helpful Links