Walking the Merricks to Red Hill Rail Trail is like stepping back in time. Once bustling with trains carrying fresh apples to market, today, this Trail is a peaceful haven for walkers, mountain bikers, and horse riders. The dog-friendly Trail's charm lies in its beautiful views, historic significance, and the promise of a delightful cafe or winery at either end.

It's a shared path, so be mindful of fellow walkers, cyclists, and horse riders. Starting at Merricks, the Trail gradually ascends two kilometres, offering views over Western Port to Phillip Island and the Nobbies. A sharp right turn leads you downhill to the end of Tonkins Road, after which the Trail gently climbs again towards Red Hill, passing through pine forests, wineries and farms.

Red Hill to Merrick walking trail

Keep your Dog Safe

This dog-friendly walking Trail spans 13 kilometres and typically takes about 3 hours to complete. For most dogs, the entire Trail might be too much. It's best to start from one end, walk about half your dog's regular walking distance, and then return. This way, you and your pup can enjoy the Trail without overdoing it.

The Trail is shared with horse riders, mountain bike riders and other walkers. Be sure to always keep your dog on the lead along the Trail.

Red Hill Rail Trail Highlights

Trail Point: 3450 Frankston - Flinders Rd, Merricks VIC 3916

Trail Point: 155 Shoreham Road, Red Hill South Victoria 3937

Total Distance: 13 km

Total Time to Complete: 3 hours

  • Seaside Views: The Trail provides views over Western Port and Phillip Island.
  • Historical Route: Walk through history as you tread the old railway easement.
  • Natural Beauty: Enjoy the sight of colourful fungi in the pine forests during autumn.

Red Hill dog-frienly hike

Prepare for the Walk

  • Dog Water Bottle: There are no water taps or fountains along the Trail, so remember to bring water and snacks for both of you.
  • Dog Bags: No bag dispensers or bins are allowed along the walk. Be sure to bring your own bags.
  • Other Facilities: There are cafes and amenities at both ends of the Trail, but no pit stops along the Trail.
  • Trail Climbs: This Trail is rated as easy to moderate with a total elevation gain of 245m. The top point is at the Red Hill end. It is a hilly trail with many flat areas and climbs.
  • Trail Surface: The Trail is a wide dirt track and can get muddy around winter. Be sure to wear appropriate shoes.

Red Hill Rail Trail walking path

A Bit of History

The Merricks to Red Hill rail line opened in 1912, transporting fruit to Melbourne markets. Despite its brief 32-year operation, the railway played a significant role in the region's development. Today, interpretive signs at Red Hill Station Reserve provide fascinating insights into the Trail's rich history.

Visiting Red Hill and Merrick Rail Trail

Public car parks are available at both ends. You can find car parks at Merricks Road (next to Merricks Station Ground Reserve, first left entrance off Frankston-Flinders Road) and Callanans Road (on the Red Hill side).

The Trail is most popular during Spring and Summer weekends and public holidays. It is best enjoyed in dry weather, but its improved surface means it's accessible year-round. Whether you're visiting in spring, with blossoms all around, or in autumn, with the Trail's vibrant foliage, each season brings unique charm.