Jacob's Ladder is a zig-zag mountain road in Tasmania

Ben Lomond Mountain is a peak with an elevation of 1,452m (4,763ft) above sea level, located in the Launceston and North-east regions of Tasmania. The road to the summit, known for a series of sharp hairpin turns called Jacob’s Ladder, is one of the most hairpinned roads in the world.

Jacob’s Ladder

How long is Jacob’s Ladder in Tasmania?

Situated high in the Ben Lomond Ranges, in the northeastern part of the country, the road to the summit is entirely unpaved, winding through dramatic dolerite cliffs, and is named Ben Lomond Road. Commencing at Upper Blessington, on C401 road, the ascent covers a distance of 17.7 km (10.99 miles). The most challenging section of this spectacular road encompasses six hairpin turns known as Jacob’s Ladder. A lookout platform at the top of the ladder offers superb views. The hairpin bends and sweeping vistas make the drive to the plateau an experience in itself. The views and the lofty driving encounter are meant to be savored, and rushing through would defeat the purpose of the journey.

How steep is Jacob's Ladder?

The road to the summit is extremely steep, reaching a maximum gradient of 13% through some of the ramps. Originating at Upper Blessington, the elevation gain is 1,089 meters, with an average gradient of 6.15%. Considered the most hair-raising and impressive alpine road in the country, the maximum size for passenger vehicles is a 22-seat bus, and bus drivers must possess an alpine license to traverse the Jacob’s Ladder section. Adherence to the speed limit of 30 km/h is crucial, as anything else could lead to disaster. Vehicles ascending are advised to yield to oncoming traffic while navigating the cascading hairpin turns. When descending, it is advisable to shift into a low gear to utilize your engine brake. This location could pose a hazard in the event of an earthquake or rockfall, which reportedly occurs sporadically. Keep a lookout for wildlife as you ascend the hill.

How long does it take to drive to Ben Lomond Mountain through Jacob's Ladder?

Nestled in Ben Lomond National Park, the drive is exceptionally scenic, offering stunning views. Allocate approximately 45 minutes to complete the drive without any stops. Just 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Launceston, Ben Lomond serves as Tasmania's primary downhill ski field. The mountain's summit provides a captivating lookout with an excellent view of Jacobs Ladder and Ben Lomond National Park. Ben Lomond National Park encompasses a vast plateau atop precipitous cliffs that dominate the plains of rural northeastern Tasmania.

Is Jacob's Ladder open?

If you plan to visit during the winter season, ensure your car is equipped with chains. Winter conditions may necessitate checking road conditions, and there are warnings about carrying chains during dodgy weather. In instances of snow and ice, the road may be closed without notice at the barrier 4.5 km from Upper Blessington. It is mandatory to carry wheel chains and antifreeze between June and September.
Pic: Dane Lennon