Jacob’s Ladder

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

Ben Lomond Mountain is a mountain peak at an elevation of 1.452m (4,763ft) above the sea level, located in the Launceston and North-east regions of Tasmania. The road to the summit, featuring a series of sharp hairpin turns, is known as Jacob’s Ladder. It’s one of the most hairpinned roads in the world.

How long is Jacob’s Ladder in Tasmania?

Set high in the Ben Lomond Ranges, in the northeastern part of the country, the road to the summit is totally unpaved and runs through dramatic dolerite cliffs. It’s called Ben Lomond Road. Starting at Upper Blessington, on C401 road, the ascent is 17.7 km (10.99 miles) long. The most challenging part of the spectacular road is a series of 6 hairpin turns known as Jacob’s Ladder. A lookout platform has been built at the top of the ladder providing superb views. The hairpin bends and the sweeping views from its lookout make the drive to the plateau an experience in itself. The views and lofty driving experience deserve to be savoured - rushing through it would defeat the point of going there.

How steep is Jacob's Ladder?

The road to the summit is very steep, hitting a 13% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Starting at Upper Blessington, the elevation gain is 1.089 meters. The average gradient is 6.15%. It’s said to be the most hair-raising and impressive alpine road in the country. Maximum size for passenger vehicles is a 22 seat bus and bus drivers must have an alpine license to travel the Jacob’s Ladder section of the road. Don't go faster than the speed limit of 30 km/h - anything else could end in disaster. Vehicles ascending are encouraged to give way to oncoming traffic as they veer around the cascading hairpin turns. Going downhill, it is advisable to shift into a low gear to use your engine brake. This place would be a death trap in the event of an earth tremor or rock fall which purportedly occurs now and then. Keep an eye out for wildlife as you ride up the hill.

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

Tucked away in Ben Lomond National Park, the drive is very scenic and features stunning views. Plan about 45 minutes to complete the drive without any stop. Located just 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Launceston, Ben Lomond is Tasmania's principal downhill ski field. Top of the mountain has a nice lookout with an excellent view to Jacobs Ladder and Ben Lomond National Park. Ben Lomond National Park is a large plateau atop precipitous cliffs that dominate the plains of rural north-eastern Tasmania.

Is Jacob's Ladder open?

If you decide to go there during the winter season, keep in mind that your car should be equipped with chains. There are some warnings about carrying chains in winter, and checking road conditions in dodgy weather. In conditions of snow and ice the road may be closed without notice at the barrier 4.5 km from Upper Blessington. Wheel chains and anti-freeze must be carried between June and September.
Pic: Dane Lennon