Mount Sorrow ridge trail, Cape Tribulation
This trail climbs from the coastal lowlands of Cape Tribulation, up the rainforest-clad ridge of Mount Sorrow to a lookout offering views of the beautiful Daintree coastline, Snapper Island and beyond.
- Journey type
- 7km return Start and finish points are the same and the traveller must return via the same path
- Time suggested
- Allow 6hr
- Grade 4 walking track
- Conventional vehicle
- Lookout (natural)
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail provides opportunities for fit, experienced and well-prepared bushwalkers to experience rainforest-clad slopes and spectacular views from an elevation of 680m.
The trail starts in a lowland rainforest valley, featuring trees with large buttress roots and a canopy woven with large woody vines. As the ridge ascends, the trail moves into upland rainforest and the slow-growing orania palm becomes common. Look for Boyd's forest dragons perching on trees quite close to the trail. On the ridge the vegetation is dominated by acacias (wattles). The wind-sheared forest canopy becomes lower and more open towards the mountain summit.
From the lookout spangled drongos and small flocks of topknot pigeons can be observed in the air, while a variety of butterflies drift around on the wind. On a clear day, the beautiful Daintree coastline can be seen stretching southwards to Snapper Island and beyond, and the shadows of the individual reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef can be glimpsed in the ocean.
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail is not for everyone. Although marked, walkers have been lost in this area. You must be prepared for a very steep and difficult trail with log scrambling required in some places. Only experienced bushwalkers with above average fitness should attempt this trail.
Walk times are approximate only and based on travel in good weather conditions. You will need to adjust these times to suit your group's level of experience and fitness. The times are for walking only. Remember to allow plenty of extra time for rest stops, meal breaks and sightseeing. Distance markers have been placed at one kilometre intervals along the walk to help monitor your progress.
Set off well before 10am, to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and to allow time to return. Return via the same route. Leave the lookout before 2pm to allow at least three hours of daylight for the return journey.
0–1km this section of the trail is fairly steep and partly obstructed by several large fallen trees. For the first few hundred metres the vegetation has a covering of dust from the Bloomfield Road. Fan palms Licuala ramsayi feature in this lowland rainforest with a pandanus understorey.
1–2km: throughout this section, the trail undulates and requires ‘log hopping’ and stepping around roots. Several kinds of trees exhibit cauliflory, producing flower buds and fruit from their trunks, roots and main branches. Look for the large white flowers growing on the trunk of the Ryparosa kurrangii, a plant that is restricted in Australia to the area between Cape Tribulation and the Daintree River. Remember to look up to see epiphytes in the canopy.
2–3km: this part of the trail ascends extremely steeply. It is narrow in places and uneven with rocks and tree roots covering the trail surface. In this upland rainforest, cycads are prominent along with bumpy satinash Syzygium cormiflorum and the slow-growing orania palm Oraniopsis appendiculata. A species of a primitive club moss Selaginella sp. with layers of small fern-like fronds can also be seen in patches on the ground. At the base of the steep ridge, notice that the vegetation has become stunted due to wind-shearing.
3km to the lookout: the final section of the trail passes through open forest dominated by acacias (wattles). From the lookout (680m elevation) views to the south-east encompass the Daintree coastline and Cape Tribulation township. Snapper Island and shadows of the fringing reefs along the coastline are spectacular sights on a clear day. Look for butterflies drifting around at this high elevation and birds such as spangled drongos and topknot pigeons flying past the lookout platform.
Getting there and getting around
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail is in Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park (CYPAL). Travel 105km north of Cairns via the Captain Cook Highway to the Daintree River crossing. The ferry operates 5am to midnight every day except Christmas Day and Good Friday, with occasional breaks in service for extreme floods or mechanical repairs. Fees apply for the ferry crossing.
The Mount Sorrow trailhead is 36km from the Daintree ferry, about 150m past the Kulki day-use area at Cape Tribulation.
Park your vehicle at the Mount Sorrow trailhead car park on the Cape Tribulation-Bloomfield road. The trailhead, and the start of the walking track, are on the opposite side of the road from this car park.
Contact the RACQ to enquire about local road conditions.
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail is not wheelchair accessible.
Before you visit
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail should only be attempted in daylight hours—plan your walk so that you return well before nightfall. Walking this trail is not recommended in very hot and humid conditions or wet, cloudy weather when the trail becomes slippery.
Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.