Visiting Misty Mountains safely
Getting there and getting around
Map: Misty Mountains wilderness tracks map
There are four separate long-distance tracks (Koolmoon Creek, Cannabullen Creek, Cardwell Range and Gorrell tracks), each with a nominated colour (orange, blue, red and yellow).
- Koolmoon Creek track (orange track)
- Cannabullen Creek track (blue track)
- Cardwell Range track (red track)
- Gorrell track (yellow track)
Sutties Gap, K-tree, Maple Creek, Bora Ground and Maalan roads are all unsealed. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for Sutties Gap, Maple Creek, Bora Ground and Maalan roads. All roads are unsuitable for caravans, motor homes or buses. Roads may be slippery when wet. Gates at the entrance to these roads may be locked to stop access during times of extremely wet weather or for road works—check for park alerts.
These roads are shared with walkers and mountain bikers—be courteous and careful.
See driving for more information.
The Misty Mountains wilderness tracks are not wheelchair accessible.
Navigation skills required
The Misty Mountain wilderness tracks are intended for visitors with advanced bushwalking/mountain-biking and navigation skills. Visitors should carry maps and navigation equipment as they may be required to find their way along indistinct tracks in remote locations.
Many of the Misty Mountains wilderness tracks follow disused logging roads with an open forest canopy. This disturbed and well-lit environment encourages growth of weeds such as guinea grass, lantana and giant bramble. These, along with stinging trees, lawyer vine and other abrasive plants, can cause serious injury. Protective clothing is recommended.
General safety guidelines
This area is isolated and help can be hours away. You must be well prepared and responsible for your own safety.
- Be aware that stinging trees are found alongside the tracks. They grow to 4m high and have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Do not touch these plants as it will almost certainly result in a very painful sting. If you are stung and symptoms are severe, seek medical advice.
- Watch out for lawyer vine (wait-a-while) which may encroach on tracks, particularly if mountain biking—its sharp hooks can cause serious injury.
- Carry at least one form of communication equipment. Satellite phones and personal locator beacons (PLBs) are the most effective. Mobile phone coverage is very limited.
- Inform a responsible person of your plans and check in with that person on your return.
- Wear appropriate safety gear and be realistic about your abilities when choosing a track.
- Ensure you carry adequate food and plenty of drinking water.
- Plan to reach your camping area or pick-up point before dark—do not underestimate walking or riding times.
- Stay on the marked tracks and away from cliff edges.
- Walkers and particularly riders should be very alert for unexpected track hazards. Fallen trees are common—even small logs can be slip hazards.
- Flash floods may occur at some creeks at any time of the year. Caution should be taken at creek crossings.
- Wear protective clothing and insect repellent for protection against stings, scratches and insect bites, especially bites from leeches, ticks and scorpions.
- Stay well back from snakes, cassowaries and feral pigs—they are potentially dangerous.
For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.
Before you visit
Essentials to bring
Equipment recommended for day trips includes:
- hat and sunscreen
- suitable clothing and safety gear including wet weather gear
- sufficient non-perishable food and plenty of drinking water
- bags for rubbish
- insect repellent
- first-aid kit
- maps and navigation equipment
- at least one form of communication equipment. Satellite phones and personal locator beacons (PLBs) are highly recommended.
Additional equipment recommended for overnight trips includes:
- waterproof tent, poles and pegs
- cooking utensils, fuel stove, fuel supply and waterproof matches (open fires are prohibited and collecting firewood is not allowed)
- equipment for treating water
See staying safe for more information.
These tracks are open 24 hours a day but may be closed during extreme weather conditions and for maintenance—check for park alerts.
Permits and fees
Camping permits are required and fees apply. Your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.
- Find out more about camping along the Misty Mountains wilderness tracks.
Permits are required for commercial or organised group activities. See park permits and policies for further information.
Leave your pets at home. Domestic animals are not permitted.
Climate and weather
This area is one of the wettest in Australia. During the tropical wet season (November to March) heavy downpours, low cloud, high temperatures and intense humidity are common. Tracks and access roads may be closed at this time. Extra caution is required when walking or mountain biking in wet conditions (which can occur at any time of the year) as the tracks can be slippery and flash floods may occur, making creek crossings dangerous. Leeches are particularly active in wet weather.
Ideally, tracks should be used in the dry season only (April to October), although in this mountainous area rain can fall at any time and visitors should be well prepared. The tropical climate of north Queensland is tempered by elevation, and temperatures at night and during wet weather can be quite low.
For more information see the tourism information links. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available at Ravenshoe, Millaa Millaa, South Johnstone, Mena Creek, Innisfail, Silkwood and Tully. For more information see the tourism information links.
- Temporary road and camping area closure: K-Tree Road, Maple Creek Road and South Johnstone camping area. Temporary partial road closure: Sutties Gap Road, Misty Mountains, Wooroonooran National Park 12 May to 30 September 2023
- Temporary partial track closure: Koolmoon Creek track, Misty Mountains wilderness tracks 19 August 2020 to 29 September 2023
- Planned burn: Ravenshoe State Forest 3 (Bally Knob Section) 25 May to 5 June 2023
- Access advice: No access to Cochable Creek camping and day-use area and Misty Mountains wilderness tracks from Cochable Creek access road: Tully Gorge National Park 13 May 2020 to 30 June 2023