Misty Mountains wilderness tracks Tropical North Queensland

Photo credit: © Steven Nowakowski

Navigation skills required

Tracks are remote and can be indistinct in places—all visitors must be experienced and carry maps and navigation equipment.

Encroaching vegetation

Stinging trees, lawyer vine, guinea grass and giant bramble can encroach on tracks where the canopy has been disturbed—appropriate protective clothing should be worn.

Visiting Misty Mountains safely

    Walking in the Misty Mountains. Photo: Ann Chalmers, Queensland Government.

    Walking in the Misty Mountains. Photo: Ann Chalmers, Queensland Government.

    Getting there and getting around

    Map: Misty Mountains wilderness tracks map (PDF, 918.0KB)

    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).

    Track access:

    Koolmoon Creek track (orange track)
    TrailheadDirections
    Bally Knob trailheadFrom Ravenshoe: follow the signs to Little Millstream Falls—travel 1.2km to the Kennedy Highway then south along Tully Falls Road for 0.5km. Turn right into Wooroora Road and travel a further 1.5km to the carpark at Little Millstream Falls.
    Koolmoon Creek headwaters trailheadFrom Ravenshoe: travel 1.2km to the Kennedy Highway then south along Tully Falls Road for 9.5km to Koochumbeerum Road. Follow this 1.3km road (unsealed; 4WD only—unsuitable for caravans and trailers) to the Koolmoon Creek headwaters trailhead—leave all gates as you find them.
    Rhyolite Pinnacle trailheadFrom Ravenshoe: travel 1.2km to the Kennedy Highway then south along Tully Falls Road for 11.7km to a small parking area on the right-hand side of the road. From here, a short track leads across the road to the start of the walking track.
    Walters Waterhole trailheadFrom Ravenshoe: travel 1.2km to the Kennedy Highway then south along Tully Falls Road for 15.2km to a small parking area on the left-hand side of the road.
    Djilgarrin trailheadFrom Ravenshoe: travel 1.2km to the Kennedy Highway then south along Tully Falls Road for 16.7km to a parking area on the left-hand side of the road.
    Cochable Creek camping areaFrom Tully: Travel west along Jarra Creek and Cardstone roads for 38km. Just before the Tully River bridge, turn right into Cochable Creek/H Road (unsealed) and continue for 9km to Cochable Creek camping area.
    Cannabullen Creek track (blue track)
    TrailheadDirections
    Cochable Creek camping areaFrom Tully: Travel west along Jarra Creek and Cardstone roads for 38km. Just before the Tully River bridge, turn right into Cochable Creek/H Road (unsealed) and continue for 9km to Cochable Creek camping area.
    Hinson Creek trailhead

    From Millaa Millaa: travel for 10.5km along the Ravenshoe–Millaa Millaa scenic drive (Old Palmerston Highway) and turn left into Maalan Road. After 6.5km turn left again into Sutties Gap Road. Travel 7.4km along Sutties Gap Road (partially unsealed) to Hinson Creek trailhead.

    From Cairns: travel south along the Bruce Highway towards Innisfail. Turn right 5km north of Innisfail (83km south of Cairns) on to the Palmerston Highway and travel 31km to K-tree Road turn-off on the left. Follow K-tree Road (unsealed) and then Maple Creek Road (4WD road) to the Hinson Creek trailhead (33.2km from the Palmerston Highway).

    Cardwell Range track (red track)
    TrailheadDirections
    Cardwell Range trailheadFrom Ravenshoe: travel 1.2km to the Kennedy Highway and then south along Tully Falls Road for 2.7km. Turn left into Cockram Road and then follow Gold Coast Road to the trailhead (2.4km from Tully Falls Road).
    Hinson Creek trailhead

    From Millaa Millaa: travel for 10.5km along the Ravenshoe–Millaa Millaa scenic drive (Old Palmerston Highway) and turn left into Maalan Road. After 6.5km turn left again into Sutties Gap Road. Travel 7.4km along Sutties Gap Road (partially unsealed) to Hinson Creek trailhead.

    From Cairns: travel south along the Bruce Highway towards Innisfail. Turn right 5km north of Innisfail (83km south of Cairns) on to the Palmerston Highway and travel 31km to K-tree Road turn-off on the left. Follow K-tree Road (unsealed) and then Maple Creek Road (4WD road) to the Hinson Creek trailhead (33.2km from the Palmerston Highway).

    Gorrell track (yellow track)
    TrailheadDirections
    Gorrell trailhead (eastern)From Innisfail: Travel 20km south to Mena Creek, then take Mena Creek Road (partially sealed) 10km to the Gorrell trailhead (eastern).
    Gorrell trailhead (western)

    From Cairns: travel south along the Bruce Highway towards Innisfail. Turn right 5km north of Innisfail (83km south of Cairns) on to the Palmerston Highway and travel 31km to the K-tree Road turn-off on the left. Follow K-tree Road (unsealed) for 15.2km to the trailhead (2.4km past South Johnstone camping area).

    From Millaa Millaa: travel east along the Palmerston Highway 26km to the K-tree Road turn-off on the right. Follow K-tree Road (unsealed) for 15.2km to the trailhead (2.4km past South Johnstone camping area).

    Road conditions

    Sutties Gap, K-tree, Maple Creek, Bora Ground and Maalan roads are all unsealed—four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for 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.

    Wheelchair accessibility

    The Misty Mountains wilderness tracks are not wheelchair accessible.

    Staying safe

    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.

    Encroaching vegetation

    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
    • bedding
    • cooking utensils, fuel stove, fuel supply and waterproof matches (open fires are prohibited and collecting firewood is not allowed)
    • equipment for treating water
    • torch.

    See staying safe for more information.

    Opening hours

    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 permit

    Camping permits are required and fees apply. Your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

    Other permits

    Permits are required for commercial or organised group activities. See park permits and policies for further information.

    Pets

    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.