Skip links and keyboard navigation

About Misty Mountains

Getting there and getting around

Map: Misty Mountains wilderness tracks map (PDF, 217K)*

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)
Cannabullen Creek track (blue track)
Cardwell Range track (red track)
Gorrell track (yellow track) 

Koolmoon Creek track (orange track)

Trailhead

Directions

Bally Knob trailhead

From 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 trailhead

From 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 trailhead

From 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 trailhead

From 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 trailhead

From 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 area

From 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)

Trailhead

Directions

Cochable Creek camping area

From 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)

Trailhead

Directions

Cardwell Range trailhead

From 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)

Trailhead

Directions

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 (83 km 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 Malaan 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.

Trail features

The Misty Mountains wilderness tracks extend from the coastal plain to the tablelands. The area forms part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and is recognised for its diversity of rainforest types, plant species and outstanding landscape features.

Four long tracks—the Koolmoon Creek, Cannabullen Creek, Cardwell Range and Gorrell tracks—make up the Misty Mountains wilderness tracks. Some tracks are suitable only for bushwalkers, while others are shared tracks with mountain biking permitted. See things to do for more information.

Tracks are remote and can be indistinct with encroaching vegetation. See staying safe for more information.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Seven small camping areas (with no facilities) are provided at specific sites along the tracks.

Camping is also permitted adjacent to the Misty Mountains in Palmerston (Doongan), Wooroonooran National Park (South Johnstone and Henrietta Creek camping areas) and Tully Gorge National Park ( Tully Gorge and Cochable Creek camping areas).

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

Other accommodation

Commercial accommodation is available at Ravenshoe, Millaa Millaa, Innisfail, Tully and the surrounding area. For more information see the tourism information links below. 

Things to do

View from Cannabullen Falls. Photo: Barry Schmith, Queensland Government.

View from Cannabullen Falls. Photo: Barry Schmith, Queensland Government.

Walking and mountain biking

Some of the Misty Mountains wilderness tracks are suitable only for bushwalkers, while others are shared tracks with mountain biking permitted. Each track can be undertaken partially (by going to a point of interest and return), in its entirety (one way or return), or as part of a longer journey (linking two or more tracks together). 

Navigation skills required

Tracks are remote and can be indistinct in places—all visitors must be experienced and carry maps and navigation equipment. See staying safe for more information.

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. See staying safe for more information.

Map: Misty Mountains wilderness tracks map (PDF, 217K)*

Key to track grade classifications

The classification systems are based on Australian Standards. While each track is classified according to its general overall condition, some segments (such as creek crossings and steep sections) may be more difficult. Track conditions will also change following heavy rain.

 Walking track grades

 Australian Walking Track Grading System

Grade 3 Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections and a rough surface.
Grade 4 Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signs may be limited.
Grade 5  Very experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked.

Mountain bike track grades
International Mountain Bicycling Association difficulty rating system
Intermediate Moderate gradient, obstacles and some steep sections. For skilled mountain bikers.
Difficult For experienced mountain bikers. Challenging trail. Large, unavoidable obstacles and features. Long steep climbs or descents and loose surfaces.

Track notes:

Koolmoon Creek track (orange track)
Cannabullen Creek track (blue track)
Cardwell Range track (red track)
Gorrell track (yellow track) 

Koolmoon Creek track (orange track)

Track notes Distance Grade Time

Koolmoon Creek track

Bally Knob trailhead to Cochable Creek camping area

The Koolmoon Creek track leads through Tully Falls and Tully Gorge national parks from Little Millstream Falls (near Ravenshoe) to Cochable Creek camping area (north-west of Tully). The track follows the ridges above Koolmoon Creek and features creek crossings, waterholes and panoramic views of Tully River valley and the coast. 35.4km one way—Bally Knob trailhead to Cochable Creek camping area

Grade 5

 

Not permitted

Walkers: 3 days one way (approx 8hrs per day)
Bally Knob

From Bally Knob trailhead or Tully Falls Road

 Begin at Bally Knob trailhead, in the carpark at Little Millstream Falls. Cross the road and walk to the top of Bally Knob for views of Ravenshoe and the western tablelands. Either return via the same track, or follow a steep descent down to Tully Falls Road. Alternatively, begin at Tully Falls Road, climbing to Bally Knob and return.
  • 8km return from Bally Knob trailhead
  • 5.9km one way from Bally Knob trailhead to Tully Falls Road
  • 3.8km return from Tully Falls Road
 

Grade 5

 

Not permitted

 

Walkers:

  • Bally Knob trailhead and return: 3hrs
  • Bally Knob to Tully Falls Road: 2hrs
  • From Tully Falls Road return: 2hrs
Rhyolite Pinnacle

From Rhyolite Pinnacle trailhead

 Walk 1.7km and turn right at the junction with the main track. Continue 4.4km to a sign-posted side track. This 100m steep ascent leads to the top of Rhyolite Pinnacle. Return to the main track then either retrace your steps or turn right and walk 1.3km before turning right again to walk 3.7km to Walters Waterhole trailhead, then 3.5km along Tully Falls Road to your starting point.  
  • 12.4km return from Rhyolite Pinnacle trailhead
  • 14.8km return via Walters Waterhole trailhead
 

Grade 4

 

Not permitted

 

Walkers:

  • Rhyolite Pinnacle trailhead and return: 4.5hrs
  • Rhyolite Pinnacle trailhead via Walters Waterhole trailhead: 4.5hrs
Walters Waterhole

From Walters Waterhole trailhead

 Walk 3.7km and turn right onto the main track. Continue 3.1km to an old bridge with views of Koolmoon Creek and Walters Waterhole. Return via the same track, or continue another 1.1km to Walters Waterhole camping area before turning right and walking 3.4km to Djilgarrin trailhead then 1.5km along Tully Falls Road to your starting point—vehicles use this narrow and winding road so care must be taken.  
  • 13.6km return to Walters Waterhole trailhead
  • 12.8km return to Walters Waterhole trailhead via Djilgarrin trailhead
 

Grade 4

 

Not permitted

 

Walkers:

  • Walters Waterhole trailhead and return: 4.5hrs
  • Walters Waterhole trailhead via Djilgarrin trailhead: 4hrs
Djilgarrin trailhead to Cochable Creek camping area

From Djilgarrin trailhead

 The track involves wide creek crossings and should only be undertaken by experienced bushwalkers. Creeks may be impassable after heavy rain. Because of the steep gradient, walking the opposite way (from Cochable Creek camping area to Djilgarrin) is not recommended. It is not possible to drive or walk between Cardstone Road and Tully Falls Road. 15.3km one way (add 4.4km to visit Elizabeth Grant Falls)  

Grade 5

 

Not permitted

Walkers: 7hrs one way
Elizabeth Grant Falls lookout

From Cochable Creek camping area

 Follow Koolmoon Creek track for 3km, where the track to Elizabeth Grant Falls lookout branches off. Follow this track 2.2km to view the falls cascading 300m to Koolmoon Creek. The falls themselves are not accessible. 10.4km return from Cochable Creek camping area  

Grade 3

 

Intermediate
 

Walkers: 5hrs return

 

 

Mountain bikers: 2-3hrs

Cannabullen Creek track (blue track)

Track notes Distance Grade Time

Cannabullen Creek track

Cochable Creek camping area to Hinson Creek trailhead

This track follows the steep ridges above Cannabullen and Cochable creeks, with several stream crossings and views to the scenic Whispey Falls. 13.6km one way

Grade 5

 

Not permitted except as access to Cardwell Range track 

Walkers: 2 days one way (approx 8hrs per day)

Cardwell Range track (red track)

Track notes Distance Grade Time

Cardwell Range track

Cardwell Range trailhead to Hinson Creek trailhead

This track follows the rolling slopes of the Cardwell Range. You will pass through rainforest typical of the uplands of the eastern tablelands and along the fringes of the Wet Tropics. 19km one way (Cardwell Range track 16.9km, Cannabullen Creek track 2.1km)

 

Grade 4

 

  

Intermediate to difficult—see map (PDF, 217K)* 

Walkers: 2 days one way (approx 8hrs per day)

 

Mountain bikers: 6–8hrs one way

Majors Mountain

From Cardwell Range trailhead

Follow Cardwell Range track for 2.1km to the turn-off to Majors Mountain lookout where a 900m walkers-only track leads to panoramic views from Majors Mountain. 6km return from Cardwell Range trailhead

Grade 4

 

Not permitted along the 900m walkers-only track into the lookout—see map (PDF, 217K)*

Walkers: 3hrs return 

Cannabullen Falls

From Hinson Creek trailhead

Follow Cannabullen Creek track for 2.1km before joining Cardwell Range track. Follow the main track 2.5km to the turn-off to Cannabullen Falls where a 2.2km track leads you to the top of Cannabullen Falls—stay clear of the cliff edge. 13.6km return (Cannabullen Creek track 2.1km, Cardwell Range track 4.7km to the viewing point, and return)

Grade 4

 

  

Intermediate to difficult—see map (PDF, 217K)*. Mountain bikes are not permitted all the way to the falls due to an extremely steep section; the final 300m must be walked.

Walkers: 8hrs return 

 

 

Mountain bikers: 3–4hrs return

Gorrell track (yellow track)

Track notes Distance Grade Time

Gorrell track

Gorrell trailhead (eastern) to Gorrell trailhead (western)

The Gorrell (storm bird) track takes you through the Downey Creek catchment. The Downey Creek area has been used by the Australian army to test the durability of military equipment in tropical conditions. King ferns, bunya pines, epiphytes and giant strangler figs are features of the forest in this area.  25.7km one way

 

Grade 4

 

  

Intermediate to difficult—see map (PDF, 217K)* 

Walkers: 2.5 days one way (approx 8hrs per day)

 

Mountain bikers: 5–10hrs one way

McNamee Creek

From Gorrell trailhead (eastern)

Venture into the rainforest and visit McNamee Creek near a tranquil waterhole with cascades over rock faces and clear pools. 7.2km return from Gorrell trailhead (eastern)

Grade 3 

 

Intermediate

Walkers: 4hrs return

 

Mountain bikers: 1–2hrs return

Downey Creek camping area

From Gorrell trailhead (western)

Leave civilisation behind as you venture down the western end of the Gorrell track to the remote Downey Creek camping area. 21.8km return from Gorrell trailhead (western)

Grade 4

 

  

Intermediate

Walkers: 10hrs return 

 

 

Mountain bikers: 4–5hrs return

Driving

Map: Misty Mountains wilderness tracks map (PDF, 217K)*

The Misty Mountains road network

Take a scenic drive through picturesque rainforest between the Palmerston Highway (near Henrietta Creek camping area) and the Ravenshoe–Millaa Millaa scenic drive (Old Palmerston Highway). This drive is made up of a number of unsealed roads: Sutties Gap, Maple Creek, K-tree, Bora Ground and Maalan roads—four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for Maple Creek, Bora Ground and Malaan 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.

Vehicles are not permitted off-road or on internal roads and tracks that are closed for management purposes. Drivers must be licensed and vehicles must be road-registered. For more information, see four-wheel driving.

These roads are shared with walkers and mountain bikers—be courteous and careful. 

Things to know before you go

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 below. 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 below.

Staying safe

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

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

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.

Looking after the park

  • Everything in these national parks, living or dead, is protected. Please leave everything as you find it and do not disturb native wildlife.
  • Leave your pets at home. Domestic animals are not permitted.
  • Stay on marked trails and formed roads. Shortcutting damages vegetation and causes erosion, and may misdirect other walkers.
  • Carry all of your rubbish out with you.
  • Bury human waste and toilet paper at least 15cm deep and 100m from tracks, camp sites and waterways to guard against pollution and the spread of disease.
  • Fires are prohibited—bring a fuel stove for cooking.
  • Do not use soap or detergent in creeks.
  • Avoid the spread of weeds—regularly check your clothing, shoes, bikes and other equipment for seeds and place in your rubbish.

Phytophthora

Phytophthora cinnamomi is a destructive disease blamed for causing ‘forest dieback’ by feeding on plant tissue and killing its host by interfering with its ability to take in and circulate water. It is spread easily by water and moist, infected soil that may be carried on vehicles, earth-moving equipment, camping equipment and footwear. To prevent its spread, visitors are asked to wash mud and dirt from all vehicles, clothes, footwear and tent pegs before and after visiting the Misty Mountains.

Frog chytrid fungus

This is a water-borne skin disease that is common in stream-dwelling frogs within the Wet Tropics. It is particularly virulent in the cooler, upland areas. To prevent its spread, please do not handle frogs or tadpoles or transport them from one area to another.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

The Misty Mountains wilderness tracks traverse sections of Tully Gorge, Tully Falls and Wooroonooran national parks. They also lie within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Declared in 1988, the World Heritage area stretches from Townsville in the south to Cooktown in the north, and contains some of the oldest continuously surviving rainforests in the world.

These tracks are part of the Queensland Heritage Trails Network and were constructed under a unique partnership between the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the then shires of Eacham, Herberton, Cardwell and Johnstone, Traditional Owners, and volunteers from Conservation Volunteers Australia. Officially opened in August 2003, they were severely affected by Cyclone Larry in March 2006 and Cyclone Yasi in 2011. Disturbance to the forest will be evident for several years.

Tourism information links

Tully Visitor and Heritage Centre
Bruce Highway, Tully Qld 4854
ph 07 4068 2288
email: tullytourism@ccrc.qld.gov.au

Ravenshoe Visitor Centre
www.ravenshoevisitorcentre.com.au 
24 Moore Street, Ravenshoe Qld 4888
ph 07 4097 7700
email info@ravenshoevisitorcentre.com.au

Atherton Information Centre
www.athertoninformationcentre.com.au 
Corner Main Street and Silo Road, Atherton Qld 4883
ph 07 4091 4222 or 07 4091 7394
email: athinfocentre@trc.qld.gov.au

Innisfail Information Centre
www.innisfailtourism.com.au 
Corner Bruce Hwy and Eslick Street, Innisfail Qld 4860
ph 07 4061 2655
email: innisfailtourism@ccrc.qld.gov.au

Malanda Falls Visitor Information Centre
www.malandafalls.com
Atherton Road, Malanda Qld 4885
ph 07 4096 6957
email info@malandafalls.com

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see www.queenslandholidays.com.au.

Further information

Contact us

* Requires Adobe Reader

Last updated
11 December 2014