Hiking the Mount Sorrow trail
Mount Sorrow towering over Cape Tribulation
Bushwalking in Cape Tribulation is one of the best
ways to see the Daintree rainforest and the only real challenging
walk in the Cape Tribulation area is the Mount Sorrow track, on
the picture above you see Mount Sorrow, towering over Cape Tribulation.
ABOUT THE MOUNT SORROW TRAIL:
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail gives fit, moderately
experienced bushwalkers the chance to experience rainforest-clad
slopes and spectacular views from an altitude of 683m. on a hike
that will take approximately five to six hours return.
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. You should count on five to six hours to do
this walk, and not leave after 10 AM.
You would not be the first one to run out of daylight on the way
back, this happens to people up to two times a month. The smart
ones sit on the track and wait for daylight to walk out, others
keep trying to find their way in the dark and get lost, and spend
two or three nights out there. English backpacker Daniel Nute
even disappeared without a trace up there in 1997.
Carry enough water with you, there are no creeks
along the way to replenish your supplies.
During wet weather also be prepared to get covered in leeches.
The trail starts from the main road in lowland rainforest,
featuring trees with large buttress roots and a dense canopy woven
with vines. As you climb higher, the trail moves into upland rainforest
and the vegetation starts to change. On the ridge, the vegetation
is dominated by trees normally found in drier areas like acacias.
The rainforest canopy becomes lower and more open towards the
From the lookout (on a clear day), views all the
way out to sandcays out at the Great Barrier Reef and the beautiful
Daintree coastline can be enjoyed. To get the awesome view out
to the reef you will need a clear day, and also you need to get
right to the top, as the track runs through forest all the way.
For decades people used to enjoy a magnificent view sitting on
a large boulder, until National Parks decided that a viewing platform
was needed. A good deal of manpower and money was spent on a helicopter
airlifting a platform up the mountain, but with the platform being
surrounded by trees most the time this proved to be a total waste
of time and money. You can still find your way around the platform
to the boulder to enjoy the proper view.
Two happy hikers at the top enjoying the view
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail is marked, but still
walkers have managed to get lost in this area and spent an uncomfortable
night up there, as most people would not carry camping equipment
(camping is not allowed up there anyway). You need to be prepared
for a very steep and difficult trail with scrambling over rocks
and tree roots in some places. Only experienced bushwalkers with
reasonable fitness should attempt this trail, and they should
start early in the morning, preferably before 10am, to take advantage
of the cooler morning temperatures.
The actual distance walked is about 3.5km to the
lookout at the topt:
0–1km: This section of the trail is a bit
steep and you need to climb over several large fallen trees. For
the first few hundred metres the vegetation can be covered in
dust from the Bloomfield Track if the weather has been dry. Fan
palms and pandanus are common in this lowland rainforest. Cyclone
damage can still be observed in this section with lots of vegetation,
such as woody vines and lawyer palm, which thrive in a disturbed
1km–2km: In this section, the trail goes up
and down and you will see some interesting trees. Several kinds
of trees here exhibit cauliflory, producing flower buds from their
trunks. Don't forget to look up to see epiphytes high in the canopy.
2km–3km: This part of the trail rises very
steeply and becomes narrow in places, and more uneven with rocks
and tree roots covering the trail surface. In this section you
move into upland rainforest where bumpy satinash and cycads are
3km–lookout at 683m: On the last part of the
trail you pass through open forest with lots of acacias and you
arrive at the lookout and on a clear day you are rewarded with
spectacular views along the Daintree coastline, Snapper Island,
the fringing reefs, and the sand cays out at the Great Barrier
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail is not an easy walk
and walkers need to be well prepared.
Warm, waterproof clothing should be taken as weather conditions
up on the mountain can change rapidly. Be prepared for cool conditions
at the summit.
Carry at least 3 litres of water per person, there are no creeks
along the track to obtain water.
All of the walk is under rainforest canopy so you will not be
exposed to the sun during the hike.
No permits or fees apply to visitors walking the
Mount Sorrow ridge trail.
Domestic animals are not permitted in Daintree National
You should not walk this trail alone.
Mobile phone coverage is extremely limited in Cape
Tribulation and should not be relied upon as a form of emergency
There are no toilets along the trail. Use a trowel
to bury toilet waste and paper. Dig a 15cm hole at least 100m
away from the trail. Take all sanitary items with you —
they do not decompose.
Everything in the park is protected. Please leave
everything as you found it.
HOW TO GET TO THE MOUNT SORROW TRAIL:
Although Mount Sorrow is located just above Rainforest
Hideaway you can not simply walk up the hill from here, you will
find the start of the Mount Sorrow walking track on the main road,
just north of Cape Tribulation.
Simply keep heading north until the bitumen road finishes just
past the Cape Tribulation Beach turnoff, just after the dirt road
of the Bloomfield Track starts there will be some space to park
your car on the right.
When you have parked there you will see a small sign on the other
side of the road marking the start of the Mount Sorrow trail.
You will miss this if you are driving so keep an eye out for the
parking space first. See the map below to find the start of the
It is recommended that you let somebody know that
you go up there, just in case you get lost or don't make it out
that day. National Parks does not want to deal with any of this
so if you stay at Rainforest Hideaway then your host will know
if you made it back or not, or if you stay elsewhere then find
somebody else to raise the alarm if you don't return. It is very
important that after "signing in" you also "sign
out" as several people have caused a great deal of stress
and wasted time for locals and police by simply leaving town after
the hike and incorrectly being reported as missing.
Walking this track is not recommended in very hot
and humid conditions or in wet cloudy weather when the trail is
slippery and the views are obscured. Also in wet weather you will
find that at higher altitudes you get covered in leaches. Contact
QPWS Cape Tribulation for trail conditions. The Mount Sorrow ridge
trail involves steep sections and climbing over rocks and roots,
so is definitely not wheelchair accessible.
More information on the Mount Sorrow trail:
QPWS Cairns Information Centre
* 5B Sheridan St, Cairns
* PO Box 2066, Cairns QLD 4870
* ph (07) 4046 6600
* fax (07) 4046 6751
* email firstname.lastname@example.org
QPWS Mossman office
* 1 Front St, Mossman
* PO Box 251, Mossman, QLD 4873
* ph (07) 4098 2188
* fax (07) 4098 2279
QPWS Cape Tribulation office
* Cape Tribulation Road, Cape Tribulation
* PMB 10, MS 2041, Mossman QLD 4873
* ph (07) 4098 0052
* fax (07) 4098 0074
EPA Customer Service Centre
* 160 Ann Street, Brisbane
* PO Box 15155, City East QLD 4002
* ph (07) 3227 8185
* fax (07) 3227 8749
* email email@example.com
LATEST NEWS: A very territorial cassowary
that used to harrass and injure hikers has been captured by National
Parks rangers and relocated.
Torben above is all smiles again after surviving
an encounter with a cassowary on the Mount Sorrow track in Cape
Tribulation, although he still has a swollen foot and two painful
fingers bandaged together.
The couple was on the way down from Mount Sorrow when they were
chased by a large cassowary. When all attempts to shake off the
bird or to stand their ground failed they laid down in the mud
and played dead. This calmed the bird, that had been hissing and
breathing heavily before. Unfortunately the bird then sat down
next to them and kept them prisoner, every time they made the
slightest move the cassowary would get up and make threatening
moves again. After about 40 minutes of being kept prisoner two
other hikers came past on the track and the cassowary got up and
went after them, and the lucky couple got up and rapidly made
their way down the hill.
16 June 2007; Hans Snoeck just returned to Rainforest Hideaway
with the report that he cancelled his hiking plans as he met two
hikers at the start of the track that did not get any further
than about 200 metres when they met with the cassowary who would
not let them pass so they all turned around.
15 August: the last couple of Rainforest
Hideaway guests returned from the hike unharmed and had not seen
any cassowary, though one family went down to the carpark at Cape
Tribulation beach and saw the big one there from a safe distance.
8 October: a German lady had to be treated
in the Cape Trib pharmacy after the cassowary pecked her on her
behind only 5 minutes up the Mt. Sorrow track, the bite was strong
enough to break the skin and convince her to abandon the walk.