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mount sorrow trail at cape tribulation
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daintree national park mount sorrow hiking trail

mount sorrow trail at cape tribulation

mount sorrow trail bushwalking
Mount Sorrow at Cape Tribulation

Bushwalking in Cape Tribulation is one of the best ways to experience the ancient 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, rising high above Cape Tribulation.


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 mountain top.

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.

mount sorrow view
Two hikers very happy they made it to the top

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 environment.

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 prominent.

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 Reef.

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 Park.

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 communication.

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.


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 track.

bushwalking the mount sorrow track at cape tribulation

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.

cassowary attack on the mount sorrow trail
Smiling survivors

The couple above are all smiles again after surviving an encounter with a very territorial 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 descent from Mount Sorrow when a large cassowary started chasing them. 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 back to Rainforest Hideaway.
This cassowary was relocated by N.Park rangers later that year.

mount sorrow seen from cape tribulation
Mount Sorrow seen from the cape




daintree treefrog at cape tribulation
daintree rainforest tree frog
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Rainforest Hideaway Cape Tribulation Accommodation & Sculpture Trail - 109R Camelot Close, Cape Tribulation 4873, Australia Ph: 0460 361346