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Hiking the Mount Sorrow trail in Cape Tribulation

mount sorrow hiking trail in cape tribulation
Mount Sorrow towers above Cape Tribulation

Bushwalking fans holidaying in the Cape Tribulation Daintree area have a couple of choices, of a wide variety of effort required:
the somewhat strenuous Mount Sorrow trail as a self guided bushwalk, the quite easy and short National Parks boardwalks, or the guided rainforest walks, which are an intermediate effort and last from two hours to a full day..

Bushwalking or hiking in Cape Tribulation is one of the best ways to really 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, towering over Cape Tribulation.


The Mount Sorrow ridge trail gives reasonably fit, moderately experienced bushwalkers the opportunity to climb the rainforest-clad slopes of Cape Tribulation and to enjoy some spectacular views from an altitude of 683m. on a hike that will take around 5 to 7 hours return.

This walking track climbs from the coastal lowlands of Cape Tribulation, up through the dense rainforest up to Mount Sorrow and ends at a lookout that, on a clear day, gives you spectacular views of the beautiful Daintree coastline, Snapper Island and beyond. You should count on five to seven hours to do this walk, and not leave after 10 AM.
You would not be the first person to run out of daylight on the way back, this has happened to hikers up to two times a month. The clever ones sit on the track and wait for daylight to find their way home, but some have kept trying to find their way in the dark and got lost, and then spent two or three nights out there which can be uncomfortable if you are not prepared for it with camping gear and food. English backpacker Daniel Nute even completely disappeared without a trace in 1997.

Make sure that you carry enough water with you, as there are no creeks along the way to refill your bottle.
During wet weather it is also quite possible to get covered in leeches.

mount sorrow hiking trail
Mount Sorrow towering over Cape Tribulation

The hiking track starts from the main road in lowland rainforest, featuring trees with large buttress roots and a dense canopy woven with waitawhile vines. As you climb higher, the track 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.

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 level 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 length of the hiking trail is about 3.5kilometres to the lookout at the top:

The first section of the trail is a bit steep and you need to climb over several 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.
After about a kilometre the trail goes up and down and you will see some other interesting trees, you will notice that vegetation continuously changes as you reach new altitudes. Several kinds of trees here exhibit cauliflory, producing flowers from their trunks. See the epiphytes high in the rainforest canopy.

The next part of the trail rises quite steep and is narrow in places, and more uneven with rocks and tree roots. In this section you move into upland rainforest where bumpy satinash and cycads are common.

During the last part of the hiking trail you pass through more open forest with acacias and if 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 on the Great Barrier Reef.....

view from mount sorrow
Two happy hikers at the top enjoying the view

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 very limited in Cape Tribulation and should never be relied upon in case of emergency.

There are no toilets along the Mount Sorrow hiking trail. Use a trowel to bury toilet waste and paper. Dig a 15cm hole at least 100m away from the trail.

Everything in the park is protected. Please leave everything as you found it, it is against the law to remove anything from a national park in Australia..


To find the start of the Mount Sorrow hiking trail 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 hand side.
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.

map of 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.
Once you’ve finished with the Mount Sorrow Trail and have seen everything in Cape Tribulation, check out some of the beautiful natural scenery in Port Douglas. You can get to this breathtaking coastal city in less than two hours by car, and there’s plenty of great places to explore for international tourists and Australian natives alike. The Great Barrier Reef and the Four Mile Beach are just a few exciting locations to check out in the area. Even if you’ve never been to the area, the Expedia travel guide to Port Douglas is an excellent resource for any newcomers looking for an affordable place to stay.

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

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


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