When preparing to hike Mount Kilimanjaro, we were looking for challenging but easy-to-reach mountain hikes near Brisbane. The Mount Maroon hike quickly made up to the top of our to-do list. And we loved it so much that we went back a few times.
Distance: 6 km
Time: 3-4 hours
Disclaimer: The hiking time and difficulty are based on our experience. We are experienced hikers with a good level of fitness, used to hiking long distances and scrambling. We possess good navigation skills and use a Garmin watch* with a GPS navigation map. Always check the park alerts and notes, as trail conditions change over time, which may affect the hike’s level of difficulty.
From the descriptions and reviews we read on the Internet, the Mount Maroon hike appeared to be an ideal short training. It was often commented that from the top of Mount Maroon, we can get one of the best 360° views in South-East Queensland. I am honestly not sure if it is the best, but it was worth all the effort as the view was stunning indeed!
We left Brisbane late in the morning and had a brunch on the road as we were passing some small towns. We reached the bottom of the mount just after lunchtime. The hike (Cotswold Track) is just under 3km and can be done in less than half a day. It took us about 2.5 hours return in total but you also need to add time to enjoy the view at the top!
Edit: When we did it again with a group of people less used to hiking mounts, it took us 3.5 hours (without timing the break at the top).
What to expect from Mount Maroon hike
The start of the hike was relatively easy through farmland and a small forest where we could see remains of fire from earlier in the year, creating weird scenery. When reaching the cliff, the hike starts to become more interesting (which means steeper with a bit of scrambling in our language).
If you like climbing, Mount Maroon is a destination to put on your list! The cliffs are spectacular in a very nice surrounding landscape. I am not ready for this challenge yet, and it was not the objective of the day.
Going up was fun, and the track deserves the Class 5 classification. It is almost unmarked, and although most of it is easy to follow, there was one part that did require some navigation skills! For about 300m, we had to scramble in a gully. If you don’t see someone coming down, it’s hard to guess the way to go. Make sure you have a proper look at the map before starting the hike.
I never had to use my hands that much on a hike before – more than that would be getting close to climbing! It was steep, but not vertical: we needed our hands to raise ourselves onto the rocks to progress in the gully. I am scared of heights in general, but we were never too exposed during the ascent so I was okay and at no time I had the feeling I could fall.
Going down was challenging for our knees… If you have walking poles, use them to make the descent more enjoyable!
I don’t recommend doing that hike on a hot day. Winter was great to have a nice clear view but also to avoid the heat as there is almost no shade on the way to the top.
360° view from the summit of Mount Maroon
I liked the view, both during the hike and at the top of the mount. All the effort to reach Mount Maroon summit is worth it; it offers one of the best panoramas I have seen in the area when hiking a summit.
At the top, you will be rewarded with a fantastic 360° degree view including a perfect view of Mount Barney and the opportunity to spot Mount Warning a bit further away. We were lucky to do it on a clear day and could even see Brisbane City far away on the horizon!
There are other hikes nearby that should make it to your list: Mount Barney, Yellow Pinch Lookout, Mount Edwards, Mount French, Wilson’s Peak, Mount Mitchell, Mount Cordeaux, Mount Greville (via Palm Gorge)…
Have you hiked Mount Maroon or other mounts near Brisbane? Which one do you recommend us to do next time? Share your experience in the comments below!
Edit: We now have hiked Mount Barney. This full-day hike is a lot harder than Mount Maroon. If you are after the achievement, prepare well and go for it. If you are after the view at the top, Mount Maroon is a beautiful hike that will offer you the same reward.
Where is Mount Maroon?
Mount Maroon is a 966m mountain part of the McPherson Range in the more famous Mount Barney National Park, in South East Queensland. It takes 1.5hrs to drive to Mount Maroon from Brisbane. You can head back to Brisbane via the Scenic Rim Wine Trail.
As you approach the end of the drive, drive slow as wildlife and cattle can block the road. The start of the track was not easy to find with the GPS; we followed instructions from a website:
The track leaves from the end of Cotswold Rd which turns South of Boonah-Rathdowney Rd 2.7km East of Maroon township. The track ends at a small dam about 3.5km from the turnoff.
From Aussie Bushwalking