Mount Cook Hiking Trail
The Mount Cook walk is a strenuous climb. From the Hannan Drive carpark the trail enters a sheltered bushland gully and winds amongst granite boulders, following the mountains contours. Green Corp workers have enhanced the walk by constructing a track with granite steps that blend with the surroundings.
Shortly before the trail mounts the long spur to the summit, a short path on the right leads to a lookout with views over Cooktown. From the junction the summit trail zigzags up to a saddle where another short path leads to a lookout with coastal views. (All the lookouts on Mount Cook are on top of large boulders.)
The Green Corp path ends on the saddle and a rough flagged trail continues up the spur, crossing a couple of false peaks that fool you into thinking you have arrived at the top. The steepest section is the last few hundred metres to the summit. Boulders to the left of the track just before the tower have views. There is a clearing beneath the tower, but no views. At the rear of the tower there is visitor book in a metal cupboard and a small rainwater tank. The book is worth a read; some walkers claim to have completed the 1¼ hour walk to the summit in 33 minutes.
From the clearing two paths head east to boulder lookouts where there are spectacular views from Quarantine Bay to the mountains behind Cedar Bay.
The Great Barrier Reef may be a sail-ship navigator’s nightmare, but the spectacular vantage point from the top of Mount Cook is a dream eyrie. Directly below, Monkhouse Point divides Quarantine Bay from Walker Bay, which extends beyond the Annan River to Grave Point, Walker Point and Archer Point. Looking seaward it is easy to see Captain Cook’s dilemma – a maze of reefs stretch to the horizon in every direction. About 20 kilometres to the northeast lie Boulder and Egret Reef. Dawson Reef is 5 kilometres to the east and Cowlishaw Reef is 10 kilometres southeast. In the distant east Osterland Reef lies north of Rosser Reef and Cairns Reef. The Hope Islands, visible in the far south-southeast are almost 30 kilometres away.
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Distance: 6 kilometres return
Duration: 3-4 hours return
Access: Self Guided
Trail Management Contact: Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service