Mt Coot-tha, originally home to the Turrbal Aboriginal people, has had a storied history of logging, gold mining and as a military base.
Visitors today have access to picnic facilities and barbecues throughout the forest with more than 1500 hectares to hike and bushwalk. From the lookout at Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, you can see views of the city, Moreton Bay, Stradbroke Island and southern ranges.
Less than 10 kilometres from the Brisbane Central Business District (CBD), Mt Coot-tha Reserve is a must-do for beginner and hiking enthusiasts alike, with more than 70 trails and tracks with bushwalks to suit every ability.
Download our Mt Coot-tha track map for track locations, grading and track length.
Here are some of the more popular tracks, with the corresponding track map numbers.
Arguably the mountain's most popular hike, this relatively easy amble leads from J. C. Slaughter Falls picnic area to Mt Coot-tha Lookout (near the roundabout). It's perfect for all fitness levels and offers epic views of Brisbane and beyond. If the view is not rewarding enough, there's also a great cafe at the lookout!
This trail starts at J. C. Slaughter Falls picnic area, providing city glimpses on the way to the popular Mt Coot-tha Lookout. If you feel like stretching your legs further, a 4.5 kilometre circuit walk is formed when combined with the Summit Track and allows access onto the Citriodora Trail that connects through to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha (garden access available from 8am-4pm). This trail is suitable for those with a moderate level of fitness.
This track connects Simpson Falls, J. C. Slaughter Falls, Hoop Pine and Silky Oak picnic areas. Moderate fitness required.
A good track for wildflower viewing in late winter and spring when the golden wattles and purple hovea are blooming. Walkers may catch a glimpse of the city from the Simpson Falls viewing deck. Moderate fitness required.
This circuit links at different points to Fairywren Circuit, Simpson Falls, Stringybark and Ghost Hole tracks and Powerful Owl Trail, allowing keen hikers to create a longer walking experience. The circuit by itself winds across the creek and links to the Simpson Falls viewing deck. Best for moderate fitness levels.
Traces of the old gold mines can be seen along the Ghost Hole Track with signage detailing the area's gold mining history at the Gold Mine picnic area. An easy walk for all fitness levels.
This track begins off Sir Samuel Griffith Drive near the Mt Coot-tha Lookout, and heads down to Fleming road in Chapel Hill and past The Hut Environment Centre and then back up the ridgeline – which is sure to get the heartrate up. Best for moderate fitness levels.
Starting at the gates from the Australian Plant Communities garden in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, this trail traverses all the way to the Mt Coot-tha Lookout. The trail, which was opened in May 2020, ascends 250 concrete steps and is suitable for those with a moderate level of fitness. View the botanic gardens visitor map.
For more on the hiking trails head to the Mt Coot-tha Visitor Information Centre, located in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha.
Mt-Coot-tha Reserve also has tracks and rides for keen cyclists that want to push themselves.
We’re lucky here in Brisbane to have access to mountains on the fringe of our CBD. If you’re up for a leg-burning challenge Mt Coot-tha offers an eight-kilometre loop with a steep incline that's known as 'The Back on the Strava mobile app. For a slightly easier ascent to the top by bike, Coot-tha 'front' follows Sir Samuel Griffith Drive up to the lookout.
If you’re more into mountain bike riding, the western side of Mt Coot-tha Reserve offers a range of trails to suit riders of all abilities. What sets Mt Coot-tha apart is the grippy, red dirt and high forest canopy to protect you from the glaring sun. Look out for wildlife along the way including wallabies, koalas and cockatoos, for a truly immersive forest experience!
There are some important tips to remember when exploring Mt Coot-tha Reserve:
Mt Coot-tha is mostly open eucalypt forest. Some plant species are also rare or significant, including the Richmond birdwing vine (Pararistolochia praevenosa). Various wildflowers appear following good rain and warm weather and are especially visible during spring.
Keep an eye out for animals including echidnas, tawny frogmouths, owls, gliders, possums, microbats, koalas and Powerful Owls. If you're a birdwatcher, look out for wrens and robins, as well as bigger birds such as goshawks, kites and eagles. The most common birds to spot are the crackles of cockatoos and pandemoniums of parrots.
Once you've hiked the 71 tracks and trails, check out the rest of the Mt Coot-tha precinct.
Get out of this world at Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium and explore the peaceful Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha.
There's so much to see and do in Brisbane. For more fabulous Brisbetter Days Out inspiration, head to our Explore your own backyard search page and choose the 'Day Out' category.
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Editor's note: The featured content in Brisbane Explore is created to inspire residents and visitors to plan a day out exploring Brisbane and to buy local as part of the city's Economic Recovery Plan. Brisbane City Council disclaims any relationship with, or endorsement of, businesses featured in this video.
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