Forever on the hunt for the most perfect view of Mt Barney, Lisa and her crew think they might have come close to finding it… Montserrat Lookout in Mt Barney National Park.
- Get a spectacular view of Mt Barney and surrounding mountains
- Opportunity to see a beautiful sunrise from Cleared Ridge
- Option to do a circuit and descend via the Upper Portals
The Mountains Are Calling
My original plan for the weekend was to give my knees a break and head out on a relatively flat graded track. But with another sunny winter’s day forecast, the mountains of the Scenic Rim were once again calling me.
Together with the mountain squad of Andy, Adrian, Dale and Lani, we piled into the 4WD and headed out from Waterfall Creek Reserve campground up to Cleared Ridge, hoping to capture a spectacular sunrise before our hike up to the plateau of Montserrat Lookout.
We weren’t disappointed. The sun started to rise as we were driving up to Cleared Ridge and we were treated to brilliant pinks, purples and oranges lining the mountain ridges. We got to Cleared Ridge carpark just after sunrise, and had a great view from a grassy rise.
Starting the Hike
From Cleared Ridge, the frosty morning had us pulling on our jackets and digging our hands into our pockets as we made our way to Montserrat Lookout via a maintenance trail. Frost covered our shoes as we walked through the icy grass in the early morning.
The starting point for the ascent up Montserrat Lookout was reached by heading towards the Upper Portals from Cleared Ridge. Once we got to a junction at the creekline with a sign pointing left to the Upper Portals, we took a right, crossed the creek and headed down a vehicle track for a couple of minutes.
When I looked behind us, I discovered a great view of Mt Barney’s West Peak through the trees.
We then passed some old stockyards on our left before sighting Grace’s Hut and a creek crossing in front of us. Before we crossed the creek, we found our ascent point to the left of the creek up a grassy old vehicle track
It wasn’t long before we shed our jackets as we quickly ascended along the grassy path and worked up a sweat.
The track gradually narrowed to a footpad leading us through grass, tall trees and lots of staghorns, and we followed it up to the rocky bluff of Montserrat Lookout.
Peaking the View
Once we reached the plateau, we were greeted to the ultimate view of Mt Barney to our left — the best view I’ve seen of the mountain to date.
We could see all the peaks we had climbed in recent weeks which made us feel pretty good about our hiking adventures and how far we’d gone.
You can return from Montserrat Lookout by the way you came, or go via the Upper Portals. To reach the Upper Portals, head along the rock plateau until you locate a campsite and find the footpad down the mountain on your left.
Follow this down and head for the creek. You’ll come out near the confluence of Mt Barney Creek and Yamahra Creek. At the creekline, find the footpad leading downstream and in a couple of minutes you’ll arrive at the rocky slabs of the Upper Portals.
How To Get There
The hike to Montserrat Lookout starts from the Cleared Ridge carpark in Mt Barney National Park.
Cleared Ridge is accessed from the Waterfall Creek Reserve Campground, but the road is strictly 4WD only. If you don’t have a 4WD, you’ll need to use your own 2 feet to get there from the campground.
Waterfall Creek Reserve campground is accessible off the gravel Newman Road (suitable for 2WDs). From Brisbane, head down the Mt Lindesay Highway, turn right at the traffic lights towards Rathdowney.
Just past the Rathdowney township, turn right onto Boonah-Rathdowney Road and follow this road to Newman Road on your left. Head down this road until you reach a house on a bend and take the narrow road immediately after the house on the left.
The drive to the campground will take you about 2 hours from Brisbane. It will take another 20 minutes or so to drive from the campground to Cleared Ridge, or over an hour to walk.
- At least 3L of water
- Lunch and snacks
- Swimming gear (in summer months)
- Compass or Maps.me app
Intermediate. Only fit, experienced hikers should attempt this hike. Be aware of the off track nature of this hike. You’ll need navigational skills to get up to Montserrat Lookout and return via Upper Portals as there’s no signage or markers, only foot padding. It’s a good idea to go with someone who knows the way or has good navigational skills.
Distance / Duration / Elevation
About 8km return from Cleared Ridge carpark. Allow between 3-4 hours for the Montserrat Lookout/Upper Portals circuit.
If you’re walking up and back from Waterfall Creek Reserve Campground, add at least another couple of hours to your hiking time and 8km (4km each way).
Monserrat Lookout is 1013m high.