Looking for an alternative to the crowded main track of Mt Maroon? This off-track bush bash traverse up the west ridge of Mt Maroon might be right up your alley.

Quick Overview

The trail to the Mt Maroon caves is a grade 5 loop located in the Mount Barney National Park in Queensland. Experienced hikers can complete this hike in around 7-8 hours.



  • Check out caves and towering cliffs
  • Traverse Mt Maroon without the crowds 
  • Get 360° views of the Scenic Rim from multiple angles

The Caves of Mt Maroon

This off-track hike up Mt Maroon leaves from the main car park at the end of Cotswold Road. It starts along the main summit route but quickly veers right onto a footpad into the scrub as you head towards the Mt Maroon cave.

The rough footpad can be followed for a little while, but then is easily lost, so navigational skills are needed to find your way up to the main Mt Maroon cave. This part takes about 45 minutes from the car park. 



After a few photos at the cave, descend to the cliff line and follow a barely-there footpad that skirts along the cliff line. You’ll notice a few more caves along the Paparazzi Cliffs – and may even spot a few climbers doing their thing on the sports routes there.

As you work your way along the cliff line, you’re more or less negotiating the path of least resistance until you hit a distinct ridgeline. 

A downloaded Wikiloc map for this route is helpful, especially to find this ascent point – but shouldn’t be relied on as you’ll need some route finding ability and bush sense to top out and negotiate the various bush bashing sections.

Time to Bush Bash

From here, it’s a bush-bash rock-scrambling adventure to get to the start of the ridgeline, dodging spiderwebs, climbing over rocks, and working your way across slippery leaf litter.

The bush bashing continues up the steep ridgeline, again choosing the path of least resistance. The ridge ends in a short rock scramble and you’ll have to find the safest route up within your ability.



You top out on a rocky ridgeline with some more ascent to gain, but this time you’re scrambling up a much grippier rock. Along this ridge you get great views across the Scenic Rim and your first look at the Mt Maroon summit.

From here it’s a traverse along the mountain to join back up with the main track. 

The bush bashing isn’t over yet as you negotiate along the top of the rocky cliffs and through some prickly scrub. 

If your navigation nose is on point, you’ll eventually pop out just after the top of the gully on the main track and can head to the summit to complete the traverse.

It’s best to descend via the main track.


Essential Gear

  • Snacks and lunch
  • At least 3 litres of water (There are no water sources on the trail)
  • Hiking shoes (ankle supporting shoes recommended)
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Hiking buddy to share in the route-finding fun
  • Toilet paper/rubbish bag – there’s no toilet facilities in the car park or along the route
  • Head torch
  • Long-sleeved shirt and long pants are recommended given the bush bashing terrain 
  • First aid kit (including snake bite kit)

How To Get There

Take the Mt Lindesay Highway to Beaudesert, then follow the signs to Rathdowney. Only a couple of minutes past the Rathdowney township, turn right onto Boonah-Rathdowney Road and travel down here until you reach Cotswold Road on your left.

Mt Maroon car park is located at the end of Cotswold Road. This is a gravel road but is 2WD accessible. It’s about an hour and 45 minute drive from Brisbane.

Skill Level


You’ll need to be skilled and confident at route finding and some rock scrambling, and happy to tackle rough and loose terrain.

Duration / Elevation

If your route finding and bush bashing skills are up to scratch, the traverse should take around 7-8 hours return.

Mt Maroon is 966m high.