A challenging half day circuit walk of Mount May with great views of the surrounding mountains.

Scrambling or Climbing
Navigation Required
No Dogs Permitted
Camping Permitted
Eucalypt Forest
Maximum Elevation
Total Climb

Getting there:

Coming from Boonah turn right off the Boonah - Rathdowney Rd onto Burnett Creek Rd, then left into Newman Rd (gravel) then turn right into Waterfall Creek Rd up to the Waterfall Creek campground.


QTopo: 9441 - 423

Route/Trail notes:

Just before the large red 4WD sign, to the left the start of the trail is easily seen.  Follow an eroded footpad up the Northern/North-eastern ridge.  After 30-45 minutes you will reach a low cliff; bear right until you find a break that can be climbed without too much difficulty.  Back on the footpad the track continues to follow the ridge, flattening out a little.  A few hundred metres from the cliff line you just climbed keep your eye out for a cairn of rocks (*25/04/2023 couldn't find the cairn*) leaning against a gumtree on the left of the track.  This will be important later in the walk.  The track then starts to get steeper again and crosses several rock slabs as it climbs towards the summit of the North peak.  It will take one to one and a half hours to reach this point.

After admiring the views to the West and North, retrace your steps back down the ridge to the rock cairn.  Turn right (roughly Easterly) then head down the side of the ridge.  On this part of the mountain footpads are much less distinct than the summit track, but if you keep heading downhill bearing Southeast you will come to a gully with a few rock pools after about 15 minutes from the cairn.  Follow the gully left (downstream if the water is running) until you come to a 10metre cliff and waterfall (usually only a trickle).  From this point, follow the ridge up (roughly south) until, after another 20 to 30 minutes, you reach the Southern peak summit ridge, where the track again becomes more distinct.  Follow the ridgeline for about 100 metres until you find some more open areas with great views of Mt Barney and Mt Ballow.  It will have taken about two and a half hours to reach this point.

The descent follows the Southwestern ridge from the Southern summit.  It is quite steep, involving some climbing and scrambling, but there is no real exposure (take it from someone quite nervous about big drops!), then after about thirty minutes you will reach Waterfall Creek Rd.  

Turn right and head downhill approximately 3.5km back to the campground, crossing through a couple of gates (the road passes through private property).  Curiously, this is probably one of the trickiest parts of the walk, given how steep the road is, with gravel on top of rock making slipping a definite concern.

At the last creek crossing just before getting back to the campground turn right and walk upstream about 50m to a beautiful gorge with a rock pool (deep enough for a swim) and waterfall.

Circuit can be done in either direction but note that the northern ridge is recommended for ascent only due to loose rocks and scree.



Other References/Comment:

Most guidebooks describe the direct route between the North and South peaks, involving some significant exposure.


What an epic hike! Absolute amazing view of Barney! Pity about the smoke haze looking towards Lake maroon. If you haven't done this hike, and you don't mind some rock scrambling it's a must! Took just over 4 hours including breaks.

Chris Park on 14 Aug, 2023

It's easy to miss the start of the track but it winds its way up the mountain just before you get to the creek. It's a steep, demanding hike but is easy to follow for the most part. There is one section where you come to a rock face that you need to keep going straight up rather than veering right. After that the track flattens out and you eventually come to a pile of rocks on a rock slab. Keep going straight up past the pile of rocks. You are not far from the top. We reached the top of the north peak in about 90 mins.
From the summit the track veers left hugging the cliff face for about 40 metres. You then go right, down a ridge to a saddle, where there is a campsite. From here you follow the track up the hill till you reach another rock slab. Go straight up the rock slab. Don't go further right along the base of the slab. It only takes about 30 mins to reach south peak. From here there is a steep, well defined track that leads down to Waterfall Creek road. There used to be an alternative track down but we couldn't find it. All up with breaks it took 4.5 hours

Jeff on 11 Jun, 2023

Good challenging walk, no sign of the cairn of rocks that marks the walk out to the other peak.

samkramer on 25 Apr, 2023

Second time up. We did it in just under 6 hours. Very steep up and down most of the way. 4wd track back to the campsite is a bit of a killer very slippery with all the loose rocks. Most of the tracks are narrow with lots of loose rocks. Awesome day but tiring.

ian parker on 22 Jan, 2023

Absolutely awesome hike climb scramble. Fantastic views of Mt Barney Mt Maroon Maroon dam Mt Greville and quite a few more amongst the Main Range. Took us about 5.5 hours with a few rest stops along the way. Very steep track from the start. Lots of loose rock to make it a bit tricky.

ian parker on 1 Oct, 2022

I found this to be a really tough hike. It took us 6 hours all up, including breaks for lunch and morning tea. You basically have to walk up and down 2 mountains.

The walk begins at the end of the camping area just before the creek. It is a steep. but fairly clearly defined path up to the north peak(500m). It took us just 95 minutes.

We then searched for a route to the south peak. There was a steep track facing the south peak going down the side of the mountain. We decided not to choose this path but to go back to a pink ribbon at least a kilometer downhill, but we didn't see a rock cairn or a gum tree here. At the pink ribbon we turned right and followed a flattened grass track for some time, but this path was leading us up to an eastern peak. Before reaching the base of the peak we decided to go back along the ridge we had been following and were able to find a track going southwest. This track led us to the gully just before the 10m cliff/waterfall described here.. From this point we headed up the south peak with no real track to follow. About halfway up, the track became a little clearer. We finally reached the top of south peak (750 m)and had lunch 4 hours after starting out.

From here we headed south west down the side of the mountain on a very steep but clearly defined track till we reached Waterfall Creek Rd and turned right. We arrived at the camping area 2 hours later.

Jeff on 21 Aug, 2022

Went 4wding the opposite direction. Bit of a steep and technical drive but v pretty and fun! Legendary walk

Liam Plumpton on 6 Aug, 2022

Great track. Views are fantastic for the whole walk. You can see Mt Barney, Mt Maroon and views of Main Range.

We didn't do the circuit. We drove up the 4WD track and parked where the walking track leads up to the South Peak (take a left turn from Waterfall Creek Road, park your car at the end of the road). We proceeded up to South Peak, down the saddle, up to North Peak and backtracked to the car. Not a long walk - 2ish hours each way with packs, just steep.

We used a track on the Wikilocks app to help us navigate but didn't really need it. The track has a clear footpad for the most part, and the rocky/scrambly bits that are less clear have pink or orange markers on the trees that you can follow reliably. I found the scrambling parts manageable. Some loose scree. Some parts look scary but have steady hand and footholds.

We camped overnight in the saddle. Lovely little campsite - you can't miss it, it's right on the path to the North Peak.

mjorn_ on 29 Aug, 2021

Navigated this one with a map and a compass, but alas there was a pretty solid trail most of the way through. Nice little hike that we completed over 4 hrs or so. Came back via the 4WD track which was a little tedious toward the end. There was a lovely remote bush camp with a stone fire pit in the saddle between north and south peaks which I'm sure I will be back to stay at. Agree with the description, there is a lot of loose rock on the north peak ascent so take care, it gets better on the south westerly descent to the 4WD track.

Anonymous on 5 Jun, 2021

Trailhead is currently marked by pink tape a few metres before the creek crossing at the campground. Most trees are showing regrowth after the fires, and views between the trees are excellent. The understorey is grassy and footpad well defined which makes for easy navigation. The down climb from the north summit was easy to locate and exposure limited to a ledge along a steep rock face, which was technically pretty easy. A nice little campsite is located in the saddle. The walk took us about 3 hours at an easy pace (but we parked a 4wd on waterfall creek road at the bottom of the ridge track from the south summit). If adding the walk back along the road to waterfall creek campground, I’d allow another hour at an easy pace. All in all, a fun walk and worth a look.

Ados on 31 May, 2021

What an enjoyable hike! It has some challenges, such as the loose scree on the ascent, but the views are spectacular. Start the hike from the campground, the trail starts on the left just before the creek and is marked with a pink ribbon, which is helpful because the track is very faint and narrow and doesn’t look like anything. There are no more markers so you need to keep an eye out as the track can be hard to find at times. We used a downloaded map. It took 40 minutes to do the first ascent, then around 20 minutes to the first (North) peak. The total hike took around 3 hrs 40 mins plus time for breaks.

Olwyn on 22 May, 2021

A hard track with some steep climbing and also steep descents. Make sure you have an offline maps because some parts are confusing and not easy to find the track.
Descend is as hard as climbing.

Mohsen on 18 Apr, 2021

This was a good hike but hot, and not easy to find the trail until you get to the south side of the South peak and head down to the 4wd track.

Kelso on 27 Dec, 2020

Amazing, but second peak is a scramble and can be scary.

Jemma on 5 Aug, 2020

Amazing, but second peak is a scramble and can be scary.

Jemma on 5 Aug, 2020

Great walk. The first ascent was a bit hard to find the trail due to fire damage. Steep but not too strenuous. Some challenging scramble sections which make it all the more interesting. Great view from 2nd peak to Barney and back to the first peak you just walked from. Decended via 4WD track.

Jimcar on 29 Jun, 2020

Track unclear due to bush fires, very steep and dangerous terrain. Wouldnt reccommened it is very easy to get lost. Only hike if you are going to use the gps track.

twolostgirls on 27 Jun, 2020

The view of Mt Barney from the summit was amazing. Quite challenging, but well worth it.

JFoss on 19 Jun, 2020

Great hike with awesome views. We did the recommended loop and crossed the saddle between the peaks which was easy to do. Beautiful day in May on Mount May.

Juiced Pixels on 24 May, 2020

The previous comment nearly put us off doing this walk. Glad we ignored it and went anyway! We had done this walk a couple of times before and the path was no worse than we remembered from several years ago. If anything the bushfires at the start of the year mean there is less vegetation at the moment. Given that this is not a maintained or marked trail it is still reasonable easy to follow. The descent route from South peak has not been impacted by fires at all.

Heather T on 16 May, 2020


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