Upper Portals

Mt Barney National Park

The walk is not hard if you follow the trails. A 4WD or at the very least a high clearance vehicle is required to make it up the road. It is rough going in 1st gear with a few extended steep/rough stretches. The drive is harder than the walk.


The only reason I'd say this walk is is because there are some steep hills which are very tiring but most of the walk is along fire trails.

Getting There

1.From Rathdowney head south-west on Mount Lindesay Hwy towards Boonah.
2.Take the 1st right on to Boonah Rathdowney Rd
3.Then the third left onto Newmans Rd
4.Left again on Waterfall creek Rd

5.Follow it until you reach Mt May campground. If you're in a 4wd continue uphill to the information kiosk and carpark.

*If you don't have a 4wd you can walk from here but expect a pretty steep hike for 1.5hrs or more; around 4km. Don't expect any signs to tell you you're still heading in the right direction either. You will pass through 3 or 4 gates on your way up. If you are walking the 4x4 track bring plenty of sun protection too as alot of patches are in direct sun.


SUNMAP 1:25000 Mt Lindesay

Route/Trail notes:

The walk is mostly fire trail until you reach Yamahra creek, there you cross the creek and follow the footpad for a couple hundred meters ther you'll find the upper section of the portals, cross the creek again and you'll see a track that leads up the hill, follow it up and along to get to the lower section of the Upper portals.


there are three remote campsites here fees apply see https://www.epa.qld.gov.au/parks/iaparks/gds/IAGDS050.jsp?quickParkId=8

Other References

Take a walk in south east Queensland is a handy book. if you want to see pictures you can go to www.weekendoutdoors.net


Road up to the Cleared Ridge is in good nick at the moment.

Walk was great. Lots of water at the moment. Well worth it.

Craig on 14 Jan, 2024

4wd track was no big deal, was expecting harder! Walk in to Yamaha Creek campsite was easy, felt that climb with my pack on the way out though! Upper Portals were beautiful, loved this camp had it all to myself, will be back a few times this year for an easy getaway!

Sonja Wentzel on 12 Jan, 2024

The drive up the dirt road is not to bad, I did it in a 2015 Forester with zero issues, maybe if it was raining it may get a bit tricky?

The walk down to the creek is ok, nothing special, but once the main creek joins up and you can do some rock hopping the scenery gets spectacular and the portals are incredible! The walking is not hard at all, a bit steep on the way back but it's not to long. So overall well worth the effort.

samkramer on 11 Nov, 2023

To access the Upper Portal's of Mt Barney a 4WD is definitely needed.
The last 4km's up to Cleared Ridge does head straight up a dirt road along the side of a spur with quite a steep climb 🛻

This is a great easy track to hike as it is mainly a wide fire trail.
All up we hiked around 10.5 km's 🥾

You will pass through some scrub, glorious open fields with wild flower's where butterflies and dragonflies flutter around 🦋 onto a beautiful pine forest and when you get closer to crossing Yamahra Creek, the sound of bird song's ring out from overhead as your scenery changes to more of a rainforest 🌿

You will cross over the creek several time's before rock hopping across the glorious spot where Mount Barney Creek and Yamahra Creek meet. Here you will see a foot pad across the creek that will take you to the start of the Upper Portals 🏞
From here you can find a faint track across the creek again leading up and over the right side of the rock's that will lead you down to the lower part of the portals.

Even though this is an easy hike, we do believe you need some previous hiking experience as this hike has very minimal sign posting along the way. Or if you do believe you are up for it, please do your research on track notes on how to get to the Portals and some sort of GPS to keep you on track 🧭 The phone reception is very sketchy out here ☎️

The hill at the end of the hike heading back to your start point is definitely a thigh and butt burner and will definitely have you thinking that it just keeps going on and on and ON

Another glorious hike to rock hop, swim and explore this part of such a majestic mountain in our glorious Scenic Rim.

Enjoy 🙏💕

Insta:- hikes_boots_dustytracks

Mel on 24 Dec, 2022

A nice walk, fairly easy apart from initial steep hill, with shallow creek crossings. Water looking lovely and clear, and good bird life around. Camped at Yamahra, had intended to continue on to Barney Gorge Junction Camp the first night but trail is so overgrown it's non-existant (lots of vines and wild raspberry?) and trying to find our way got a bit dangerous with slippery unstable rock sections so we ended up turning back. The Yamahra campsite was crazy windy at night, camp is sited with nice eucalypts but it was a bit worrying with the sound of branches crashing around! Survived the night and managed to find the path for the circuit up Cleared Ridge: follow the Upper Portals track until it crosses over to the left of the creek (can be a bit hard to find again) then follow along the left side until it climbs a bit of a hill, and there should be another goat track that heads steeply up to the left. It isn't well maintained and there are alot of branches/trees over it. Very steep, I'd rate it Hard. Once you get up onto the ridge it's lovely with great views and shaded with eucalptus, casuarinas, pines & native grasses. You eventually come to mowed firebreak then it's easy to follow.

Pendinghiker on 24 Jul, 2021

A lovely part of Mt Barney National Park with a stunning gorge. I can see why they say Waterfall Creek Road is 4wd only, but wasn’t to hard. I am a novice 4wdver and made it quite comfortably in my Jimny. If you don’t have a 4wd, get ready for a long, rough walk to the top.
The walk to the Upper Portals is down hill at the start (making for a heart pumper hill at the end of the hike) and then basically flat all the way. Once you get to Yamahra camp site you’re almost there. You could either rock hop the creek down to the left or there is a track on the far side, just a bit grown over.
Once you get to the the end you’ll see the top of the portals. You can also access the middle from this end. To get to the bottom you need to go up and over the hill on the far side. Cross the creek and head right and then on your left just before the gorge you’ll see a faint trail heading straight up the hill. Follow this up and down and that will take you to the bottom part of the portals. My only advice is be careful on the rocks, super slippery! I may have fell in. 😂
Overall an easy walk with stunning scenery. Only saw a few other hikers due to how remote it is. Staying at the campsite would be amazing.

Nic1385 on 25 Apr, 2021

We camped overnight at Yamahra Creek Campsite. There was plenty of water in the creek, it was beautiful.

We started hiking from the Waterfall Creek Reserve Camping Ground because we don’t have a 4WD. The 4WD track was definitely the hardest part. The track was long and steep in sections with little to no sun protection. It took us about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to the Cleared Ridge Parking Area due to the numerous water breaks we took along the way. The Cleared Ridge Parking Area has beautiful views of Mount Barney and Lake Maroon. The hike from the parking area to the Upper Portals is mostly steep and downhill. The path is quite overgrown in sections but there is plenty of signage so we never got lost. The little creek crossings were easy enough to cross and before we knew it we were at the campsite. It took us about 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the campsite. We then set up camp and continued on to the Upper Portals. The creek crossing before the Upper Portals was particularly tricky to cross due to the amount of water but we got across eventually. We were the only people at the campsite, it was absolutely serene.

Overall, it was a beautiful walk and would be a great first overnight hike, particularly for those with access to a 4WD.

K8 on 20 Feb, 2021

Good first hike for me. Teenager and 11 year old came with us no worries. Very enjoyable

Angie Willett on 27 Dec, 2020

I only got to Cleared Ridge Parking Area. I drove nearly all the way there, except the last 300m, in Subaru Forester.

Pawel Pabich on 4 Oct, 2020

Beautiful hike! Coming back was rough ! All up hill! Worth it!

Tash on 31 Jul, 2020

Rock hopped from the Mt Barney gorge junction remote bush campsite and checked out the scenery along the creek (amazing!) checked out the Upper portals and then onto the Yamahra creek campsite and stayed the night , headed back to our vehicle the next morning at the Cleared Ridge carpark (FWD only)

Andrew.P on 21 Jul, 2019

On this occasion the creek was low. The road is in better condition than previous years. Apparently it was graded at one point this decade as it had been that long !!! Went through the portals which was fun and would be a lot more difficult in normal flow.

Michael on Mar, 2019

Unlike normal mount hiking, this track from Cleared Ridge to Upper Portals leads down hill first then up hill back. Along the way down, my wife and 3 teenage kids kept on asking the same question: "Do we really have to come back up this way?" As other hikers commented earlier, the track is mainly a wide fire trail, and not so much exciting for me. However, the rock pools and clean cold water at Upper Portals are absolutely rewarding.
We forgot to apply insect repellent, and found a few TICKS on our bodies when we got back to the campsite. Locals say Bushman Deet will keep those ticks away.

Sun on 30 Sep, 2018

Drove up the 4WD road from Waterfall Creek Reserve to the Cleared Ridge carpark area. The 4WD track is steep and quite rough in sections. A 4WD with low range and high clearance is recommended. There is an information shelter at the start of the track.
The walk from Cleared Ridge carpark to the Upper Portals is predominantly downhill all the way and takes about 1.5 to 2 hrs (4.2km). The track is wide but has some steep sections at the start. The elevation drops from about 750m to 500m fairly quickly but once you reach the creek it is an easy walk with a few creek crossings along the way.
We camped overnight at Yamhara Creek Campsite. Yamhara Creek Campsite is a grassy open bush site alongside the creek. No facilities are provided nor are campfires permitted. Plenty of water was available in the creek.
Follow the creek further down from the campsite and turn left following the creek down to the start of the upper portals.

dortwilder on 10 Feb, 2018

We drove up the 4WD track to the start of the walk (going through a number of gates on the way) where there is a small information shelter and signage. You really don't want to be walking the 4WD track in summer.
The start of the walk in the NP is predominantly steep downhill, and can be slippery on the loose dirt and rocks. You will reach a sign directing you to continue on 2.7km to the portals. This stretch is easy going, mainly flat with a number of creek crossings. The first few you can rock hop across, but the last 2 crossings require you to get your boots wet. Once you reach the largest creek crossing with boulders, cross to the other side and continue downstream to reach the best part of the portals.
It took us about 1.5hrs each way - returning to the car was the hardest due to the steep incline at the end.

Cyn on 6 Jan, 2018

Upper Portals, beautiful spot, now, and the many times I have visited over the last 35years! The trip, we drove up the track, to Waterfall lookout, which is in a very poor state. No surface material, after probably a meter of rain from cyclone Debbie. We had a 4wd and took it easy, up, and definitely back down. The walk, was fairly easy, just up and down hill, but the scenery is beautiful. The National parks have put in some real nice camping spots, since I was up, in the late 90's. Well done National parks. Hope the track gets fixed up, as we used to be able to drive sedans up it. There was a D9 Dozer when we got down the bottom, coming of the back of a truck. So next time, hopefully after repairing the track, abit easier the drive...Enjoy the upper portals

Legs eleven - Dave on 4 Jun, 2017

Started the walk from the reserve and walked up the 4wd track. Probably wont start from there ever again!
Once the portals were visited, ascended up the track starting from the high point of the portals bypass and climbed steeply uphill to the top of the ridge with stunning views of Mt Barney.
10 minutes later we hit the end of the fire trail and followed it all the way back to the Barney NP sign and back to Cleared Ridge. The 4km back down the 4wd road was torturous!

dalehikes on 7 May, 2017

We did this walk today didn't really think that it deserves it's hard rating.

Steve on 21 Feb, 2016

Nice place for a swim

drewmac on 21 Feb, 2016

My girlfriend and I completed this hike on a perfect 'Winter's' day with not a cloud in the sky nor encountering a single soul from start to finish.
After parking our car at the waterfall creek reserve, we had to walk along the 4x4 track for a few Kms which took us over an hour. This track goes through private property, so be mindful in keeping to the track and closing a couple of gates you'll pass through, as the fields are full of livestock. This track is indeed steep and truly only suitable for 4x4's.
After this slog up the track you will finally reach the beginning of the upper portals hike on the left hand side, with an information board. From here it is 4km to the first part of the Upper Portals. Continue up along the cleared ridge (the highest point of the hike). Here you will be rewarded of views of the West and East peaks of Mt Barney straight ahead of you, and great views of Mt May (which you would have been walking around to reach this point) and Mt Maroon to your left. Back behind you will be the peaks of the Moogerah NP, Maroon dam, and further afield Flinders Peak.
Continue down the path where you will reach the boundary of Mt Barney NP, and take a right going down hill (this will be the steepest part of the hike coming back for a few hundred meters). At the bottom take a left, it is 2.7km from this point and a relatively smooth run to the portals from here. The path will cross a creek numerous times (keep an eye out for snakes, as we stumbled upon a red bellied black snake basking in the sun right next to path after crossing the creek).
Just before you will reach Yamahra creek, Yamahra campsite will be on your left hand side. Then cross the creek and follow a path on the other side, follow the creek downstream and after a few minutes you will reach the upper section of the Upper portals. Cross over the creek again and climb steeply upwards following a faint path and down the other side to reach the lower section of the Upper portals.
Having hiked both the Upper and Lower portals before I would say they are both fairly similar, however the Lower Portals are more popular and somewhat more accessible.

No1gooner on 14 Aug, 2015


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