A walk along the border fence line to the twin summits of Mt Cougal. There are excellent views from the top!
It is hard for beginners. Make sure you check weather. Finding location is a little hard. When arrive see steel gate that states ‘please keep gate clear ta’ On side of gate you can enter, when pass the gate look to your left and see sign with with instructions. Don’t be discouraged when you start, it is a little scary, but it gets easier, but still lots of hill. Follow the barbed wired fence on your left the whole way. The track will go from very narrow to comfortable in some places. Once you reach the last 700 metres or so... it becomes much harder. You will see a thin rope to guide you - do not use this to pull you up as it will break!! You will come to a spot where the track will seem to end. Look for a tree that has arrows etched into it to guide you where to go. There’s also a small pink ribbon tied to a tree branch Up further. You have to go up! It’s hard but worth it.

Scrambling or Climbing

Getting there

Turn into Stewart Road, exit 95 from the M1. Turn left into Currumbin Creek Rd after about 1km. After about another 7km turn left into Tomewin Mountain Rd. after about another 10km pass through the Border Gate. Turn right into Garden of Eden Rd, about 1km from gate. Drive for about 4km to a gate with a few carspaces. Park Here. 


Sunmaps Springbrook 25000 

Route/Trail notes

Hop the locked gate (actually, you can walk around it) and follow the path immediately on the left uphill. The barbed wire fence commences here on your left, lantana on your right and sugarcane on your left in patches further up. Do not follow the obvious track straight ahead of the gate! If you see a bunch of abandoned shacks you have gone the wrong way!! After fighting through some serious folage (the path is majorly overgrown for the first hour) at the top of this hill you are rewarded with views of the Tweed Valley and the coast. In fact, garters, long pants and ideally a machette should take care of the basic requirements to continue on this walk. :) The high folage is wet in the mornings requiring hiking boots to avoid soaked feet. On the return (if you choose that option), once the sun hits it, it becomes sticky with a billion small pricles finding every piece of exposed skin! Nonetheless, if you can get past the folage, after the first hour, the track becomes well worn, shady without the high grass. You will be walking on a relatively easy rainforset track for a while.

The track winds its way through the rainforest, heading up and downhill along the border fence. You will enter a cleared area with a large tree in it this which was marked by the surveyor Roberts in the 1860's. Keep following the fenceline which will eventually start to become a relatively steep uphill scramble. Walking poles (or some stray sticks) to assist with both the up and decend would be great here if you don't have the fancy onces, pick up a stick early on in the rainforest path before it gets steep (they are usually gone when you start looking on the steep bit). The track is marked in some places with pink ribbons and arrows carved into the timber where it gets a little confusing. After a long uphil climb (notably without further head high grass) veer right and look for a path to a narrow cave. You can Squeeze through the Cave and there is a book to sign on the other side in the opening in the cliff-face - but note that you have to return through the Cave.  Keep veering right after a visit to the cave untill you find a steep rocky gully where you need to scramble up the cliff. If you look closely, someone has been kind enough to carve an arrow into a tree trunk to point out where to start climbing. The very first few steps are the hardest. After that it's pretty easy going for the final 5 minutes to the peak / lookout. At the top, on the left of the track is a lookout twoard the west. To the right goes to Boyd's Butt and finally to the sawmill at Cougal Cascades. Turn left and walk to the Summit of East Cougal.

To climb West Cougal locate the track that heads downhill steeply, descend a 3m cliff  to the right and a tree to the left. When you reach the saddle. Follow a narrow ridge take the track to the RIGHT. As you climb uphill steeply locate a track that goes to the left. I marked this point for the return. Follow this track uphill to the small clearing at the top. There is a lot of vegetation to push through. there are limited views here.

To return simply retrace your steps.  


Spring brook Camping $5 in National Parks.

Other References

Rankin: Secrets of the Scenic Rim, Daly:Take a walk in South east Queenslnd. 


Strongly would not recommend, get to Mt Cougal via the Cougal Cascades instead. Extremely overgrown and sketchy (bashing your way through 4-5m high sugar cane) and went past multiple pythons. The Cougal cascade route has plenty of lawyer's vines so wear long-sleeve clothes, but other than that, it supersedes the border track route in every way.

Jordan N on Oct, 2023

Hey just did the hike yesterday with my partner what a hike ! Just made it back before the rain hit which was good as it was already quiet slippery.

Question has anyone managed to get through the cave? I got myself so close but got a little panicky in if I could get back through 😂😅 my partner definitely was not making it anywhere through? I really want to make it through to sign the book. Could you share you videos or photos if you made it and let me know how you went on the way back

Charlie Jay on 28 Aug, 2023

dull rainy day so was an advantage
View worth it :)

JMcC on 6 Oct, 2022

Long grass, spiky plants, superb views

Karen Carson on 19 Mar, 2022

Long grass, spiky plants, superb views

Karen Carson on 19 Mar, 2022

We are in Queensland and couldn't do the track that starts in NSW because of the closed borders. Started at the track beginning at Cougal Cascades Carpark. Once you pass the sawmill DO NOT keep following the river as we did. You have to cross the river and follow up the path where you'll start to see orange or pink ribbons that will lead you the whole way up. Should take about 2.5 hours. If you follow the river it will take you 6 hours and lots of cuts, poisonous plants and steep climbs. VERY easy to get lost. If I'm being honest though this way treated us to a number of nice waterfalls.

Jose on 21 Nov, 2021

When coming from the Cougal Cascades carpark, go through the fence that says no parking. Follow that trail and pass the abandoned house. Once you get the end of the trail there will be a fence, this is the border between NSW and QLD. Look to your right and you will see a barbed wire fence, follow this fence to the summit of Mount Cougal. Towards the top when you can see the peak, follow the path around the side of the peak to find a place where you can scramble. go up this, but not the whole way. If you look to your right there is another path that isn't straight up, this will take you to the summit with no scrambling involved and is relatively easy.

Andy on 14 Aug, 2021

Excellent walk. Good challenge. Path was clear, could do with a few more pink ribbons at the top section... Nearly took a wrong turn scrambling down from west peak.
Definitely worth the effort and I will be doing this again.
Thank you to the land owners for the access.

Lani Loo on 13 Jul, 2021

Good cardio hike. First peak was nicely cleared and easy to follow the markers. Bit of a decent rock scramble near the top. Second peak was more challenging. Difficult to find the track in some places. First peak has amazing views, second was overgrown

Kel on 7 Jul, 2021

The circuit is best done in the Boyd's Butte to East peak direction, as it's easier to find the route in ascent. West peak is a nice plateau with a couple of camp sites but no water. The old logging road between the cougal trailhead and the cascades, mentioned in posts here but not in the guide books, provides a nice circuit. The whole thing, including west peak, took about 5h.

guy taking his kids on 14 Feb, 2021

My favourite view so far!

Kaina on 22 Jan, 2021

We parked on the QLD side at Cougal Cascades. Then after much deliberation, we found the path behind a fence between the motorcycle parks and the Cougal Cascade track.
It's a massive hill that goes up forever. Keep following it until you turn left for 500m or so to the start of the track. Walk along the fence line for ages. There are various moments where you go into the forest but, never too far from the fence. After walking up to the top (base of cliff) go right and you will eventually see pink ribbons for where to climb (its rock face climbing) ignore these ribbons instead go right for an easy scramble to the top. You have now reached east peak. We bushbashed a well defined path to west peak which is down then up again. There were no views so don't let Instagram fool you. It took us about 7hrs in total at a leisurely pace.
East peak has okayish views. We encountered 5 ticks in total during the walk. Lots of spiky trees on one side and barbed wire on the other. Hundreds of spiderwebs and spiders. We were lucky to pick a cool day and did not encounter any snakes. You cannot do this walk without bushbashing to some degree. IMO, Mount Cooroora, Grevile and Maroon I give a 10/10 for enjoyment here I give a 4/10 because the amount of effort exherted didnt equate to the views that were rewarded.

Chesspeople on 7 Oct, 2020

Starting at cougal casade look left and go towards the Sliver gate which leads you to a firetrail (1.4km) turn left for another 500m and you will reach the start of Mount Cougal track, from there stick the fence line, head up the trail for approx 3.5km or until the fence line ends, veer right and continue on the warn footpad, from there you will see a vertical cliff face (that's not the way up, I found out later on the descent) look to your right&up (NE if your facing the cliff face) and around the corner is the easier way up, the summit is just on the left of that final climb, from there I headed to the west peak which was fairly easy to follow just stick the worn footpad and look for some pink ribbons, sadly there was nothing to see at the West peak as there was no views. Re-trace your steps back to the east peak, I decided to head back to cougal casade via Boyde Butt and as I got to the descent there were quit a lot of fallen trees blocking the trail path making it very dangerous, a lot of the marked ribbons were also noted on the fallen tree, so with no navigational aid (forgot my phone at home) I decided it was to risky and headed back up and went back down the tourist route to my car. Overall a fun 5 hours and 15km hike, I recommend the east peak only as the west will truly disappoint.

Hiking Noob on 4 Oct, 2020

Warning !!!!
Did this hike yesterday with one other person and we followed the Clear instructions To the top - Fantastic walk - i started at the cougal cascades and walked over the hill (walk around the fence near the path to the cascades)- adds some distance however only way I could find from QLD. This was easy and a great hike. For the way back down we were told about a trail down the east side following the pink ribbons. Parts of this trail were very sketchy and it was tough finding the next ribbon. We eventually got lost and couldn’t bush bash back to the Cascades through the heavy bushes. 5 hours later we were rescued by police but they had to hike 7 hours in total and we ended up climbing through 300m of thorn bushes to get to them. 15 hours trapped in the Wild was not ideal. So just a heads up go back down the path for a much easier way home.

Mb30 on 27 Sep, 2020

With the border closed, we parked on the QLD side of the road closure and walked to the start of the track (extra 3.5ish km extra in both directions). The walk was easy with clear access, nice sign to confirm we started on the right path. No need for a machette or gaiters. Slightly overcast and windy but at least no rain! The end has a bit of scrambling as expected but nothing really out of the ordinary. It took us 1 hour less than indicated adding the 7 km access before the walk starting point..

matthias levy on 22 Jul, 2020

Fantastic walk - i started at the cougal cascades and walked over the hill (walk around the fence near the path to the cascades)- adds some distance however only way I could find from QLD. The walk is easy to find all the way until you reach the final scramble - look for pink ribbons on the scramble. Pretty much just follow the border fence. I did not see one other person on the walk. The final scramble is a good climb so may be tough for little kids

David Scog on 28 May, 2020

Park is open. Only went to East peak though others carried on to West. Watch out for thorny plants as we had a few torn ears and hands. Steep at the end though I wouldn't consider this dangerous, just requires some scrambling.

JayWalker on 3 Jan, 2020

Closed as of 24th Oct 2019 until further notice due to burning

Juiced Pixels on 27 Oct, 2019

Great hike! Recommend long pants to protect your legs in the dense grass/shrub

Jack on 20 Oct, 2019

Don't be in a hurry to get to the start of the walk while you're driving out; the Tomewin Mtn Rd is very windy, but also very pretty. Slow down and enjoy the trip!
Last came up here about 1990, so I didn't remember much of the walk itself. It starts with a couple of hundred metres of a steep climb, then evens out to the cane/lantana mentioned in other posts. In contrast to some of the other comments, the track here seems pretty clear at the moment; not wide, but so sharply defined I'd think somebody's brought a brushcutter with them (!?) Didn't see any snakes here, but did see a land mullet - (black chunky lizard), then into rainforest all the way to the rock outcrop of East Peak. The last 400m or so up to the rock outcrop is very steep; not as fit as I was, took a lot of rests. The cave is hidden behind some boulders at the top of this slope; look for the dusty area. It's easy enough to walk in, but shrinks at the other end with a couple of overlapping projections; didn't fancy trying it!
Traverse right (it's an easy path) to find the track up to the top of E. Peak. From here follow the pink tape across to the top of W Peak; a little scrambling needed, but nothing too difficult. (As a purist, I don't approve of tape; as a solo walker, I'm very grateful to whoever put it there! :-) As mentioned, there are a few places it would be easy to take a wrong track to nowhere without it) The lookout back from W Pk to E Pk is close to a long vertical drop; be careful here. W Pk is a much larger area that E Pk, but more overgrown; very peaceful and I was lucky enough to have the whole trip to myself. Round trip about 6h15, including a long lunch stop at W Pk, and a few rest stops on the way.

John F on 18 Oct, 2019


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