Starting near James Cook University, Smithfield, this walk takes you to the summit of Saddle Mountain and back, exploring the rainforests of Smithfield Conservation Park. You will be rewarded by some spectacular views of the northern beaches as well as the Lambs Head and Double Island. There is also a weather station at the top, along with a large boulder that you can sit on and enjoy the landscape. The rocks and the track gets slippery when wet, so a good pair of grippy shoes/boots and gloves are recommended. Trekking poles will also help on the way down. Keep an eye out for snakes on and around the track, but don’t be afraid, they are just out to get some sun. Let us begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.
Warning This journey requires significant bushwalking experience, specialised equipment and navigation skills. Please ensure you and your group well prepared and equiped for this journey.
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
Continue onto McGregor Road and drive for another 110 m
At roundabout, take exit 2 onto McGregor Road and drive for another 350 m
Turn right and drive for another 150 m
Turn left onto Ring Road West and drive for another 720 m
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started From the northern side car park on Ring Road West(just north of James Cook University), head along the gravel/dirt fire trail as it leads you towards the open area between the surrounding forests. Follow the track as it veers right and comes to a bridge, then veer left as you pass by the said bridge to your right. After passing the bridge, turn left(keeping right) and join The Ring Road to continue along Saddle Mountain Track. Keep an eye out for the big tree approximately 2 kilometres in the walk as it marks the turnoff to the narrow track.....
Directions & comments
After another 90 m continue straight.
After another 255 m (at the intersection of Greenfields & Vines) turn left, to head along Greenfields (a walking track).
After another 80 m veer left, to head along The Ring Road.
After another 30 m (at the intersection of The Ring Road & Greenfields) continue straight, to head along The Ring Road.
After another 130 m (at the intersection of Wobbegong & The Ring Road) continue straight, to head along The Ring Road.
After another 110 m (at the intersection of Barramundi & The Ring Road) continue straight, to head along The Ring Road.
After another 160 m (at the intersection of The Ring Road & Blue Marlin) continue straight, to head along The Ring Road.
After another 105 m (at the intersection of Downhill Access & The Ring Road) turn right, to head along Downhill Access.
After another 40 m (at the intersection of Downhill Access & Blue Marlin) continue straight, to head along Downhill Access.
After another 115 m (at the intersection of Downhill Access & Happys) veer right, to head along Happys (a walking track).
After another 400 m (at the intersection of Downhill Access & Happys) continue straight, to head along Downhill Access (a vehicle track).
After another 500 m (at the intersection of Downhill & Downhill Access) continue straight, to head along Downhill Access.
After another 540 m (at the intersection of Downhill Access & Walking track to Saddle Mountain) turn left, to head along Walking track to Saddle Mountain (a walking track).
Continue another 1.8 km to find the end. Then turn around here and retrace the main route for 4.3 km to get back to the start.
Then pass the "Saddle Mountain" (15 m on your right).
Know the Hills, grading & facilities
Saddle Mountain Track
3 h to 5 h
Quality of track
Formed track, with some branches and other obstacles (3/6)
Very steep and difficult rock scrambles (5/6)
Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Foretasted & unexpected storms and severe weather may impact on navigation and safety (4/6)