This little-known hiking circuit is popular with locals who know of it. The 6 km circuit links the road at the upper end of the Samford Valley with the Camp Mountain Lookout on Mt Nebo and is accessible by car from the top or bottom of the circuit, creating a unique hiking and mountain biking option near Brisbane.
The Camp Mountain Lookout is a wonderful, but not well visited, picnic and barbecue spot that many people drive past on their way to Jolly's Lookout. With a wonderful shady barbecue and picnic area with some sheltered picnic tables and a lookout with views of the Samford Valley, this is a great spot to stop for a barbecue.
This 6 km walk follows forest and fire trails and the paths can be used by hikers, mountain bikers or horse riders. It goes from an elevation at the lower end at around 210 metres up to Camp Mountain which is 414 metres, so you are walking up a total of 200 metres. The top part of the circuit is at Camp Mountain Lookout while the other end is off Sutton Court in the Samford Valley. It is essentially two dirt paths less than 50 metres apart heading up Mt Nebo. The gates are marked as entrances to the national park.
This lower part is not particularly well marked, but you can find this location by the fact that there are at the intersection of McLean Road South and Sutton Court, though when you drive it, it is a continual loop and not a sharp corner. Lookout for the street name signs marking the intersection at the top of the loop or use the GPS coordinates 27°24'38.0"S 152°53'24.5"E.
Given that the bottom of the walk is harder to find, I would recommend that the first time you do it, you start at the top of the walkthrough, this means the walk ends with the challenge of returning up to the top again.
I prefer doing this walk in an anticlockwise manner because you go down the less steep path and ascend up the steeper way, which is steep enough that can be a bit slippery when heading down. If you are mountain biking the circuit you will probably want to go down the steep section and back up the less steep path.
To start the walk in the anticlockwise direction from Camp Mountain, you need to walk back down Camp Mountain Road from the lookout for maybe 200 metres. On your left, you will see a forest trail which is Camp Mountain Break. This is a nice walk with some views between the trees.
Brisbane City glimpsed through the trees on the walk
You follow this until you get to an intersection which is another forest trail which is The Link Road. If you continue straight ahead, you will end up at Bellbird Grove, which can be an interesting walk if you want a longer walk, but you will have to backtrack to return to Camp Mountain.
Instead, we will turn left and head down the mountain. The Link Road ends at Sutton Court and less than 50 metres away is Sutton Court Break that heads back up to Camp Mountain Lookout.
The intersection between The Link Road and Camp Mountain Break
This steep and rough fire trail is a lovely bit of hiking exercise. Anyone with reasonable levels of fitness can do this walk, just remember there is no harm in resting now and then to enjoy nature before continuing up the path.
Of course, you can also head to nearby cafes. The Cafe in the Mountains is about the same distance up Mt Nebo Road as Walkabout Creek Cafe is down the mountain. If you walked from the Samford Valley, then Samford Village has many great cafes.
Coffee and cake is always better after a nice hike
This is a nice little walk with a reasonable amount of shade and with views at the top of the walk, which makes it a cut above other exercise trails. The real reason to do this walk is for exercise or if you have walked all the other trails in Mt Nebo.