Join the 3 bushland reserves together into one circuit
Lovers of hiking or even trail running as a way to keep fit can do a great 9 km circuit in the Chermside Hills Reserve in Chermside West. This circuit includes bitumen and dirt paths, a green bridge, bushland, grass trees and rainforest areas, a few steeper inclines to get your heart going, a couple of lookouts and views to the city and to the west.
Chermside Hills Reserve seen from Milne Hill Reserve
The Chermside Hills Reserves is made up of 3 reserves, which include the well known Raven Street Reserve, Milne Hill Reserve and the Chermside Hills Reserve. Note: yes, one of the reserves that make up the Chermside Hills Reserves (with a plural) includes a reserve called Chermside Hills Reserve (no plural). Many people visit these interlinked reserves separately. Below is a description how to walk the 3 together in a 9 km circuit.
There are a lot of places to start this walk. My preferred starting point is at the Downfall Creek Bushland Centre in the Raven Street Reserve. This is the lowest point of the hike, so you will head out going uphill and return heading down the hill. There is parking, drink taps and toilets, as well as picnic areas and barbecues. There is also a basketball court, children's play area and educational information.
Because of its bitumen tracks, Raven Street Reserve is a popular place for walking, running and cycling. As a result, some areas are a little busy. When you walk up the track from the Downfall Creek Bushland Centre you will arrive at the bikeway. Turn right and walk along the bikeway but I highly recommend keeping to the left of the track as cyclists often zoom down this path. Then turn left onto the Xanthorrhoea (grass tree) Track and keep going until you reach the T-junction where you turn left.
The tracks through Raven Street Reserve are bitumen and highly accessible
If you keep going straight, you will end up reaching Raven Street. But don't go onto the street, instead turn right and keep heading to the very top of the reserve.
Here you will come to the Green Bridge that has been built over Hamilton Road to allow animals to cross between the reserves. There are ropes on poles for possums and plenty of grass for other animals to encourage them to cross here. There is also a nice neat path for us humans.
Walking over the green bridge between Raven Street Reserve and Milne Hill Reserve
Over the bridge, you will arrive at the Milne Hill Reserve. You can just keep going straight up and over the hill, but I prefer to turn right and follow the Pomax Track which goes around the hill, after which I hike up gravel path on the other side that leads up Milne Hill and the water tank that supplies this area. Unfortunately, the little path that leads to the very peak is now closed (but that doesn't stop people going up this path and following the path back down to the Pomax Track.)
At the entrance to the reserve, there is another drink tap for anyone feeling thirsty. There is another one on the other side of this reserve.
This area has that edge of a rainforest feeling, which makes a welcome break from the normal bushland of Brisbane suburbs. My preferred way to walk this reserve is to turn right here and walk up to Spyder Hill. While named a lookout, the trees block most of your view, though you can catch some glimpses of the suburbs.
Parts of the Chermside Hill Reserve has a rainforest feel
For many people, Spyder Hill marks the end of the circuit, though you can also keep going to the very north of the reserve along the Stringybark Track. This area is rich with grass trees but other than that, it is not that interesting.
When you get to the very end of the reserve, turn left, walk along the fence, then turn left again at the T-junction and follow the track back to the base of Spyder Hill. Overall, I think additional loop adds 1 or 1.5 kms to the total walk.
The last part of this reserve follows the Giwadha Track. This well looked after track loops around back to where we entered the reserve. There is also a drink tap in a playground just off the far western side of this track.
Follow this track around. There are 2 options to exit here. You can complete the loop and exit where we came in and backtrack up over the Milne Hill Reserve. This makes the walk a little longer and of course, there is some backtracking. I prefer to exit the reserve through the path that goes under Hamilton Road along Little Cabbage Tree Creek. Don't worry, this is a proper path and you are not rock hopping down the creek.
This path exits into the suburbs and there will be a little bit of suburban walking, but like I said, it is shorter than backtracking and makes it a circuit. You will basically cross the grass area over Little Cabbage Tree Creek then walk along or parallel to Hamilton Road in the direction of Raven Street Reserve.
Part of the path back to the the Raven Street Reserve
Back at Raven Street Reserve, you head down the Banksia Track until you reach the bikeway, then follow that a little while until you see the turn off to the Downfall Creek Centre. Then you are back at the beginning of the walk.
Overall, a great 9 kms through varied terrain. You can make the walk shorter or longer depending on the options you choose. The trick is putting the 3 reserves together into one big circuit, something even regular visitors are not aware that they can do.