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Cronan Creek Falls & Yellow Pinch Lookout

Home > Brisbane > Adventure | Camping | Lookouts | National Parks | Walks
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published January 9th 2022
Lovely walk, amazing falls & swimming hole, great views
Thanks to recent work by Queensland National Parks, these once-secret hiking destinations now have signposted paths. Walk up to one of the best lookouts in the area and also head to the perfect waterfall swimming hole, in Mount Barney National Park.

Swimming in the perfect swimming hole at Cronan Creek Falls
Swimming in the perfect swimming hole at Cronan Creek Falls


About Cronan Creek Track

The Cronan Creek Track is a 13 km return track that starts at the Yellow Pinch Car Park, at the end of Upper Logan Road. I believe it was originally a logging track, when they did extensive logging in the area before the Mount Barney National Park was established. In the past, the track lead to nowhere official, though tracks lead up Mount Barney started from this track.

The Cronan Creek Track is a old logging trail
The Cronan Creek Track is a old logging trail


One of the interesting features of this track is the number of creek crossings. I have walked this track in waterproof boots and with some rock hopping, it is possible to walk the track without getting your feet wet. These days, I wear hiking shoes, so I just walk through the water and the water drains from my shoes. Note: The best socks for this are the nylon/cotton sports socks, which have cotton padding at the heels and the front of the foot while the rest is nylon. These dry out quickly. In winter, wool socks retain warmth and comfort even when wet. Full cotton socks just become soggy and should be avoided when you expect your feet to get wet.

One of many creek crossings on the Cronan Creek Track
One of many creek crossings on the Cronan Creek Track


Recent Changes

Recently, the Queensland National Parks has made changes on the track to give people better access. By changes, what I mean is that they have basically just added signposts to unofficial tracks and maybe done a little work on those tracks.

The new track at the start of the hike
The new track at the start of the hike


Though the main difference is a newly constructed track at the first 300 metres of walk. It does replace the somewhat steep fire trail at the start of the walk, making this part easier to walk.

The new sign for the track to the falls
The new sign for the track to the falls


The Lookout

300 metres in, where the new and other paths meet, there is a gate and a path leading off to the right up the hill. There is a signpost warning you that this track is steep, but no sign telling you that the track leads to a lookout.

The steep rough track up to the Yellow Pinch Lookout
The steep rough track up to the Yellow Pinch Lookout


The track leads up about 75 metres first to a little area with views through the trees towards the south. When we walked it, we weren't sure if this was the lookout or whether we needed to continue further up as there are no signs, but you can clearly see the track continues up the hill.

The view from halfway up to Yellow Pinch Lookout
The view from halfway up to Yellow Pinch Lookout


Continue from there another 75 metres up to the lookout for much better views of Mount Barney and the surrounding area. While the track is steep and rough, the views are definitely worth it and many people visiting the area will come to Yellow Pinch just for these views.

Enjoying the view of Mt Barney from the Yellow Pinch Lookout
Enjoying the view of Mt Barney from the Yellowpinch Lookout


Camping

There are 2 hiking campsites along the Cronan Creek Track, about 2 to 3 kilometres in. The first smaller Burbank Camping Area apparently has a capacity for 12 people. The one further up, Forestry Camping Area, is larger but apparently can only take a maximum of 2 people. There are no toilets and water is from the creek, which I would even be tempted to drink without treating as it just runs off the mountain with no houses or farmland in its catchment area.

Burbank camping area along the Cronan Creek Track
Burbank camping area along the Cronan Creek Track


These campsites attract people looking for a short overnight walk, where they can spend a night out in the bush. It is also a good place to try out any new gear in preparation for a longer hike.

Forestry camping area along the Cronan Creek Track
Forestry camping area along the Cronan Creek Track


The Falls

Previously these lovely falls were a little known secret. You had to find a cairn of rocks on the side of the main track, bush bash your way down to the creek and rock hop up to the falls. The secret nature of the falls meant few people ever bothered to come along this track.

The rough and ready track to the falls itself
The rough and ready track to the falls itself


But as people discovered the almost perfect falls, with its little deep swimming hole, rock ledge leading into the water and open rocky area to sun yourself after a swim, it became more and more popular. Queensland National Parks basically added a signpost and don't seem to have done much more to the short track leading down to the falls beyond clearing out some vegetation along it.

You will still need to rock hop or walk through the creek to get the falls itself
You will still need to rock hop or walk through the creek to get the falls itself


The path ends a little way from the falls and you need to either rock hope and scramble up to the swimming hole or walk up the creek. It isn't far and is worth it.

Exploring further

Some people might want to continue up along the main track a little way past the falls and look for a way down to the top of the falls. This just gives you a different view if you can be bothered to do this.

After the hike

The nearest place to the hike is Rathdowney. There is not much in town. There is the General Store, which has okay coffee and, based on every person I know who have tried their burgers, not very good hamburgers, and the Rathdowney Hotel, referred to as the Rathey. Here you have a great beer garden, cold beer, and juicy steaks. The trick is to time your walk to either be early enough for lunch service that ends at 2 pm or late enough so you arrive for dinner service that starts at 5:30 pm. Remember, there is no dinner service on Sunday nights.

The nearest place to go after the hike is Rathdowney, and the best place in the town is the famous Rathdowney Hotel
The nearest place to go after the hike is Rathdowney, and the best place in the town is the famous Rathdowney Hotel


Overall

The Cronan Creek Falls is one of the great little waterfall swimming holes and is well worth the walk and creek crossings to visit. It has gone from an obscure and little walked hike and a secret location to a popular walk. For those just looking for a short walk, then the Yellow Pinch Lookout is worth making a detour just for the views.
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Why? Nice easy walk to a great lookout, and a longer walk to the perfect swimming hole under a water fall
Where: Yellow Pinch Car Park, 1093 Upper Logan Rd, Mount Barney QLD 4287
Your Comment
A great walk and article Roy. A bit too strenuous for me these days but your article makes up for my inability to make the walk.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|3454) 13 days ago
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