Most people head up Mt Coot-Tha to go to the lookout at the summit and maybe have a cup of coffee or meal at the cafe or restaurant. Some people wander along the summit and Aboriginal art trails. However Mt Coot-Tha provides a broad network of great hiking, cycling and horse riding paths.
Realising that the growing city of Brisbane needed green space, Mt Coot-Tha was designated as a reserve in 1880. Since then, this amazing area of bushland that borders some of the trendiest suburbs in Brisbane has been a popular place for locals and visitors alike.
There are a large number of trails and usually you need to string a few trails together to make a decent hike. I will try and list some of the more interesting options that are available. Check out the track maps in the link below.
Hiking to and from the summit
There are three main options here. Most people who have visited Mt Coot-Tha have only ever hiked the Summit Trail. Though a much better option is the lovely Honey Eater Trail.
Starting at the base of Mt Coot-Tha off Fleming Rd in Chapel Hill, it winds its way up the mountain to the summit. This is a smooth and well maintained track with the optional Rose Robin side track. This track is popular among joggers, though I normally only see them jogging down the mountain after walking up. You will also see people with a full backpack and poles doing training hikes up this track.
There is another track to the summit called the lookout trail. This incredibly steep track starts at the end of Greenhood St in Indooroopilly and goes straight up the mountain. While I know a 68 year old guy runs up it nearly every morning I still would only recommend this trail to the super fit.
Circuits from the Gap Creek Car Park
The gap creek car park is a great place to start various circuits though you can also start them from Greenford St in Chapel Hill.
A popular short circuit takes you down the Bellbird Trail, up Kokoda Track to the Channel 9 car park and then down the Jacksonia Track and Cockatoo Trail. Be aware that Kokoda is pretty steep near the end and is a popular track for people building up for a bigger hike.
Often as a training hike we will cross the road and take the Powerful Owl Trail until it branches off onto the Eugenia circuit. We branch off this circuit to head to the Simpson Falls Picnic area, rest, use the bathrooms and then head up and complete the Eugenia circuit before returning to the Gap Creek Car Park.
You can also go up the Quail Trail, walk a little way along Highwood Rd and come down the Coucal and Goanna Trails to return to the Gap Creek Car Park.
Up and over the mountain
There are several options to cross the mountain and are great for people who come by public transport as you can get off the bus on one side of the mountain and take a bus from the other side.
The simplest and one of my favourites when I want to exercise is to go up Mt Coot-tha via the Honeyeater Track to the summit then take the Summit Track across the mountain and down to Mt Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens.
For fitness fanatics why not head up Kokoda then cross the mountain via the Powerful Owl Trail, walk a short distance down the road and then cross the mountain again via the Summit Track and down the Honeyeater track. Then it is just a short street walk down Greenford St to where you left your car.
An interesting trail to start at in the suburb of Bardon is the Maculata Track at the end of Gordon Road. This is a rocky track with a few steep sections that leads to Simpson Falls. From there you can cross the mountain taking the Eugenia Circuit and going down the Jacksonia Track.
I have to admit that I tend to hike Mt Coot-Tha more as exercise and training for longer hikes. If you are looking for a pleasant stroll your main options are the really lovely Bellbird Track, the Simpson Falls Track and the Summit Track.
There are multiple trails around Mt Coot-Tha for mountain bikers, including dedicated paths as well as many multi-use paths. Road cyclists are often seen riding up Simpsons Road and doing the Sir Samuel Griffith Drive with a much needed stop over for coffee at the Kuta Cafe at the summit lookout.
There are multiple different trails on Mt Coot-Tha, some are designated for hikers, cyclists and horse riders and are clearly signed for their purpose. Please respect this fact by sticking to the tracks for hikers. There has been some resentment of this fact evident by people scrubbing out the no-hikers signs on mountain bike trails. Many trails are also multi-use which means we should all keep an eye out for other users on the trail.