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Breathtakingly Scenic Walking & Hiking Trails Near Palm Cove

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Something that always surprises visitors to our region here in Tropical North Queensland, is just how alluring and astounding the natural beauty is.

By now, you probably know about the beautiful beaches, the stunning weather, and the magnificent ocean that lines our shores and is home to the Great Barrier Reef.

But when you take a step inland, the majesty of nature is just as enticing.  There is a ridiculously abundant number of things to see, places to explore and so much to do.

So, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a nature lover and you want to learn more about where you can explore inland, keep reading to discover some of our favourite hikes and walking trails in Tropical North Queensland.

Discover Nature Near Palm Cove

Today, we’re going to tell you about some of our favourite walking trails and hikes that are close to Palm Cove.

We’re sticking to this area because when it comes to spending time in Tropical North Queensland, we firmly believe that there is no better place to do so, than in Palm Cove – and more specifically here at the Reef House.

That’s because in addition to our beautiful boutique beachfront property being an escape you will find utter and total bliss in, we’re also the perfect place to base yourself for a wide variety of activities and experiences that you can only have in this part of the world.

You also happen to be within shouting distance of the Wet Tropics rainforest – the world’s oldest rainforest and one of the most richly diverse places on Earth. As you can imagine, this heritage listed natural beauty is jam packed with sights to see and walking trails just waiting to be explored.

7 of the Most Beautiful Walking Trails Near Palm Cove

We’ve chosen 7 walking trails that are all within an hour of Palm Cove – easily accessible, not too long, and will give you plenty of time to make it back to the Reef House for our signature evening cocktails.

We’ve also listed these walking trails in order of length, from shortest to longest, so if you’re ready for a challenge, you can jump ahead, but we recommend reading all the way through.

Trail Number 1:  Earl Hill Summit Track

Distance: 2km return

Elevation: 194m

This one may be short, and while it’s not as steep as some of the walking trails we’re going to talk about, it is consistent with its steepness, maintaining a steady incline the entire way up.

A great way to start you day, before the weather warms up too much, you can enjoy the cool breeze from the nearby sea and gorgeous views of the beach and ocean.

The other great thing about this walk is that it’s located in Trinity Park, a suburb of Cairns’ Northern Beaches, and is only 11km from Palm Cove. So, you can easily knock this one out and be back at the Reef House to indulge in a day of spa treatments or relaxing by the pool.


Trail Number 2: Mt Whitfield Conservation Park

Distance: Numerous trails with lengths varying 1.8km to 12km return

Elevation: Highest 360m at Green Arrow Circuit

Another nearby area is the Mt Whitfield Conservation Park, which offers numerous trails, and is only 22km from Palm Cove, and about 5 minutes from the Cairns CBD.

You actually enter the park from Collins Avenue which is almost the beginning of mini rainforest in the inner city. You have various walking trails to choose from, each referred to as an Arrow trail – the Red Arrow, Green Arrow, Yellow Arrow and Blue Arrow.

Each of the trails vary in length and difficulty, from 1.8km to around 12km return. Though, even the shortest, and considered to be the easiest trail – the Red Arrow – will leave you feeling it as it has a lot of stairs. But don’t let that put you off, you’ll still finish the trail relatively quickly, and you’ll be rewarded with picturesque views, and you might even spot a kangaroo or two.


Trail Number 3: Walshs Pyramid

Distance: 6km return

Elevation: 922m

Heading further south from Cairns, around 56km from Palm Cove, you’ll find Walshs Pyramid.

This natural beauty gives the Egyptian Pyramids a run for their money. In fact, the shape is almost a perfect pyramid, and has meant that it is somewhat of a landmark for locals.

While the trail for this one is only 6km return, with an elevation of 922m, it’s clear that the steepness for this one comes fast.

If you’re quite an avid hiker, you may be able to ascend and descend this one in around 3 hours, but we suggest allowing at least 4-5 hours to comfortably enjoy it. You’re probably going to want to rest when you reach the summit, and of course enjoy the views of the sugarcane farms and amazing rainforests at every turn – you are, after all, in the Wet Tropics Rainforest region, so there is plenty to take in.

Trail 4: Behana Gorge

Distance: 6.6km

Elevation: 194m

So, if there is something you’re probably aware of when it comes to Tropical North Queensland and its rainforests – it’s that you’re likely to come across a waterfall or two. And on the Behana Gorge walking trail, this is where you’re going to finally see one.

You’ll find the cascading Clamshell Falls on this trail where it flows into freshwater pools along the Behana Creek.

With plenty of swimming opportunities along the way, you should take advantage of these crystal-clear waters as they are the perfect way to cool off. The water temperatures are cooler than you might expect as the water flows from Queensland’s second highest peak – Mt Bellenden Ker – but this temperature change is certainly welcomed after this trail.

This walking trail is a little further south from Walshs Pyramid, around 58km from Palm Cove.


Trail 5: Glacier Rock, Douglas Track

Distance: 9km return

Elevation: 480m

A little closer to Palm Cove than the last few walking trails we’ve talked about, this one starts at the Stoney Creek swimming hole, which is about 19km from Palm Cove.

You’ll get to venture towards Kuranda, a rainforest village nestled in the mountains. And on your way, you will venture through lush rainforest paths and even cross over the Kuranda Scenic Railway line, which is a historic and oh-so-scenic train ride that makes its way from Cairns to Kuranda each day.

The hike for this one is a bit tougher than most of the others we’ve mentioned, but the views along the way more than make up for this. Oceans views are on the cards, as are views of Cairns and the surrounding region.  When you make your way down, be sure to drop by the Stoney Creek swimming hole – the locals love it, and you’ll see why when you get there.


Trail 6: Lambs Head

Distance: 9.2km return

Elevation: 1300m

A picturesque place that truly feels like you’re miles away from anyone else – in a great way, of course – the Lambs Head trail is only about 60km from Palm Cove.

To make it to the top here you will need to work a little harder than some of the other hikes we’ve mentioned, but with that being said, the views along the way and the chance to see some of the local wildlife are most certainly more than enough of a reward.

You can see the Cairns coastline, across the Atherton Tablelands and Lake Morris from Lambs Head rock summit. And these views along with the varied landscapes and terrains along the way, means that you’re in a for a magnificent adventure.

To top off your nature experience after this hike, consider cooling off at Davies Creek Falls, where you get to have that waterfall fix as well.


Trail 7: Devils Thumb, Manjal Jimalji

Distance: 10.6km return

Elevation: 1190m

Our last walking trail is the most challenging one to conquer on the list and is just on an hour away from Palm Cove. Head north from Palm Cove, for about 67km to Little Falls Creek in Whyanbeel Valley – which is where the trail begins for this one.

The walking trail is only a little further past Mossman Gorge, which is a very popular attraction that also happens to be the gateway to the Daintree Rainforest – the oldest in the world.

The Devil’s Thumb trail isn’t for the faint of heart and isn’t really a spur of the moment thing either. The return trip takes anywhere from 7-10 hours, and it’s steep. We recommend starting early so you can spend some time at the summit and still make it down before dark.

Though this one is tough, the spectacular panoramic views more than make up for this. You’ll see the Daintree region, including Port Douglas, Cape Grafton, and Cape Tribulation (where the rainforest and the reef literally meet), and even though you are going to be exhausted, you’re not going to be disappointed.

The Devil’s Thumb is one trail that avid hikers cannot miss.


With the dramatically stunning rainforest region so close to Palm Cove, it’s worth venturing out to see it in person. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a beginner to nature walks there is an option for you near Palm Cove.

Discover natural beauty at its finest today.


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