The car park for this walk is at the Mount Coree Campground which is 60 km from the Canberra GPO
Trailhead at the Coree Campground with the toilet in the background
Trailhead at the Coree Campground
One of our favourite hiking areas in the ACT region is the north western edge of the Territory. While most of the walks are concentrated in the ACT there are some, like the Mount Coree Summit Walk, that are located just over the border in NSW in the Brindabella National Park. As a destination, the Mount Coree summit is a rarity in the region given you can drive right to the summit.
This walk is by no means physically challenging however the difficulty lies in getting to the trailhead. This area of the park is squarely located within the Brindablla ranges and is prone to snow between late March through to mid October. If it has been snowing or raining the roads can become greasy and messy. While 2WD vehicles can access this area in dry conditions I would only do so with extreme care.
As you make your way to the campground you will pass by a ‘road conditions’ sign that will tell you whether the roads are open. On my second visit to this area and the day we did this summit walk, the adjacent Mount Franklin Road that takes you to a number of great walks in Namadgi National Park, was closed and as such every 4WD vehicle in the area was heading to the Mount Coree area. The road can be a bit narrow at times so take care when passing which may involve you either pulling off to the side or possibly reversing back to allow approaching vehicles through.
If you are using Google Maps as a guide, ignore any directions that take you onto Curries Road and instead follow Two Sticks Road to the signposted destination of the Coree Campground. The campground itself is reasonably remote and for me at least doesn’t have that ‘nice’ feeling to it but if your planning on exploring this area it’s a great choice and does have a single toilet. Water is limited and while you can access a local small dam at the site I would definitely filter the water before drinking.
The access road to the summit from the campground should only be accessed by 4WD vehicles. There are a number of gates on the summit track and if conditions are bad enough, the NSW Parks Service may close some or all of them meaning that the access to the summit can only be achieved by walking.
The walk to the summit is all on management road which is obvious and takes you downhill for a very short distance past the trailhead before starting the steady climb to the summit. There is limited signage but what is there makes it very clear on the direction you need to be heading. The road conditions progressively become poorer as you make your way to the summit. If you are walking, you may need to step to the side to allow vehicles to pass. I visited this site two weeks in a row and on the first trip I drove to the summit there was a water crossing that would have given you wet feet due to the heavy rains. On our second visit, the water levels had dropped and we managed to keep our feet dry the entire way. On your journey you will catch glimpses of the summit as you go and every so often you get views opening up to the valley below. In all honesty, this walk is about the destination but at 2.8 km each way it’s not onerous with the ascent being steady and not overly steep but there is enough interest to make it worthwhile.
Once you reach the summit there are views off into the adjacent ACT Namadgi National Park which is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Coree, and into Brindabella National Park on the other side. When we started this walk the sun was out and the sky was reasonably clear and even half way up we had views into Namadgi National Park at one point but by the time we reached the summit, after a 50 minute walk, the snow had set in and we had pretty restricted views. Given its location, if you are planning on doing this walk during the colder months come prepared clothing wise and with a vehicle that will cope with all conditions.
Wildlife is reasonably limited on this trail and while we did see wallaby tracks in the snow we didn’t see any animals on the day. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s not unusual to see wallabies and kangaroos when driving in this area and the wallabies in particular jump out in front of cars without notice. Even given the logistical requirements of this walk, its well worth doing at least once. If you aren’t a confident driver do it during the hotter months when the road conditions are likely to be drier.
Off we go. Short downhill section to the small dam
Snow on the nearby hills
Keep an eye out for this sign as this indicates you are at Picadilly Circus
Ranger closing Mount Franklin Road which is the turn to the left
Turn up Two Sticks Road. This turn is almost a hairpin turn
Two Sticks Road
The odd small branch across the road. This road is narrow and often requires you to pull over to let oncoming cars through
Go straight ahead staying on Two Sticks Road – don’t turn onto Curries Road
Coree car park with toilet in the background
Trail from Google Maps for Mount Coree showing the zig zag up the hill
Short downhill to the small dam
The summit of Mount Coree through the trees
Water over the road. After heavy rains you are likely to get wet feet crossing here
And up we go
Follow the signs
Closed side road
Follow the signs
Trail gate which may be closed to vehicles
View down into Namadgi and Canberra (see the image below from an hour later)
Getting snowier on the ascent
The start of the summit
Mount Coree Trig Station
Interpretation sigange at the summit
At the summit. On a clear day the views are excellent
Fire tower at Mount Coree (or is it on the planet of Hoth?)
This image is the same as the one earlier on in the hike when there were views down into the valley
Dam near the car park
Back to the trailhead
This video is a collection of images that takes you through this walk from start to finish
The Mount Coree Google map showing the distance from the Canberra GPO to the trailhead car park at the Mount Coree Campground:
Urriarra Crossing. Turn left if coming from Weston Creek just after you go over the crossing
Road conditions sign. When doing this walk make sure that the road to Brindabella is open
Keep an eye out for this sign which means you are at Picadilly Circus
Turning on to Two Sticks Road
This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker