• Distance 3.7km
  • Altitude max 749m
  • Altitude min 628m
  • Duration 1.2 hours
  • Trail type Return
Three Stars

Three Stars

Worth Doing

The Australian Hiker Experience Rating is a measure of the overall quality of a walk. It is intended to help you decide whether to walk a trail, not to measure anything objective. Consider this our personal take on the walk.

Grade Two

Grade Two

No bushwalking experience required. The track is a hardened or compacted surface and may have a gentle hill section or sections and occasional steps. Walks no greater than 10km.

The Australian Grading system is based on the australian standard for measuring trail hikes.

Rubbish Bins
Camping Grounds

Mount Painter Summit Walk ACT (3.7km)

Canberra Nature Reserve

Nearest Town

Cook, Canberra

Best Time of the Year to Travel

Year round

Starting Location

The trail head on Bindubi Street is located just past the suburb of Cook if you  are coming from the direction of Belconnen

Trail head on Bindubi Street is the easiest starting location to locate although there are two there starting options

Finish Location

Trail head on Bindubi Street

Mount Painter Summit Walk Review

The Mount Painter summit walk is another of those small urban walks that is all about the destination and not the journey. This walk surprised me and halfway up to the summit I was thinking about this review and not being very generous in the rating that I was going to give it; and then I reached the summit area which consists of three seperate lookouts and boy did I change my mind.

My initial negative thoughts about this walk related to the initial section of the walk from the car park up to around the water tanks as you approach the top section of the walk. I had decided to start the walk from Bindubi Street as this is by far the easiest starting location to locate and doesn’t require you to weave into the suburb and find a car park. The walk starts at the trail head on Bindubi Street and the first section of the walk is on a shared bitumen path before you turn left towards the summit of Mount Painter. From here on the walking is on management trail and formed trail and is relatively easy. If you start this walk at one of the two alternate locations within the suburb of cook you will shave about 1km off the walk however the parking is a bit more difficult. Up until the large water tanks the walk was just OK and I wouldn’t rate it anything special.

Once you go past the water tanks this is when the rewards for your minimal effort start to come. Your first spectacular view is across to Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain and the walk even provides a seat for you to take in the scenery. From this point you go through another gate and shortly after you reach the first of the lookouts that highlights the western sections of Canberra towards the Brindabella ranges. At this lookout and others there is great interpretive signage. From the first lookout you the head towards the summit proper and tis is where the steepest section of the walk is. This walk is by no means difficult and even if you don’t do much hiking this trail will not present to much of a physical challenge.

Once you reach the summit you have two lookouts. The upper lookout near the Trig station as well as a lower lookout about 50 metres down the hill. The views on this bald hill are brilliant and while it was blowing a gale and threatening to pour with rain this inclement weather provide some great photos across the city with a number of rainbows. After you have had your fill of the great views head back down the trail the way to came up. This short  walk will take around 1 hour for fit walkers.

For a little walk this has now become one of my favourite Canberra walks and I look forward to being a regular visitor.

First section of trail once you leave the car park

About 700meters into the walk turn off the bitumen path and head up towards the Mt Painter summit on natural trail

MacKellar Crescent entry. Don’t rely on this gate being open but you can always park on the street and shorten the walk if you feel like it

Shortly after you pass the MacKellar Crescent entry you will reach the Mt Painter reserve proper

After around another 400metres you will reach the Booth Crescent entry to this walk. This entry is the shortest of the three options but the parking is a bit more difficult

Trail head sign located near Booth Crescent entry

Management trail which starts your ascent of Mt Painter


View over the houses just after you start your ascent

There are two large water tanks as you reach the start of the interesting section of this trail

Black Mountain and central Canberra from the first vantage point just past the water tanks

Strategically placed  seating

Through another gate and up you go

Lookout 1 over the western side of Canberra

Short set of stairs

Obligatory Trig shot at the summit

Spectacular view from the summit of Mount Painter. The bad weather that was rolling in created some great photographic opportunities

Lookout 2 at summit

Arboretum with Woden Town Centre in the background

Lookout 3 just below the summit (centre of the picture)

In walking this trail you will be on part of the Bicentennial Trail

Getting There

Google Map to Mt Painter car park from the Canberra GPO:

  • This walk is centrally located to the main town centres in Canberra. Depending on you approach direction you will find this walk quite easily

Pulling off the road to the Bindubi Street car park heading towards Cook. Black Mountain is on your left

Mount Painter car park on the left of Bindubi Street

Things to Know

  • Phone: There is good phone signal on this trail (All networks)
  • Water: Bring your own water
  • Toilets: There are no toilets on this trail but there are toilets at Charlotte Pass
  • Trail: This walk is on steel mesh and natural trail
  • Dogs: Dogs allowed – on leash
  • Camping: No Camping allowed
  • Other: 
    • This trail is walkable year round
    • There are various starting points for this trail with the longest (this one) being 3.7km


This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker

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