A quick guide to hiking Walsh’s Pyramid from Cairns. Tackle one of the most unique trails on the Cairns Coast in Tropical North Queensland.
Just south of Cairns is the world’s tallest freestanding natural pyramid; Walsh’s Pyramid. Hikers who are keen to tackle the summit will be rewarded with some of the best panoramic views of the Cairns and Innisfail Coast.
In this quick hiking guide, I’ll detail how to get to Walshs Pyramid, trail and hiking information, as well as what you might expect. You’ll also find some photos of the track and summit that I hope will inspire you to tackle this epic track!
- Walsh’s Pyramid – A Natural Freestanding Pyramid
- How to Get to the Walsh’s Pyramid Trailhead
- The Walsh’s Pyramid Hike
- Walsh’s Pyramid Hiking Track Details
- Best Time to Attempt the Walsh’s Pyramid Hike
- The Yearly Pyramid Race
- More Photos from the Walsh’s Pyramid Summit
- More Cairns Hikes and Adventures
Walsh's Pyramid - A Natural Freestanding Pyramid
Walsh's Pyramid is an independent peak rising above fields of sugar cane in the small town of Gordonvale.
At first glance, you'll be excused if you make the mistake of thinking it was a man-made pyramid covered in eucalypt bush. However, the mountain is actually a natural phenomenon and the tallest of its kind in the entire world.
Featured in: 36 Best Cairns Hikes
Walsh's Pyramid Elevation
Wondering how high Walsh's Pyramid actually is?
Walsh's Pyramid's elevation stands at 922 metres above sea level. Hikers start pretty close to sea level, so the total elevation gained is close to 900 m.
How to Get to the Walsh's Pyramid Trailhead
The start of the Walsh's Pyramid hiking trail is located approximately 25 km from Cairns. Expect a 30-minute drive.
To get here, you'll need to take the Bruce Highway (A1) heading south, turning right at Moss Access Road, just a couple of hundred metres after crossing the Mulgrave River over the Desmond Trannore Bridge.
After turning onto Moss Access Road, you'll round the bend and find a small car park on the left, which is where you'll also find the Walshs Pyramid hike trailhead.
- Google Maps Pin: "Walsh's Pyramid Parking and Walking Track"
I've pinned the exact location of the hike car park above to help you out. If you navigate to this pin, it's really impossible to get lost. Don't make the common mistake of following Google Maps directions to the Pyramid itself, as you'll be directed to private property.
Car Rentals in Far North Queensland
Cairns is one of the most popular travel destinations in Australia and car rentals quickly book out! I recommend booking well in advance. I always use RentalCars.com as they compare the widest range of rentals across dealerships in the Far North.
The Walsh's Pyramid Hike
- Hike Distance: 6.2 km (return)
- Duration: 3.5-5 hours (return)
- Elevation: Approximately 900 m total elevation gain |
Peak height: 922 m AMSL
- Difficulty: Moderate
The Cairns pyramid walk can be considered a fairly strenuous hiking trail due to the almost 900 M of elevation gain required to reach the peak. However, the track is easy to follow and well-marked in most sections and requires no scrambling or technically difficult sections.
The total track is 3.1 KM to the Walshs Pyramid summit point. Expect to take roughly 2 hours to gain the summit, depending on your speed and fitness level.
There are markings at every kilometer. You'll also need to keep your eye out for ribbons and triangular markings on the trees which indicate the track to the summit.
The Walsh's Pyramid track is fairly steep due to the naturally steep slope of the pyramid. Although it's not extremely difficult, you'll need to have at least a decent level of fitness to attempt it.
50+ More Cairns Bucketlist Items
- Visit the Cairns Islands
- Kuranda Railway & Skyrail
- Rusty's Markets
- Day trip to Cape Tribulation
- ... +51 more things to do in Cairns!
Walsh's Pyramid Hiking Track Details
The trail picks up at the car park pinned on the map above. Almost immediately, the track steepens and begins gaining elevation.
The beginning of the track is fairly dense with vegetation. However, just after the 2 KM mark, you'll break out to a small rock clearing with large boulders.
This is a good spot to take a quick rest and enjoy the view. Navigating the sloping boulder field is probably the most difficult section.
My best advice in this section is that if you lose sight of markers, descend back on the track you came up on until you find one again. Generally, after the rocky clearing, you'll want to keep left and avoid walking up the false, worn tracks to the right.
The next section to the peak is fairly straight forward and you shouldn't have any issues. However, it seems as if the track gets a little steeper towards the top so prepare your legs for a burn.
The last few hundred meters of elevation are the steepest of the entire Walshs Pyramid hike. In saying that, it doesn't involve any scrambling, just a constant incline until you reach the rocky outcrop at the summit.
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Views From the Walsh's Pyramid Summit
Once you finally reach the summit, you'll have sweeping 360-degree views including the islands outside of Innisfail, Cairns and the Trinity Inlet, as well as mountain backdrops to the south.
There are several spots to sit and rest and enjoy the views. I found that the best views were just a little further down past the summit where there are some large flat rocks that make a perfect vantage point.
Related: Best Waterfalls in Cairns
Tips for Hiking Walsh's Pyramid in Cairns
I'd recommend starting Walsh's Pyramid hike early in the morning, even before first light. This is because it can get pretty hot on the track, and you'll get to enjoy some incredible sunrise views even at half-way.
Also, make sure that you keep an eye out for the trail markings. At some sections, it can get a little hard to stay on the trail, especially if there is lingering fog or cloud cover near the summit.
Since this hike will take at least 3.4-4 hours, remember also to bring water as you won't find any on the track.
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Best Time to Attempt the Walsh's Pyramid Hike
It's possible to hike Walsh's Pyramid all year round but it'll definitely be warmer in the hot, wet season.
Cairns has a tropical climate with two major seasons; wet and dry. April to November is considered the dry season, where Cairns sees less rainfall and cooler, dryer weather. This is the best time to attempt the hike due to a lower chance of rain and a more comfortable climb.
During the rest of the year, expect more rainfall and hot and humid conditions, averaging around 28-34 degrees. For up-to-date information regarding the weather in Cairns and Walsh's Pyramid walk, I always use Willyweather.
The Yearly Pyramid Race
The Walsh's Pyramid Race is an annual trail running event that begins and ends in Gordonvale. It's a grueling race with plenty of incline. Winners usually average around one and a half hours.
More Photos from the Walsh's Pyramid Summit
Looking for some Walsh's Pyramid photos to inspire your hike? Check out some of the shots that I managed to snap of sunrise and the sweeping views from the track and the peak. The featured image at the top of this blog post is of Walsh's Pyramid from Behana Gorge Road.
Cairns Accommodation Guide – Where to Stay
Visiting Cairns? The best places to stay are near the Cairns Esplanade or on the sunny Northern Beaches. Below are the top 4 options for varying budgets.
- Crystalbrook Riley - If luxury and location are what you're after, you can't beat the Crystalbrook Riley. This is the best 5-star resort in Cairns and features absolutely everything you'd expect from a Crystalbrook resort.
- Fitzroy Island Resort - Sleep out on one of the picturesque Great Barrier Reef Islands at Fitzroy Island Resort. Spending the night on the island can work out cheaper than staying in town and means you get more time to explore the reef, coral beaches and rainforest walking trails.
- Gilligan's Backpackers - The best backpacker option for a great vibe in Cairns. Great place to meet like-minded travelers and has facilities including a pool. air-con, a huge shared kitchen, and a great common area!
- Pepper's Beach Club - stay at the best beach resort in the heart of Palm Cove on the Cairns Northern Beaches!
More Cairns Hikes and Adventures
Did you enjoy the Walsh's Pyramid hike and looking for more epic adventures near Cairns?
Below you'll find a list of more hikes, waterfalls and adventure activities to do in Cairns. Also, before you go, why not check out this list of the Best Things to do in Cairns!