The Daintree Rainforest is full of beautiful hiking trails throughout its dense natural landscape. One trail though that goes above the rest is that of Mount Sorrow.
Known to be one of the most difficult climbs in the Daintree, the top of the Mount Sorrow ridge gives some spectacular views of the rainforest and the reef out in the distance.
This guide is here to help answer any questions you may have about the trail and get you on your way.
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1) Mount Sorrow Ridge Trail Overview
Below are some useful facts about the Mount Sorrow Trail so you have a better idea of what you may be getting yourself into when taking part of the climb:
Starting & Ending Point: Parking on Rykers Road; GPS 16°04’40.9″S 145°28’01.5″E
Mid Point: Mt Sorrow Ridge Lookout
Length: 7KM / 4.3 Miles
Time: 4-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 700 Meters / 2,297 Feet
Track Type: Dirt / Roots
Mt Sorrow Notes:
» Hike past the main lookout platform for another 10 minutes to reach a better overall viewpoint.
» Keep an eye out on the weather when deciding when to take part. The higher elevations can attract those clouds, so try to save Mount Sorrow for a clear weather day.
2) Daintree Rainforest Overview
→ At over 180 million years old, the Daintree Rainforest is known to be the oldest rainforest in the world (even older than the Amazon!). It makes up 1,200 square kilometers in the northeastern part of Queensland.
→ You will find everything and anything in the rainforest – from dense jungles and mountain ranges to flowing rivers and waterfalls, the Daintree is packed with it all. You are also sure to find an abundance of wildlife throughout.
→ There are thousands of different species all around, from birds to reptiles to insects. Spending a couple days exploring the rainforest at places like Mount Sorrow, is a great add on to any Australia itinerary.
→ One of the most special aspects of the Daintree is that right next to it is another natural world wonder – The Great Barrier Reef.
There are several spots along the coast where you can see where the “Rainforest meets the Reef”, and enjoy two incredible natural landscapes right next to other. On a clear day from the Mt Sorrow viewpoint you will be able to see this from above.
3) Daintree Tips
Before going further into the Mount Sorrow Ridge Trail, I wanted to point out some helpful tips for the Daintree in general.
1) There is barely any cell service in the Daintree Rainforest. To help get you from place to place, I recommend downloading offline maps to your phone (either on Google Maps or through an app like maps.me).
2) To get to most Daintree attractions, you will need to cross the Daintree River. The car ferry goes back and forth constantly but do expect a wait time during peak hours. The round trip cost is $30 AUD and runs from 5AM – 12AM.
3) There are limited stores in the Daintree. If you are coming in for a few days, I recommend bringing/buying anything you would want from Cairns/Port Douglas. You will find some restaurant selections though if looking to eat out for lunch and dinner.
4) The cassowary is the one animal you will hear about most in the Daintree. It looks like some sort of prehistoric dinosaur bird with its colorful head, and is known to be dangerous if you get too close. So if you do see one, be sure to step back and keep your distance.
5) While the waters will seem inviting, you should not swim for a couple of reasons. During rainy season, the stingers (jellyfish) are out in full force and that certainly won’t be pleasant if you encounter any. Secondly, the waters are known to have some salt water crocodiles lurking, so do be careful.
4) Mount Sorrow Starting Point
To take part of the Mount Sorrow Ridge Trail hike, you will most likely need to do so with your own car.
Many of the attractions in the Daintree Rainforest are not so close to each other and without a car, it may be a bit difficult to get from place to place.
Cairns and Port Douglas would be your main two starting points if making your way into the Daintree and both should have several car rental options for you to choose from.
Once you have your car and are ready to go, you will make your way north into the Daintree as you cross the Daintree River and towards the Mount Sorrow starting point.
The easiest way to find the starting point on Google Maps is to simply type in the GPS coordinates: 16°04’40.9″S 145°28’01.5″E.
This will take you to a small lot right off to the side of Rykers Road (just past Cape Tribulation). Once all parked you will cross the street and see the signs pointing you up to Mount Sorrow.
→ If renting a car in the Daintree Rainforest, feel free to check out Rentalcars.com, which will have various options to browse through. You can filter by car type, price, and more to find the perfect car for your trip.
5) What to Bring On the Trail
Since Mount Sorrow is one of the tougher trails out there, I would recommend bringing the necessary items to stay prepared on the trail.
Hiking Packing List
In general when it comes to hiking, there are a few main aspects to consider. These includes clothing layers, hiking shoes, hydration & fuel, electronics, and other essentials.
Below in a breakdown of some of the top items, but be sure to check out the Hiking Packing List for a more comprehensive view.
Layering is going to be a top consideration when hiking. You will want to be prepared for all sorts of weather so you can be comfortable in different situations. Some items may include:
→ Hiking Shorts
→ Hiking Pants
→ Short Sleeve Shirt
→ Long Sleeve Shirt / Sun Hoodie
→ Mid Layer Fleece
→ Puff Jacket (not always needed)
→ Packable Rain Jacket (Columbia Watertight II)
Note that your layers should be made of moisture wicking material as they are breathable and quick drying.
Having appropriate footwear will also be very important. You will want to have shoes with the necessary grip and support to keep you safe on the trail.
→ Hiking Shoes (Keen Targhee)
→ Hiking Socks (Darn Tough)
Whether it is hiking gear, electronics, or just some miscellaneous items, here are some other essentials to bring along on hikes.
→ Hiking Backpack (Osprey Talon 22) & Rain Cover (Joy Walker Cover)
→ Hiking Poles (Black Diamond Trekking Poles)
→ Water Bottle (CamelBak Chute or Katadyn Filter Bottle)
→ Portable Charger (Anker PowerCore 5000mAh)
→ Action Camera (GoPro Hero)
→ Energy Bars & Snacks
→ Hat & Sunglasses
→ Sunscreen & Bug Spray
6) Beware of Leeches & Cassowaries
The Daintree is full of wildlife but some of that wildlife is not too friendly around others. Two animals to look out for during your time on the trails are leeches and cassowaries.
Leeches are prevalent on the trail and odds are they will find their way to stick onto you somewhere on your body.
For this reason wearing long socks, pants, and a long sleeve shirt is the best bet to steer clear of those leeches.
Throughout the trek, I would recommend to consistently check your body to make sure there aren’t any sticking to you.
As mentioned in the Daintree tips section, cassowaries can be found roaming around the rainforest. Although these animals may seem harmless, getting in their personal space can rub them the wrong way.
They can get aggressive and even run after you. So if you do see a cassowary on the trail, try and stay as far back as possible until it moves along past you.
7) The Mount Sorrow Ridge Trail
The trail can be broken down in a few main parts. Essentially, the first 2KM or so is a moderate uphill with some flat portions throughout. From 2KM to 3.5KM (the lookout), it gets much steeper and tougher to climb.
Below is a helpful map to show you the various elevation gains/declines throughout.
Once you start the trail it should be pretty easy to follow. There will be orange and pink markers throughout the duration of it.
The path itself will mostly be packed dirt, which can get very slippery after rain. So if it has been raining recently do take extra precaution when making your way up and down the trail.
You will also find there to be tree branches/roots sprawled along the trail with some makeshift stairs carved into the ground.
For the duration of the hike you will not get many views beyond the surrounding trees and wildlife.
It is quite pleasant walking through the nature of the Daintree Rainforest, enjoying the sites and sounds of nature around you.
At each kilometer, you should see a small sign on a tree letting you know how much of the trail you have finished. These can also be helpful to understand when the trail will begin to get a bit more steep (after 2KM).
As mentioned, the first 2KM is not too bad when it comes to elevation gain. Although it isn’t steep, the trail can get a bit technical at times so always watch your step.
Now comes the hard part though as you gain 400+ meters in 1.5 kilometers (1,300 feet in 0.9 Miles). The trail will become noticeably steeper and at one point there will even be a rope to help pull yourself up.
Continue the climb up and soon enough you will reach the Mount Sorrow Ridge platform. Note that this is not technically the top of Mount Sorrow. The trail just takes you to a safe point along the ridge.
The platform itself is not too big so it can get quite crowded during peak times.
The views from the platform can also can be a bit obstructed and if you want a wider view, go around the platform and continue the trail for about 10 minutes.
Here you will find a more unobstructed view of the surrounding Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef out in the distance.
Once all done up top, it is the same way down to the bottom as you make your way back to the road and off to your next destination in the Daintree.
8) Other Daintree Attractions
In addition to your time hiking Mount Sorrow, you can continue onto some other Daintree attractions. There is plenty to do around the area if you have a couple days to spare:
1) Daintree Walks – Dubuji, Jindalba and Marjdda – There are three main Daintree walks that you can take part of throughout the rainforest and get a bit closer to the wildlife of the area. » Learn more about the Dubuji Boardwalk.
2) Mason Café and Emmagen Creek Swimming Holes – Since you cannot really swim in the water off the coast (due to stingers and fresh water crocodiles), make your way to a couple swimming holes, where you can cool off in the water.
3) Daintree Beaches – Cow Bay, Myall Beach, Thorton Beach – Looking for some beach time? Well, there are plenty of beaches all along the coast.
4) Cape Tribulation – The most famous of beaches in the Daintree is Cape Tribulation. It is a great spot to relax and enjoy some beach time, and you can head up to the Kulki Lookout to get some views in from above.
5) Daintree Discovery Centre– Learn more about the Daintree through various trails, a rainforest canopy, and several informational exhibits along the way. » Take a look at the Daintree Discovery Centre Guide
6) Daintree River Cruise – Head out on the water and take a boat down the Daintree River. You are sure to see plenty of crocs and other wildlife throughout your time on the river.
7) Mossman Gorge – At the beginning of the rainforest is the Mossman Gorge, a beautiful setting where you can walk along the boardwalk and rainforest trail. » Learn more about the gorge in the Mossman Gorge Walk Guide
9) Where to Stay in the Daintree
If you decide to head into the Daintree and stay for a night or two, below are some potential highly rated options to choose from.
Looking for a budget option, check out Safari Lodge
» Check out some of the other top Daintree Hotels options to choose from during a stay
10) Where to Stay in Cairns and Port Douglas
If you are taking the day trip in from Cairns or Port Douglas, here are some accommodation recommendations for each.
1. Riley Crystalbrook Collection Resort
1. Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort
2. Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort
5. Oaks Resort
Now that you have a better sense of what the Mount Sorrow Ridge Trail is all about, it is time to make your way there yourself.
Do not forget to check out some of the other Australia itineraries and guides up on the site and feel free to ask any questions below.
Headed to Sydney? Check out the 3 day Sydney itinerary and Blue Mountains Hike Day Trip.
Going to Cairns or the Whitsundays? Take a look at the Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Experience and Ocean Rafting Northern Exposure Tour.
Have fun out there and safe travels!