Location - Wooroonooran National Park, Far North Queensland, Australia
Difficulty - Grade 4, on-track, difficult & steep
Distance - Approximately 6 km return
Duration - Allow 3-6 hours return
Elevation gain - ~900m
A Hiker's Guide to the World's Tallest Natural Pyramid
Walsh's Pyramid, located in Wooroonooran National Park, about 20 km south of Cairns, Queensland, Australia, is a natural spectacle that stands as the world's tallest freestanding natural pyramid. Rising to an impressive 922 meters above sea level, this mountain offers a challenging yet rewarding hike for those who dare to conquer it. The Pyramid's steep incline and dense Australian scrub vegetation make it a demanding climb, but the breathtaking 360-degree views from the summit make every step worth the effort. It's the most distinctive landmark for the small sugar-farming town of Gordonvale.
Getting to the Trailhead
Reaching the base of Walsh's Pyramid can be a bit tricky, but with the right directions, you'll find your way. From Cairns, drive south past the small town of Gordonvale, a journey that takes just under 25 minutes. Approximately 800 meters south of the Mulgrave River on the Bruce Highway, you'll find a small road on the right called Moss Rd. Follow this road for about 100 meters, and you'll find a narrow gravel track heading right, marked by a red rectangle. Continue along this track, which borders a cane field, for approximately 100 meters. You'll then arrive at the parking area, and the path begins at this point.
Hiking Walsh's Pyramid
The hike up Walsh's Pyramid is a steep and relentless 4.2 km journey to the peak. The trail is well-marked with markers and pink flagging tape, but you'll need to keep a keen eye out when crossing the open boulder area. The track is incredibly steep, and you'll need to be fit and healthy to make the climb. For experienced hikers, the ascent and descent can take approximately 3 to 5 hours.
The trail begins at the car park and almost immediately starts gaining elevation. After the 2 km mark, you'll reach a small rock clearing with large boulders - a good spot for a quick rest. The last few hundred meters of elevation are the steepest, but the trail doesn't involve any scrambling, just a constant incline until you reach the rocky outcrop at the summit.
Notes and Tips
There are a few things to keep in mind when planning your hike up Walsh's Pyramid. Firstly, there's no water available on the track, so be sure to bring plenty of your own. The trail can also be quite slippery after rain due to the rocky slab features, so take care if the weather has been wet.
The best time to attempt the hike is during the dry season, from April to November when the weather is cooler and there's less chance of rain. If you're up for a challenge, consider participating in the annual Pyramid Race in August, where competitors run up the hill and back again.
Lastly, remember to respect the environment and stay away from cliff edges. The hike is a challenging one, but with the right preparation and care, it's an adventure you won't soon forget.
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