Walsh’s pyramid is an iconic hike that sits at the top of most Cairns local’s bucket lists. This is because of one main reason, the epic view at the top from the summit that looks out over the cane fields of Gordonvale and flows to Cairns City and the Coral Sea in the distance.
However, to physically scale “The Pyramid” requires a significant amount of effort (and potentially blood, sweat and tears). It should not be undertaken by the faint-hearted and ill-prepared. Whether you are a hiking enthusiast or not, the obligatory bragging rights and kudos are for those who have completed this hike are well-renowned around FNQ.
As with all hikes in FNQ, our advice (especially for this one) is to start as early as possible in order to beat the heat because some sections do not have any shade whatsoever and can be gruelling in the baking hot sun (I have done it and regretted it big time).
How do you get to Walsh’s Pyramid from Cairns
We normally aim to start walking at 6 am at the latest. Walsh’s pyramid is located on the south side of Cairns, along the Bruce Highway past Gordonvale. Once you have gone over the Desmond Trannore Bridge and cross the Mulgrave river then take a right turn on Moss Road for a couple of hundred meters where you will find the car park on the left-hand side.
Walsh’s pyramid walking track
The trail itself is very well-trodden and easy to follow using the orange arrow indicators. Walking through a eucalyptus forest for the first 2 km and there are hundreds of butterflies. At this point, you then stumble upon some boulders. Attempt your most graceful scramble over these boulders whilst keeping your head up and your eyes peeled for the orange markers to keep you on the correct route. There are markings that indicate each kilometre during the hike and depending on your mental psyche can either help or hindrance.
How high is Walsh’s pyramid
The summit is 3.1 km from the start and stands an impressive 922 m above sea level. To be perfectly honest, (especially in summer) the 817 m total climb feels quite steep and relentless but is manageable for people with an average level of fitness and strong will-power. At the top, there are almost 360-degree panoramic views, (apart from a few trees in the way) of the surrounding countryside.
There is a large flat boulder which lends itself to being a great picnic spot and an awesome place to lounge around while you soak in the impressive view and relish in the sense of accomplishment earned by those that make it to the summit.
One time at the top, we found hundreds of beautiful golden orb spiders and their webs glistening in the early morning dew which was really quite peaceful (unless you are an arachnophobe). There is a well-worn path at the summit towards the south-facing side of the mountain, and we would recommend going over to take a look at the view and embrace the magnificently refreshing cool breeze. There if you are lucky you might spot a sea-eagle cruising around at about 800 m.
People that attempt the pyramid during winter may encounter uber-fitness types hurtling up and down the trail. These guys are training for the annual Great Pyramid Race, but do not be alarmed by their thundering footsteps because everyone we have ever met has been very friendly albeit very sweaty.
How long does it take to hike Walsh’s Pyramid
The hike took us about an hour and 10 minutes to the summit and about 45 minutes to come back down (be careful if you have dodgy knees) but in summer with kids, it has taken us up to 2 hours to get to the top (lots of water breaks and cajoling was needed this time).
We have met lots of families with kids as young as 6 years old doing this trail and it is definitely a family-friendly activity.
We would recommend taking at least 2 L of water per person (unless you are one of those few camel-like humans that hardly drinks anything but cold beer) and some snacks for a picnic at the top to stave off h’anger. As previously stated, there are some exposed parts of this trail so wearing a hat and sunscreen is also a good idea. Light clothing and good hiking shoes are recommended and a camera to take a photo of that epic view at the summit. Enjoy!
Walsh’s Pyramid history
A few years ago there were reports that The Pyramid was in fact an old Egyptian built pyramid that dates back some 5000 years. Now, I don’t believe this at all, but here is the article. Have a read and decide for yourself. Cairns Egyptian Pyramid.