Mount Beerwah is the tallest of the eleven rocky peaks scattered throughout the beautiful Glass House Mountains on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Located only an hour’s drive from Brisbane is one of Australia’s most iconic hinterlands. These rocky mountain outcrops were formed after volcanic eruptions over 25 million years ago. All eleven peaks are significant Indigenous landmarks with an important history to the Jinibara people.
I need to tell you that you should show respect when in the area.
The local tribes are not too fond of people climbing any of ‘The Big Three’ including Mt. Beerwah, Mt. Coonowrin, and Mt. Tibrogargan. However, if you choose to do so, please do so respectfully. While it is discouraged, many people take on the Mount Beerwah summit every day, mostly without a proper guide to reference.
Therefore, I’ve written this blog post to help better prepare hikers who wish to appreciate this incredible place from the summit.
Also, note that the Mount Beerwah climb is steep and involves a scrambled climb rather than a pleasant walk. Ensure that you plan your trip according to your own abilities and experience and monitor the conditions. Don't attempt this hike if it has been raining or if rain is forecasted.
By Olly Gaspar, traveler, travel blogger & photographer for 5+ years with 600+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.
How to Get to the Mount Beerwah Trailhead
The Mount Beerwah trailhead has its own designated parking area in the Glass House Mountains hinterland, approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from Brisbane or 1 hour 20 from Noosa during usual traffic conditions.
Sections leading up to the trailhead car park are sealed, so you won't need a 4WD to access it.
Enter the location below and Google Maps will lead you to the car park.
The Mount Beerwah Climb
- Hike Distance: 2.6 km
- Duration: 2-3 hours return
- Elevation: Roughly 300 m elevation gain, Mount Beerwah Summit altitude: 555 m AMSL
- Difficulty: Difficult (scramble)
Climbing Mount Beerwah is a rewarding experience for those looking for the absolute best views in the Glass House Mountains. However, as soon as you get to the rocky outcrop at the beginning of the trail, you'll realise that this hike is much more a scrambling climb than a hike.
This is the highest of the Glasshouse Mountains but the summit walk is slightly easier than climbing Mt Tibrogargan.
If you're not one for heights or don't have much experience on steeper trails, then again, I'd suggest hitting one of the other popular trails in the area. Warnings aside, if you're up for the challenge, you'll be in for a steep scramble, followed by an easy wrap-around goat trail to the summit. If you scroll down, I've written a clearer step-by-step hiking guide below that goes into a bit more detail.
Things to Know Before You Attempt to Climb Mount Beerwah
I mentioned it at the start of this blog post, but if you skipped it, don't attempt the Mount Beerwah climb if it has been raining. The rocks are steep and almost impossible to climb when wet. This means that you'll also need to check the weather radar to ensure you don't get stuck in the rain at the summit.
Many people have been stuck on Mount Beerwah due to bad weather, falls, or simply just being overcome by fear of heights on the way down. Don't be one of those people and prepare accordingly. A helicopter fee is not cheap!
The First Nations people from this area are Jinibara.
Beerwah is in fact two words; Birra, meaning sky, and Wandum, meaning to climb upwards in the Turrbal language. Together, Bira-wa means to climb up in the sky, a fitting name for such an unusual mountain rising from the plateau below.
The Glass House Mountains are a sacred place for Traditional Owners. It was a special meeting place for gathering to trade and to participate in important ceremonies. The legend says that Mount Tibrogargan is the father, Ngungun his faithful dingo and Mount Beerwah, the sacred mother.
Read more about the Glass House Mountains Dreamtime Stories here.
What to Expect on the Mount Beerwah Climb - Hiking Guide
This section should help you to summit Mount Beerwah if you are well prepared. Remember that the route is not a climbing crag and there are several paths to ascend. My advice is to wear grippy shoes and keep moving, following the best foot and handholds.
First Section - The Steepest Rock Scramble
Just a couple of hundred metres from the trailhead carpark is the beginning of the scrambling climb to the summit. This first section is in fact, the steepest and most difficult part of the entire scramble. There are some obvious cracks and a worn route is visible in the face.
Fortunately, this was my second time ascending Mount Beerwah, so I was well-prepared for this section and not dissuaded by the difficulty.
Soon after conquering the initial scramble, we continued up, moving continuously and thoughtfully. As I mentioned earlier, there isn't one particular route. However, I'd suggest taking breaks on flat sections to plan your way up the face as it can be easy to go off on a dangerous route.
There are several ledges along the way where you can rest and enjoy the ever-better views as you make your way up the incredible Mount Beerwah climb.
The Beerwah Organ Pipes
After a rather long scrambling climb, you'll get to a soaring vertical wall. This represents roughly the 80% mark and signifies the end of the steep scrambling.
The Organ Pipes are a famous climbing crag. You'll often see people carrying up ropes and climbing gear to tackle this epic wall.
There are also some caves just under the wall that are worth checking out.
Follow the arrows and the obvious, worn path leading to the right for the last leg of the Mount Beerwah climb to the summit.
Last Section - Goat Trail to the Mount Beerwah Summit
This last leg is easy and doesn't involve any climbing or scrambling. A winding path leads around Beerwah's face on a rocky goat trail to the summit.
The Mount Beerwah Summit
On my most recent Mount Beerwah climb I was fortunate to get an absolutely incredible sunrise. The rising sun shone on the blanket of low-lying mist, which made it feel as if we were thousands of metres above the clouds.
From the summit, you are rewarded with sprawling views across the Glass House Mountains hinterlands, with all of the 11 major mountains in plain sight. We spend an hour at the summit in awe at the incredible views and admiring the sacredness of the mountain.
For many, including myself, the descent is much more difficult than the initial climb. In saying that, I think it's more of a mental challenge as a result of going backward. Follow the same path you took up to the summit to return to the Mount Beerwah car park.
Just as the first section was the most difficult on the ascent, the climb down the final wall is difficult. As you get sight of the finish line, avoid going to the right. Deceivingly, this route looks as if it'll be an easier path down, however, ends in an almost vertical descent with limited footholds.
FAQ About Hiking to Mount Beerwah Summit
How Difficult is it to reach Mount Beerwah Summit?
Mount Beerwah is a grade 4 climb, so expect steep sections that require a bit of rock scrambling, especially at the start. I’ve done various climbs, and this one had me breaking a sweat for sure. Make sure you are physically prepared and have some scrambling experience to back you up.
What's the Best Time to Go?
Aim for April to September to avoid the sweltering heat and humidity. I climbed in May, and it felt like the mountain and the weather were both on my side.
What should I pack?
I recommend wearing grippy trail runners or similar opposed to heavy hiking boots to help you get up the steep rock. Pack enough water for 4-5 hours and high-energy snacks like trail mix for energy. Always let someone know your plans as well, many people have needed to be evacuated from this mountain due to poor planning.
Are you allowed to climb Mount Beerwah?
Mount Beerwah is more than just a peak—it's one of 12 iconic mountains that hold immense cultural importance for the local Indigenous community. The prevailing sentiment among local tribes is that people don't climb to the summit although it is not illegal. If you do decide to, it is crucial to approach it with a deep respect for the Country and its custodians.
More Epic Queensland Travel Guides and Articles
I hope that you've enjoyed this hiking guide to tackling the Mount Beerwah climb in Queensland's Glass House Mountains. For more epic adventure articles and ideas from Queensland and across Australia, make sure to head to some of my other posts below.
Also, If you have any questions or wish to share your experience, leave a comment in the field below.
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