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Mt Garnet to Lappa Junction - Trail Description



Mt Garnet to Lappa Junction

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Type: Rail trail
Location: Start point is at Mount Garnet in the Dry Savannah country, approximately 190 km south west of Cairns, Far North Qld.
Start/end: Mt Garnett to Lappa Junction
Status: Open
Length open: 55km
Surface: Coarse gravel
Terrain: Gently undulating
Best seasons: Dry season April to end September, summer months are oppressively hot
Contact Region: North Queensland
Outback cycling to Mt Garnet
Outback cycling to Mt Garnet
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes Suitable for 4wd vehicles



• Outstanding landscape with panoramic views and interesting savannah vegetation.

• Impressive rock cuttings, stone bridges and culverts.

• Remnants of mining history.

• Safe cycling with very limited traffic.

• Small/rustic museum and ‘pub’ at Lappa Junction.


The trail may be traversed in either direction, however the south to north ride is more appealing and there is a pleasant van park with campground at Mount Garnet for overnight stays.

The trail meanders along and adjacent to the original alignment through remote Dry Savannah landscape with sweeping views of the Featherbed Ranges.

There is very limited habitation adjacent to the trail apart from a few operational mines and the Sunnymount cattle station which lies close to Lappa.

Ancient frangipani and mango trees mark the site of old mines and homesteads and there are a few holding dams which are now used by cattle and wildlife.

Remnant heritage items include C.1902 narrow rock cuttings and good examples of cut and fill engineering, stone bridges and culverts, and a few sleepers.

 The 55km trail traverses through a remote area having no services and limited mobile reception beyond Mount Garnet - south and Dimbulah - north. Self-supported cyclists and/or support vehicles should carry extra water, a 1:50,000 Lappa topographical map, first aid, food/fuel and viable communication systems. California Creek may be impassable in the wet seasonso seek local advice from Mt Garnet police.

Background Information

The railway line was privately built in 1902, taken over by the Queensland Railways in 1914 and closed in 1960. It was a major conduit for the emergent mining industry of the FNQ hinterland.

Lappa Junction is situated on the Cairns to Forsayth line which is still traversed weekly from March to September by the Savannahlander.

See link here


Support Services and Attractions

Interesting historic information may be found here: Lappa

Mt. Garnet accommodation  Click here

July 2020

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1 comment

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20 August , 2016 by Brooksie

I have ridden this rail trail 5 times over the past 18 years. It Has gradually become more of a dirt road and less of a rail trail adventure over that time. Each trip was part of a month long Cape York ride and made up part of a bigger day's ride from Mt Garnet to Almaden or Emu Creek. . It is still enjoyable for its scenery, cuttings and occasional remnant culvert. There may or may not be water in a couple of creeks along the way. The historic Lappa pub at the northern end is worth a visit . There is no habitation along the way and gives a wonderful feeling of remoteness and solitude as there is little likelihood of much traffic- maybe a couple of 4 wheel drives. The scenic qualities and remoteness make it more attractive to me than the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail but of course accessibility is much more limited. For day trippers, drop off and pick up at the ends would need some arranging or a 4 we can accompany you. Leave the Corolla at home as it can be rough in places. A local guided tour adventure company does a great supported multi day trip including this trail ( we met them). Good enough to keep me coming back every few years.

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