Cathedral Range State Park: South loop 11.5km

I’m joining YHA Bushwalking Club for a weekend in Cathedral Range State Park, hiking its south loop on Saturday. North loop is Sunday (post here).

We met up at Cook Mills camping area inside the park at 10.30am, a somewhat late start. 12 hikers arrived, keen to hike through those craggy mountains.

The Cathedral Range is part of the Great Dividing Range. The range is a 7 kilometers ridge of upturned sedimentary rock. This has given it steep sides and a narrow razorback ridge. Perfect for rock hopping…

The maps:


The elevation map below may hint on some climbing… The sharp “hill” around 6km is Sugarloaf Peak, standing tall at 920 meters.

The “Fearless Leader” from last week’s Hepburn Springs hike also leads this weekend. Before climbing though, we need to exit Cook Mills camping area… A map comes handy when determining how…

Now, where are we…?

The ascent soon began. Not always neat steps on Jawbone Creek Track like below, but a guaranteed steady climb was.

Up towards Cathedral Range

Occasional flatter sections, particular around the saddles. Almost like a “normal” track then…

Into the woods

Today’s first peak was South Jawbone, the first little “hill” on the elevation map above. Yes, North Jawbone exists too. I wonder why they didn’t call them Upper and Lower Jawbone…

Selfie as evidence that I conquered South Jawbone… Or is this somewhere else…?

Not half-bad views from South Jawbone…

Views off South Jawbone – 1 of 2
Views off South Jawbone – 2 of 2

Some shots of fellow YHA Bushwalkers…

Fellow hiker deep in thought… Or perhaps thinking why a photo of him…?
Enjoying “morning tea” at South Jawbone

Some tree shots as we’re hiking south on Razorback Track…

Tree shot 1 of 2
Tree shot 2 of 2

Lunch… Apologies but I can’t quite recall where this was. Somewhere on Razorback Track…

Help yourself to a rock…

What goes down, must go up… again… and again… And sideways… and… Also known as rock scrambling or rock hopping.

A day of rock hopping and scrambling

Extraordinary views made all the “hardship” worthwhile… Thumbs up!!!

Gotta love the views…

The Cathedral Range offered some odd rock formations. Does this not like a giant bread knife has sliced through the rock…? Maybe it’s just me…?

Sliced rock

Now we’re heading towards Sugarloaf Peak as the ridge narrowed…

Pushing on we did

That “top of the world” feeling from Sugarloaf Peak at 920 meters. The faint-hearted or anybody afraid of heights would likely not enjoy Cathedral Range State Park from up here…

Hold on to your hat… and yourself

Yes, constant spectacular views for the height oblivious… The next three pictures offer some of those views…

Views from Sugarloaf Peak 1 of 3
Views from Sugarloaf Peak 2 of 3
Views from Sugarloaf Peak 3 of 3

Mandatory selfie, of course…

On Sugarloaf Peak 1 of 3

Limited hiker space on Sugarloaf Peak…

On Sugarloaf Peak 2 of 3

…but a must for a break.

On Sugarloaf Peak 3 of 3

Time and daylight were catching up on us. You don’t want to get stuck up there in the dark. So we soon pushed on from Sugarloaf Peak.

The next part I disliked the most.

I don’t mind rocky uphill climbs, but descents, sometimes sliding off rocks, well, I try to avoid. The risk of injuries is too high. Particularly when tiredness creeps in. Well, impossible to get around that here descending Sugarloaf Peak towards Sugarloaf Saddle.

All went well though, both caps from my hiking poles got caught up somewhere and were gone… But no limbs lost or broken or cut. By anybody. A fellow hiker even found two other lost caps and gave them to me. Nice!

After Sugarloaf Saddle, one fellow hiker and I decided to walk Cerberus Road back to Cook Mills camping area. The remaining hikers chose Messmate Track to Tweed Spur Road and returned that way. I considered the fading daylight. Walking on a road minimises the risk of getting lost or walking in rocky terrain in the dark.

Fading light on Cerberus Road

My trail choice assumption was wrong. The other hikers returned to Cook Mills camping area five minutes after us. Oh well…

Our Saturday night accommodation, called Rubicon Motel, was a 30 minutes drive away. The motel’s nice interior surprised me as the exterior looked like any cheapish motel. I had my own queen sized bed in my own bedroom, sharing a three-bedroom unit with two fellow hikers who had the same.

My bedroom for Saturday night

Rubicon Motel offered food and drinks so we all had dinner there. Fellow hikers took advantage of the free wifi while waiting for their meals to arrive… Which were enormous in size.

Waiting for dinner to arrive

I had a single glass of wine, albeit large, as tiredness crept in. Back to my nice queen sized bed before 9 pm, some reading but soon sound asleep.

Tomorrow, the conquest of the park’s northern part…

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