Tracks & Trails

Cowan Station to Brooklyn | GNW
Tracks & Trails | bushwalking | hiking | national parks | Sydney North | New South Wales

Cowan Station to Brooklyn | GNW

The Great North Walk

by Susie Baber  |  11 April 2021

Cowan Station to Brooklyn | Approx. 14.5km | 6 Hours | Hard

This is our biggest challenge so far. Starting off at Cowan Station the track heads over the tracks and follows the sign to Brooklyn along the management trail. A concrete over pass bridge takes us over the freeway and into Kuringai Chase national Park.

Heading downhill, at first gently but becoming steeper, the track leads down to Cowan Creek. The creek is tidal so you might be looking at mudflats, but we have come at high tide and there is a broad expanse of water. Following the path with the creek on the right, it is a fairly flat walk and soon we come to a set of concrete steps and a flat clearing marked ‘no camping’. The view from here looks up the middle of Jerusalem Bay, a popular boating area.

The path follows the shore line around the bay and does get quite rough in spots. After crossing a small gully and a sandstone overhang the track starts heading steeply uphill. The climb is broken a couple of times by a clearing with a seat to rest on, and then further up after climbing through a crack in a rock there is another welcome bench for a rest.

From the top of the ridge the track leads through tall heath with occasional views over the freeway and the Hawkesbury River. It then down to Campbells Creek and back up the other side before meeting up with the Brooklyn Dam Service trail and a GNW sign pointing to Brooklyn and back down the hill to Jerusalem Bay.

The rest of the walk to Brooklyn is all on management trails which makes for a slightly easier but less interesting walk. There are some views down the valley and over the Hawkesbury River Bridge and we entertain ourselves by avoiding walking through giant ant nests which are scattered along the trail. Management trails also mean less trees and therefore less shade so don’t forget to bring a hat if you are planning on doing this walk.

At Brooklyn Dam there are two camping areas. The first one you come to as you approach the dam is smaller, and after circumnavigating the dam there is a larger camping area. Neither of these camp sites have any facilities and campfires are not permitted but there is plenty of shade and water in the dam if you have the means to treat it before you drink it.

The management trail continues along the top of the ridge with views over Long Island and the Hawkesbury River, each time it starts heading down and you think you are nearly there the track turns back up and away from the river. Eventually it heads down a very steep cement path into the centre of Brooklyn where we head to the pub to meet our ride home.

This post is not a comprehensive guide to the GNW, more resources for these walks can be found at

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