This Cowan to Brooklyn Station walk is a popular section of the Great North Walk, with scenery ranging from foreshore to ridge top lookouts. You will follow the Great North Walk from Cowan Station down to the picturesque Jerusalem Bay, then climb up over a series of ridges before descending into Brooklyn. This walk is a great one-way trip from station to station with numerous water views, including a circumnavigation of Brooklyn Dam whilst enjoying a wonderful diversity of flora along the way.
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Cross sectional view of the Jerusalem Bay Track (Cowan to Brooklyn) bushwalking track
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Jerusalem Bay Track (Cowan to Brooklyn) bushwalking track
Overview of this walks Grading - Based on the AS 2156.1 - 2001
These details are new. This new feature still requires more testing and refining. Please use the 'Walker Feedback' for report specific issues. Please e-mail Matt if you have any general comments. Hope you find it helpful.
Under this standard, a walk is graded based on the most difficult section of the walk.
5 hrs 30 mins
Very steep (4/6)
Quality of track
Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Minimal directional signs (4/6)
Some bushwalking experience recommended (3/6)
Storms may impact on navigation and safety (3/6)
Limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged) (4/6)
*This summary of grading information is new and still in testing
Some more detail of this walks Grading
Here is a bit more details explaining the grading looking at sections of the walk. Gradient
6km of this walk has short steep hills and another 4km has gentle hills with occasional steps. Whilst another 3km is very steep and the remaining 290m is flat with no steps.
Quality of track
5km of this walk follows a clear and well formed track or trail and another 4.9km follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles. Whilst another 3km follows a rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely and the remaining 290m follows a smooth and hardened path.
11km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection and another 1.4km is clearly signposted. The remaining (1.1km) has minimal directional signs.
Around 7km of this walk requires some bushwalking experience, whilst the remaining 7km requires no previous bushwalking experience.
Around 12km of this walk is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation), whilst the remaining 1.9km is affected by storms that may impact your navigation and safety.
8km of this walk has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced) and another 4.1km is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats). The remaining (760m) has limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged).
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Freeway Bridge Walk: Easy - servicetrail
Length = 300 m
Time = 6 mins
Climb = 8 m
Descent = -15 m
From the front of Cowan station, this walk follows the GNW arrow up the concrete ramp, turning right to cross the track at the controlled 'Pedestrian Railway Crossing'. The walk follows the ramp onto platform 1 (Sydney-bound side) then around the shelter to follow the GNW arrow post right, down the steps and through the gate.
Here the walk crosses the train lines (train storage area) and turns left, following the 'Brooklyn' sign along the wide management trail. After 130m, the trail leads past an electrical switching area then turns right at the large 'Great North Walk' signposts. Here, the narrower trail leads between the fences over a small rise to cross the freeway on a large, fenced concrete bridge.
Jerusalem Bay Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 2.16 km
Time = 50 mins
Climb = 61 m
Descent = -222 m
Continue straight: From the overpass, this walk heads away from the freeway and down the wide track. The track leads down a series of timber steps, then over a small rise (among the scribbly gums) where the track begins to narrow and lead more steeply down a rocky section. The walk then heads down a series of timber steps (passing a 'Great North Walk' sign), and crosses a short section of timber boardwalk. At the other end of the boardwalk, this track leads left over a rock platform (with a small creek flowing after rain) and then turns right to step off the rock platform. Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads downhill along the rocky track. The track leads past a few rock walls over about 350m, then turns right onto, then steps down off, a long thin rock platform. The track continues down along the side of the valley for another 200m, passing into a much more lush and dense forest, where the track then crosses the creek at a large rock platform.
On the other side of the creek, the track leads right down along the other side of the valley, passing a few small sandstone overhangs then a particularly broad angophora tree after about 500m. Soon after this angophora, the track leads down some rock steps then begins to widen for about 300m, and passes a small track (on your right) marked with a 'No Camping or fires allowed' sign. By this point, the broad waters (or mud flats, depending on the tide) of Cowan Creek are obvious, on your right. The walk now continues along the generally broad and flat track for another 500m, then climbs up a set of concrete steps, marked with a GNW arrow post. At the top of these steps is a large, fairly flat clearing with a 'No Camping' and a 'Great North Walk' sign and a great view up the middle of Jerusalem Bay.
Alt = 15 m
Jerusalem Bay, Ku-ring-gai National Park, is a nice bay east of Cowan Station. The bay is popular with bushwalkers as it is part of the Great North Walk. The bay is sometimes known for an iconic photo of the single palm in front of the water. The bay itself is also popular with boaters who can anchor in the bay. Jerusalem Bay can be accessed by the Hawkesbury River and Broken Bay or from Brooklyn or Cowan Railway Stations.
Ridge Top Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 1.08 km
Time = 37 mins
Climb = 201 m
Descent = -24 m
Continue straight: From the clearing at Jerusalem Bay, this walk follows the 'Great North Walk' sign, keeping the water to your right. The track bends left then leads down some sandstone steps (with a handrail). The track soon becomes fairly rough and follows the shoreline for about 200m before crossing a rocky and mossy gully. On the other side of this gully, the track tends right, following the GNW arrow post past a sandstone overhang, and over a small flat timber bridge. Just past this bridge, the track bends left and starts to climb steeply up the particularly rocky track. After about 300m of climbing, the track passes a small clearing with a small seat (on your right). Over the next 400m, the rocky track still heads up, but is generally less steep. The walk then comes to a large rock outcrop, where the track turns right to head up through a rocky gully. About 60m after this climb, the track leads up another short climb to a rock platform, then a third consecutive climb leads up through a crack in a rock to find a much welcomed bench seat and 'Great North Walk - Track Register' log book box. From here, the walk follows the the track gently uphill for another 60m to a 'Jerusalem Bay' sign pointing back along the track, at the top of the ridge.
Campbells Ck Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 764 m
Time = 18 mins
Climb = 3 m
Descent = -120 m
Continue straight: From the top of the ridge, this walk follows the 'Brooklyn Dam' sign, gently uphill, heading north through the tall heath. The mostly flat track leads through the forest, with an occasional glimpse to the freeway and down to Brooklyn. after about 400m, the track bends left and leads through a long cleft in the rock. Here the track start to head more and more steeply down for the next 350m, until heading down some timber steps which lead to Campbells Creek. The walk steps over the small (orange, polluted ) creek to find a flat sandy clearing  a few metres past the creek.
Int. Jerusalem Bay Trk and Brooklyn Dam Service Trail Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 1.19 km
Time = 34 mins
Climb = 146 m
Descent = -39 m
Continue straight: From the small clearing, this walk follows the clear track away from the creek, and soon bends left then begins to climb. The rocky track climbs steeply for about 200m, passing among the grass trees and eucalyptus. The track flattens out and passes alongside a rock wall, then resumes the climb up the hill. At the top of this climb, the track passes a couple of small rock overhangs then climbs about halfway up a section of rock to follow the longer section of rock platform to the right. The track then gently undulates along the side of the hill, passing a section of hand rail after about 70m. The track then follows a series of small rock walls (on your left) for about 250m before climbing up onto a flat, sandy track. This soon leads to a faint intersection (with a track on your right, which goes to a large rock platform). From here, the sandy track stays mostly flat for about 300m before veering left at a GNW arrow post, leading up a more rocky section of track and then climbing up some steel pegs in the rock wall at the next GNW arrow post. Here the track leads up the short hill and comes to a T-intersection with a wide management trail, where a 'Jerusalem Bay' sign points back down the hill.
Int. Jerusalem Bay Trk and Brooklyn Dam Service Trail
freeway view point Optional sidetrip: Track: Hard - servicetrail
Length = 104 m
Time = 2 mins
Climb = 3 m
Descent = -11 m
Turn left : From the intersection, this walk heads in the opposite direction to the 'Brooklyn' arrow, uphill along the wide management trail, keeping the power lines to your left. The trail leads through the tall heath and soon heads more steeply up a short hill to a concrete section of old road. The concrete section leads to the unfenced view point at the top of a large cutting, overlooking the freeway. (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then continue straight to continue along this walk.)
Int. Jerusalem Bay Trk and Brooklyn Dam Service Trail
Upper Int. of Brooklyn Dam Service Track and Brooklyn Dam Bushtrack Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 2.79 km
Time = 57 mins
Climb = 86 m
Descent = -133 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Brooklyn' sign down along the wide management trail, initially keeping the power lines to your right. The trail gently undulates along the top of the ridge for about 700m, passing a few short side tracks (which lead to the power poles) and distant valley glimpses. The trail leads over a solid rock platform and less than 100m later, the walk leads past a track (on your right, which leads to a unfenced view over the valleys, from the power pole). The walk continues along the main trail for another 90m then follows a GNW arrow post as the trail bends left, then right, to head downhill notably steeply for a short time. The trail then continues to undulate along the top of the ridge for about 1.2km, passing more side tracks to power poles (some with unfenced views). The walk then comes to a point where the trail bends sharply right, and there is a filtered view over the Hawkesbury River to Peats Ferry Bridge.
From here, the walk heads quiet steeply down for about 400m to pass under some power lines, where the trail then bends sharply left (enjoying some filtered views down to Brooklyn Dam and the Hawkesbury, on your right), passing under then same power lines again. The trail soon flattens out, coming to a faint three-way intersection (with a re-vegetating track on your right), marked with a 'Great North Walk' sign.
Upper Int. of Brooklyn Dam Service Track and Brooklyn Dam Bushtrack
NW Brooklyn Dam Campsite Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 1.35 km
Time = 28 mins
Climb = 31 m
Descent = -95 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Great North Walk' sign along the wide management trail as it initially leads over a small rise then heads downhill, keeping the valley to your right. After about 300m, the trail turns sharp right at the T-intersection with another wide trail. This flat wide trail follows the power lines for about 250m to then veer left (at the Y-intersection), heading downhill away from the power lines. The trail leads downhill for just shy of 300m, passing the speed hump signs to then bend right at the large clearing (ignoring the fenced trail on your left). Then about 100m later, this walk ignores another fenced trail (on your left) as this trail is still bending right. Here the trail heads around the side of the hill for 400m to come to an intersection with a track (on your left, leading a few meters to the signposted campsite) marked with a GNW arrow post.
Small Campsite Brooklyn Dam
Alt = 69 m
The small campsite next to Brooklyn Dam, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, is a small grassy campsite which has room for approximately four sites. The close proximity to Brooklyn Dam means close water. The campsite also has a few tall shady trees and is a fuel-stove only site.
NW Brooklyn Dam Campsite
NE Brooklyn Dam Campsite Alternate Route:
Track: Hard - bushtrack
( Show detail)
Length = 175 m
Time = 4 mins
Climb = 7 m
Descent = -7 m
Turn left: From this intersection, this walk follows the track east, away from the main trail and through the small 'Brooklyn Dam' campsite. On the other side of the campsite, the narrow track bends right and leads down into the gully, down a few concrete steps then heading alongside the small creek. Just before the dam wall, the track bends left, across the creek and up the short rocky hill to find a larger clearing. There is a good view over the dam (on your right). The track continues bending right through the clearing, and up a short hill to an intersection with the wide trail. Turn left to rejoin the main walk, following the notes from 10.42km 'NE Brooklyn Dam Campsite'.
NW Brooklyn Dam Campsite intersection
NE Brooklyn Dam Campsite Walk: Easy - servicetrail
Length = 792 m
Time = 15 mins
Climb = 15 m
Descent = -15 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the GNW arrows post south along the wide trail, soon passing alongside the dam (on your left). About 40m after passing edge of the dam wall, this walk comes to an intersection with a re-vegetating track (on your right) and a large 'Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park - Brooklyn Dam' sign (on your left). Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the GNW arrow post along the wide trail, keeping the dam to your left. (This section of trail leads around to the far side of the dam.) After just over 250m, the trail crosses a small creek (at the apex of the dam) then continues bending left. The track passes some old concrete pipes (on your left) then after about 400m, the trail comes to an intersection with a clearing and dam wall (to your left).
Large Campsite Brooklyn Dam
Alt = 70 m
The large campsite next to Brooklyn Dam, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, is a spacious and well-maintained campsite which has room for plenty of tents. The close proximity to the dam means accessible water (treat before drinking). The campsite has many tall, shady trees and is a fuel stove only site. The concrete dam wall was built in 1884 to provide water for the steam trains passing about 500m to the north. The dam was enlarged six times before 1924, then in in 1989 the dam was added to the expanded Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
NE Brooklyn Dam Campsite
Int of Hawkesbury Track and Brooklyn Trail Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 1.56 km
Time = 34 mins
Climb = 86 m
Descent = -38 m
Veer right: From the intersection, this walk follows the GNW arrow post uphill along the management trail, directly away from the dam. After about 30m, the trail bends right and passes a 'Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park - Brooklyn Dam' sign and continues uphill for another 150m, to where the trail becomes less steep (enjoying some filter views over the Hawkesbury on your left) for about 180m. Here a GNW arrow post guides along a short track (on the left), that runs parallel before re-joining the main trail again a short distance later. The walk then continues uphill to veer right at a three-way intersection, under the power lines, then about 120m later, this walk veers right again at another three-way intersection. About 70m up from here, the walk veers left at another three-way intersection, this time the trail generally follows the power lines along the side of the ridge. After another 300m, the trail bends right and passes under a set of high tension power lines, then continues to gently undulate for another 600m to come to a three-way intersection (with a clearing and trail on your left) and a 'Cowan' sign pointing back along the trail.
Int of Hawkesbury Track and Brooklyn Trail
Int of George & William Sts Track: Hard - servicetrail
Length = 1.12 km
Time = 25 mins
Climb = 14 m
Descent = -127 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Brooklyn Station' sign gently downhill along the management trail, keeping the Hawkesbury River glimpses to your left. The trail gently undulates for about 600m before bending left to find a large clearing and water glimpses. From the clearing, the trail starts to lead downhill towards the water, and after nearly 100m, the trail leads steeply down a short section of concreted trail. Just after this, the trail leads steeply again over a longer section of concrete, where the trail then leads through a rock cutting to find an even longer and steeper section of concrete trail. This section of concrete leads down for about 220m, sweeping left to head around a locked gate, past a large 'Great North Walk' sign to find the southern end of William St. Here the walk turns right to head down William St then across George St to find a few 'Great North Walk' signs on the corner.
Int of George AND William Sts
Hawkesbury River Railway Station Alternate Route:
Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath,servicetrail,footpath,footpath,footpath
( Show detail)
Length = 1.31 km
Time = 24 mins
Climb = 23 m
Descent = -25 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Alternate Scenic Route' sign, crossing 'William St' and heading down alongside 'George Street'. After about 100m, this walk follows the 'Boat Launching Ramp' sign, veering left into the 'Parsley Bay' car park. This walk heads through the car park to follow the GNW arrow post up over the grassy verge and come to the Parsley Bay Boat Ramp. Turn left: From the boat ramp, this walk follows the GNW arrow post through the gate and along the dirt 'Parsley Bay' management trail, keeping the water to your right. The trail leads along the foreshore for about 250m then passes the 'Public Loading Dock' (just past a bench seat), and soon bends left around Flat Rock Point. The trail then leads past a square log seat, coming to an intersection (where there is a set of stairs on your left). Continue straight: From the intersection (at the base of the stairs), this walk follows the GNW arrow post along the wide flat trail, keeping the shoreline to your right. Enjoying the view over the water to Dangar Island, this dirt trail continues for just over 150m, passing a few seats to come to a concrete footpath beside a Brooklyn Baths. The footpath leads past the toilet block, then past several picnic shelters and comes to an intersection just before the fenced children's playground. Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads along the flat concrete footpath, keeping the water to your right. The path leads around the edge of the metal and glass 'Federation' interpretive signs and playground. Here the walk veers right to follow the gravel path between the car park (on your left) and the water (on your right) for about 130m before coming to the end of the car park. Turn left: From near the end of the car park, this walk follows the GNW arrow post across Dangar Rd to then turn right and follow the footpath. The footpath leads past the 'Hawkesbury River Marina', to cross a side street then pass some public toilets and a few cafes. The walk then leads past a small park to come to the sandstone 'Obelisk' commemorating the naming of the Hawkesbury River. This is just on the other side of the road, opposite some large 'Great North Walk' signs and the Hawkesbury River Railway Station. Turn sharp right to rejoin the main walk, following the notes from 13.3km 'Int of Brooklyn AND Dangar Rds'.
Int of George & William Sts
Int of Brooklyn & Dangar Rds Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath
Length = 204 m
Time = 4 mins
Climb = 2 m
Descent = -5 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Great North Walk - Direct Route' sign gently uphill along the footpath beside George St. At the top of this hill, the walk turns right onto 'Bridge St' and heads down past a cafe, post office and 'The Anglers Rest' (on the other side of the road) and crosses 'Brooklyn Rd' to find a phone box on the other side.
Alt = 3 m
Brooklyn is a lovely little village with plenty of holiday style accommodation. There are several small cafe/restaurants in the area, good choice for cooked meals. There are two options for overnight visits, both need to be booked in advance.
Brooklyn Motel: Newly renovated accommodation on Bridge St,nearly opposite The Anglers Rest. This studio style accommodation starts from $120 per night with a spa, television and free wifi. Ph: 99858540 or 0410454530. Breakfast can be organised for an extra fee.
The Anglers Rest: Pub style accommodation on the intersection of Brooklyn & Dangar Rds. There are shared bathroom facilities. From $60 single and $90 a double. Breakfast not included (but you can grab breakfast from a cafe) PH:(02)9985-7257
Int of Brooklyn AND Dangar Rds
Hawkesbury River Railway Station Path: Easy - Wheelchair accessible - footpath
Length = 86 m
Time = 1 mins
Climb = 1 m
Descent = 0 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the footpath down along Dangar Road past the phone box, keeping the train line and road to your left. The path soon leads past the community centre then the blue painted 'JJs Brooklyn' fish and chip store to come to the sandstone 'Obelisk' commemorating the naming of the Hawkesbury River. This is just on the other side of the road, opposite some large 'Great North Walk' signs and the Hawkesbury River Railway Station.
Fire Danger This walk passes Greater Sydney Region fire area which currently has a LOW MODERATE rating and No fire ban in place. (Tomorrow the Fire Danger Rating is LOW MODERATE, No fire ban.) (Downloaded 4 years ago) Please Note: Each park may have its own fire ban, this rating is only valid for today and is based on information from the RFS Please check the RFS Website for more information.
Ku-ring-gai Chase National ParkLink to official closures and fire bans page A largely untouched wilderness on the northern boundary of Sydney, Ku-ring-gai Chase NP is one of Australia's oldest national parks. Here at the head of the Hawkesbury River, you'll find Aboriginal engravings and sites, as well as sandstone escarpments, Region: Sydney & Surrounds Park feesCampingFacilities I am not aware of any closures in this park at the moment.