Thornleigh to Cowan

Download & Print Map and Notes

2 Days

35.9 km One way

2336 m

Hard track
Following the Great North Walk and Berowra Creek through Berowra Valley Regional Park, this walk cuts straight through the length of the Park. The views are good, providing a broad idea of what this park has to offer. Conserve your energy for the section between Berowra Waters and Cowan as there are several solid hills. You can refill the tummy in Berowra Waters with a couple cafes to choose from. Note this walk was re-routed in early 2016 to go via the streets of Hornsby Heights. This re-route is due to the multi-agency decision to close the Fishponds to Steele Bridge section of the Benowie Track. This decision has upset many people and the protest continues.

Maps for the Thornleigh to Cowan walk

You can download the PDF for this walk to print a map.
These maps below cover the walk and the wider area around the walk, they are worth carrying for safety reasons.
Hornsby 1:25 000 Map Series 91304S HORNSBY NSW-91304S
Cowan 1:25 000 Map Series 91304N COWAN NSW-91304N
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Tourist Map 1:40 000 Map Series CMA Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Tourist Map CMA Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Tourist Map
Sydney 1:100 000 Map Series 9130 SYDNEY 9130

Cross sectional view of the Thornleigh to Cowan bushwalking track

Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Thornleigh to Cowan

Daily actual walking time estimates

Day Walking Time Length
1 8 hrs 43 mins 22 km
2 6 hrs 6 mins 14 km

Overview of this walks grade – based on the AS 2156.1 – 2001

Under this standard, a walk is graded based on the most difficult section of the walk.

Length 35.9 km
Time 2 Days

Grade 4/6

Hard track
AS 2156.1 Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Quality of track Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Signs Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Experience Required Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Weather Forecast, unforecast storms and severe weather may impact on navigation and safety (4/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)

Some more details of this walks Grading

Here is a bit more details explaining grading looking at sections of the walk


14km of this walk has short steep hills and another 9km has gentle hills with occasional steps. Whilst another 9km is very steep and the remaining 3.8km is flat with no steps.

Quality of track

17km of this walk follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles and another 9km follows a clear and well formed track or trail. Whilst another 6km follows a rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely and the remaining 3.3km follows a smooth and hardened path.


Around 27km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection, whilst the remaining 9km is clearly signposted.

Experience Required

21km of this walk requires some bushwalking experience and another 13km requires no previous bushwalking experience. The remaining (1.7km) requires a leader a with moderate level of bushwalking experience.


34km of this walk is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation) and another 1.4km is affected by storms that may impact your navigation and safety. The remaining (660m) is affected by forecast, unforecast storms and severe weather events that may impact on navigation and safety.


Around 23km of this walk has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced), whilst the remaining 13km is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats).

Similar walks

A list of walks that share part of the track with the Thornleigh to Cowan walk.

Other Nearby walks

A list of walks that start near the Thornleigh to Cowan walk.

Plan your trip to and from the walk here

The Thornleigh to Cowan walk starts at the Thornleigh Train Station (gps: -33.731949, 151.07815)
Your transport options to Thornleigh Train Station are by;
Train. (get details)
Bus. (get details)
Car. There is free parking available.
(get details)

The Thornleigh to Cowan ends at the Cowan trackhead (gps: -33.593647, 151.17134)
Your transport options to Cowan trackhead are by;
Train. (get details)
Bus. (get details)
Car. There is free parking available.
(get details)

Fire Danger

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.

Weather Forest

This walk starts in the Metropolitan weather district always check the formal BOM forecast or pdf before starting your walk.

Forecast snapshot

Park Information & Alerts



Short URL =

Gallery images
There are other downloads I am still working on.
You will probably need to login to access these — still all free.
* KML (google earth file)
* GPX (GPS file)

Special Maps/ brochures
* A3 topo maps
* PDF with Lands Topo map base
* PDF with arial image (and map overlay)
I wanted to get the main site live first, this extra stuff will come in time.
Happy walking
Matt 🙂