• Walk
  • Map
Time:4 hrs
Distance:6 km
Ascent:400 m
Maps: LPI Colo Heights 9031-3N 1:25000
Bob Buck Colo River Sketch Map 1:50000
Sketch maps: Sketch map 1 PDF
Notes:Print-friendly notes (opens in new window)
Please note that while the maps on this web site are useful and generally contain more, and more accurate, information on trails, the relevant topographic maps should be carried on most walks. These are available from the Lands Information Centre, map shops, and most outdoor stores.


Savage Ridge, opposite Canoe Creek on the Colo River

Canoe Creek is a challenging day walk or easy overnight walk to where it joins the Colo River. As with almost all Colo River walks there is a steep climb in and out. However, the climb is well worthwhile, as the Colo Wilderness is a fantastic place, and this walk takes you to its edge. It would be good in summer as the canopy gives you some protection from the sun on the climbs, and the river offers a place to cool off in between.


Canoe Creek is accessed from the Grassy Hill Fire Trail. Drive north on the Putty Rd for 16km past the Caltex service station at Colo Heights. The fire trail is on your left, although it can be very hard to spot, particularly at speed. It is usually signposted, but the signs are not necessarily visible from the road.

Turn on to the fire trail and follow it until you reach a gate after 8.5km. The quality of the fire trail depends on how recently it has been graded. In general, 2WD vehicles will be able to negotiate the trail, but low clearance vehicles may have difficulty.

Park your car in the clearing just before the gate at the wilderness boundary.

Track notes

From 26 May 2001, last checked 07 May 2016

The walk can be done as a day walk, or as an easy overnight walk. However, the 400m descent to the Colo puts a bit more strain on the knees with a full pack.

Note that the maps for this walk are often wrong or unhelpful. The car park is in fact in the saddle at GDA752158 (Colo Heights map), whereas on a number of printed guides it is marked closer to the Putty Rd. On the old edition (1st edition) topographic map, the fire trail beyond the barrier is marked completely incorrectly, as the actual trail is much lower down, to the east of the ridge. On the 2nd edition topographic map the fire trail is not marked at all beyond the barrier, although the barrier is at least marked correctly. On more recent topographic maps the fire trail is marked correctly. As a result, regardless of the map you are using, it is strongly recommended that you carry a copy of the sketch map on this site as well.

From the car park, follow the fire trail down the hill, contouring in and out of the gullies. After about 1.5km, the trail takes a right hand bend, heads up a longish hill and opens out into a clearing at a second right hand bend (GDA743145). Look for a small foot track off to the left.

The track is vague in places, and care must be taken not to stray too far from it. It general follows the ridge into Canoe Creek, heading for the junction with the first side creek. The track heads south, swinging around to the south east. The track winds downwards, getting progressively steeper until you reach Canoe Creek. Towards the bottom, it follows a small gully down to Canoe Creek, either in the gully or on the left side.

The track then continues along the right hand bank of Canoe Creek to a lookout over the Colo. There are a number of small scrambles along the way, including one tricky one just after you reach Canoe Creek. As you near the Colo, stay high to reach a good lookout with views across to the magnificent Savage Ridge, and upstream on the Colo River. About 5m back from the lookout, a steep track descends to the junction of Canoe Creek with the Colo.

To return you can simply retrace your route, although there are a number of other passes and routes out of Canoe Creek. Experienced walkers should consult Bob Buck's Colo River Sketch Map. Be aware that many of the routes are not straightforward and require some effort and possibly exposed rock scrambling to find.

Looking down the Colo towards the Canoe Creek junction

Walk variations

Canoe Creek (overnight)

Time: 2 days Distance: 6 km Fitness: E Skill: EM Ascent: 400 m

As above, but as an overnight walk. There is a small campsite in the shade on the eastern bank, and a usually large sandbank on the western side of the river.

Related walks

Mountain Lagoon Loop via Colo Meroo and Tootie Creek

Time: 2 days Distance: 29 km Fitness: MH Skill: M Ascent: 520 m

A challenging river walk along the lower reaches of the Colo River.

Crawfords Lookout to Dooli Creek

Time: 2 days Distance: 21 km Fitness: M Skill: MH Ascent: 460 m

A challenging walk through some of the best scenery in the upper Colo River.

Crawfords Lookout

Time: 2 hrs Distance: 8 km Fitness: E Skill: EM Ascent: 240 m

A short walk to a spectacular lookout over Wollemi Creek and the upper Colo River.

Colo Meroo

Time: 2 days Distance: 24 km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 580 m

Good views of the Colo River on the way to this excellent camp ground by the river itself

Tootie Creek (T3 Track)

Time: 4 hrs Distance: 6 km Fitness: M Skill: EM Ascent: 500 m

A steep but short and spectacular walk to the Colo River at its junction with Tootie Creek

Bob Turners Track

Time: 2 hrs Distance: 6 km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 280 m

One of the easiest routes to the Colo River. A lovely pool and beach make it a delightful spot for swimming, although it is a decent climb in and out.

Personal reports

15-16/12/2018 - Colo River: Grassy Hill FT - Pass 11(a) - Colo River - Canoe Creek (C) - Pass 13 - Grassy Hill FT [SBW]: Met Vivien, Emmanuelle, Andrew and J at the campsite, and Alex arrived later via our route. We all walked out together the next day. (photos)

07-08/05/2016 - Canoe Creek: Grassy Hill FT - Pass 13 - Canoe Creek - Colo River (C) - Pass 13 - Grassy Hill FT - Alidade Ridge - Grassy Hill FT: followed the fire trail to its end, then up on to the ridge and back to the car (photos)

16-17/05/2015 - Colo River: Canoe Creek - Colo River - Savage Pass (Pass 17) - Savage Ridge (C) - unnamed creek (abseil) - Colo River - Canoe Creek (photos)

02-03/04/2011 - Colo River Passes: Grassy Hill FT - Canoe Creek - Colo River - Savage Pass (Pass 17) - Savage Ridge (C) - Pass 17b - Colo River - Little Pass - ridge and old FT - Grassy Hill FT [SBW] (photos)

24/02/2008 - Colo River Lilo: Grassy Hill FT - unnamed creek to north - Pass 11a - Colo River - Canoe Creek - Grassy Hill FT (report | photos)

21-23/01/2005 - Colo River - Canoe Creek to Bob Turners Track: Grassy Hill Fire Trail - Canoe Creek - Colo River - Wollangambe River (C) - Mailes Cave - Bob Turners Track (report | photos)

04-05/08/2004 - Canoe Creek: Grassy Hill FT - Canoe Creek (C) - Pass 15 - Grassy Hill FT: We were aiming to get to Mt Savage but failed to find the pass. Previous recon had got us to the top but by a hairy route which I assumed was not the pass. However, it does appear to be the route after all (report | photos)

03-04/08/2003 - Canoe Creek: Overnight so we could spend some time looking around. Made a couple of very hairy ascents and descents of Savage Ridge before finding a handline at the bottom around the other side (photos)

26-27/05/2001 - Canoe Creek: Grassy Hill FT - (C) Canoe Ck - return (report)