Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail

The Cairns railway was built to connect the port of Cairns with the Herberton tin fields. The corridors in the Tablelands all connected to that line, reflecting the early practice of the Railway Department of building branch railways into rural areas to stimulate settlement and primary industry.

The Tolga to Atherton section of the Cairns to Ravenshoe railway line was opened in 1903 and a branch line from Tolga to Yungaburra opened in 1910. Part of this branch line was relocated in 1957 to avoid inundation from the construction of Tinaroo Dam. This relocation included the construction of substantial bridges over the Barron River and Peterson Creek. The branch line was subsequently closed in 1964.

The abandonment of railway lines on the Atherton Tablelands reflected the downturn in Queensland’s rail traffic in response to improved road networks and increasing car ownership, and that saw the closure of uneconomical branch railways.

We are always looking for volunteers to carry out trail maintenance while staying fit, enjoying the trail, making new friends, being involved and using their skills. Register your interest.

The Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail is for use by walkers, cyclists and horseriders. Motorbikes and vehicles are prohibited and penalties apply.  Trail users enter and use the trail at their own risk. We do not accept responsibility for safety of trail users.

Follow the Code of Conduct while using the Rail Trail.

  • Shut all gates after use.
  • Do not obstruct the trail.
  • Cyclists must alert other users to their approach and pass at a reduced speed.
  • Approach horses with care.
  • Park in designated areas.
  • Heed signs and regulation.
  • Keep dogs on a lead and under control.
  • Keep on the trail.
  • Do not interfere with native plants or animals.
  • Take your rubbish with you.
  • Dismount at road crossings.
  • Do not approach pets or livestock on adjacent properties.
  • Carry plenty of water and light snacks
  • Wear appropriate clothing and safety equipment.