Cowan to Jerusalem Bay Walking Track

The Cowan to Jerusalem Bay Track meanders through scenic bushland, ending up at a beautiful bay that is perfect for a swim and a picnic.

It’s an easy but, at times, very steep 2.4 km trail down to the bay, where you can enjoy fantastic views overlooking Cowan Creek.

Cowan to Jerusalem Bay Track
Distance: 2.4 km (one way)
Time: 1 hour
Grade: Easy / moderate (steep sections)
Dogs: Not allowed

How to Get to Cowan

As the walking track to Jerusalem Bay starts at the Cowan train station, the best way to get there is by train. It’s a very convenient trip from Sydney Central that takes less than one hour.

On the weekends, you can take advantage of the travel cap on all public transport travel with the Opal card. Cowan train station is serviced by the Central Coast & Newcastle Line.

If you’re travelling by car, free suburban street parking is available close to Cowan train station. There is also a small commuter car park located next to the station.

Once you’ve arrived, cross the tracks at the southern side of the station to get to the other side and follow the signs for Brooklyn and the Great North Walk.

Here is a map of the walk:

Map of the Jerusalem Bay Track

Track Notes

The 2.4 km trail between Cowan and Jerusalem Bay is part of the Great North Walk, a monstrous 250km track between Sydney, Hunter Valley and Newcastle, that only the true adventurers and professional hikers dare to undertake.

Luckily, we don’t have to hike 250 km to see all the beautiful things this part of New South Wales offers. Instead, we can do shorter sections, like the walk to Jerusalem Bay.

The 4 km trail from the Cowan train station to Jerusalem Bay takes around 1 hour to get to the water and about 1.5 hours to return to Cowan.

Starting point of the Jerusalem Bay track
Starting point of the Jerusalem Bay track

Please note that while the track is short, it’s pretty challenging, with some very steep parts (especially at the beginning) and rough and uneven surfaces.

Once you’re at Jerusalem Bay, instead of returning to Cowan, you have the option to continue further north to Brooklyn, which is an extra 10 km.

What’s great is that you can catch the train from Brooklyn station (Hawkesbury River Station) back to Sydney or back to Cowan if your car is parked there.

Start at the Station

The start of the scenic track to Jerusalem Bay is well-signposted from the train station.

Sign at Cowan station to Brooklyn

Follow the signs to Brooklyn and the Great North Walk, cross the rather uninspiring bridge over the noisy motorway, and make your way into the serenity of the forest in front of you.

Pedestrian bridge over the M1 motorway in Cowan
Pedestrian bridge over the M1 motorway in Cowan

The first part of the trail is very steep and rocky, but this slowly evolves into a pleasant forest path.

After about half an hour, you will start seeing glimpses of water as you walk along Cowan Creek towards the bay, past giant gum and eucalyptus trees and little waterfalls.

Walking track to Jerusalem Bay

At this point, it feels like Jerusalem Bay is very close, but there is actually still quite a bit to go before you arrive at the bay.

Jerusalem Bay

Keep following the path until you get to an elevated point where you can enjoy some pretty amazing views over Cowan Creek and Jerusalem Bay.

It’s hard to imagine that the city is less than an hour away, as it just looks and feels like you’re in a little paradise far away from civilisation.

Beautiful Jerusalem Bay
Beautiful Jerusalem Bay

On a warm day, we highly recommend going for a refreshing swim. There are some flat, rocky surfaces around the water’s edge where you can put your towel and belongings down before entering the water.

The quiet and peaceful surroundings of the bay and the trees make swimming here such a unique experience.

Swimming in Jerusalem Bay
Go swimming in Jerusalem Bay

It never really gets busy at Jerusalem Bay, as there is no road access, and you need to have a bit of an adventurous mindset to hike down to the water from Cowan.

Jerusalem Bay and Cowan Creek
Jerusalem Bay and Cowan Creek

The other obvious way to get to the bay is by boat. You will notice quite a few boats floating around the bay, which is quite a pretty sight.

Keen to try out more walks in the area? Check out our list of great hikes in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park for ideas!

More Hiking

There are other walking tracks nearby if you’re keen to explore this beautiful part of the world a bit more.

As mentioned, the walk between Cowan and Jerusalem Bay can be extended to Brooklyn, where you can catch the train back to Cowan or Sydney.

The total distance of this challenging walk is around 13 km, so make sure you come prepared with good hiking shoes and lots of water and snacks.

Another adventurous walking track is the 13km hike between Cowan and Berowra via Berowra Waters.

This challenging walk explores the ridges and valleys around Berowra Waters, with great views and vantage points along the way. Berowra Waters is also a suburb with great accommodation and restaurant options.


Discover Jerusalem Bay in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park


Published: September 20, 2020
Updated: May 12, 2024

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AJ Mens

AJ Mens is a digital publisher based in Sydney, Australia, and the editor-in-chief of Sydney Uncovered and Blue Mountains Uncovered.

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  1. The Cowan to Brooklyn hike is one of the great hikes in Sydney, with some great restaurants, cafes and pubs in Brooklyn catering for hikers, cyclists and fisherfolk.

  2. We walked Cowan you Jerusalem Bay about 6 weeks ago and loved it. A great distance and rewarded by the beautiful views and a decent, challenging track. Went back this weekend to tick off the Cowan to Brooklyn walk. Well, that was a solid 15 km and 4 hour hike. Definitely not for the fainthearted. The last half was fire trail and by then we just wanted to “be there”. Very glad we hadn’t brought any novice hikers with us. Glad to have completed and will walk to Jerusalem Bay again but Brooklyn is only 10 mins on the train from Cowan!

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