Howes trail

Yengo National Park

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

Drive through open forests along Howes trail, a must-do 4WD touring route in Yengo National Park.

Where
Yengo National Park
Distance
30km one-way
Time suggested
2hrs 30min
Grade
Hard
Price
Free
Opening times

Howes trail is open at all times, but may have to close due to bad weather or fire danger.

What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • This park is in a remote location, so please ensure you’re well prepared, bring appropriate clothing and equipment and advise a family member or friend of your travel plans.
  • There's limited mobile reception in this park

Whether you’re keen to hit the road on a 4WD tour or explore nature at its best, scenic Howes trail offers an exhilarating day trip. Part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, this beautiful car touring route traces the northern reaches of Yengo National Park, near Windsor.

The 30km driving route is also popular with motorbike and mountain bike riders. Howes trail is an easy 2.5 hour drive through open ironbark forests and for those interested in birdwatching. More than 200 species of birds call Yengo home, including raucous glossy black and gang gang cockatoos and the distinct call of the lyrebird.

Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and pull up along the road to enjoy the remote wilderness. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of wombats or wallaroos darting through the bush.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/4wd-touring-routes/howes-trail/local-alerts

Park info

  • in Yengo National Park in the Sydney and surrounds and North Coast regions
  • Yengo National Park is always open, but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

    The Big Yango precinct of the park is within locked gates and requires a permit to enter.

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Howes trail .

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Howes trail is in the northern area of Yengo National Park. To get there:

    • Travel south 25km along Putty Road from Bulga, where you’ll find the start of the trail just south of Howes Valley.
    • The start of the trail is not clearly marked, so watch out for the red farm gate with the words 'fire trail' marked on it.
    • You can also access the trail from the eastern side of the reserve from Laguna and Wollombi via Yango Creek Road, then Finchley track.

    Park entry points

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Yengo National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

    Autumn

    Try mountain bike-riding around the Mount Yengo loop trail.

    Spring

    Set up camp at either Blue Gums or Mountain Arm campground and enjoy the stunning spring wildflower display.

    Summer

    Great for 4WD touring, experience those amazing sunsets and spectacular views from Finchley lookout.

    Winter

    Make Big Yango House your base to explore the park, enjoy warm days on the veranda and chilly nights by the fireplace.

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    • The weather in the area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well prepared for your visit
    • Check the weather before you set out as Howes trail can become boggy when it rains

    Cycling safety

    Hundreds of cyclists head to our national parks for fun and adventure. If you're riding your bike through a national park, read these mountain biking and cycling safety tips.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Permitted

    Camp fires and solid fuel burners

    You’re encouraged to bring gas or fuel stoves, especially in summer during the fire season.

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Cessnock (45 km)

    Some of the finest wines in the world are created in the Hunter Valley and its towns, gourmet food is acclaimed and luxury, boutique accommodations are matched by the most beautiful natural scenery.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Singleton (18 km)

    Just north of Singleton, at the foot of the Mount Royal Range, Lake St Clair makes a great nature lover's playground. Whether it's swimming, sailing, waterskiing, camping, fishing or picnicking you're after, you'll find it here.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Wollombi (11 km)

    Nature abounds in and around Wollombi, in the Hunter Valley region. Nearby are national parks with great bushwalking trails and lookouts and ancient Aboriginal rock carvings.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Howes trail is in Yengo National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Amazing animal and birdlife

    Small flower on the Circuit Flat walking track, Yengo National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Yengo is home to a great diversity of wildlife, including around 50 species of mammals such as wombats, wallaroos, koalas and gliding possums, and over 200 species of birds. Watch out for the gang gang, yellow-tailed and glossy black cockatoos gliding between the treetops, or see if you can spot a lyrebird darting across bush tracks. Look closely at the steep rugged cliff faces found in the park as you might catch a glimpse of the endangered brush-tailed rock-wallaby.

    • Yango walking track Yango walking track in Yengo National Park takes hikers through pristine wilderness, including rainforest, and offers outstanding views.

    Ancient Aboriginal culture

    Howes trail, Yengo National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Yengo National Park and the surrounding areas have been an important spiritual and cultural place for the Darkinjung and Wonnarua People for thousands of years. No wonder there are over 640 recorded Aboriginal cultural sites in the park and nearby areas. Creation stories recount that Biamie, the ancestral being, stepped off the flat top of Mount Yengo into the sky when he finished his creation. Today, Aboriginal stories and rock engravings connect us with the rich culture of this ancient land and its people.

    • Finchley cultural walk An astonishing wealth of ancient Aboriginal rock art, as well as great insights into Aboriginal history, draws visitors to the Finchley cultural walk.
    • Finchley lookout Finchley lookout offers spectacular views over this remote wilderness area and an insight into the Aboriginal cultural heritage of Yengo National Park.
    • Wollombi Aboriginal culture tours and camps Immerse yourself in the world’s oldest living culture and visit important spiritual and cultural sites in and around Yengo National Park on tours with Wollombi Aboriginal Cultural Experiences and Consultancy.

    Remote wilderness to discover

    Finchley lookout, Yengo National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Yengo offers a range of activities and options for all ages. Unsealed tracks through remote valleys provide opportunities to explore the park on mountain bike or by 4WD. For bushwalkers, there are many options to experience the rugged beauty of the park on foot, with both short walks and overnight walks. In the Big Yango precinct, there are even opportunities for horse riding adventures.

    • Big Yango loop trail Big Yango loop trail is a great activity for 4WD touring and mountain biking when staying at Blue Gums campground, Mountain Arm campground or Big Yango House in Yengo National Park.
    • Howes trail Drive through open forests along Howes trail, a must-do 4WD touring route in Yengo National Park.

    World Heritage wonders

    View of Mount Yengo , Mount Yengo loop trail, Yengo National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Yengo National Park is one of the eight conservation areas that make up the massive Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Covering one million hectares, it was included in the World Heritage list in December 2000 for its remarkable geographic, botanic and cultural values. There are more than 90 different eucalypt species found here - some 13 per cent of all eucalypt species in the world.

    • Howes trail Drive through open forests along Howes trail, a must-do 4WD touring route in Yengo National Park.

    Education resources (1)

    Finchley Lookout, Yengo National Park. Photo: Susan Davis