Browns Forest loop trail
Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve
An easy walk in unspoilt blue gum forest, Browns Forest loop trail, in Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve, St Ives, offers great birdwatching and is a great walk for kids.
- Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve
- No wheelchair access
- 1.3km loop
- Time suggested
- 30min - 1hr
- Grade 3
- What to
- Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
- Please note
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go birdwatching
- It’s a good idea to wear insect repellent and long-sleeved clothing, as ticks are known to be present in the area.
If you’ve ever wondered what Sydney looked like before the city took over, then head to Browns Forest loop trail, in the North Sydney suburb of St Ives. Immerse yourself in unspoilt bushland within Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve by taking advantage of its short and easy walking track. Just 30 minutes north of the CBD, it’s ideal for birdwatching enthusiasts, nature-lovers and botanists, and is a great walk for kids.
You’ll enter a forest of majestic blue gums and magnificent blackbutts that hark back to pre-colonial times with a lush understorey of ferns. Following the clearly signposted path, the kids will enjoy the self-guided series of interpretation signs.
In the spring, the ground cover of native flowers, such as the blue flax lily and pastel flower, burst into a colourful display. Any time of year, you’ll hear the chatter of birds such as rainbow lorikeets, crimson rosellas and king parrots echoing through the bush.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/browns-forest-loop-trail/local-alerts
- National Parks Contact Centre
- 7am to 7pm daily
- 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS) for the cost of a local call within Australia excluding mobiles
- in Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve in the Sydney and surrounds region
Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve is open sunrise to sunset but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
All the practical information you need to know about Browns Forest loop trail.
Grade 3Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
30min - 1hr
Quality of markings
Clearly sign posted
Short steep hills
Quality of path
Formed track, some obstacles
No experience required
Getting there and parking
Get driving directions
Browns Forest loop trail is in Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve. To get there from Sydney:
- Drive north from the CBD along Pacific Highway, turn right onto Mona Vale Road, just past Gordon, and continue for 2km.
- Turn right onto Rosedale Road, just north of St Ives shopping centre, and drive for 1km.
- Look for the sign to the reserve, park at the southern end and walk in.
Parking is available along Rosedale Road, and at a small carpark off Mona Vale Road.
Best times to visit
There are lots of great things waiting for you in Dalrymple-Hay National Park. Here are some of the highlights.
Autumn is a great time of year to view the abundant birdlife such as pardalotes, lorikeets and silver-eyes.
A great time for a walking through the forest as native flowers, such as the blue flax lily and a range of orchids, burst with colour.
On a hot Sydney afternoon, retreat to the cool forest with an understorey of lush ferns.
A brisk early morning walk along the short steep track is a great way to get your heart pumping and ward off the winter chill.
Weather, temperature and rainfall
17.5°C and 25.9°C
8°C and 17.8°C
The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day
Maps and downloads
Disability access level - no wheelchair access
Browns Forest loop trail is in Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
The reserve is part of the traditional lands of Aboriginal people whose Country stretched from the northern shores of Sydney Harbour to Broken Bay in the north. This fertile bushland would have supported large numbers of grazing animals such as wallabies, making it an important hunting ground.
Best practice bush care
Dalrymple is a showpiece for best practice bush regeneration in blue gum forest. So if you enjoy getting your hands dirty, and want to help preserve this precious tract of bushland, join the regular bush regeneration workings bees. For more information on their regular gatherings, email the Bushcare coordinator or phone (02) 9410 3998.
This natural bushland has remained largely untouched since colonisation. This forest is an important breeding ground for a range of animals that hunt and feed at night. Here, you'll find nocturnal species such as possums, sugar gliders as well as both powerful and boobook owls. It's not just a haven for animals and birdlife. Due to its largely undisturbed state, nature enthusiasts, botanists and researchers flock to the area to study this special patch of forest.
Named after Richard Dalrymple-Hay, the first Commissioner for forests, he acquired the tract of largely uncleared land for a demonstration forest. When it was discovered, the land was not large enough to log economically, so it was left untouched. Luckily for us, it's preserved for future generations to enjoy.