Naked flames are banned across all Parks and Conservation Service managed estate (excluding Cotter Campground) until the end of March 2020. View the map of affected areas (PDF 540KB).
As well as being Canberra's largest commercial pine plantation, Kowen Forest is very popular with organised recreation groups including orienteering, bush walking, running, mountain bike riding, horse riding and car rallies.
Size: 4,670 ha
Kowen Forest east hosts the Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships and it has a strong network of trails. Following its initial design as a trail catering to beginners, the later expansion of trails has been developed with the same friendliness in mind. The parking area for Kowen Forest east is just off the Kings Highway which also accesses Sparrow Hill.
Please note the campground may be closed during fire danger periods and adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain.
This map shows the location of Kowen Forest, Molonglo Gorge and Blue Tiles.
Note: If you have difficulty accessing the information in this map please contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
Facilities and activities
- Mountain biking is available nearby at Sparrow Hill.
- Horse riding
- Walking trails
- On leash dog area
- No motor bike riding or 4WD without a permit. To apply for a permit complete an application to use a Public Place
- Gas barbecues
- Picnic tables
- Picnic shelter
Molonglo Gorge to Blue Tiles walking trail
From the Molonglo Gorge Recreation Area, a walking trail follows the river to a small grassed picnic area called Blue Tiles. There is no drinking water available at Blue Tiles, so please ensure you take sufficient water with you. Bins are not provided, so please take your rubbish home with you.
Glenburn heritage precinct
Glenburn heritage precinct is 3.7 kilometres walking distance from the Old Kowen Homestead, heading back along Kowen Road and then connecting with Fernside Road heading south, then on to Charcoal Kiln Road.
See the brochure
The Old Kowen Homestead Recreation Area is located in the Kowen Forest Pine Plantation off Sutton Road, north-east of Canberra on the way to Queanbeyan. Kowen Forest is a locked forest so bookings are essential in order to obtain approval and access to the area.
The scenic and popular Old Kowen Homestead Recreation Area campground is suited to large organised groups and is a great base for events. The campground is accessed via a dirt road 10 km behind locked gates.
Bring your own drinking water and firewood. Fires are only allowed in the permitted fire pits.
Camperes should be aware the campground is surrounded by an active pine plantation with heavy machinery. Please remain within the campground for safety reasons.
- Kowen Forest is a locked forest so bookings are essential to obtain approval and access to the area. To book the area you need to complete an Application to use a Public Place and submit it for approval at least two weeks in advance. Once your application has been considered and approved you will be given the access code to the gate.
- Booking availability depends on forest operations. For further information contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
- $10.00 per adult per night, $8.00 for seniors card holders and $6.50 for concession/student.
- No charge for children under 15 years of age.
- Exclusive use fee: to book the area exclusively there is an additional surcharge of $75.00 per night and you need to complete an Application to use a Public Place and submit it for approval. Once your application has been considered and approved you will be given the access code to the gate.