The area is renowned for its forests, walks and views. The Mapleton Falls have a sheer drop of 120m, and the viewing platform opens up a magnificent vista of the Mary Valley.
Mapleton Falls National park is home to rare native flora and fauna with walks through breathtaking eucalypt forest and rainforest.
Settlement in the Mapleton area began in 1889 when two brothers, William and Thomas Smith, selected land to plant bananas. The Blackall Range, particularly in the vicinity of Mapleton, had been extensively logged, but settlers had not yet selected land because of the difficulty of the terrain, lack of roads and access to markets for farm produce. Bananas did not prove to be a profitable crop, so the brothers turned to strawberries and citrus. Other settlers joined the Smiths and in 1893 a postal service was established at Lutonvale Orchard. The name of the district was briefly Luton as a consequence, but it was changed to Mapleton in 1894. The farmers established a close relationship with nearby Dulong, forming the Mapleton and Dulong Famers’ and Fruitgrowers’ Association in c1898.
The produce of the district was first taken to Woombye, and then later, Nambour. The first tracks from the settlement down the range were rudimentary, so much so that it was not until 1894 that the first wheeled vehicle could make the journey. A school was established in 1899, illustrating modest growth in the district, and a sawmill was opened in the town in 1909. Mapleton received a major boost with the construction of a tramway linking it and Dulong with Nambour in 1915. Plans for the tramway were first mooted in the 1890s, especially following the opening of the Moreton Central Sugar Mill in Nambour in 1897. Indeed, the tramway to Mapleton began from the terminus of the mill's private tramway at Kureelpa. The tramway made the transport of produce to Nambour and thence the North Coast Railway more efficient than by road. The roads, and road transport, nonetheless improved and as a consequence the tramway was closed in 1944 and the tracks were removed in 1945.
The district became noted for other industries. Dairying and timber were important, and a State Forest was established near Mapleton in the 1920s. Mapleton also became popular as a resort for the convalescent and tourists. It was promoted as a sanatorium in the early twentieth century; sanatoriums were generally associated with convalescing patients and they were often located in mountains as people associated the mountain air with improved health.
The district (and the Blackall Range more generally) also benefited from tourism more generally. Mapleton was the gateway to the so-called ‘Queensland’s Blue Mountains’ and the district, and the Mapleton Falls in particular, has remained popular since the early twentieth century. The first hotel to take advantage of tourism in thedistrict was the Ocean View Hotel, opened in 1910.