The Glass House Mountains are a chain of steep-sided volcanic plugs, extending from Mount Coochin in the north to Mount Beerburrum (near the town of that name) in the south. The chain reaches westwards to Mt Beerwah, and is approximately 65 km north of central Brisbane. The naming of the Glass House Mountains came about from Lieutenant James Cook's exploration of eastern Australia in 1770. Cook thought that the formations resembled the glass furnace kilns in his native Yorkshire.

Timber cutting was an important early industry in the Glass House Mountains, and in 1890 the North Coast railway line was opened immediately to their east. The village of Glass House Mountains grew around the railway and a State primary school opened in 1910. Toward the end of World War I extensive soldier-settlement orchard blocks were opened up, mainly for pineapples and citrus, with settlement extending south to Beerburrum. Pugh's Queensland directory for 1925 recorded Glass House Mountains village as having a storekeeper, a butcher and a fruiterer; Beerburrum had a medical centre, a school, a hall and a fruit-preserving co-operative. In the longer term, however, many of the soldier-settler farms proved be unviable, leading to abandonment and population decline. Beerburrum's population dwindled from 647 in 1921 to 257 in 1954.

Despite these early agricultural difficulties, pineapple farms continue to operate in the district, and the tourist appeal of the Glass House Mountains has brought trade into the area. There are national parks around several of the mountains, with tracks and lookouts. The Wild Horse Mountain Scenic Lookout has a shuttle bus service.

Glass House Mountains and Beerburrum each has a primary school and a public hall, and adjoining railway stations. With recent population growth Glass House Mountains has acquired a sports complex and residential subdivisions west of the town. The Glass House Mountains National Park was tripled in size in 2010.

The census populations of Glass House Mountains have been:

Census DatePopulation
191172
1947345
1986328
2001656
20061853
20114791