Overview

Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains National Park

Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains National Park

Blue Mountains National Park is one of New South Wales' best known parks, and at over 247,000 ha is also one of the biggest. It is just 50km to the west of Sydney, and is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area which protects over a million hectares of land. It offers much to both the keen bushwalker and the casual tourist. The edge of the park is relatively developed in areas with information centres, constructed walking tracks and picnic areas. Yet in the interior there is a huge amount of rugged, relatively unexplored country with spectacular gorges and canyons, soaring cliffs and forested ridges. Opportunities abound for bushwalking, mountain biking, canyoning, abseiling, climbing and caving in the park.

Access

The shape of the park is such that there are many access points to its edge, and a number to well inside. Bells Line of Road is the major access to the northern section of the park, and to the north side of the Grose Valley. The Great Western Highway gives access to all of the towns along the main ridge, including Katoomba, and there are many fire trails off to the north and south of it. The south western side of the park is accessed via the Colong to Oberon Stock Route, and on the south side access is available along Wombeyan Caves Rd.

The towns on the Great Western Highway can also be reached by train, although it may be a bit of a walk from the station to the cliffs where most walks begin. Some larger towns such as Katoomba and Blackheath may have bus services that can get you closer to the starts of walks.

Activities

Bushwalking

Due to its size, walks from one day up to a week or more can be easily envisaged in the park. The most popular areas for day walking are the well formed tracks around Katoomba and Leura, due to the tourist influence. The most popular overnight walk is down to the Blue Gum Forest, often regarded as the birthplace of the conservation movement in NSW. However, regular bushwalkers tend to avoid those areas because of the crowds. Mt Solitary and the Wild Dog Mountains are other favoured destinations, although keen walkers will head for places like the Blue Breaks and the Wollangambe Wilderness where time permits.

Canyoning

There are several important areas for canyoning in the Blue Mountains. Some of the oldest known canyons such as the Grand Canyon and Empress Canyon are on the south side of the Grose Valley not far from Katoomba. There are numerous other canyons in this area. Quite a number of canyons also exist on the north side of the Grose Valley. Further east, the Carmarthen Labyrinth contains one of the most popular abseiling canyons in Claustral. And to the north, the Mt Wilson region has the most popular canyon in Wollangambe, as well as many other easily accessible ones. North of the Wollangambe River, the Wollangambe Wilderness holds many less frequently visited canyons, which lie in wait for the adventurous.

Mountain Biking

Quite a number of good rides exist in the Blue Mountains, although the Sydney Water Catchment Area and Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness block off one of the best - from Katoomba to Mittagong. The Oaks Fire Trail, from Woodford to Glenbrook, and Anderson's Fire Trail from Wentworth Falls to Woodford are two of the most popular. The fire trails north and south of the Great Western Highway provide some good routes, and some loop rides are possible if you are prepared to push/carry your bike short distances!

Liloing

Liloing is very popular in the canyons around the Mt Wilson area, in particular Wollangambe River, Bell Creek and DuFaurs Creek. The Kowmung can also be liloed in certain sections and I have heard reports of people liloing Coxs River. Most other waterways are a bit shallow and rocky to make liloing worthwhile.

Walks

Rigby Hill

Time: 1 hr Distance: 2km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 60m

An easy and short walk to a fantastic lookout over the Grose Valley.

Bell to Wollangambe Crater

Time: 2 days Distance: 18km Fitness: EM Skill: M Ascent: 490m

A relatively easy introduction to the Wollangambe Wilderness. Navigation is reasonably straightforward and there is not too much rock scrambling.

Nellies Glen and the Devils Hole

Time: 4 hrs Distance: 10km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 450m

A relatively easy walk to a couple of interesting places, although there may be some road sections depending on the route you take.

Blue Gum Forest via Evans Lookout and Perrys Lookdown

Time: 2 days Distance: 20km Fitness: M Skill: EM Ascent: 750m

The classic walk into the Blue Gum Forest, with camping on grassy flats under the magnificent blue gums

Medlow Bath to Blackheath Glen

Time: 3 hrs Distance: 7km Fitness: E Skill: M Ascent: 370m

An interesting walk into the Megalong Valley on old tracks.

Medlow Bath to the Colosseum

Time: 2 hrs Distance: 4km Fitness: E Skill: EM Ascent: 170m

Visit a delightful natural amphitheatre on old tracks.

Kanuka Brook

Time: 5 hrs Distance: 11km Fitness: EM Skill: M Ascent: 170m

An excellent day walk in the lower Blue Mountains following both ridges and creeks.

Medlow Bath - Glen Rosa Track

Time: 3 hrs Distance: 5km Fitness: E Skill: M Ascent: 120m

An interesting walk exploring some rough old tracks below Medlow Bath

Medlow Bath Cliff Tracks

Time: 3 hrs Distance: 8km Fitness: E Skill: EM Ascent: 90m

Excellent views from the cliff top tracks of Medlow Bath below the impressive Hydro Majestic

Erskine Creek

Time: 2 days Distance: 13km Fitness: E Skill: M Ascent: 200m

An excellent one or two day walk in the Lower Blue Mountains with a beautiful swimming hole and a choice of campsites.

Kanangra to Carlon's Farm (Green Gully)

Time: 3 days Distance: 36km Fitness: M Skill: M Ascent: 1380m

A variant on one of the classic Blue Mountains walks - finishing at Carlon's Farm below Blackheath, rather than at Katoomba

Magdala Creek

Time: 4 hrs Distance: 11km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 200m

A pleasant summer walk along shady paths, with a short climb to a good lookout.

Castle Head

Time: 2 hrs Distance: 6km Fitness: E Skill: EM Ascent: 60m

Excellent panoramic views from this easy-to-visit lookout off Narrow Neck Peninsula

Ruined Castle

Time: 4 hrs Distance: 8km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 220m

360 degree views from the top of the Ruined Castle, one of the best easy day walks in the Blue Mountains.

Mt Solitary traverse

Time: 2 days Distance: 20km Fitness: M Skill: EM Ascent: 1120m

An excellent overnight walk with good views of Lake Burragorang and beyond, and options for camp cave camping.

Kanangra to Katoomba

Time: 3 days Distance: 45km Fitness: MH Skill: M Ascent: 1350m

An excellent crossing of the southern Blue Mountains with a variety of scenery

Faulconbridge Ridge to the Grose River

Time: 5 hrs Distance: 17km Fitness: M Skill: EM Ascent: 410m

A longish day walk to visit a great lookout and a beautiful swimming hole

Mt Banks

Time: 5 hrs Distance: 15km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 200m

A climb of one of the prominent peaks of the Blue Mountains, with excellent views of the Grose Valley from its slopes.

Hanging Rock and Baltzer Lookout

Time: 4 hrs Distance: 11km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 100m

An easy walk to the impressive Hanging Rock near Blackheath, and to Baltzer Lookout over the Grose Valley

Lockley Pylon

Time: 2 hrs Distance: 7km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 40m

An easy walk to impressive views over the Grose Valley and Govetts Gorge.

Victoria Falls

Time: 2 hrs Distance: 4km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 360m

A short but steep walk to a series of pretty cascades on Victoria Creek.

Breakfast Creek and Ironmonger Hill

Time: 5 hrs Distance: 13km Fitness: M Skill: M Ascent: 600m

A good introduction to the Wild Dog Mountains. Some creek hopping and ridge walking add variety to some spectacular scenery.

Glenbrook to Springwood

Time: 2 days Distance: 20km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 530m

An excellent walk in the lower Blue Mountains following both ridges and creeks.

Redledge Pass

Time: 5 hrs Distance: 11km Fitness: EM Skill: M Ascent: 440m

An interesting trip exploring of one of the old miners' passes of Narrow Neck, with good views of the Megalong Valley

Tarros Ladder and Carlon Head

Time: 5 hrs Distance: 16km Fitness: M Skill: H Ascent: 500m

A challenging walk visiting two of the climbing passes of Narrow Neck

Tesselated Pavements

Time: 2 hrs Distance: 5km Fitness: E Skill: EM Ascent: 60m

An interesting walk to an interesting patterned rock shelf with great views of the nearby creek valleys

Wollangambe River

Time: 3 hrs Distance: 7km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 320m

A pleasant walk to a spectacular section of the wild Wollangambe River

Grand Canyon Loop

Time: 4 hrs Distance: 7km Fitness: E Skill: EM Ascent: 240m

An excellent walk showcasing a variety of the best scenery in the Blue Mountains.

Mt Solitary return

Time: 5 hrs Distance: 14km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 610m

A slightly more challenging day walk than the Ruined Castle, with views to the south

The River Caves

Time: 2 hrs Distance: 3km Fitness: E Skill: M Ascent: 160m

An easy but impressive canyon that can be done as a bushwalk

Govetts Leap and the Horse Track

Time: 7 hrs Distance: 13km Fitness: M Skill: EM Ascent: 630m

Visit some of the most spectacular parts of the Grose Valley on this challenging but rewarding walk.

Dunphys Pass and Harmil Ledge

Time: 6 hrs Distance: 10km Fitness: EM Skill: MH Ascent: 410m

An excellent walk along two of the shale ledge passes of Narrow Neck, with great views on a clear day

Blue Gum Forest via Du Faur Head

Time: 6 hrs Distance: 12km Fitness: M Skill: EM Ascent: 650m

A challenging and scenic route in to the Blue Gum Forest

Mitchells Creek

Time: 8 hrs Distance: 16km Fitness: M Skill: MH Ascent: 480m

An interesting walk exploring one of the lesser known passes of Narrow Neck

Coxs River - Six Foot Track

Time: 5 hrs Distance: 14km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 290m

A pleasant, easy walk to one of the most accessible sections of the Coxs River

Empire Pass

Time: 3 hrs Distance: 8km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 160m

A delightful walk on a historic track, visiting the waterfalls of North Lawson

Splendour Rock

Time: 2 days Distance: 24km Fitness: EM Skill: M Ascent: 640m

A walk with lots of variety, visiting a famous lookout and home of the Bushwalkers War Memorial

Walls Pass

Time: 9 hrs Distance: 16km Fitness: M Skill: MH Ascent: 540m

A challenging descent of one of the more difficult passes of Narrow Neck

Popes Glen and Braeside Tracks

Time: 3 hrs Distance: 9km Fitness: E Skill: E Ascent: 170m

A long and challenging climb to the summit of this cliff-ringed peak, with spectacular views

Colliers Causeway

Time: 4 hrs Distance: 9km Fitness: E Skill: EM Ascent: 200m

A walk with lots of variety around and under the cliffs on the west side of Blackheath

Knights Deck

Time: 8 hrs Distance: 16km Fitness: MH Skill: M Ascent: 1080m

An excellent walk visiting two spectacular lookouts in the Wild Dog Mountains

Mt Mouin

Time: 6 hrs Distance: 15km Fitness: M Skill: EM Ascent: 640m

A solid walk to the highest of the peaks in the Wild Dogs, with great views

National Pass

Time: 4 hrs Distance: 7km Fitness: EM Skill: E Ascent: 290m

One of the best and most popular walks in the Blue Mountains, with a great variety of scenery and spectacular views

Vera and Hippocrene Falls

Time: 5 hrs Distance: 9km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 580m

A good walk on some of the less visited tracks around Wentworth Falls

Wentworth and Roberts Pass

Time: 4 hrs Distance: 12km Fitness: EM Skill: EM Ascent: 320m

An interesting walk on some of the lesser known tracks around Wentworth Falls

Asgard Plateau

Time: 7 hrs Distance: 17km Fitness: EM Skill: M Ascent: 350m

Superb views of the upper Grose Valley, and a good mix of on track and easy off track walking in this less visited area

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