Time:4 hrs
Distance:8km
Fitness:E
Skill:E
Ascent:220m
Maps: LPI Jamison 8930-2N 1:25000
LPI Katoomba 8930-1S 1:25000
Sketch maps: Sketch map 1 PDF
Notes:Print-friendly notes (opens in new window)
Please note that while the maps on this web site are useful and generally contain more, and more accurate, information on trails, the relevant topographic maps should be carried on most walks. These are available from the Lands Information Centre, map shops, and most outdoor stores.

Introduction

On top of one of the pillars of the Ruined Castle

The Ruined Castle is an outcrop of large rocky boulders that lies in the middle of the ridge that runs from Castle Head, off Narrow Neck Peninsula, to Mt Solitary. It is a local high point, jutting out above the surrounding bush, and has 360 degree views of the area. The walk from the Golden Stairs to the Ruined Castle is one of the best easy day walks in the Blue Mountains.

Access

Head along Cliff Dr from Scenic World in Katoomba. After passing several lookouts, turn left into Glenraphael Dr, which immediately turns into a dirt road. Follow the road out along Narrow Neck, and after about 1.8km park at the parking area at the top of the Golden Stairs.

It is also possible to start from the Scenic Railway, either by catching the railway down, or descending the Furber Steps, and then walking along the Federal Pass track past the Landslide to the foot of the Golden Stairs. This adds an approximately 3km of walking each way.

Alternatively, you can walk from Katoomba Station but it is about 4km each way to the parking area. However, there are buses from the station to places where it would be a shorter walk.

Track notes

From 12 Sep 2004, last checked 25 Oct 2015

From the car park, head down the Golden Stairs. A short distance from the top is a good lookout across to the Landslide and Dogface. Dogface (and the Landslide) was formed in 1931 when a large section of cliff fell away, possibly because of previous mining activity.

The Golden Stairs descend steeply and quickly to the Federal Pass walking track below. Turn right at the track junction and head along the track (signposted) towards the Ruined Castle.

The track to the Ruined Castle follows the line of an old shale railway, which used to haul shale from mines out near the Ruined Castle. You can also see coal on the ground at various points from other old mining operations in the area. The track passes into deep rainforest in the shadow of the cliffs, with giant tree ferns and coachwood abounding. After some distance the forest opens out with large eucalypts.

About 2.5km along the trail you reach a toilet on the left of the track, and a track junction, with a sign to the right to the rock formation known as the Ruined Castle. Head up this track. It climbs quickly up to a saddle, and then again to the top of the ridge, where it continues relatively gently to a large collection of rocky boulders. This is the Ruined Castle.

It is fairly straightforward to climb to the highest of these, although some of the smaller ones require an exposed scramble or climb to reach the top. The scenery is superb, with 360 degree views of the Katoomba cliffs as far as Kedumba Walls and the Kings Tableland to the east, Mt Solitary, Lake Burragorang to the south and Narrowneck to the west.

Have lunch here, keeping an eye out for the greedy crows who will make an assault on any unguarded food, before making your way back. For a slightly longer walk, continue along the track towards Mt Solitary, but turn left when you rejoin the Mt Solitary track. This adds an extra kilometre or so to the walk.

Rain water can usually be obtained from the tanks at the NPWS camp site on the east side of the track between the two turnoffs to the Ruined Castle. There is also a toilet and two shelter tables here.

If you are heading back late in the afternoon, the sun should be well-positioned for photos of Dogface near the top of the climb back up the Golden Stairs.

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