Time:3 hrs
Distance:9km
Fitness:E
Skill:E
Ascent:170m
Maps: LPI Katoomba 8930-1S 1:25000
LPI Mount Wilson 8930-1N 1:25000
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

Waterfall near the Braeside Track

The loop walk involving the Popes Glen and Braeside Tracks is a pleasant and easy, but spectacular walk. They are linked by sections of the Pulpit Rock Track and Cliff Top Track that meet at the Govetts Leap Lookout.

The track is reasonably well signposted, with maps and signboards at the major intersections.

Access

The walk begins at Blackheath Station.

Track notes

From 30 Aug 2009, last checked 20 Jun 2010

From Blackheath Station, cross the Great Western Highway, and walk down Gardiner Cr to the Memorial Park. Follow the path down through the park, past the duck pond, and turn left at the bottom on to Prince Edward St. Follow Prince Edward St around to the right as it becomes Wills St and then zigzags into Dell St. Shortly after it becomes Dell St, look out for a sign and track on your right to Popes Glen.

The track is fairly gently graded and easy to follow, angling down into the Popes Glen Valley. The creek can be heard trickling away down to your right, through a ferny understory. Ignore a small track crossing the main one after about 300m, one branch of which leads left up to Dell St, the other across the creek to the right to Clarence Rd.

Another 200m along, the track crosses over the creek to the south on a small bridge. About the same distance again, ignore a side track to the left that crosses over the creek on another bridge, which leads up an eroded track to Connaught Rd and Rodriguez Ave. The main track continues along to a sharp right hand bend in the creek, where it crosses over at another bridge, before crossing back again after a few hundred metres. A short way after this, a signposted track junction is reached. The side track leads down to Boyds Beach, a small sandy area on the side of a pleasant pool.

Govetts Leap Falls from Barrow Lookout, with the Govetts Leap Track snaking down the cliff

Continuing along the main track for a short distance, you reach an impressive pagoda overlooking the creek, which has dropped some way below the track. From here it is easy walking past a small waterfall to the junction with the Pulpit Rock Track. If you have time to spare, it is about an hour each way out to Pulpit Rock. Otherwise, take the track towards Govetts Leap.

It climbs up steeply out of the Popes Glen Creek valley on to the cliff top, and winds past a number of lookouts before a track junction. Right is the easiest way up to Govetts Leap Lookout.

From the lookout, continue along the cliffs on the Cliff Top Track. This descends steeply after a short distance into Govetts Leap Brook, crossing the creek on stepping stones. The Braeside Track leaves the main track here, but it is worth the short detour along the Cliff Top Track to Barrow Lookout, where there are great views of the Govetts Leap Track clinging to the cliff as it winds its way to the foot of Govetts Leap Falls.

Return to the junction and follow the Braeside Track upstream. The track is fairly easy going, and leads up to an old railway water supply dam and small waterfall before climbing out on to the Braeside Fire Trail.

Turn right, and follow the fire trail back to the sealed road at Cross St. Turn left, and then take the third right into Boreas St. Rejoin Govetts Leap Rd at the T-intersection, and follow it back to the highway and Blackheath Station.

View from a lookout near the Popes Glen Track

Related walks

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

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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

Govetts Leap and the Horse Track

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

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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

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

Personal reports

20/06/2010 - Popes Glen: Blackheath - Popes Glen - Govetts Leap - Fairfax Heritage Track - Blackheath (photos)