|Maps:||LPI Katoomba 8930-1S 1:25000|
The descent from Govetts Leap via the Govetts Leap Track is probably the most impressive of the regular routes in to the Grose Valley, descending a series of ledges via narrow tracks and stairs cut into the cliff face, with views of the highest single drop waterfall in the Blue Mountains. Combined with an exit via the historic Horse Track, and taking in a short section of off track walking to the beautiful Edenderry Falls and pool makes for an excellent day in the bush.
The walk is best in autumn or late spring to allow for swimming at the pool below Edenderry Falls, while not being too warm for the 650m climb out of the valley.
The walk can be done in either direction. The direction suggested is best, as the Govetts Leap waterfall is in the sun in the morning, while the climb up the Horse Track is in the shade in the afternoon.
The walk begins at the car park at Govetts Leap in Blackheath.
Driving west on the A32 (Great Western Highway) from Katoomba or Sydney, turn right at the set of lights in Blackheath, and follow Govetts Leap Rd to the end at the Govetts Leap lookout car park.
If you are catching the train, alight at Blackheath Station, and head right out of the station. Cross at the lights and continue down the road for 3km to the Govetts Leap lookout. There are very infrequent buses that head to Govetts Leap from Blackheath town, or you could catch a taxi.
From 03 May 2009, last checked 03 May 2009
Start the walk at the car park at Govetts Leap. Descend the Govetts Leap track to the foot of Govetts Leap Falls - sometimes known as Bridal Veil Falls - and continue from there down to Junction Rock. The track is described in detail below.
From Junction Rock, head upstream on the Rodriguez Pass Track alongside Govetts Creek. Note the two turn offs to the Horse Track as described in the notes below, and continue for another 600m to just before the Greaves Creek junction. Just before the track swings away from Govetts Creek, leave the Rodriguez Pass Track and scramble down to the creek. Cross Govetts Creek downstream of the junction, walk upstream a little way, and then cross back. This should bring you to a fairly open clearing with a small camping area (Syncarpia). A rough track leads upstream on the south side of Govetts Creek for 800m through the impressive Blackwall Glen to Edenderry Falls. Edenderry Falls are a delightful set of falls tumbling into a beautiful pool. If the weather is warm the pool is well worth a dip, and the falls are a pleasant spot for lunch.
After lunch retrace your steps back to the main Rodriguez Pass Track and head down to where the Horse Track starts, at the large gum tree with the metal sign affixed. Follow the Horse Track up to Evans Lookout. The Horse Track is described in detail below.
At Evans Lookout, it is also worth visiting the Valley View Lookout, before taking the Cliff Top Track towards Govetts Leap. At the junction with the Braeside Walk, cross the creek at the bridge and continue back to Govetts Leap.
Govetts Leap Track
The Govetts Leap Track is one of the most spectacular tracks in the Blue Mountains. It descends over 200m down the cliff face to the north of the 180m Govetts Leap Falls. It is not the track for people with a fear of heights, as for much of the track only the metal rail stands between you and a large drop.
From Govetts Leap Lookout, head down the track to the left. There are a couple of intersections near the top, so follow signs to the falls. Other tracks head to Horseshoe Falls and Pulpit Rock. The track then starts descending steeply, with stairs cut into the side of the cliff, and narrow ledges with metal rails. At one point the track descends through a hole in the rock via a steep set of metal stairs. Small landslips are common across the track, and short sections may be covered in mud at any point in time. As you near the bottom the slope becomes more gentle, until you reach the pool at the foot of the massive waterfall.
Below the falls, the track continues downstream to Junction Rock. Pick it up on the right hand side of Govetts Leap Creek. It crosses four more times before you reach an open rocky area with signs to Evans Lookout and Acacia Flat. Scramble down to the right of the small falls, and walk along the right hand side of the creek for 50m to Junction Rock.
Of the commonly used tracks into or out of the Upper Grose Valley, the Horse Track is probably the least well known. For some odd reason the NPWS discourages its use. This is odd as it offers a relatively safe exit from the valley in the event of flood. The Horse Track climbs up to Evans Lookout via the ridge west of Greaves Creek, leaving the Rodriguez Pass Track near Hayward Gully. It was probably an aboriginal track, and was used by white men in the middle of the 1800s. The track was improved by explosives and earth moving in 1925 for packhorse access to mining leases.
Coming from the valley, there are two start points to the Horse Track, which converge after a short distance. If you are coming south from Junction Rock on the Rodriguez Pass Track, the first leaves the main track from behind a wooden NPWS sign board. The second leaves from a large gum tree with a metal sign affixed to it, and a white arrow painted on the sign. A short distance from the main track these join, and head down across a creek (Hayward Gully). The track then climbs up the open ridge along a series of switchbacks. About half way up it heads left across a small gully and then traverses left for almost a kilometre across the slope, the surrounding bush getting denser and greener. Below an obvious gap in the cliffs above the track zig zags up, passing through a gate to reach a small saddle. There is a superb lookout just up to the left from the saddle. Cross over to the other side of the saddle, and follow the track to a track junction with several signs. This is the main track between Evans Lookout and the Grand Canyon. Follow the signs up to Evans Lookout.
Descending from Evans Lookout, start by following signs towards the Grand Canyon. At an NPWS sign that points right to Grand Canyon, Neates Glen and Grose Valley via Rodriguez Pass, continue straight on, past another sign saying "Horse Track Route only. Track is rough and hard to find." and down to a small saddle. There is an excellent lookout from the rocky outcrop on the other side of the saddle. Continue down, through a gate, and follow a series of switchbacks down the steep hill. After descending for a while, the track contours to the left across the slope for about a kilometre before zigzagging down the now more open ridge. Near the bottom, just after crossing a small creek, the track forks. Both forks lead to the main Rodriguez Pass Track, the left one at a wooden NPWS sign, and the other at a large gum tree with a metal sign with a white arrow.