17 Best Walks in the Blue Mountains

Last updated: July 27, 2022

We have listed the 17 best Blue Mountains walks, from easy family-friendly walking tracks to challenging full-day hikes.

With so many beautiful trails, the Blue Mountains is a true paradise for bushwalkers, taking in scenic waterfalls, deep valleys, and many lookout points that offer panoramic views.

The best way to explore all that natural goodness is by hiking, which is why we are sharing the 17 best walking tracks in the greater Blue Mountains region.

Top 17 Blue Mountains Walks:

Walk Distance
1 Three Sisters Walk 1 km (return)
2 Katoomba Falls Round Walk 2 km (circuit)
3 Walls Lookout Walking Track 2 km (return)
4 South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk 2.5 km (circuit)
5 Mount Banks Summit Walk 2.5 km (return)
6 Valley of the Waters Walking Track 2.5 km (return)
7 Lapstone Zig Zag Walk 3 km (return)
8 Overcliff Undercliff Track 4 km (circuit)
9 Dardanelles Pass Circuit Walk 5 km (circuit)
10 Cliff Top Walking Track 6 km (return)
11 Grand Canyon Walk 6 km (circuit)
12 Lockleys Pylon Walking Track 7 km (return)
13 Prince Henry Cliff Walk 7 km (one way)
14 Fortress Ridge Trail 7.5 km (return)
15 Ruined Castle Walk 7.5 km (return)
16 Hanging Rock Track 8 km (return)
17 Federal Pass 13 km (one way)
Important:
Before you head out to do one of these walks, it’s always recommended to check for the latest updates on closed areas within the Blue Mountains region on the National Parks website.

Top 17 Blue Mountains Walks

Below is our top 17 best walks in the Blue Mountains, from short and easy trails to epic full-day hikes. We have ordered them based on distance.

You can find the starting point for each walk by clicking on the map location link underneath each walk description.

Hiking in the Blue Mountains can be done throughout all seasons, summer, autumn, winter, and spring. Going a bit earlier in the day is recommended in summer to avoid the heat.

1. Three Sisters Walk

The scenic walking trail to the Three Sisters from Echo Point in Katoomba may be short, but there are many highlights along the way.

There are a couple of excellent lookout points to enjoy, before arriving at the Honeymoon Bridge which connects to the first of the Three Sisters.

The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters

The walk starts at the stone archway next to the Information Centre at Echo Point. It’s an easy and well-maintained path, although there is a challenging bit at the end where you have to do a small section of the Giant Stairway.

Going there a bit earlier in the day is recommended because it tends to get crowded in that particular part of the Blue Mountains.

More information: Three Sisters Walk.

Three Sisters Walk
Distance: 1 km (return)
Duration: 45 minutes
Grade: Easy
Starting point: Map

2. Katoomba Falls Round Walk

Often overlooked by tourists, the circuit walking track to Katoomba Falls brings visitors up close and personal with one of the most impressive waterfalls you can find in the Blue Mountains.

This short and relatively easy walking trail is for all ages and fitness levels, but do note that there are some steeper sections to conquer.

Katoomba Falls Round Walk
Katoomba Falls Round Walk

The track starts at Scenic World and guides hikers through lush rainforest to Katoomba Falls, with panoramic views of Jamison Valley. The waterfall forms part of the Kedumba River and falls 150 meters into the valley.

The best way to get to the start of the Katoomba Falls Round Walk is by parking your car in the big car park at Scenic World, located on Violet Street off Cliff Drive.

More information: Katoomba Falls Round Walk.

Katoomba Falls Round Walk
Distance: 2 km (circuit)
Duration: 2 hours
Grade: Easy / moderate (steep sections)
Starting point: Map

3. Walls Lookout Walking Track

The walking track to the Walls Lookout is located in the Mount Wilson area of the Blue Mountains, which is typically much quieter than the Katoomba and Wentworth Falls areas.

Walls Lookout is not a purpose-built lookout platform. Instead, it’s a large area on top of a cliff where visitors can wander around and enjoy the views.

Walls Lookout walking track in the Blue Mountains
Walls Lookout

The views from the Walls Lookout to the Grose Valley and surrounding cliffs are stunning, with lots of space to explore and wander around.

Depending on rainfall, you may even be able to spot a waterfall. This is a waterfall on the Hungerfords Gully, which flows into the Grose River in the valley below.

More information: Walls Lookout Walking Track.

Walls Lookout Walking Track
Distance: 2 km (return)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Grade: Easy / moderate
Starting point: Map

4. South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk

If you’re looking for a scenic and unpretentious walking track that is also dog-friendly, the South Lawson waterfall circuit walk is a great choice.

This pleasant 2.5km circuit trail takes in four small but beautiful waterfalls, quietly tucked away in an area of scenic bushland, not too far away from the Lawson town centre.

South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk
South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk

Suitable for the whole family and all ages and fitness levels, the track is easy to follow, but it can get a bit muddy after rainfall.

The best time to do this walking trail is after a period of rainfall when the waterfalls come alive.

More information: South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk.

South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk
Distance: 2.5 km (circuit)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Grade: Easy (some steep parts)
Starting point: Map

5. Mount Banks Summit Walk

Mount Banks, with its distinctive rounded peak, is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the greater Blue Mountains region.

Mostly overlooked by tourists, the hike to the summit of Mt Banks offers beautiful views of the surrounding area, a part of the Blue Mountains that is still a bit undiscovered.

Grose Valley views from Mount Banks
Grose Valley views from Mount Banks

Hiking to the summit of Mount Banks can be done in two ways. One track roughly follows the cliff edge to the top, while the other follows Mount Banks Rd.

The first option is the shortest and most scenic walking track, but it is also quite steep. The second option is a bit longer and is not as steep, but it doesn’t offer the best views.

More information: Mount Banks Summit Walk.

Mount Banks Summit Walk
Distance: 2.5 km (return)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Grade: Moderate
Starting point: Map

6. Valley of the Waters Walking Track

A relatively short but steep walking track, starting from the Conservation Hut in Wentworth Falls, brings visitors up close and personal with several scenic waterfalls.

The first section of the walk towards the Queen Victoria Lookout and the Empress Lookout is an easy path heading down via several sets of stairs.

Sylvia Falls in the Valley of the Waters
Sylvia Falls in the Valley of the Waters

From the Empress Lookout, the track descends further into the valley via a series of metal stairs, before arriving at beautiful Empress Falls.

Beyond Empress Falls, the trail can be continued into the Valley of the Waters to a few more waterfalls; Sylvia Falls, Lodore Falls, and Flat Rock Falls.

More information: Valley of the Waters Walking Track.

Valley of the Waters Walking Track
Distance: 2.5 km (return)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Grade: Moderate / hard (steep)
Starting point: Map

7. Lapstone Zig Zag Walk

The historic Lapstone Zig Zag Walk in Glenbrook is a fascinating bush walking track that follows an abandoned railway line to the Knapsack Bridge.

The Knapsack Bridge is a large sandstone arch viaduct built in the second half of the 19th century to carry the Zig Zag Railway line over the Knapsack Gully.

Lapstone Zig Zag Walk
Lapstone Zig Zag Walk

The best location to start this fantastic walk is at the end of Knapsack Street in Glenbrook. From there, follow the trail into the bush until you see the first glimpses of the viaduct.

The Lapstone Zig Zag Walk is the second walking track on this list where dogs are also more than welcome, albeit on a lead. Be mindful, though, that there are a few steep sections on this walk.

More information: Lapstone Zig Zag Walk.

Lapstone Zig Zag Walk
Distance: 3 km (return)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Grade: Moderate (steep sections)
Starting point: Map

8. Overcliff Undercliff Track

The Wentworth Falls area in the Blue Mountains is home to various walking tracks and lookout points.

One of the more exciting walks in that area is the Overcliff Undercliff Track, a 4 km circuit walk that starts and ends at the picnic ground.

Overcliff Undercliff Track
Overcliff Undercliff Track

This hike doesn’t reach the valley floor and stays higher up on the cliffs, making it a less challenging adventure than the Wentworth Pass but just as enjoyable.

Various lookout points along the track have scenic views over the valley and the waterfall.

More information: Overcliff Undercliff Track.

Overcliff Undercliff Track
Distance: 4 km (circuit)
Duration: 2 hours
Grade: Easy / moderate
Starting point: Map

9. Dardanelles Pass Circuit Walk

The historic Giant Stairway and Dardanelles Pass circuit walk is an exciting bush trail through Leura Forest and along the cliff edge overlooking Jamison Valley.

This challenging and adventurous walk represents a lot of bushwalking goodness, including scenic waterfalls, panoramic valley views, lush rainforest, and steep climbing.

Dardenelles Pass Circuit Walk
Dardenelles Pass Circuit Walk

The Dardanelles Pass is a historic track that crosses Leura Forest and links various other walking trails in the Leura area with the Giant Stairway in the Katoomba area.

It’s quite a challenging walk, not because of the distance but because it includes some very steep sections. For example, the Giant Stairway consists of more than 900 steps, some via steel staircases and others cut from the cliff face.

More information: Dardanelles Pass Circuit Walk.

Dardanelles Pass Circuit Walk
Distance: 5 km (circuit)
Duration: 3 hours
Grade: Moderate / hard
Starting point: Map

10. Cliff Top Walking Track

The 3km Cliff Top walking track connects two of the most impressive lookout points in the Blue Mountains: the Govetts Leap lookout and the Evans lookout.

Located near Blackheath, this beautiful track follows the valley’s cliff edge, offering breathtaking views over the huge Grose Valley below. At Evans Lookout, this walking track connects with the Grand Canyon Walk.

Cliff Top Walking Track
Cliff Top Walking Track

You can start this scenic hike at the Govetts Leap or the Evans Lookout. To get to Govetts Leap, follow the Great Western Highway to Blackheath, and turn into Govetts Leap Rd, which leads to the lookout.

Otherwise, if you wish to start at the other end, turn into Evans Lookout Rd in Blackheath and drive to the third and last parking area.

More information: Cliff Top Walking Track.

Cliff Top Walking Track
Distance: 6 km (return)
Duration: 1.5 hours
Grade: Easy / moderate
Starting point: Map

11. Grand Canyon Walk

The Grand Canyon Walk is among the most impressive and most enjoyable hikes in the greater Blue Mountains region. This track will leave a lasting impression, with incredible views and beautiful scenery to soak in from start to finish.

The track passes through lush rainforest, with several creek crossings, small waterfalls, sandstone cliff walls, and rock overhangs.

Grand Canyon Walk
Grand Canyon Walk

First opened in 1907, the 6km long Grand Canyon walking track was the first of its kind in the Blue Mountains, and has since been challenged by thousands of hiking enthusiasts every year.

While the Grand Canyon Walk has some very steep sections, this hike can be conquered by anyone with a reasonable fitness level. But do make sure you bring enough water, appropriate footwear, and also some snacks with you.

More information: Grand Canyon Walk.

Grand Canyon Walk
Distance: 6 km (circuit)
Duration: 2.5 hours
Grade: Moderate / hard
Starting point: Map

12. Lockleys Pylon Walking Track

The walking trail to Lockleys Pylon is quite a unique bushwalk in the Blue Mountains, offering scenic 360-degree views of the Grose Valley, Govetts Gorge, and the sandstone cliffs of Mount Banks and Mount Hay.

This part of the Blue Mountains is still relatively quiet and undiscovered, which makes the track to the peak even more enjoyable. Even though it’s quite a short walk, you’ll be treated to various landscapes and habitats.

Lockleys Pylon
Lockleys Pylon

The last stretch to the summit of Lockleys Pylon is rather steep, but the views from the top are breathtaking.

From there, you can either make your way back to the car park or continue the walk to Du Faur Head and the Blue Gum Forest.

More information: Lockleys Pylon Walking Track.

Lockleys Pylon Walking Track
Distance: 7 km (return)
Duration: 2.5 hours
Grade: Moderate
Starting point: Map

13. Prince Henry Cliff Walk

The Prince Henry Cliff Walk is an adventurous 7km walking trail between Scenic World in Katoomba and Gordon Falls Lookout in Leura.

It follows the cliff edge overlooking Jamison Valley with many beautiful lookout points along the way to enjoy some of the best views in the Blue Mountains.

Prince Henry Cliff Walk
Prince Henry Cliff Walk

Named in honour of the third son of King George V and Queen Mary, the Prince Henry Cliff Walk was completed in 1936 to help boost local tourism and to serve a public need after years of economic depression in the early 1930s.

Some highlights along this famous walking track are Katoomba Cascades, the Three Sisters, Echo Point, Leura Cascades, and Olympian Rock lookout point.

More information: Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

Prince Henry Cliff Walk
Distance: 7 km (one way)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Grade: Moderate
Starting point: Map

14. Fortress Ridge Trail

The Fortress Ridge Trail is a 7.5 km return hike that is not so well-known as the nearby Lockleys Pylon walking track, but the views might even be better.

The vantage point at the very end of the walk offers incredible views of the Grose Valley and the cliff walls.

Fortress Ridge Trail
Fortress Ridge Trail

If you’re up for it, there is a second walk starting from the same car park that leads to another beautiful lookout point with scenic valley views from a different angle.

This 2.5 km walk to the Fortress Rock Lookout is significantly shorter than the trail to Fortress Ridge and is worth the extra effort.

More information: Fortress Ridge Trail.

Fortress Ridge Trail
Distance: 7.5 km (return)
Duration: 3 hours
Grade: Moderate
Starting point: Map

15. Ruined Castle Walk

The Ruined Castle walking track connects with the Federal Pass in Katoomba, guiding bushwalkers toward one of the most recognisable landmarks in the Blue Mountains.

The track begins at the challenging Golden Stairs and slowly descends into the valley until you start your climb up the Ruined Castle. It’s an impressive rock formation from where you can enjoy panoramic views of the valley and beyond.

Ruined Castle Walk
Ruined Castle Walk

To get to the car park at the Golden Stairs, turn into Glenraphael Drive from Cliff Drive (close to Scenic World) and follow the unsealed road for ten minutes until you get to the Golden Stairs signpost.

Because you’re going downhill via the Golden Stairs, it may not feel all that challenging initially. Heading back up, however, is quite an effort, so make sure you save some water for your return trip.

More information: Ruined Castle Walk.

Ruined Castle Walk
Distance: 7.5 km (return)
Duration: 4 hours
Grade: Moderate / hard
Starting point: Map

16. Hanging Rock Track

Hanging Rock, a large sandstone object hanging out from a cliff, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the greater Blue Mountains region, located near Blackheath.

It is a few moments away from the Baltzer Lookout, which offers eye-dropping views of the Grose Valley and surrounding escarpments.

Hanging Rock Track
Hanging Rock Track

Hanging Rock and the Baltzer Lookout are somewhat off the beaten track, but it’s relatively easy to get there.

The walking track to the Baltzer Lookout is a 4km management trail that winds its way through bushland with a few smaller viewing points to explore.

More information: Hanging Rock Track.

Hanging Rock Track
Distance: 8 km (return)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Grade: Moderate
Starting point: Map

17. Federal Pass

The Federal Pass walking track is one of the most challenging and classic hikes in the greater Blue Mountains region.

With 13 km one way, it’s a long and hard track that requires some training and preparation. It’s worth the effort because it’s one of the most exciting walks in New South Wales.

Federal Pass
Federal Pass

Built by the local Katoomba community, the Federal Pass follows the base of the cliffs between Leura and Ruined Castle, passing iconic highlights such as the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, and the Golden Stairs.

Because the Federal Pass is so long, most people complete this hike in sections. There are various entry and exit points, each involving a descent into or climbing out of the valley.

More information: Federal Pass.

Federal Pass
Distance: 13 km (one way)
Duration: 5-8 hours
Grade: Hard
Starting point: Map

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Getting to the Blue Mountains

The Greater Blue Mountains region was officially listed as a World Heritage site in the year 2000 by UNESCO.

Luckily, the Blue Mountains is easily accessible by car and public transport, as well as by organised tour, making it the ideal destination for a nice day trip.

1. Driving

The easiest way to explore the Blue Mountains is by car. The M4 (Western Motorway) feeds into the Blue Mountains from Parramatta and Sydney.

Once in the Blue Mountains, the M4 evolves into the Great Western Highway, which continues past Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Medlow Bath, Blackheath, and Mount Victoria, and then all the way to Bathhurst.

2. Public Transport

Trains on the Blue Mountains Line travel frequently between Sydney Central Station and the Blue Mountains, stopping at Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Medlow Bath, Blackheath, and Mount Victoria.

If travelling by train, the best stops are Wentworth Falls, Leura, and Katoomba, where most of the Blue Mountains walking tracks are situated.

For example, from Wentworth Falls train station, follow the easy Charles Darwin Walk to the waterfall, from where other walking tracks can be commenced.

3. Organised Tour

Another way to visit the Blue Mountains is by booking a professional Blue Mountains day tour from Sydney.

A day tour to the Blue Mountains is a great way to see all the highlights in comfort and style. This is especially true if you’ve never been there before, don’t know how to get around, and don’t have your own transport.

The disadvantage is that you won’t be able to do the longer Blue Mountains walks because tours are on a set schedule.

FAQs About Hiking in the Blue Mountains

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about walking tracks in the Blue Mountains.

What are the best Blue Mountains walks for children?

What are great Blue Mountains walks that are moderately challenging?

What are good walks in the Blue Mountains that are not so crowded?

 

17 Best walks in the Blue Mountains

 

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2 Comments
  1. Can you advise if “Carlton Tops” is near The Orphan Rock?
    I am transcribing a 1940s post card with the number 768 and what I believe to be “Carlton tops right” printed on the face.
    I do not know from which direction the image was shot but Orphan Rock is almost central with clear space to the left and hillside to the right.

    Reply
    • Hello Diane, I know the Orphan Rock but have never heard of Carlton Tops unfortunately.
      I doubt it is related but maybe someone else who reads this may be able to assist.

      Reply
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