Guide to the Best Walks in the Blue Mountains

Last updated: November 24, 2020

The Blue Mountains is a true paradise for bushwalkers, with literally hundreds of beautiful hikes to choose from. Some of these tracks have been around for more than a century, while others have only been opened to the public in recent years.

Just over an hour away from Sydney, the Blue Mountains region is home to various scenic waterfalls, deep valleys, and lots of lookout points with panoramic views.

The best way to explore all that natural goodness is by hiking, which is why we have shortlisted the 15 best walks in the Blue Mountains.

Top 15 Blue Mountains Walks:
WalkDistance
1Three Sisters Walk1 km (return)
2Empress Falls Track1 km (return)
3Katoomba Falls Round Walk2 km (circuit)
4South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk2.5 km (circuit)
5Mount Banks Summit Walk2.5 km (return)
6Dardanelles Pass Circuit Walk5 km (circuit)
7Wentworth Pass5 km (circuit)
8Cliff Top Walking Track6 km (return)
9Grand Canyon Walk6 km (circuit)
10Lockleys Pylon Walking Track7 km (return)
11Prince Henry Cliff Walk7 km (one way)
12Ruined Castle Walk7.5 km (return)
13Hanging Rock Track8 km (return)
14Federal Pass13 km (one way)
15Six Foot Track45 km (one way)
Important:
Before you head out to do one of these walks, it’s important to check for the latest updates on closed areas within the Blue Mountains on the National Parks website.

Top 15 Blue Mountains Walks

Below is our top 15 best walks in the Blue Mountains, from short and easy trails, to full-day or even multi-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.

1. Three Sisters Walk

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

There are a couple of really good lookout points to enjoy, before arriving at the Honeymoon Bridge, which provides access to the first of the Three Sisters.

Three Sisters Walk
Three Sisters Walk

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 need to conquer a small section of the Giant Stairway.

It’s recommended to go there a bit early, because it does tend to get quite crowded in this beautiful part of the Blue Mountains.

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

2. Empress Falls Track

A short but very steep walking track, starting at the Conservation Hut in Wentworth Falls, brings visitors up close and personal with Empress Falls, one of the prettiest waterfalls in the Blue Mountains.

The first section of the walk towards the Queen Victoria Lookout is a relatively easy path heading down into the valley via several sets of stairs.

Empress Falls Track
Empress Falls Track

After about 300 metres, a short side track to the left opens up to the Queen Victoria Lookout, situated above the Valley of the Waters, and facing Jamison Valley.

Next stop is the Empress Lookout which faces the other side of the valley where Empress Falls and the Empress Canyon are located. From the Empress Lookout, the track heads further down into the valley via a series of metal stairs, before arriving at beautiful Empress Falls.

Empress Falls Track
Distance:1 km (return)
Time:1 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate (very steep)
Starting point:Map

3. 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 all the way to Katoomba Falls, with panoramic views of the valley below. The waterfall forms part of the Kedumba River, and falls 150 meters into Jamison 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.

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

4. South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk

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

South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk
South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk

This pleasant 2.5km circuit trail takes in four small but very pretty waterfalls, quietly tucked away in thriving bushland.

Suitable for the whole family, the track is easy to follow, but it can get a bit muddy after a period of rainfall.

South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk
Distance:2.5 km (circuit)
Time: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.

Mount Banks Summit Walk
Mount Banks Summit Walk

Hiking to the summit of Mount Banks can be done in two ways. One track roughly follows the cliff edge all the way 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 doesn’t offer the best views.

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

6. 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 offers a lot of bushwalking goodness, including scenic waterfalls, panoramic valley views, lush rainforest, and steep climbing.

Dardenelles Pass Circuit Walk
Dardenelles Pass Circuit Walk

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

The Dardanelles Pass itself is an historic track that crosses Leura Forest, and links various other walking tracks in the Leura area with the Giant Stairway in the Katoomba area.

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

7. Wentworth Pass

The Wentworth Falls area in the Blue Mountains is home to various walking tracks and lookout points. One of the most challenging walks there is the Wentworth Pass walking track, a 5km circuit walk that starts and ends at the Conservation Hut.

From the Conservation Hut, the Wentworth Pass walking track passes through a section of the Valley of the Waters via Empress Falls.

Wentworth Pass
Wentworth Pass

The track continues through the valley, taking in several creek crossings and small waterfalls, before climbing up the Slack Stairs at the waterfall. From there, the track continues to the Grand Stairway which leads to the top of the waterfall.

You can find more info about the Wentworth Pass and other walks in the Wentworth Falls area in our Wentworth Falls visitor guide.

Wentworth Pass
Distance:5 km (circuit)
Time:4 hours
Grade:Hard
Starting point:Map

8. 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 famous Grand Canyon Walk.

Cliff Top Walking Track
Cliff Top Walking Track

You can start this scenic hike either at the Govetts Leap lookout or at 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.

Cliff Top Walking Track
Distance:3.2 km (one way)
Time:1.5 hours
Grade:Easy / moderate
Starting point:Map

9. Grand Canyon Walk

One of the most impressive and most enjoyable hikes in the greater Blue Mountains region is the Grand Canyon Walk. 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, huge sandstone walls and rock overhangs to take in.

Grand Canyon Walk
Grand Canyon Walk

Officially 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 does have some very steep sections, this hike can be conquered by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. But do make sure you bring enough water, appropriate footwear, and also some snacks with you.

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

10. 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 a variety of different landscapes and habitats.

Lockleys Pylon Walking Track
Lockleys Pylon Walking Track

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

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

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

11. 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 lots of 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 1930’s.

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

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

12. Ruined Castle Walk

The Ruined Castle walking track connects with the Federal Pass in Katoomba, guiding bushwalkers towards 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 at first. Heading back up however, is quite a challenging effort, so please make sure you save some water for your return trip.

Ruined Castle Walk
Distance:8 km (return)
Time:4 hours
Grade:Moderate / hard
Starting point:Map

13. 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 quietly situated 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 viewing points along the way to enjoy.

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

14. Federal Pass

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

With 13 km one way, it’s a long and hard track that requires a good amount of training and preparation. But it’s all worth it, because it’s one of the most beautiful walks in New South Wales.

Federal Pass
Federal Pass

Originally 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, and each of these points involves a descend into, or climb out of, the valley.

The Federal Pass can be commenced from the Fern Bower track, which can be accessed via Leura Cascades or via a small section of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

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

15. Six Foot Track

Originally built in 1884 as a bridle trail, the 45km long Six Foot Track is a challenging 2 or 3 day walking trail between the Explorers Tree in Katoomba and Jenolan Caves, passing several rivers and small waterfalls.

Six Foot Track
Six Foot Track

One of the many highlights along this track is the crossing of the Bowtells Swing Bridge, a suspension footbridge over the Coxs River. The bridge was built to offer hikers an alternative route during periods of heavy flow in the river.

The track has various overnight camping options along the way. It really is quite an experience to be cooking your own meal outside in the dark, right in the middle of the Blue Mountains, while looking at the stars in the sky.

Six Foot Track
Distance:45 km (one way)
Time:2-3 days
Grade:Hard
Starting point:Map

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 changes into the Great Western Highway, which continues past Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Medlow Bath, Blackheath, 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, simply 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, you don’t really know how to get around, and you don’t have your own transport.

The disadvantage though 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?

 

Best walks in the Blue Mountains

 
 
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