Empress Falls Walking Track via the Conservation Hut

Last updated: March 31, 2021

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

The walk to Empress Falls forms part of the longer and more challenging Wentworth Pass and National Pass walking tracks, two of the most iconic bush walks in New South Wales.

Empress Falls Walk
Distance: 1 km (return)
Duration: 1 hour
Grade: Moderate (short but steep)
Dogs: Not allowed

How to Get There

The return walk to Empress Falls starts and ends at the Conservation Hut, located at the end of Fletcher Street in Wentworth Falls (map).

Getting to the Conservation Hut is very easy. From the Great Western Highway, take the exit into Falls Road in Wentworth Falls, followed by a right turn into Fletcher Street.

The car park at the Conservation Hut is rather small and fills up quickly during weekends. If it’s full, you can try suburban street parking nearby.

Empress Falls Walk Track Notes

Below map gives you a bit of an idea where this beautiful walk is located, and where you can park your car.

Map and route of the Empress Falls Walk

We’re going to describe the walk along the following highlights:

  1. Conservation Hut
  2. Queen Victoria Lookout
  3. Empress Lookout
  4. Empress Falls
  5. Sylvia Falls and Lodore Falls

The walk down to Empress Falls is quite short, but it’s also steep. While going down is easy, the return trip can be quite the challenge, especially on warmer days.

It’s recommended to bring enough water with you, and perhaps an energy bar or a piece of fruit for some much needed energy for the climb back up.

1. Conservation Hut

As mentioned, the walk starts at the Conservation Hut, a popular cafe that offers breakfast and lunch daily between 9am and 4pm.

Originally opened in 1963 as a meeting place for the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, the Conservation Hut has been operating as a cafe since 1993 after a major building redevelopment.

Signpost at the Conservation Hut
Start of the walk to Empress Falls

There are several walking tracks in Wentworth Falls that start and finish at the Conservation Hut, such as the National Pass, Nature Track and Wentworth Pass.

To find the start of the Empress Falls walking track, look out for the sign that says Queen Victoria Lookout and Empress Falls.

2. Queen Victoria Lookout

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

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

Queen Victoria Lookout
Queen Victoria Lookout

The views are absolutely stunning and reach as far as Mount Solitary straight ahead. On the left, Kings Tableland and the Lincoln’s Rock lookout point can also be seen.

3. Empress Lookout

Next stop is the Empress Lookout which faces the other side of the valley where Empress Falls and the Empress Canyon are located.

The interesting thing about the Empress Lookout is that, despite the name, you can’t actually see much of Empress Falls.

You can certainly hear it, especially when there’s lots of water flowing, but the waterfall itself is hardly visible through the many trees.

Steel staircases along the Empress Falls walking track

From the Empress Lookout, the track heads further down into the valley via a series of steel staircases.

While it may look a bit scary on the photo above, the staircases are quite easy to navigate with the handrails.

4. Empress Falls

Once you’ve conquered the stairs, you will notice that the scenery gets a lot darker all of a sudden, as the surrounding trees and cliff edges are blocking a lot of the natural sunlight.

Empress Falls
Beautiful Empress Falls

This is also where the walking track slowly turns into a rainforest walk, which is quite a fascinating contrast with the usually dry bush trails on higher ground.

After passing the intersection with the Nature Track, the path to Empress Falls soon crosses a creek via a set of stepping stones.

Path in front of Empress Falls
Path in front of Empress Falls

You will now start seeing the first glimpses of Empress Falls, which can be very impressive, especially after a period of rainfall when more water thunders down into the natural pool below.

Bottom of Empress Falls
Bottom of Empress Falls

The track eventually brings hikers right next, and in front of, the waterfall, surrounded by boulders and trees, creating a majestic atmosphere.

5. Sylvia Falls and Lodore Falls

If one beautiful waterfall isn’t enough, keep following the path downstream along the creek to visit two more waterfalls.

Fed by the Valley of the Waters Creek, both Sylvia Falls and Lodore Falls are scenic cascade waterfalls that are very much worth the extra effort.

Please note though that this extra bit of walking track is not as easy and straightforward as the walk to Empress Falls.

The walking track to Empress Falls is part of our list of best walks in the Blue Mountains, so be sure to check out that list for more hiking ideas.
 

Empress Falls walking track via Conservation Hut

 
 
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4 Comments
  1. Together with my family we were truly challenged to beautiful waterfalls.
    I enjoy this walk every year, even though the steps are steep.
    I highly recommend the experience but do take a friend.

    Reply
    • Thanks Rose, glad to hear you enjoyed this walk down to Empress Falls. And you’re right, it’s always a good idea to bring someone with you, or otherwise let others know where you are, when heading into the bush for a hike.

      Reply
  2. This looks and sounds amazing but I am really scared of heights so need to see pictures of the stairs. Does anyone have any photos they share so I can decide if it’s something I can do? Am planning to do a blue mountain trip this weekend but need to assess which walks I am capable of doing. Appreciate your guidance and any photos! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hello Cath, if you’re scared of heights, then you will most likely be fine on the Empress Falls walk.

      The track is steep in some sections, but the steps are mostly through the bush, so height isn’t much of an issue. There is one section with a series of steel staircases, but there are handrails and it’s easy to navigate. I have just added a picture in the article to give you an idea of what to expect.

      Hope this helps a bit.

      Reply
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