Federal Falls Walk Near Orange (Beautiful Waterfall and Scenery)

Federal Falls is a stunning waterfall in Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area near the city of Orange in the Central Tablelands region.

A moderately challenging circuit walking track, starting from the Federal Falls Campground, leads to the base of this waterfall, with scenic bushland to explore along the way.

Going to Orange for a long weekend? Have a look at our list of popular Orange attractions and activities to help plan your trip.

Federal Falls Walk
Distance: 4.5 km (circuit)
Duration: 2 hours
Grade: Moderate (steep sections)
Dogs: Not allowed
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How to Get There

As mentioned, the walk to Federal Falls starts from the camping and picnic area, which comes with a reasonably sized car park (see map location).

There are various ways to drive there from Orange, but the easiest and quickest way is via Cargo Road out of Orange, followed by a left turn into Lake Canobolas Road which goes past Lake Canobolas.

Make a right turn into Mount Canobolas Road, followed by another right turn into Towac Way, which leads to the Federal Falls camping area and car park.

Federal Falls camping and picnic area
Federal Falls camping and picnic area

Federal Falls Track Notes

The Federal Falls walk is a loop, with start and finish at the picnic area. The loop is approximately 4 km long, with an extra detour of 700 metres to the actual waterfall.

There is no need to do the entire loop to see the waterfall. You can do the northern side of the walk as a return trip, which is slightly shorter and easier than the southern side.

However, we strongly recommend doing the entire loop because the scenery along the Southern Track is much prettier than along the Northern Track.

The walk overall is moderately challenging, with the most difficult section being the detour to the waterfall, which is very steep. It’s essential to wear good hiking shoes for better grip.

In the below track notes, we’re going to describe the Federal Falls loop walk along the following three sections:

  1. Southern Track
  2. Federal Falls
  3. Northern Track

Here is a map of the walk:

Map and route of the Federal Falls walk

1. Southern Track

If you’re going to do the entire loop, it is generally recommended to hike in a clockwise manner, which means you’re doing the southern section of the loop first.

You can find the starting point of that section of the loop walk at the big informational signpost at the southern end of the picnic ground.

Start of the Federal Falls Walk
Start of the Federal Falls Walk

The first 500 metres of this walk are reasonably flat, followed by a gradually steeper descent through the forest.

As you get closer to the waterfall, the scenery also becomes a lot prettier, with the walking path crossing the creek a few times.

Boree Creek along the Federal Falls walk
Boree Creek

A small footbridge crossing that creek is a good milestone to aim for, knowing that the waterfall is not much further away from that point.

2. Federal Falls

At the end of the Southern Track, after approximately 2 km, you will arrive at a signposted junction with the Northern Track.

This is where you need to go straight ahead to visit the waterfall, which also means the steep descent will start very soon.

Steep descent to Federal Falls
Steep descent to Federal Falls

Most of this descent is on wooden steps, and some parts have handrails installed, so it’s easier to stay balanced and on the right path.

At some point, the waterfall appears right in front of you, which, as you can imagine, is quite a rewarding experience.

Federal Falls
Federal Falls

Federal Falls is located in the steep volcanic basalt landscape of Mount Canobolas, and more often than not, there isn’t actually much water falling down the cliff.

As such, it’s best to go there after some decent rainfall to make the hike more worthwhile. However, the walk itself is also very enjoyable, so it’s always a win in our books.

Base of Federal Falls
Base of Federal Falls

You can walk all the way to the base of the waterfall, but please be mindful that the many large rocks at the bottom can be very slippery.

3. Northern Track

Once you’ve finished exploring the beautiful Federal Falls, it’s time to head back up to the car park.

Northern section of the Federal Falls walk
Northern section of the Federal Falls walk

The Northern Track is slightly easier and shorter than the Southern Track, but it’s still going uphill, so it does require a bit of effort.

The path is easy to follow and overall well maintained, and the bushland scenery is enjoyable, although there is less variation than on the other side of the loop walk.


The beautiful Federal Falls Walk near Orange


Published: January 9, 2022
Updated: June 3, 2024

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AJ Mens

AJ Mens is a digital publisher based in Sydney, Australia, and the editor-in-chief of Sydney Uncovered and Blue Mountains Uncovered.

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