Last updated: November 16, 2023
Opened to the public in 1907, the 6 km long Grand Canyon Walk was the first of its kind. Since its opening, the walk has been challenged by thousands of hiking enthusiasts every year.
Widely regarded as one of the most impressive walking tracks in the Blue Mountains, the Grand Canyon Walk navigates through a beautiful landscape of lush rainforests, with several creek crossings, small waterfalls, high cliff walls, and rock overhangs.
In this article, we’re going to explore the highlights of this fantastic hike, where best to park your car, and share some practical tips.
|Grand Canyon Walk|
|Distance:||6 km (circuit)|
|Duration:||3 hours (depending on stops)|
|Grade:||Moderate / hard (steep sections)|
How to Get There
The Grand Canyon walking track is a circuit trail, so you can start this hike from multiple locations with parking areas on Evans Lookout Road in Blackheath.
From the Great Western Highway, turn into Evans Lookout Rd just south of the Blackheath town centre.
The two parking areas on Evans Lookout Rd are (from west to east):
These parking areas are marked with P1 and P2 on the following map:
1. Grand Canyon Carpark
The Grand Canyon Carpark is a purpose-built parking area for visitors intending to do the Grand Canyon Walk.
This car park has recently been upgraded and is quite large with over 100 parking bays, toilets, and disabled & bus parking.
The Grand Canyon Carpark is the best and easiest location to park your car safely for the day.
2. Evans Lookout Carpark
Should the Grand Canyon Carpark be at capacity, the second option is the Evans Lookout Carpark, next to the Evans Lookout.
This (much smaller) car park has also recently been upgraded, with marked parking bays and a new, wheel-friendly walking path to the lookout.
This car park is designed for visitors to Evans Lookout and should be treated as a fallback option if the main car park is full.
Clockwise or Anti-Clockwise?
Parking at the Grand Canyon Carpark allows visitors to do the walking track in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.
If you’re going in a clockwise direction, follow the walking trail to Evans Lookout, where you can continue the main walking track. If you prefer to go in an anti-clockwise direction, follow the trail southbound.
If you end up parking your car at the Evans Lookout Carpark, it makes sense to do the Grand Canyon Walk in a clockwise direction.
This parking area is the first one you will see along Evans Lookout Road.
NSW National Parks has advised against using this car park because this is a small council car park that overflows very quickly. This results in negative impacts on the residents who live there, as well as the roadside vegetation, which has been driven over, trampled and littered.
Grand Canyon Track Notes
Just over 6 km long, the Grand Canyon Walk is a true bushwalking adventure.
With beautiful views, lush rainforests, pretty waterfalls, creek crossings, high cliff walls, and large rock overhangs, this walking track has something for everyone. The cooler temperatures in the valley make this walk a pleasant adventure during the warmer summer months as well.
While it has some very steep sections, the track can be conquered by anyone with a reasonable fitness level, as long as you bring enough water with you. The hardest part is the climb out of the canyon, which often takes longer than anticipated.
A set of hiking poles might also come in handy during this track, especially for the steeper parts. A pair of good hiking boots is also essential.
Let’s go through some of the highlights along this historic track, starting from the Evans Lookout, walking in a clockwise direction.
1. Evans Lookout
The Evans Lookout was named after George Evans, a local solicitor who was supposedly the first settler to discover this spot back in 1882. The lookout offers breathtaking views of the immense Grose Valley and beyond.
The views are best at sunset and sunrise on a clear day when those impressive cliff walls often have that unique orange glow.
Don’t forget to also quickly visit the Valley View lookout. It’s only a short stroll away from the Evans Lookout, and the views are just as impressive.
2. The Descent
From the Evans Lookout, the Grand Canyon walking track descends into the canyon, heading towards Greaves Creek.
Note that this is a very steep descent, which is easy enough to do if you start the walk from the Evans Lookout. But if you’re doing the Grand Canyon Walk in an anti-clockwise direction, this steep section back up to the lookout is quite hard.
Climbing out of the valley on the other side of the walk is also a big challenge, so make sure you leave some water (and ideally a snack) for when you have to start that climb out of the canyon, whichever direction you’re hiking.
3. Beauchamp Falls (Optional)
While not officially part of the Grand Canyon walking track, it might be worth doing an extra side trip to visit Beauchamp Falls, a 10-metre high waterfall on Greaves Creek.
To get to Beachamp Falls, you will need to do a small section of the Rodriguez Pass, which is signposted at one of the creek crossings.
Although short, this path to Beauchamp Falls is very challenging, with steep sections and large boulders to negotiate. It’s best to only do this if you’re well-prepared and you consider yourself an experienced bushwalker.
The Rodriguez Pass itself is a long and challenging bushwalk through the valley that eventually connects with Govetts Leap further north.
Note that this track may be closed due to recent bad weather events. Always check the NSW National Parks website before undertaking any challenging hikes, and respect any closures you may encounter.
4. Grand Canyon
As you continue hiking on the main track, the Grand Canyon Walk enters an area of lush rainforests, mostly following Greaves Creek with various creek crossings and small waterfalls.
The scenery here is superb and does make you feel like you’re doing a solid bushwalk, far away from civilisation.
In the canyon, the path is well-maintained and reasonably easy to follow, but pay attention to where you’re walking as there will be a few sections with rough and uneven surfaces.
With all the creek crossings and various rock overhangs, it’s important to stay focused on the trail to avoid any unexpected injuries.
5. The Rotunda
Should you bring lunch or snacks with you, the Rotunda is a great spot to have a break and fuel up.
You can easily recognise the Rotunda as a large rock overhang, created as a result of the flowing creek carving out the cliff. There’s even a little sandy “beach” underneath where you can sit down and relax for a little while.
From the Rotunda, it’s another half hour or so out of the canyon to the Neates Glen car park on Evans Lookout Rd.
6. The Ascent
That final, steep climb out of the canyon is on a well-maintained, zig-zag style walking path.
As you make your way back up, you can quite literally feel the climate slowly changing from humid to dry.
Like the descent/ascent at the other side of the track at the Evans Lookout, this climb out of the canyon is challenging, so please make sure you’re well prepared for that.
Once you’ve arrived at the Neates Glen parking area, follow the walking path back to either the Grand Canyon Carpark or the Evans Lookout Carpark, depending on where you parked your car.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Grand Canyon Walk with answers.
What is the best spot to park your car?
The best location to park your car is at the purpose-built Grand Canyon Carpark on Evans Lookout Road in Blackheath.
How long is the walk?
The Grand Canyon Walk is a 6 km long circuit walk and takes approximately three hours to complete, depending on stops.
How challenging is the walk?
The Grand Canyon Walk is graded as moderate to hard (grade 3), with a couple of very steep sections at both ends of the walking track.
What should I bring?
It’s important to wear good hiking shoes and bring at least 600ml of water and some light snacks or fruit. If you’re hiking alone, let someone know about your plans.