Last updated: November 17, 2021
Widely regarded as one of the most impressive walking tracks in the Blue Mountains, the Grand Canyon Walk will leave you in awe, as you hike through lush rainforest with several creek crossings, small waterfalls, high cliff walls and rock overhangs to take in.
Constructed and opened to the public in 1907, the 6 km long Grand Canyon walking track was the first of its kind, and has since been challenged by thousands of hiking enthusiasts every year.
Read on, as we’re going to discuss the highlights of this fantastic hike, where best to park your car, and many more 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, and you can start this hike from three different locations. All of these three starting points (parking areas) are located along Evans Lookout Road in Blackheath.
To get there, from the Great Western Highway, turn into Evans Lookout Rd just south of the Blackheath town centre.
The three parking areas on Evans Lookout Rd are (from west to east):
- Neates Glen Parking Area (map location)
- Grand Canyon Carpark (map location)
- Evans Lookout Parking Area (map location)
These parking areas are marked from 1 to 3 in the below map.
The hike descends into the canyon at the Neates Glen and at the Evans Lookout parking areas.
If you choose to park at the Neates Glen parking area, it’s best to follow the circuit walk anti-clockwise.
Look out for the big “Grand Canyon Walking Track” sign, and start the steep descent into the canyon from there.
If you park your car at the Evans Lookout parking area at the other end, it makes sense to do the Grand Canyon Walk in a clockwise manner.
That is the smallest and busiest car park, so it may well be at full capacity when you arrive there, as you have to share it with Evans Lookout visitors.
The other option is the actual Grand Canyon carpark.
If you decide to park there, you have the choice to either walk to the Evans Lookout or to the Neates Glen parking area first, before descending into the Grand Canyon.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which direction you go. Most people however, start the Grand Canyon Walk from the Evans Lookout, and then going into a clockwise direction.
Grand Canyon Track Notes
Just over 6 km long, the Grand Canyon Walk is a true bushwalking adventure.
Wonderful views, lush rainforest, pretty waterfalls, creek crossings, high sandstone walls, 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 does have some very steep sections, the track can be conquered by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness, as long as you bring good hiking shoes and sufficient water with you. The hardest part is the climb out of the canyon, which often takes longer than anticipated.
The track has undergone several upgrades over the years and is now considered to be safe, with a well marked path and sections with railings where necessary.
A set of hiking poles can still be very useful during this track though, especially for the steeper parts. A good pair of hiking boots is also essential.
Let’s go through some of the highlights along this historic track, starting at the Evans Lookout, walking in a clockwise manner.
1. Evans Lookout
Named after George Evans, a local solicitor who was supposedly the first settler to discover this spot back in 1882, the Evans Lookout offers breathtaking views of the huge Grose Valley and beyond.
The views are best at sunset and sunrise on a clear day, when the massive sandstone cliff walls often have that stunning orange glow.
Don’t forget to also have a look at the Valley View lookout. It’s only a short stroll away from the Evans Lookout, and the views are just as impressive.
From the Evans Lookout, the Grand Canyon walking track descends into the valley, 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 anti-clockwise, this steep section back up to the Evans Lookout is actually very hard. It’s important to keep that in mind, whichever direction you’re going.
Climbing out of the valley on either side of the walk is a big challenge, so make sure you leave some water (and ideally a snack) for when you commence that final ascent out of the canyon as the last section of the walk.
2. Beauchamp Falls (Side Trip)
While not officially part of the Grand Canyon walking track, it might be worth doing a little side trip to visit Beauchamp Falls, a pretty 10 metres high waterfall on Greaves Creek.
To get to Beachamp Falls, you will need to do a small section of the Rodriguez Pass, which is clearly signposted at one of the creek crossings.
Although short, this path to Beauchamp Falls is very challenging, with steep parts and lots of huge 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 very long and challenging bushwalk through the valley, that eventually connects with Govetts Leap further north.
3. Grand Canyon
As you continue hiking on the main track, the Grand Canyon Walk now enters an area of lush rainforest, mostly following Greaves Creek with various creek crossings and small waterfalls to take in.
The scenery here is absolutely superb, and really does make you feel like you’re doing a solid bushwalk, far away from civilization.
The path is very well maintained and remains reasonably easy to follow.
But with all the creek crossings and many rock overhangs, it’s important to stay focussed and to stay on the track to avoid any unexpected injuries.
4. The Rotunda
If you have brought 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.
5. The Final Ascent
That final, and steep, ascent out of the canyon is 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.
Just like the descent/ascent at the other side of the track at the Evans Lookout, this climb out of the canyon is quite challenging, so please make sure you’re well prepared for that.
Once you’ve arrived at the Neates Glen parking area, simply follow the walking path back to either the Grand Canyon carpark or the Evans Lookout parking area, depending on where you parked.
If you still have enough energy left in your system after completing the Grand Canyon Walk, the Cliff Top walking track is a great additional hike.
This 3 km walking track between Evans Lookout and Govetts Leap Lookout, along the cliff edge of the Grose Valley, offers some of the most spectacular views you can experience in the Blue Mountains.
Otherwise, if you don’t want to do another hike, simply drive to the Govetts Leap Lookout. It’s only a short drive from the Evans Lookout, and the views you get to enjoy are very much worth the extra trip.
Once you’ve finished hiking and sightseeing, it’s time to head into the Blackheath town centre for a well-deserved lunch.
There are lots of cafes, restaurants and pubs to choose from, and the town overall has a friendly atmosphere.