Last updated: November 29, 2021
Built with picks, shovels and dynamite in the early 20th century, the National Pass is one of the most iconic bushwalks in the greater Blue Mountains.
Starting at either the Wentworth Falls picnic area or the Conservation Hut, this circuit trail takes in several lookout points that offer panoramic views of the Wentworth Falls waterfall and the Jamison Valley, with sections of the track built into the side of the cliff.
|Distance:||4.5 km (circuit)|
|Duration:||3 hours (depending on stops)|
Due to a rockfall event in 2017, the National Pass walking track is closed between Valley of the Waters and Slack Stairs until further notice. The base of Wentworth Falls can still be accessed via the Grand Stairway. You can find the latest updates on the National Parks website.
Alternative walks that are open in this area are the Overcliff Undercliff Track and the Wentworth Pass.
How to Get There
The National Pass walking track can be commenced either from the Conservation Hut or from the Wentworth Falls picnic area.
The Conservation Hut is a cafe located at the end of Fletcher Street in Wentworth Falls (see map location). There is a small car park, but it fills up quickly on the weekends. Suburban street parking is available nearby.
Alternatively, the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area is located on Sir H Burrell Drive. Take the Falls Road exit from the Great Western Highway and drive all the way to the car park at the end of the road.
Public transport is also a viable option. Catch a train from the city to the village of Wentworth Falls, and follow the easy Charles Darwin walk to the top of the waterfall which connects with the National Pass.
National Pass Track Notes
First opened to the public in 1908, the National Pass is a truly iconic walking track that was built with picks, shovels and dynamite under rather dangerous circumstances.
A large section of the track is built into the side of the cliff, allowing for beautiful views of Jamison Valley and beyond.
The official starting point of the National Pass is at the Conservation Hut, connecting the Valley of the Waters in the west with the three-tiered, 185m high waterfall in the east.
Valley of the Waters
The National Pass walking track follows an anti-clockwise loop, first heading down into the Valley of the Waters.
This is then followed by a long section along the side of the cliff, and eventually climbing up the Grand Stairway to the top of the waterfall.
The Valley of the Waters is a beautiful part of the Blue Mountains with various small waterfalls to explore, such as Empress Falls, Sylvia Falls and Lodore Falls.
Leaving the Valley of the Waters behind, the track continues along the side of the cliff towards Wentworth Falls and the Grand Stairway.
The National Pass connects with the Wentworth Pass at the top of Slacks Stairs, before crossing the middle tier of Wentworth Falls.
This is quite a spectacular section of the National Pass, with great views of the waterfall above while crossing Jamison Creek.
One of the absolute highlights of the National Pass is the Grand Stairway, a set of hand-carved stone steps that connects the top of the waterfall with the valley below.
It’s called Grand Stairway for good reason, as it’s incredibly steep and the views you get to enjoy along the way and at the top are magnificent.
Once you’ve conquered the Grand Stairway, it’s only a short distance to the top of Wentworth Falls.
Top of Wentworth Falls
Once you’ve reached the top of the waterfall, most of the hard work has been done. From the top, continue the walking track to the Wentworth Falls picnic and parking area.
Several lookout points along this section of the track, such as the Fletchers Lookout and the Wentworth Falls Lookout, offer great views of the Jamison Valley.
From the picnic area, follow the Short Cut Track which will takes you back to the Conservation Hut where a nice cup of coffee awaits you.
Map and Route
The National Pass walking track is a circuit trail, so you can essentially start this walk anywhere. Most hikers start at the Conservation Hut, and do the walk in an anti-clockwise manner.
From the Great Western Highway, take the exit into Falls Road in Wentworth Falls, followed by a right turn into Fletcher Street.
Click on the below map to see a bigger version.