It’s no surprise that the famous Blue Mountains is the most visited national park in Australia. We totally understand as the Blue Mountains is easily one of our favourite national parks in the whole of the country. There are enough Blue Mountains hiking trails, attractions and natural wonders to fill your boots for weeks, even months on end.

But what if you’ve only got the weekend to explore the magical Bluies? Maybe, you’re even lucky enough to have a long weekend. If this is you, this in-depth and jam-packed three day itinerary will help you visit the very best Blue Mountains hiking trails. But of course, feel free to pull this itinerary apart and make it your own. You could really spread the three day’s worth of hikes and exploration over as many days as you please.

Are you interested in exploring other hikes and waterfalls outside of Sydney? If so, check out our Top 10 Sydney Waterfalls list and Southern Highlands Weekend Guide.

Empress Falls, Valley of Waters, Wentworth Pass. A beautiful waterfall cascades down a series of rocks, surrounded by lush green forest.
Empress Falls, Valley of the Waters, Wentworth Pass.

Blue Mountains Hiking Trails | 3 Day Guide

This three day guide will cover the best day hikes to do in the Blue Mountains National Park. We shan’t be covering any of the amazing multi-day hikes. That’s for another time! Plus, our guide only includes Blue Mountains hiking trails that were open in late 2020. Due to terrible bush fires and separate landslide events, we were not able to do all the amazing hiking trails.

Luckily enough though, there are an infinite amount of Blue Mountains hiking trails. So, even with a few hikes temporarily or even permanently closed, there is still plenty of hiking on offer. But always check NSW National Parks local alerts for the latest updates.

Anyway, we’ve got you covered on maximising your time and experience in the magical Blue Mountains. We’ll guide you through spending three days in ‘the Mountains’ with an overview of each of the best Blue Mountains hiking trails.

SIDE NOTE: Growing up in Sydney meant I had enjoyed many Blue Mountains hiking trails previously. But there was still so much I hadn’t seen. Plus, Beck had never been! We had planned on going back when Beck visited Australia for the first time in summer 2020. But the bushfires put an end to those plans. After unexpectedly returning to Australia in March 2020, we were stoked to finally explore the Blue Mountains. Albeit later in the year.

The Grand Canyon Track - arguably one of the best Blue Mountains hiking trails. A curved series of rectangularly carved flat rocks create a path over the water, amongst a canyon little be greenery on the canyon floor.
The Grand Canyon Track – arguably one of the best Blue Mountains hiking trails.

Other highlights in the Blue Mountains National Park

Sunrise at Castle Head, Narrow Neck Plateau. Dan and Beck are covered in darkness ad the sun pops up above the horizon.
Sunrise at Castle Head, Narrow Neck Plateau.

Day 1: Blue Mountains Hiking Trails

With a tonne of trails, lookouts and natural attractions to cover, you’ll be speed hiking from dusk to dawn from day one! Of course, the itinerary can be completed in any order. We planned our days around our sunrise hikes. So, with the Fortress Ridge Lookout being one of the sunrise hikes, we started there!

Afterwards, it made sense to cover the other hikes on Mount Hay Road. Knowing these hikes would take most, but not all of the day, and the fact that we were staying in Katoomba, meant that we finished our day with a hike in Katoomba (Wentworth Pass). The National Pass and Overcliff-Undercliff Track were still closed when we visited, so that made choosing the Wentworth Pass a bit easier.

SIDE NOTE: Mount Hay Road is one of the worse roads in the Blue Mountains. The undercarriage of our low clearance 2WD took a bit of a beating at around the 5km mark. To be honest though, we were driving in the dark to arrive for a sunrise hike which didn’t help! But if you’re a bit more careful and measured, during daylight hours, a 2WD should be fine. See below for the parking for the three best hikes on Mount Hay Road.

Difficulty is graded by NSW National Parks using the Australian Walking Track Grading System. If no grading system is provided, *Travel Made Me Do It has personally rated the trail.

1. Fortress Ridge Lookout

(includes Fortress Rock Lookout)

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 8km
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 362m
  • Difficulty: *Moderate
  • Trailhead: Fortress Ridge Car Park

Fortress Ridge Lookout was one of the most epic Blue Mountains hiking trails we had the pleasure of doing, particularly for a sunrise! If you’re road trippin’ from Sydney and want to catch the sunrise, you’ll have to set your alarm clock early! Even if you’re based in the Bluies, we expect you’ll still have an early wake-up!

Depending on what time of year you visit will determine how early you need to arrive. From memory, we arrived around 3:45am for a sunrise hike in late October. The hike to the lookout is 4km one-way, with around 350m of elevation. So you’ll need to estimate your hiking speed, in the dark, and calculate your departure time.

Fortress Ridge Lookout. Fortress Ridge is one of the best Blue Mountains hiking trails for sunrise. Dan and Beck sit, overlooking a valley with many dark clouds above.
Fortress Ridge Lookout.

Fortress Ridge Trail

You’ll arrive at a reasonably spacious car park, much relieved after a bumpy ride in. By spacious, we mean, around a dozen cars should be able to squeeze in! Fortress Ridge is one of the lesser known Blue Mountains hiking trails. So don’t be surprised to have this car park and trail to yourselves.

Remember that you are hiking on a ridge. So considering you’re hiking in the dark, make sure that you use a head torch and stay on the path. Admittedly, hiking for a sunrise doesn’t allow you to enjoy your surrounds and landscape at the time. But you’ll get to admire the trail and surrounds that you missed during the dark, once the sun pops up.

Even in the dark, the hike is straightforward. There is somewhat of a false finish near the end of the trail. You’ll arrive at a more rocky terrain with magnificent views of the valley. But make sure to continue further to the right, following the path, where you’ll finish at an obvious lookout point with even better views of the valley.

Fortress Ridge Lookout for Sunrise

All you can do now is put the layers back on, get out your breaky and hot beverage, and enjoy the sunrise. Seeing the sun lift above any mountain tops is an epic feeling. But it’s something very special in the Blue Mountains! The cliff faces and forest filled valley floors cover in an orange glow. Just a few ridges over is Lockleys Pylon – another great spot for sunrise. But don’t worry, you’ll be hiking Lockleys Pylon next!

Once you’ve enjoyed one of natures greatest shows, head back the way you came. As the sunrise fades, the vivid green of the dry eucalyptus forest on the valley floor becomes more obvious. On the hike back, you’ll be shocked to see how deep the valleys are either side of you. You might see large areas affected by bushfires. It’s an eerie sight. But then again, this is Australia after all!

Fortress Rock Lookout

Before you set off for Lockleys Pylon, make sure to check out the Fortress Rock Lookout. The views of Grose Valley are actually quite different from here. Plus you should be able to see a waterfall (drought dependent). To reach Fortress Rock, follow the side-trail that’s around 700 metres from the trailhead car park. If you’re doing it, after returning from the Fortress Ridge Lookout, you’ll turn right. From this junction, the lookout is only another 500 metres or so.

The trails’ surrounding eucalyptus forest is slightly more dense on this side-trail. Near the end of this trail, you’ll hike down a steep rocky section. It’s safe enough but do be careful, as you will begin to near the ridge’s edge. Of course, the lookout can be enjoyed from a safe distance from the ridge’s edge.

The views from Fortress Rock Lookout were just as mesmerising, even more so than Fortress Ridge Lookout. You’ll stare deep into the immense Grose Valley. For those thinking it’s a quicker and easier hike here for a sunrise, think again! The surrounding forest would prevent you from seeing the sunrise.

There’s also a chance to explore Dr Darks Cave at Fortress Ridge on another side-trail. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to check it out but we hear it’s a cool adventure as well. Check out Walk My World for more details on finding Dr Darks Cave.

Fortress Rock Lookout. Dan and Beck stand looking into a large valley with a mostly cloudy sky.
Fortress Rock Lookout

For a bit more of an idea of where the Fortress Ridge and Fortress Rock Lookouts are in relation to the trailhead, have a look below.

2. Lockleys Pylon

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 7km
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 176m
  • Difficulty: *Moderate
  • Trailhead: Lockleys Pylon Trailhead Car Park

Lockleys Pylon is another one of the amazing Blue Mountains hiking trails. The drive from the Fortress Ridge trailhead to the Lockleys Pylon trailhead is only a few minutes away on Mount Hay Road. That makes sense considering Lockleys Pylon is only a couple ridges over from Fortress Ridge.

There is no actual car park for Lockleys Pylon, rather, some wider sections of unsealed road to leave your car. You’d struggle to fit more than ten cars into these spaces. Although, we’re sure cars will begin to line the road when full, creating a tight squeeze for passing cars.

Understandably, the terrain is quite similar. Although, there are larger stretches of more exposed areas with less dense bushland. Particularly when nearing the final ascent to Lockleys Pylon.

As a whole, the hike isn’t quite as steep or long as neighbouring Fortress Ridge. But, there is a side-trail to the left of Lockleys Pylon that adds another few hundred metres. It’s a path which seems to be in the midst of being turned into a more officially constructed trail. Anyway, it leads you to a unique vantage point of Grose Valley and even a waterfall. Do you know the name of this waterfall? If so, please let us know in the comments.

The waterfall seen from Lockleys Pylon, one of our favourite Blue Mountains hiking trails. A slender waterfall dives into the rocks beneath.
The waterfall seen from Lockleys Pylon.

But the best views of all are just over the other side of Lockleys Pylon. There is a trail that leads down into the valley taking you to Blue Gum Forest. Despite being closed (in late 2020), this trail, with Grose Valley behind you, creates a great backdrop for some magnificent photography.

Nearing the end of 2020, there is some ongoing track maintenance but it certainly doesn’t take away from the experience.

3. Mount Hay Summit Walking Track

(includes views of Butterbox Point)

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 3km
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 194m
  • Difficulty: Grade 5
  • Trailhead: Mount Hay & Butterbox Point Car Park

To finish off the best of the Blue Mountains hiking trails on Mount Hay Road, make your way to the Mount Hay and Butterbox Point Car Park. There’s a large car park at the end of the road which we’re sure could handle 20+ cars.

You’ll notice most of the trees and plants are severely burnt, the further you venture onto Mount Hay Road. After a kilometre or so of speed hiking, you’ll also notice that the desolate black trees, burnt to a crisp, contrast intensely with the otherwise unaffected green-topped valleys beneath.

Atop Mount Hay Summit, your views are impeded by the black trees still standing. It’s unfortunate because getting to the top does require an intense final ascent. The best views are actually about two-thirds towards the summit of Butterbox Point. They’re absolutely breathtaking. Here’s an illustration below for reference.

Where to see the best views on the Mount Hay Track (not the summit).
Where to see the best views on the Mount Hay Track (not the summit).

WHAT IS THIS SPEED HIKING YOU KEEP BANGING ON ABOUT? Speed hiking was perfect for our three day adventure of the Blue Mountains. With so much to see in three days, speed hiking helped us conquer many more hikes than we otherwise would have, hiking at a regular walking speed. For more information, check out our speed hiking guide.

Butterbox Point

Even with plenty of speed hiking today, we didn’t quite have enough time to add on the Butterbox Point trail. We were already more than satisfied with the brilliant views of Butterbox Point on the Mount Hay Track. So we ended our time on Mount Hay Road and headed to Katoomba for one more hike to finish off the day!

Of course, we encourage you to hike the Butterbox Point trail if you have time. The views of the Grose Valley, as you descend to Butterbox Point are immense. You’ll feel even closer to the action as you’re placed further within the valley. Have a read of Walk My World’s Butterbox Point guide for more details.

4. Wentworth Pass

(includes Princes Rock LookoutWeeping RockWentworth FallsRocket Point Lookout & Valley of the Waters [Sylvia Falls & Empress Falls])

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 7km
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 370m
  • Difficulty: Grade 4
  • Trailhead: Wentworth Falls Car Park

Initially, figuring out how to hike the Wentworth Pass and add-on all the extra side-trails was a tad overwhelming. There are so many trails packed into this tiny area! But stick with us, and we’ll ensure that you don’t miss any of the epic side-trails that provide, arguably, the best views of Wentworth Falls.

So first thing’s first, Wentworth Pass is an incredibly steep but phenomenal 5km loop trail. From the top of Wentworth Falls, you essentially descend to the base of both sets of falls. You then hike along Wentworth Pass towards the Valley of the Waters where there are more epic waterfalls. Check out the map below for reference.

Wentworth Pass from NSW National Parks.
Basic overview of Wentworth Pass from the NSW National Parks website.

However, if you add on the Wentworth Falls Track, Weeping Rock Circuit and Rocket Point Lookout, before your descent, you’re looking at around 7km. Beck and I highly recommend adding these trails on for extra lookouts and natural attractions.

For just an extra 2km of hiking, the rewards are well worth it. The map below shows how you can add on these trails at the beginning of your hike. Once you have completed the third extra trail (Rocket Point Lookout), you can then rejoin Wentworth Pass via the Undercliff portion of the Undercliff-Overcliff Track.

Adding and combining Wentworth Falls Track, Weeping Rock Circuit and Rocket Point Lookout Track to Wentworth Pass.
Adding and combining Wentworth Falls Track, Weeping Rock Circuit and Rocket Point Lookout Track to Wentworth Pass (created from the NSW National Parks website).

Parking for Wentworth Pass

Keep in mind that there are two options for parking when it comes to hiking Wentworth Pass. You can park and start from the large Wentworth Falls Picnic Area, as shown above in the maps. However, there’s actually a 1km shortcut trail connecting this picnic area to Conservation Hut. So you can also park and start the hike from the Conservation Hut. In that case, you’d hike 1km to the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area, and continue the hike as shown above.

Wentworth Falls Track

Regardless of your starting point, make sure to complete this hike in an anti-clockwise direction. With all of the extra trails, it’ll take at least three hours. With most of the day already spent in a more remote area, make use of the public toilets at the picnic area before setting off.

Soon after the picnic area, you’ll have your first viewing platform to enjoy. The large Jamison Lookout provides a stunning view of the, wait for it, Jamison Valley! But with no views of the waterfall just yet, you’ll be keen to crack on!

From here, there’s the option to hike straight to Weeping Rock via the Wentworth Falls Track. But we recommend completing the out and back Princes Rock Lookout trail before this, so you can enjoy the first of your epic views of Wentworth Falls.

Jamison Lookout. The first lookout on the Wentworth Falls Track. A deep green topped valley is covered in relative darkness due to the overcast sky. Mount Solitary is seen far in the distance.
Jamison Lookout

So continue on the Wentworth Falls Track for a hundred metres or so after the Jamison Lookout, and take the Princes Rock side-trail to your right.

Princes Rock Lookout

The Princes Rock Lookout out and back add-on shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes. It’s a straightforward descending trail with a portion of steps leading you to the lookout. Personally, it provides our second favourite view of Wentworth Falls. Although you’ll be some distance away, the magnificent waterfall is facing directly opposite you. So it’s a great viewpoint to appreciate the scale and magnificence of the waterfall.

Wentworth Falls as seen from the Princes Rock Lookout. A large waterfall looks even more impressive from a higher vantage point. Lots of eucalyptus bushland dominate the floor of the valley.
Wentworth Falls as seen from the Princes Rock Lookout.

From here, it’s actually possible to continue towards the Weeping Rock Circuit via the Undercliff section of the Undercliff-Overcliff Track. However, this means missing a large chunk of the Wentworth Falls Track which includes another lookout. So, to avoid FOMO, head back to the Wentworth Falls Track via the track you just descended.

Once you re-join the Wentworth Falls Track, head towards the Wentworth Falls Lookout. Yes, we were disappointed to learn that we couldn’t see the waterfall from here! See, the area is known as Wentworth Falls. So you’ll have a spectacular but similar view of the wider area, as the Jamison Lookout.

Weeping Rock

Next, it makes sense to add on the Weeping Rock Circuit before joining the Rocket Point Lookout Track. Along this circuit, you’ll be hiking on smooth stone so be careful as it can get slippery. As you complete the trail anti-clockwise, stairs will take you down past some small but elegant cascades known as Weeping Rock. The soothing sounds of rushing water certainly add to the peacefulness and serenity of your surrounds.

Weeping Rock near the beginning of Wentworth Pass - one of the Blue Mountains hiking trails. A small cascades powerfully smashes onto a wet and relatiely flat rock platform.
Weeping Rock near the beginning of Wentworth Pass.

Soon after passing these lovely cascades, you’ll join the Rocket Point Lookout Track. At this point, you wouldn’t have fully completed the Weeping Rock Circuit. But you’ll get to finish the last bit of the Weeping Rock Circuit after completing the Rocket Point Lookout loop.

Rocket Point Lookout

This track is another relatively short add-on and shouldn’t take very long. It is quite steep though so be ready for a decent workout. Similar to the terrain of the other trails, expect a leaf-littered and damp track. Some of the steps heading upwards are slightly uneven, but nothing too hardcore. As you make your way around the loop, you’ll finally reach the main lookout point. You may even encounter huge puddles on the viewing platform. But, this doesn’t take away from the extraordinary views of Wentworth Falls.

Safe to say, Rocket Point Lookout provided our favourite views of Wentworth Falls. I had completed the Wentworth Pass previously, but without adding on this section. Because of the incredible vantage point for seeing Wentworth Falls, we highly recommend adding this small loop track onto your Wentworth Pass hike.

Fletchers Lookout

After enjoying the views, you’ll head through a cave opening and descend back to the trailhead. From here, you’ll briefly re-join the Weeping Rock Circuit. Fletchers Lookout is a slight detour at the end of this track. No, the views of Wentworth Falls aren’t the greatest from this viewpoint. You don’t actually get to see the waterfall drop and through the air. But you’ll have a unique perspective of the top of the falls. The rocky landscape that the falls crawl down are levelled like a leaning stack of pancakes!

Fletchers Lookout - the top of the waterfall create a sprawling cascade over the multi-levelled rock platform.
Fletchers Lookout

The Top of Wentworth Falls

After this small detour to Fletchers Lookout, you’ll need to briefly join the Undercliff portion of the Undercliff-Overcliff Track, to re-join the Wentworth Pass. Soon enough, you’ll arrive at the top of the falls where you’ll be hiking on stepping stones. A pretty set of cascades will be seen to your left. To your right, over and beyond the top of the falls, are more views of Jamison Valley. It’s an impressive view but it doesn’t give you views of the waterfall itself.

To re-join the Wentworth Pass, you’ll briefly join the Undercliff-Overcliff Track. It’s a blessing in disguise because you’ll be treated to the track’s best section. That is, of course, the undercliff section.

Overcliff-Undercliff Track

It’s quite amazing that this track even exists. Impossibly placed, defying the laws of physics and geological stability, how these tracks were created in the first place is mind boggling. It must have been some pretty dangerous and daring work. Well, who knows, one day it may have to close if the trail or surrounding cliff becomes unstable. So, better go enjoy it now!

Our modified Wentworth Pass hiking route has us hiking a portion of the Undercliff-Overcliff Track. A precariously placed track, surrounded with a fence, steers Beck around a steep cliff face. The valley is seen in the distance.
Our modified Wentworth Pass hiking route has us hiking a portion of the Undercliff-Overcliff Track.

From here, you’ll see even more great views of Wentworth Falls, but from lower viewpoints. Initially though, incredibly steep stairs lead you to the base of the first set of falls. It’s quite a narrow trail and can get very slippery, so be careful. Wentworth Falls is a two-tier waterfall, so soon enough, you’ll arrive at the base of the first tier. With the effort of getting all the way down there, you’ll feel a sense of reward, being underneath such a majestic waterfall.

Dan stands at the base of the first tier of Wentworth Falls. Dan looks tiny in comparison to the large waterfall in front and above him.
Dan stands at the base of the first tier of Wentworth Falls.

As you pass through the first base of the falls and continue your descent to the valley floor, you’ll once again be walking along the cliff edge. You’ll then have new views of the waterfall. This time, you’ll be a bit further away and at about mid-height of the entire waterfall.

Wentworth Falls seen along the Wentworth Pass as you descend to the base of he falls. A large waterfall split into two separate falls dominate the cliff face.
Wentworth Falls seen along the Wentworth Pass as you descend to the base of the falls.

Wentworth Falls

After another 350 metres or so, you’ll finally arrive at the junction for the Wentworth Pass! Immediately after, you’ll face a series of metal staircases, with a couple of them being ring encased ladders. Like any ladder, you’ll need to go down them feet first and facing the ladders. Use your hands to help guide you down as your legs find the rungs below. The series of metal rings that surround you are large enough for you to wear a backpack, but small enough, that you feel secure and supported, just in case. It’s a fun experience. Well, maybe not, if you’re going up and down ladders all day for work!

You’ll feel like you’ve descended a mighty distance once you reach the base of the second tier of Wentworth Falls. From this viewpoint, the top tier is actually hidden from view. So it feels like you have a new waterfall to enjoy. Similar to the first base, it’s a spectacular feeling to be at the base of such a tremendous waterfall. Soak up your final views of Wentworth Falls, because it’s time to head to the beautiful Valley of the Waters!

Admittedly, it’s a bit confusing to re-find the track at this point, as the trail isn’t as clear. You do not need to cross the base of the falls to continue nor do you need to continue right beside Jamison Creek. Instead, head away from the base and remain on the forest floor to re-join the trail.

Beck sits at the base of the second tier of Wentworth Falls. Beck looks tiny in comparison to the large waterfall in front and above her.
Beck sits at the base of the second tier of Wentworth Falls.

Valley of the Waters

After such a descent, it’s a relief to have some flatter terrain to do a bit of speed hiking on. But of course, the trail gradually ascends, so you’ll have your work cut out. The trail heads into the upper portion of the Valley of the Waters where there are some smaller scale but equally impressive cascades. Here, you will enjoy the rainforest of the Jamison Valley with a softer feeling tread underfoot.

There is also the option to explore Vera and Hippocrene Falls in the Valley of the Waters. But please be aware that this trail is off track. So unless you are an experienced hiker, we advise against doing it. After a long day, we didn’t quite have the energy for it. Nevertheless, I visited Vera Falls on a previous trip and can highly recommend it. For more information, have a read of Hiking Scenery and his post on Vera and Hippocrene Falls.

Otherwise, refer to our map below for more information on Lodore, Sylvia and Empress Falls. These are the waterfalls that we’ll cover in a tad more detail below. Although these waterfalls didn’t make our Top 10 Waterfalls in Sydney list, they are stunning regardless.

The main waterfalls in the Valley of the Waters, adapted from the NSW National Parks website.
The main waterfalls in the Valley of the Waters, adapted from the NSW National Parks website.

Sylvia Falls

As you begin to approach the Valley of the Waters, the terrain becomes even damper and surrounds even lusher. The first waterfall that you’ll see as you’re hiking on a small section of stepping stones is Lodore Falls. They aren’t the biggest or most beautiful, but they’ll ease you in, to an area filled with magnificent waterfalls.

Lodore Falls - a small but pretty set of cascades stream down a declining slab of uneven rock. There is one main stream that gives the waterfall its character and smaller stream beside it.
Lodore Falls

Almost immediately around the corner is Sylvia Falls. On previous visits, the waterfall was pretty but lacking in volume. This time around, after some decent rainfall over the last month and preceding days, Sylvia Falls was looking as spectacular as ever. Nearly every possible cascading stream seemed present and fanned beautifully over the random assortment of naturally eroded rocks. You’ll be left feeling enchanted.

Sylvia Falls, Valley of the Waters, Wentworth Pass. A stunning waterfall cascades down multi-levelled rocky outcrop. The base of the falls is shallow and oozes a bronze like colour. The waterfall is covered by green forest.
Sylvia Falls, Valley of the Waters, Wentworth Pass.

Empress Falls

As the trail ascends, you’ll pass by other small cascades. Other than your fellow hikers, you’ll hear the consistent rushing and flowing of water throughout the forest. The final waterfall of significance is Empress Falls. This is the largest of the waterfalls in the Valley of the Waters.

Empress Falls, Valley of the Waters, Wentworth Pass. The largest waterfall of the Valley of the Waters, smoothly rushes down three rock platform tiers of increasing width the lower the falls drop.
Empress Falls, Valley of the Waters, Wentworth Pass.

Despite its size, we actually preferred Sylvia Falls which had a mesmerising charm to it. Nevertheless, Empress Falls is an extraordinary cascade, that spreads over a few gradually widening rock platforms. You might even catch some lucky ducks canyoneering their way down the side of the waterfall!

Once you’ve wrapped up the Valley of the Waters, it’s time to continue your ascent out of the rainforest. From here, it gets much steeper, including a few sets of steps with rails. After one of the final steep climbs, you’ll be immediately rewarded with another lookout – the Queen Elizabeth Lookout.

Queen Elizabeth Lookout - seen immediately after ascending away from the Valley of the Waters. A deep valley surrounded by sheer sandstone cliff walls.
Queen Elizabeth Lookout

If you parked at Wentworth Falls Picnic Area, make sure to find the short-cut trail connecting to it from the Conservation Hut, to finish off the Wentworth Pass!

Day 2: Blue Mountains Hiking Trails

If you’ve managed to complete all of day one’s Blue Mountains hiking trails, you’ll need a good nights sleep! Not only because you’ll be buggered, but you’ll have the alarm set early again for another sunrise. This time, we chose Perry’s Lookdown. We chose this spot for two main reasons.

Firstly, this lookout requires no hiking. So we didn’t have to get up quite as early to arrive in time for sunrise. Secondly, compared to some of the more touristic lookouts like Evans and Govetts Leap, it’s a lesser known lookout for sunrises.

So based on our sunrise plans, we planned hikes and natural wonder seeking around the Blackheath and Mount Wilson areas for the rest of the day.

5. Perry’s Lookdown

Arriving for sunrise at Perry’s Lookdown is a little more straightforward than the other sunrises we planned in the Blue Mountains. Being able to just rock up for sunrise at a lookout makes life very easy. Although, we’re sure you’ll agree, that the sunrise hikes to epic lookouts are perhaps more rewarding and give you a higher feeling of elation.

Be that as it may, Perry’s Lookdown is a great shout for sunrise. Because it’s not as well known, you shouldn’t have to compete with crowds for a good spot on the viewing platform. Although, the popular sunrise lookouts like Evans and Govetts Leap certainly have the space to cater for larger crowds gathering for sunrise. Well, let’s hope that not too many other people plan a sunrise at Perry’s Lookown the day you intend on visiting!

With decent conditions, Perry’s Lookdown should provide you with a stellar sunrise. Expect broad orange hues on the horizon and sun rays penetrating the shadows of the valleys.

6. Anvil Rock Lookout

After Perry’s Lookdown, it’s worth quickly checking out the Anvil Rock Lookout, as well as the Wind Eroded Cave. They’re both just around the corner from Perry’s Lookdown. Plus, if you’ve just watched the sunrise, you shouldn’t expect too many people, if any, to be at these attractions. Unfortunately, when we visited, Pulpit Rock Lookout was closed. But this is another attraction in the Blackheath area worth checking out.

The Anvil Rock Lookout involves a small (500 metre), slightly ascending bushwalk. Once you arrive at the large rock, there is a short staircase to climb on top of it for the viewpoint. Expect sweeping views of the Grose Valley and Blackheath Walls. Admittedly, there’s nothing that truly pops or is extraordinary from this lookout. But after being spoilt from all of the gorgeous views of the Blue Mountains so far, we were getting picky!

7. Wind Eroded Cave

From the same car park, you’ll do an even shorter distance (maybe 200-300 metres) bushwalk to get to the Wind Eroded Cave. The terrain is dry and mostly flat. We hadn’t actually planned on visiting until we saw the signage at the car park.

Make sure that you purposefully plan to visit here. The naturally eroded cave is genuinely superb. There are otherworldly patterns and shapes carved into the cave. It’ll make for a stunning backdrop for some photos.

8. Burramoko Ridge Trail

(includes Baltzer Lookout Hanging Rock)

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 10km
  • Time: 2.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 266m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Trailhead: Burramoko Trailhead Car Park

If you’re following this itinerary, the Burramoko Ridge (Fire) Trail will be your first hike of the day. Your motivation for doing this mostly uninspiring trail will, of course, be the Baltzer Lookout and Hanging Rock at the end of the trail.

The fairly spacious Burramoko Trailhead Car Park holds around 20 cars or so. But it can get rammed on the weekend, so it is best to do this hike nice and early. It’s a gradually undulating bushwalk on well-maintained fire trail with dense dry eucalyptus forest surrounds. It’s a good trail for speed hiking as it’s wide and fairly simple terrain despite the odd loose rock.

Baltzer Lookout

Your first highlight of the trail will likely be the Baltzer Lookout, located at the edge of the Burramoko Ridge. With that said, from this point, caution must be taken as you are near the cliff’s edge. There is a sign just prior to this lookout that doesn’t ban exploration here but it warns of the dangers of falling from the cliff. So be safe and don’t try anything untoward.

Similar to other lookouts already included in this itinerary, your hard work will be rewarded with stunning views of the Grose Valley and surrounding escarpments. From the Baltzer Lookout specifically, you cannot see Hanging Rock.

Hanging Rock

To see Hanging Rock, you’ll need to venture down a clear but unmarked trail. Basically, around 20 metres or so back from the Baltzer Lookout, is a descending trail off to the left. It’s a bit difficult to find. But look for a trail, that seems like a small waist-high trench, leading a safe distance from, but along the ridge. It’s fairly steep and unmaintained, so you must hike down slowly and carefully. The rocks almost make natural steps, but there’s loose rock that makes it slippery.

Once you descend 50 metres or so, there seems to be another similar path running adjacent to it. If you can, join this path that is even further away from the edge of the ridge. Soon enough, you’ll reach a flat section, still a safe distance away from the ridge. This is when you’ll first set eyes on the magnificent Hanging Rock. Beck and I have admired photos of it for ages. So we were stoked to be here.

From here is a flat walk, following the ridge, to the rocky outcrop known as Hanging Rock. There is a moderate gap separating the ridge and this rocky outcrop. This partly demonstrates the potential for rock instability and the inherent danger of the area. So if you decide to jump onto Hanging Rock itself, please be extremely careful and proceed at your own risk. Definitely, do not stand near any edge on Hanging Rock itself.

Although the Baltzer Lookout doesn’t provide views of Hanging Rock, by following the side-trail safely, you can still experience brilliant views of this natural wonder, without even stepping foot on it. Beck can attest to that, as she didn’t stand on Hanging Rock.

9. Victoria Falls Track

(includes Grose Valley Lookout)

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 4km
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 363m
  • Difficulty: Grade 4
  • Trailhead:  Victoria Falls Lookout Car Park

After an uninspiring and almost tedious return walk from the Hanging Rock, you’ll be excited to finish. Next, is the Victoria Falls Track. The car park is of a decent size and would fit upwards of 20-30 cars.

It’s actually located at the end of the unsealed Victoria Falls Road. So we suspect the potential for road parking too if it’s particularly busy. In essence, the Victoria Falls Track is not technically challenging, but is a physically demanding one!

Ascending the Victoria Falls Track; one of the steepest Blue Mountains hiking trails. Dan hikes up the hill with a carved out rock to one side and steep cliff to the other.
Ascending the Victoria Falls Track.

Almost right from the get-go, you’ll begin to steeply descend down loose rock trail and wooden steps. Some of the trail is impressively carved into the cliff’s edge. As you get lower, your surrounds aren’t as arid and dry as you enter forest terrain rather than bushland. There’s more leaf litter, and by the time you have zig-zagged your way to the bottom, the track is damp. That’s because you’ll be beside Victoria Creek, which you’ll have to thank for the marvellous Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls. A picturesque cascade waterfall rushes down damp rock. The waterfall is nearly as wide as it is high creating a stunning cascade. The sun shines brightly on the waterfall.
Victoria Falls.

We’ve heard this waterfall is really only worth the effort after some decent rain. Luckily for us, Victoria Falls was looking sensational. A cascade that is almost as wide as it is high, covers the multi-levelled tiers of rock magnificently. Certainly, by midday, the sun was shining brightly on the cascades, making slow shutter speed photography difficult. Plus, you’ll need to scramble some rocks and fallen trees for an ideal spot to take a photo.

Enjoy this moment and soak in this marvellous waterfall, because the return hike will have you huffing and puffing to the very top!

Grose Valley Lookout

Keep in mind that the Grose Valley Lookout is actually right at the start of the Victoria Falls Track. It’s positioned just before the hellish descent begins. On Google Maps, this lookout is confusingly called the ”Victoria Falls Lookout”. That’s despite there being no views of the waterfall. However, following ”Victoria Falls Lookout”, i.e. the Grose Valley Lookout, will take you to the car park for the hike at least.

This lookout provides views of the easterly part of the Grose Valley. When we visited in October 2020, most of the bushland covering the valley was burnt to a crisp. God speed to re-generation!

10. Mount Banks Summit Walk

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 2.4km
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 189m
  • Difficulty: Grade 3
  • Trailhead: Mount Banks Picnic Area

Located a little further away in the Mount Wilson area is Mount Banks. The car park is unsealed and fairly uneven. So take it easy in a 2WD. We’d expect a dozen or so cars to be able to fit. But anyway, this area of the Blue Mountains is less visited than Blackheath and Katoomba, so we don’t expect you’ll encounter hoards of tourists.

From the car park, there are two options. A shorter, steeper trail which we recommend, or a longer (5.2km) shallow fire trail that initially follows the dirt road around the mountain. Given there’s plenty more speed hiking on the itinerary, you should do the shorter and more scenic trail. Besides, the trail is nowhere near as steep as the Victoria Falls Track, so it’ll seem easy in comparison.

You’ll see Blackheath and Mount Hay in the distance. To that end, it came with no surprise, that the valley beneath Mount Banks was severely burnt. But the charred trees of the valley are hauntingly beautiful nonetheless. The 2019-2020 bushfires significantly affected this upper portion of the Blue Mountains.

Views atop Mount Banks Summit. Another one of the steeper Blue Mountains hiking trails. Beck hikes uphill, among burnt trees, but a lush green floor with views of the valley behind her.
Views atop Mount Banks Summit.

Similar to Mount Hay Summit, your views atop Mount Banks Summit will be impeded by a forest of burnt gumtrees. So we recommend going just beyond the summit and 50 metres or so down a trail. From here, the trees are less dense, forming gaps and a glimpse of the Grose Valley. Overall though, like Mount Hay Summit, the best views are about halfway through the hike.

11. Rigby Hill Walking Track

Closeby is the Rigby Hill Walking Track. Other than some of the shorter lookout walks, this track is one of the shortest on the itinerary. At 1.2km, this out and back has only a small amount of elevation, taking us around 20 minutes to speed hike. It’s not necessarily a hike that you’d come all the way to the Blue Mountains for. But, it’s a quick one, and you’re in the area, so you may as well give it a whirl!

The views from the short Rigby Hill Walking Track.

Halfway through the hike is a small hill that requires a bit of effort to get over. But otherwise, you won’t have to work too hard for the far reaching glorious views of the Grose Valley. It’s a worthwhile hike. But if you’re a bit stretched for time, head straight to the Grand Canyon to ensure that you fit in this phenonemal hike.

SIDE NOTE: The surrounding views of the Grose Valley provide insight into its sheer magnitude and scale. Despite the deep and winding Grose Valley taking up a large portion of the Blue Mountains, the hikes described so far are only scratching the surface. You can spend months trying to conquer all of the Blue Mountains hiking trails!

12. Grand Canyon Track

 (including Evans Lookout)

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 6.3km
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 311m
  • Difficulty: Grade 3
  • Trailhead: Grand Canyon or Evan’s Lookout Car Park

The Grand Canyon Track is arguably one of the greatest Blue Mountains hiking trails. Alongside the Overcliff-Undercliff Track, there isn’t a more iconic photograph of a hiker making their way through the Grand Canyon floor. The trail itself is very straightforward. It’s essentially a loop that goes down and into the canyon and up and out of it.

You can either park and start from the Grand Canyon or Evans Lookout car parks. They’re both located along the track, close together, so it really doesn’t matter which you choose.

https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/grand-canyon-track/map
Two options for parking for the Grand Canyon Track, created from the NSW National Parks website.

After you’ve checked out Evans Lookout, you’ll immediately begin your descend into the canyon. What starts off as dry bushland soon turns into a vibrant rainforest. The transition in the landscape is swift, it’s almost unbelievable. Particularly once you’ve reached the canyon floor, you’ll feel like you’ve teleported to a completely different national park.

Grand Canyon Floor

Along the canyon floor are many stepping stones to help you navigate through the wet terrain. You certainly wouldn’t want to be down here during flash flooding! But anyway, don’t rush through the stepping stones. Because for one, they’re a bit slippery. But two, this is the money shot for great photography.

Catching daylight penetrate through the gap in the canyon as you explore its floor is an awe-inspiring experience. The canyon floor is littered with luscious green plants and ferns which are absolutely spectacular.

Following the series of stepping stones, the trail follows a carved section of the canyon wall. This type of trail is reminiscent of many Blue Mountains hiking trails, but each one is unique in their own right. With water seeping through porous rock and off the edge of the canyon’s cliff edges, expect a few impromptu mini-waterfalls along the track!

Soon after, the mostly flat canyon floor trail ends, and a series of steps and dirt ramp-like sections take you out of the canyon in no time. The final section back to the car park is footpath walking, so there’s nothing extraordinary about that. But after experiencing the beauty of the Grand Canyon Track, you won’t be complaining!

Evans Lookout

The Evans Lookout can be enjoyed as part of the Grand Canyon Track. But the direction you hike this track will determine at what point you visit it. For instance, if you park at the Grand Canyon Car Park and complete the track anti-clockwise, you’ll see the Evans Lookout at the end.

But if you park at the Evans Lookout Car Park, you’ll enjoy it straight away, regardless of whether you go clockwise or anticlockwise. After almost two full days of hiking, the Evans Lookout gave us further inspiration and motivation to speed hike the Grand Canyon Track. So that’s why we parked and started the hike from there. We completed the track in a clockwise direction, for no particular reason, other than it being recommended by NSW National Parks.

The views from the short Rigby Hill Walking Track. A deep valley full of dry eucalyptus and a dirt road fill the distance with a clear blue sky above.
The views from the short Rigby Hill Walking Track.

Alongside Govetts Leap Lookout, which you’ll visit next, and possibly the Jamison and Wentworth Falls Lookouts, Evans is one of the largest viewpoints in the Blue Mountains. The lookout’s large size provides different viewpoints and perspectives of the surrounding Grose Valley. Evans Lookout is also a great spot for sunset.

13. Govetts Leap Lookout

Visiting Govetts Leap is a relaxed way to end the day! From the lookout are views of the 180 metre high Govetts Leap (waterfall). In fact, it’s one of the waterfalls on our Top 10 Waterfalls in Sydney list. Like usual, this waterfall isn’t one of the most voluminous or powerful. But it has the potential to be a monster of a waterfall after heavy rain. Besides the waterfall, you’ll have stunning views of the large canyons of the Grose Valley surrounded by enormous vertical sandstone cliff walls.

Govetts Leap (Waterfall) as seen from the lookout. A long and narrow waterfall pierces the sky, with shaded cliff face behind it.
Govetts Leap (Waterfall) as seen from the lookout.

Unfortunately, most of the hikes starting from this lookout were closed due to the recent bushfires. This included the 2km Govetts Leap Descent walk that gets you to the base of the falls. Having hiked it previously, I can highly recommend doing it once it’s back open. It’s obviously quite steep to get down and the path is slippery near the base of Govetts Leap, so you’ll have your work cut out.

The views from Govetts Leap Lookout, Blackheath. Green eucalyptus forest dominates the floor of the valley, and is dwarfed by the brown cliffs surrounding it.
The views from Govetts Leap Lookout, Blackheath.

14. George Phillips Lookout

One hike that was open in late 2020 was the Fairfax Heritage Walk. Because we were spent after two full days of hiking, we only did a small portion of the track. Basically, from the Govetts Leap Lookout, you can hike what is essentially the end of the track to get to the George Phillips Lookout.

Typically, the Fairfax Heritage Walk starts at the Blue Mountain Heritage Center and makes its way past the George Phillips Lookout before arriving at Govetts Leap Lookout. The track is 1.8km one-way and worth doing if you’ve got the energy for it.

George Phillips Lookout is a short walk from Govetts Leap Lookout.
George Phillips Lookout is a short walk from Govetts Leap Lookout.

But, if like us, you’re thinking of saving your legs for one more jamp-packed day of speed hiking, consider the cheeky short walk from Govetts Leap Lookout. It’s only around 200-300 metres, so it’s only a swift detour, for more spectacular, although similar views to Govetts Leap. What’s different, is that you can’t see the waterfall from this lookout.

George Phillips Lookout. Green eucalyptus forest dominates the floor of the valley, and is dwarfed by the brown cliffs surrounding it.
George Phillips Lookout.

Day 3: Blue Mountains Hiking Trails

Your last day in the Blue Mountains will be another day full of speed hiking. It starts with your third and final sunrise hike from Narrow Neck to Castle Head. Getting up for this hike, you’ll be sore and tired. But trust us, you’ll be saving the best sunrise hike ’til last (weather permitting).

Just a quick note, that after our Blue Mountains trip, we headed further inland to check out Orange and Mount Canobolas. If we were heading back to Sydney, we may have finished our day with some of the best hikes and attractions around Glenbrook. But even if we were headed back to Sydney, some of the main lookouts (Mount Portal and Tunnel View) were temporarily closed for maintenance. So we’ll have to wait another time to explore Glenbrook.

15. Narrow Neck to Castle Head Walking Track

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 6km
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 230m
  • Difficulty: *Moderate
  • Trailhead: Glenraphael Drive Car Park

It’s worth knowing that ”Narrowneck Car Park & Gate” on Google Maps is not the correct car park or gate. But it is close! What you need to do is actually pass this point, and continue right until the end of Glenraphael Drive in Katoomba. You’ll likely see caravans pulled up, freeloading, on various parts of the road. Once you reach the locked gate, you’ll have arrived at the unofficial car park, where there’s space for around 20 cars.

In fact, these coordinates -33.740103, 150.280094 on Google Maps should do the trick! Keep in mind that Glenraphael Drive is an unsealed dirt road with many a pothole! But it’s classified as 2WD accessible. Thankfully, our 2WD survived and left unscathed.

But anyway, this is where the hike begins. So once you’ve arrived, put your headlamp on, have your hot beverage packed and be at the ready for another sensational sunrise.

The correct car park for the Narrow Neck to Castle Head trail.
The correct car park for the Narrow Neck to Castle Head trail.

Sunrise at Castle Head

You’ll start on a wide fire trail, and after only 500 metres or so, there’s a dishevelled trail to the left. This first turnoff leads to some closeby viewpoints of the Jamison Valley. Assuming you’re here for sunrise, we recommend checking these out on the way back once there’s a bit more daylight if you remember!

After roughly 100 metres, there’ll be another trail to the left. This is a shortcut to Castle Head but is quite overgrown and with many cobby’s about, you may prefer the official trail! It’s only another 100 metres up the road on your left anyway and is signposted.

From here, you’ll slowly ascend and meander your way to Castle Head. You’ll be following an uneven trail on a plateau in the dark, so take it easy and stick to the trail! Before you know it, you’ll have arrived at Castle Head. What awaits you is an epic sunrise with stunning views of Mount Solitary, the Ruined Castle, and hopefully some gorgeous misty valleys.

Like all of the sunrises in the Blue Mountains, you’ll have a phenomenal orange glow splaying over the sandstone cliff walls that form the valley. It’s truly worth every second of sleep lost to enjoy nature’s happy hour. We’re sure you’ll agree that Narrow Neck to Castle Head is definitely one of the best Blue Mountains hiking trails for sunrise.

The drone capturing us atop Castle Head during sunrise. Dan and Beck stand on a rocky outcrop at the end of a ridge, with a orange glow covering them and the cliff face below. Narrow Neck to Castle Head is one of the underrated Blue Mountains hiking trails.
The drone capturing us atop Castle Head during sunrise.

16. Round Walking Track

(includes Vaniman’s Lookout, Juliet’s Balcony, Underfalls Walk, Katoomba Falls, Witches Leap, Solitary Lookout, Katoomba Cascades & many other lookouts)

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2km
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 52m
  • Difficulty: Grade 3
  • Trailhead: Scenic World Car Park

Katoomba is where you’ll spend most of the day. So afterwards, head to the multi-level Scenic World Car Park, to complete the Round Walking Track. Keep in mind that this track is probably one of the busiest in the whole of the Blue Mountains so doing it early is a wise choice.

Similar to planning the Wentworth Pass, it can be overwhelming to plan hiking this area given the sheer amount of attractions and lookouts. Obviously, for the purposes of this guide, we won’t be detailing all of the great tourist attractions in the area. But rather, as you guessed, we’ll focus on the best of the Blue Mountains hiking trails here.

So before we detail the highlights of the Round Walking Track, it’s worth noting that there are plenty of parking options. But for those who want to also do the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, we recommend parking at Scenic World to maximise your time. Essentially, this involves, completing the Round Walking Track from Scenic World, then driving to Katoomba Falls Reserve (or parking nearby) to complete the Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

Parking options for completing the Round Walking Track, before the Prince Henry Cliff Walking Track (adapted from NSW National Parks).
Parking options for completing the Round Walking Track, before the Prince Henry Cliff Walking Track (adapted from NSW National Parks).

Vaniman’s Lookout & Juliet’s Balcony

Out the front of Scenic World is a green signpost that will signal where to start the hike from. From concrete paths, you’ll soon be immersed in nature signalled by your feet slapping some leaf-littered trail. The shaded trail begins to descend to some of the famous lookouts providing views of the famous Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, Mount Solitary, Narrow Neck Plateau and Jamison Valley.

After hearing a lot about the famous Three Sisters, Beck was surprised to set eyes on them at the very first lookout – Vaniman’s Lookout. She mentioned it wasn’t quite what she expected, but she agreed that they were undoubtedly stunning. Although we focussed photographing Katoomba Falls from this point, the prominent Mount Solitary can be appreciated from this vantage point.

Vaniman's Lookout provides your first views of Katoomba Falls and the Three Sisters with Mount Solitude in the background.
Vaniman’s Lookout

Only a few minutes later, you’ll arrive at Juliet’s Balcony – another lookout featuring similar views of the Jamison Valley with the same attractions. This time, you’ll be closer to the Three Sisters. If you hike early to avoid the crowds, keep in mind that the early sun can make for challenging photography as you battle the light and dark aspects of the valley.

Juliet's Balcony gives you more views of Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters and Mount Solitude in the background.
Juliet’s Balcony

Katoomba Falls

By now you would have already enjoyed views of the 150-metre, two-tiered Katoomba Falls. But make sure to continue to the base of the falls. Like a lot of the waterfalls found along Blue Mountains hiking trails, they can look rather tame during drought. So try and time your visit after some rainfall for a fuller-looking waterfall.

To get to the base of Katoomba Falls, make sure to take a right at the Furber Steps, following Juliet’s Balcony. Immediately, there’ll be another lookout – Rainforest Lookout, which is nothing extraordinary. After a short distance, take the first left onto the Underfalls Walk.

It’s a short but undulating and narrow trail by the cliffside to arrive at the base of Katoomba Falls. Beck and I usually enjoy views of waterfalls from higher vantage points, but seeing the falls from underneath was amazing!

You’ll arrive at the base of the highest tier of the waterfall. Opposite to the falls are views from atop and beyond this mid-section platform, out toward the Jamison Valley. So once you’ve soaked it all in, re-join the Round Walking Track and continue your hike, away from the escarpment, and through the damp rainforest. You’ll pass a fairly weak but interesting cascade called Witches Leap.

Witches Leap is a small and compact cascade dripping down a wide but short mound of rock.
Witches Leap

After emerging from the dark and gloomy rainforest, you’ll see full daylight once again. From here, there are many lookouts including Solitary Lookout, Katoomba Falls Lookout, Orphan Rock Lookout, the Watchtower and Duke and Duchess of York Lookout. There’s a short circular track adjoined to the Round Walking Track, where you’ll see the first three lookouts. From a straight track leading to the Katoomba Cascades, you’ll enjoy the other two.

Katoomba Cascades

The final highlight of the Round Walking Track are the Katoomba Cascades. They’re a small but charming cascade, gently rushing down an exposed and eroded section of rock. It’s mighty slippery near the water’s edge and on the stepping stones leading to it, so tread carefully.

Katoomba Cascades. A few small streams of water cascade down wet and multi-levelled rock. Dan and Beck sit at the base, admiring it.
Katoomba Cascades.

From here, there’s nothing stopping you from continuing on the same trail to connect with the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. But as we mentioned earlier, we’d recommend finishing this loop trail, and then driving to Katoomba Falls Reserve. This will help shorten the Prince Henry Cliff Walk which is already a fairly substantial one!

17. Prince Henry Cliff Walking Track

 (includes Echo Point LookoutThree Sisters Track, Spooners Lookout, Leura Cascades, Bridal View Lookout [Bridal Veil Falls], Tarpeian RockOlympian Rock, Elysian Rock, Gordon Falls & many other lookouts)

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 14km
  • Time: 4-6 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 620m
  • Difficulty: Grade 3
  • Trailhead: Katoomba Falls Reserve Car Park or Katoomba Cascades Car Park

The Prince Henry Cliff Walk is another one of the most famous Blue Mountains hiking trails. Long story short, a section of the trail was closed around Leura Cascades due to a landslide. As a result, we walked from Katoomba Falls Reserve to Echo Tree Lookout (the final lookout before Leura Cascades) and back.

Then after visiting the nearby Cahill’s Lookout, Peckman’s Plateau Lookout and Narrow Neck Lookout, we drove to and visited Gordon Falls. The track connecting Gordon Falls to Olympian Rock was also closed. So we then drove a short distance to a track leading to Olympian Rock. From there, we could walk to Tarpeian Rock and Bridal View Lookout, and back.

So, unfortunately, we missed out on Leura Cascades and some of the other lookouts around that area in October 2020. However, having completed this hike previously, and for convenience sake, we’ll detail this well known 7km one-way trail, the way it would usually be hiked, without any closures.

Basic overview of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk (NSW National Parks website).
Basic overview of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk (NSW National Parks website).

Echo Point Lookout

You’ll initially pass some lesser known and similar lookouts of Jamison Valley, Mount Solitude and Narrow Neck Plateau. In order, they include, the Wollumai, Little Milou, Allambale, Lady Darley and Kedumba Lookouts.

Walking along the cliff’s edge is a magnificent experience. It’s a narrow trail at times and surprisingly undulating with a few puddles around (without drought). Before long, you’ll arrive at possibly the largest Blue Mountains lookout of them all – the Queen Elizabeth Lookout, otherwise known as the Echo Point Lookout.

The Three Sisters as seen from the Echo Point Lookout. Three similarly shaped rocks stand tall beside its ridge. Mount Solitary is seen in the background below a mostly clear blue sky.
The Three Sisters as seen from the Echo Point Lookout.

The views of the Three Sisters are just marvellous. There’s Mount Solitary in the background, and the Federal Pass and Dardanelles Pass weaving their way through the valley floor. With this in mind, you’ll be set to enjoy one of the most iconic views of the Blue Mountains.

Of which, is the blue-hued mountains in the distance, where the Blue Mountains gets its name from. Essentially, the sun and eucalyptus oils, combine to produce a blue haze. Most lookouts on a clear day reveal this optical illusion in the Blue Mountains.

Three Sisters Track

From the main lookout is the smaller Spooners Lookout which provides even closer views of the Three Sisters. You then have the option of a quick detour to Oredas Lookout, via the Three Sisters track, to get up, close and personal with the Three Sisters.

Admittedly, your views of the Three Sisters will not improve. But to be able to follow the ridge that leads to them is a worthwhile experience. You’ll also have a unique vantage point of the Jamison Valley, as the Three Sisters Track descends quite low via steep steps.

Just before starting the short Three Sisters Track. A closer look at the similarly shaped three sister rocks. This view follows the rest of the lowered ridge that steeply and inconsistency continues towards the valley floor. The Three Sisters Track is one of the shortest Blue Mountains hiking trails covered in this guide.
Spooners Lookout, just before starting the short Three Sisters Track.

From Oredas Lookout, to continue the descent would be to continue the Giant Stairway, that leads to the Dardanelles Pass. However, to resume the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, climb back up the stairs, and continue along the cliff. As you veer away from Echo Point, your views of the Jamison Valley begin to change. Your views to Mount Solitary and Narrow Neck Plateau fade into the distance as you encounter new sandstone cliff walls and escarpments.

Lookouts seen from this point include Lady Carrington, Tallawarra, Honeymoon, Honeymoon Point, Banksia, Lomandra, Burrabarroo, Jamison, Flat Top, and finally Echo Tree Lookout. They’re all decent lookouts without being overly extraordinary.

Leura Cascades

As mentioned, we weren’t able to visit Leura Cascades on this occasion. However, to see all the lookout and attractions, you would first visit the Kiah Lookout and Fossil Rocks via some steps. There is the option to take two separate detours to Copelands and Bridal Veil Lookouts for valley and waterfall (Bridal Veil Falls) views, respectively. However, to continue on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, follow signs for Leura Cascades. Following this way will take you to the Upper Leura Cascades at the Picnic Area.

However, to see the actual Leura Cascades, briefly follow the Leura Cascades Fern Bower Circuit, which also eventually leads you to the Picnic Area.

Bridal Veil Falls

After leaving the Leura Cascades Picnic Area, you’ll notice the trail and surrounds become drier and arider. There is less forest litter and more loose rock. Your next lookout will be another viewpoint of the unique Bridal Veil Falls on a short detour from the Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

This cascade drapes over the remarkable rocky outcrop in spectacular fashion, emulating the veil of a wedding dress! It’s not the biggest or best waterfall in the Blue Mountains, but it’s certainly a unique one.

Bridal Veil Falls as seen from the Bridal Lookout during the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. A large cascade rush down and covers a rather high rocky outcrop. The Prince Henry Cliff Walk is one of the best Blue Mountains hiking trails.
Bridal Veil Falls as seen from the Bridal Lookout during the Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

Tarpeian Rock

Following Bridal Veil Falls, are a series of magnificent lookouts overseeing not only the Jamison Valley but the Kings Tableland over to Mount Solitary. These viewpoints are eroded layers of sandstone along the cliff’s edge. Each providing not only an epic lookout of the surrounding landscape but a genuinely cool slab of rock to stand on. Let’s hope each of the lookouts’ stability stays in good shape. Otherwise, they will surely have to be closed at some point.

Tarpeian Rock, Prince Henry Cliff Walk. A unique lookout with rippled surface rock overlooks the Grose Valley.
Tarpeian Rock, Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

The first of these epic lookouts is Tarpeian Rock. The striking feature of this lookout is the rippled outer layer of the rock platform. Carved out by nature over time, it’s one incredible rock and views to boot.

Olympian Rock

The next lookout along the Kings Tablelands is Olympian Rock. If you enjoyed Tarpeian Rock, then this lookout will be right up your alley also. The sheer size of this white sandstone rocky outcrop is mindboggling. In contrast to the Tarpeian Rock, it’s outer coating is super smooth.

Personally speaking, along this stretch of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, Olympian Rock is my favourite lookout. Actually, it’s easily one of the best lookouts you’ll experience on any of the Blue Mountains hiking trails.

Olympian Rock, Prince Henry Cliff Walk. One of the best lookouts among the many Blue Mountains hiking trails. A large sandstone lookout provides stellar views of the Grose Valley.
Olympian Rock, Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t access the Elysian Rock on our hike as this section was closed. However, it shares similarities with the Tarpeian Rock, in that it’s exterior is wavy but with a few prominent mounds, rather than continuous ripples. Well, hopefully, it’s accessible when you visit!

Gordon Falls

The final attraction of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk is Gordon Falls. Even with rainfall, this waterfall rarely looks too powerful and awe-inspiring. But then again, it’s quite a tall waterfall, so it still deserves some praise. Perhaps we had been spoilt by all the gorgeous waterfalls seen over the last few days.

To reach the lookout for this waterfall, you’ll have to descend a couple of short sets of steps. You’ll notice a large car park here, so expect some lesser deserving people checking out Gordon Falls as well!

Gordon Falls, Leura, Prince Henry Cliff Walk. This fairly weak waterfall is nevertheless an impressive and tall waterfall. Most of the falls is covered in shade.
Gordon Falls, Leura, Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

Once you’ve enjoyed the waterfall and surrounding views, it’s time to start the return walk! It’s a fairly long and at times, tedious return walk. But it is possible to get the bus back, or even better, organising a car shuffle would mean you’d have finished at Gordon Falls! After tackling some of the more popular Blue Mountains hiking trails, the rest of your day will be spent exploring some lesser known lookouts, plus one more waterfall.

18. Cahill’s Lookout

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 500m
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Accumulated elevation gain: Minimal
  • Difficulty: *Very Easy
  • Trailhead: Cahill’s Lookout Trailhead

Cahill’s Lookout is located not too far away from Katoomba Falls Reserve. There is a car park for about half a dozen cars. From there, a paved path leads you a few hundred metres down to a couple of lookouts, with the main one being Cahill’s Lookout. Again, expect sweeping views of the Jamison Valley, Mount Solitary and Narrow Neck Plateau.

Views of Boars Head Rock from Cahill's Lookout. An impressive rocky outcrop, popular with climbers, sits in the forefront as the Narrow Neck Plateau looms large in the distance.
Views of Boars Head Rock from Cahill’s Lookout.

Of interest also, is Boars Head Rock. It’s a fascinating rocky outcrop which is a popular spot for climbers. After the return Prince Henry Cliff Walk, you’ll be relieved to have a slight change of scenery and an almost instantaneous reward for your effort.

19. Peckman’s Plateau Lookout

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 500m
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Accumulated elevation gain: Minimal
  • Difficulty: *Very Easy
  • Trailhead: Peckman’s Plateau Lookout Trailhead

There is a walking trail connecting Cahill’s Lookout to the Peckman’s Plateau Lookout. However, with much more to squeeze into the day, we decided to quickly drive to a tiny unofficial dirt car park on the corner of Cliff Drive and Brougham Street. There’s probably only room for a few cars here.

Parking options if you don't wish to walk from Cahill's Lookout to Peckman's Plateau.
Parking options if you don’t wish to walk from Cahill’s Lookout to Peckman’s Plateau.

Similar to Cahill’s Lookout, this hike gradually descends a few hundred metres to a viewpoint. Only this time, it’s on a dry dirt trail with loose rocks and plenty of dust around. Barely known to tourists, you’ll be rewarded with sensational views of the Radiata Plateau. If you’re very lucky and time your visit after heavy rainfall, it’s also possible to see a waterfall here known as Ethel Falls. But, we weren’t so lucky!

Beck hikes away from Peckman's Plateau Lookout. Dry eucalyptus forest covers the cliff faces as only one portion of cliff face remains tree free. The sky is mostly clear. One of the shortest Blue Mountains hiking trails.
Beck hikes away from Peckman’s Plateau Lookout.

20. Narrow Neck Lookout

Also close by is the Narrow Neck Lookout. After hiking on the plateau for sunrise at Castle Head, we were intrigued as to what views this lookout would provide. Although you can see Narrow Neck Plateau, your views are mostly impeded by bushland that surrounds it.

So we weren’t overly impressed with this lookout. Although without any hiking involved, you won’t waste too much time if you’re interested in scoping it out!

Narrow Neck Lookout. An impeded view of the Narrow Neck Plateau.
Narrow Neck Lookout.

21. Minnehaha Falls

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 1.5km
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 94m
  • Difficulty: *Easy
  • Trailhead: Minnehaha Falls Car Park

Minnehaha Falls is a hidden gem. Similar to Lincoln’s Rock Lookout, it’s not managed by the Blue Mountains National Park. It’s actually maintained by the Blue Mountains City Council. So perhaps that’s why Minnehaha Falls is not as well known.

It’s worth knowing that Google Maps spells this waterfall differently as “Minni haha Falls”. Even so, do not follow directions to this landmark. Make sure to follow directions for “Minni haha Reserve Car Park”. This will lead you to a large car park and is where the hike begins.

You’ll begin on a wide dirt trail that slowly narrows and descends past a small set of cascades to your left. Since visiting a few years ago, there is much more signage, ensuring an easier walk to the base of the falls. Last time, I followed an extremely challenging trail to the base. To my understanding, this trail is no longer used. There are even certain sections of the trail fenced off, perhaps preventing people ‘going the old way’.

Rest assured, the descent to the base is very straightforward and safe with a sturdy but steep set of metal steps. Keep in mind that just before you climb down the stairs, you’ll have your first view of the waterfall and it’s an awesome viewpoint!

The falls are not the largest. But that means that less rainfall is required to make them powerful and spectacular. Make sure to spend some time at the beautiful natural swimming hole created by the falls. It’s one of your best opportunities for a swim in the Blue Mountains. Beware though, the water is very cold!

22. Sublime Point Lookout

A little further away in Leura is yet another fantastic lookout – The Sublime Point Lookout. After driving through the quaint town of Leura, you’ll find the Sublime Point Lookout Car Park to be decently sized. There’s space for around 20-30 cars.

The Sublime Point Track is a short track, only a few hundred metres or so, similar to Cahill’s Lookout. It’s mostly flat with a small descent nearing the final viewing point.

Sublime Point Lookout. A green carpet covers the floor as surrounding ridges seem far away in the distance.
Sublime Point Lookout.

What you’ll see is Sublime Point, a beautifully green covered valley, reminiscent of scenes we encountered at Mount Kaputar National Park. Dry eucalyptus forest dominates the valley floor, creating that all too familiar blue haze in the distance.

Mount Solitary also looms large in the distance. It’s refreshing to see sweeping views of the gorgeous but susceptible land, untouched by bushfires.

23. Lincoln’s Rock

Last but not least is Lincoln’s Rock located in the Wentworth Falls area. It’s yet another wonderous rock that forms part of Kings Tablelands. It’s easiest to find by following directions for 51 Little Switzerland Drive, Wentworth Falls. The car park is unsealed and horrendously bumpy. So with our 2WD, we parked slightly down the road. With a 4WD, it’s possible to park opposite the rock at the end of the road.

Map of Lincolns Rock.
Map of Lincolns Rock.

What separates Lincoln’s Rock from the other epic rock lookouts on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk is its size. The rock itself stretches over 50 metres! Similar to Olympian Rock is its incredible smooth white sandstone appearance. Take your time to marvel at the geology and appreciate the sweeping tableland views.

Drone footage captures us on Lincoln's Rock. An incredibly large white rock creates a huge platform for extraordinary views of the surrounding dry eucalyptus filled valleys.
Drone footage captures us on Lincoln’s Rock.

It’s certainly lesser known than the lookouts found along the Blue Mountains hiking trails in Katoomba, Leura and Wentworth Falls. But it can still get busy on the weekends.

3 Day Blue Mountains Hiking Trails Recap

With so many epic Blue Mountains hiking trails, it’s a genuinely impossible task to fit them all into a few days. Multi-day hikes aside, there are enough shorter day hikes to pack out a fortnight or even longer. With that said, there are some obvious trails that you should hike to at least get the ball rolling. This is undoubtedly the most comprehensive three days Blue Mountains hiking trails guide online. So bookmark, share and enjoy.

For more information and recommendations on transport, accommodation and hiking gear, please continue below.

Sunrise at Castle Head. Dan and Beck watch the sunrise with Mount Solitary directly in front of them and mist in the valley to the right of it.
Sunrise at Castle Head.

Getting to Sydney

Flights: Of course, you’ll need to get to Sydney to do this trip from abroad. If you’re travelling to Sydney from overseas, use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights. When flying abroad, we always start with a Skyscanner search.

If you’re based in the UK or US, you should sign up to Jack’s Flight Club for the best flight deal alert service. By simply subscribing to the free weekly newsletter or buying premium membership, you could save lots of money on international travel. If you’re interstate, subscribe to I Want That Flight for the best flight deal alerts to and from other states. You can usually find cheap flights with Jetstar or Tiger Airways.

Getting to/from the Blue Mountains National Park

The Blue Mountains National Park is located just outside of western Sydney. Depending on where you’re based in Sydney, it’s a 30 minute – 2 hour drive!

To explore the Blue Mountains, a car is preferable. There are public transport options for getting around much of the Blue Mountains. Plus, getting a train out to the Blue Mountains is fairly straightforward from Sydney. But to maximise your time, do sunrise hikes and get to the lesser known destinations, it’s best to have a car.

So if you need a car, use RentalCars.com. It’s a fantastic search engine for finding the cheapest car hire. We’ve used it when having to hire cars in Australia. All of the activities mentioned in this itinerary are 2WD accessible. But take care when accessing some of the trailheads, and particularly on Mount Hay Road. Perhaps, for peace of mind, a 4WD would be better!

A rosella seen on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. You'll see many birds among the many Blue Mountains hiking trails.
A rosella seen on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

Accommodation

After almost +2 months of camping in 2020, we decided to spoil ourselves regarding Blue Mountains accommodation. But we’re always planning the next trip. So we wanted to strike the right balance between cost, location, quality and experience. We certainly found that at No14 Lovel St Hostel.

The host is not only warm, welcoming and approachable but very knowledgable about the area. After taking over the business a few years ago, she has brought new life and vibrance to this historical house.

Beck and I stayed in one of the private rooms upstairs. It was small, but warm and cosy. Everything you’d need for cooking is included, in a well sized kitchen. In a COVID-19 world, the host goes above and beyond to ensure safety to all guests with outstanding hygiene and cleaning practices. The bathrooms are spacious with plenty of toilets and showers. It’s conveniently located in Katoomba too, which makes it a great launching pad for exploring the Blue Mountains as a whole.

If you’re keen on camping, there are bucket loads of options. Check WikiCamps or Campermate to find what you’re looking for. Otherwise, we recommend using Booking.com and Airbnb to find accommodation best suited for you.

Minnehaha Falls as seen from the base of the falls. The bottom part of the waterfalls powerfully rushes onto rock below, filling the swimming hole below.
Minnehaha Falls as seen from the base of the falls.

Local Supplies

Before completing this itinerary, make sure you’re well stocked up because you’ll be busy. There’s an Aldi and Woolworths in Katoomba if you haven’t stocked up before leaving Sydney.

Total Costs

  • Accommodation: $75AUD/night ($58USD) for 2 nights for 2 people.
  • Petrol: $30AUD/person ($23USD)
  • Food: $20AUD/person ($16USD)

= $175AUD/person ($135USD)

Ensure you pay for parking if you don’t have an NSW National Parks Annual Pass. You’ll undoubtedly make your money back from a one or two year pass are if you explore NSW national parks regularly.

An Australian water dragon, captured at the base of the Victoria Falls. You'll enjoy loads of wildlife when doing many of the Blue Mountains hiking trails.
An Australian water dragon, captured at the base of the Victoria Falls.

Five Hiking Gear Essentials for the Blue Mountains

For a more comprehensive packing list, please check out the Ultimate Packing Checklist. It’s a great general summary of everything you’d need for a trip. For even more information check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With.

Trail Navigation

Trail navigation is very helpful for Blue Mountains hiking trails such as the Wentworth Pass and the Prince Henry Cliff Walk which have lookouts and attractions around every corner. Plus, when hiking in the dark for sunrise, it’s always advisable to use GPS to help you stay on track.

For those not so prepared, if you’re needing navigation help during the hike and don’t have any phone reception, consider using Maps.me. Although you need to have at least downloaded the map of the general area beforehand.

Bonus Tips

  • Spend longer than three days: this guide only scratches the Blue Mountains hiking trails surface. Be sure to plan a longer trip if possible or just keep coming back for weekend trips!
  • Be aware of tourists: the Blue Mountains is a popular tourist destination so be prepared for crowds at some of the popular attractions.
  • Always get approval to fly your drone in NSW National Parks: make sure to fill in the Recreational Drone Use Application Form at least 10 days before your visit and only fly in approved areas.
  • Prepare for cold weather: it can snow in the Blue Mountains in winter, so make sure you’re prepped with the right gear, particularly if you’re keen on those sunrise hikes.

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