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Empress Falls: The Walk, Extra Waterfalls Nearby and Canyoning

Empress Falls: The Walk, Extra Waterfalls Nearby and Canyoning

Empress Falls is a magnificent waterfall in the Valley of the Waters in the Blue Mountains. By doing a short walk along the Valley of the Waters Track, you can reach this incredible drop. Once you’ve scoped out Empress Falls, there are plenty of epic waterfalls to see nearby too. On top of that, Empress Falls is one of the best places for canyoning (abseiling) in the Blue Mountains.

In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about Empress Falls. Whether you want to walk to or abseil down this impressive waterfall, this guide will provide all of the necessary details.

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains National Park

Empress Falls is a stunning multi-tier waterfall. Although it may not be as popular as nearby Wentworth Falls, Beck and I think Empress Falls is even more picturesque. Best of all, seeing the waterfall only involves a short walk. So, it’s really straightforward and simple to visit.

For those waterfall chasers, you’ll be pleased to know that there are loads of waterfalls to see near Empress Falls too. Certainly, we think the Valley of the Waters should be renamed the Valley of the Waterfalls! Whilst, for thrill seekers, canyoning down the waterfall is an awesome activity and one of the most popular tours in the Blue Mountains.

So, before we jump into all of the nitty-gritty details, let’s look at exactly where the waterfall is located.

Canyoning at Empress Falls

Person canyoning down Empress Falls

Have you thought about canyoning at Empress Falls? Click the button below to learn more about the exhilarating Empress Falls Canyoning adventure.

Where Is Empress Falls?

Empress Falls is located in the Wentworth Falls area of the Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales. To help get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area on Google Maps.

A screenshot of a map showing the location of Empress Falls
Empress Falls map

Empress Falls Walking Track in Wentworth Falls

The most popular way to enjoy the waterfall is by simply walking to it. During this waterfall walk, you’ll enjoy the sublime temperate rainforest of the Jamison Valley.

Technically speaking, there is no officially named Empress Falls Walking Track. The waterfall is actually found along the National Pass Walking Track.

Essentially, the National Pass runs through an area known as the Valley of the Waters where you’ll find Empress Falls. Ipso facto, the section of the track from the Conservation Hut to Empress Falls is known as the Empress Falls Walk or Empress Falls Walking Track. Whilst, the track running through the Valley of the Waters between the Conservation Hut and the Wentworth Pass and Vera Falls Track intersection is known as the Valley of the Waters Track.

Below, we’ll cover the trail specs for the walk.

Empress Falls cascades majestically in a canyon full of trees

Empress Falls Walk (Valley of the Waters Track) Details

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 1.4km
  • Time: 30–60 minutes
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 100m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Conservation Hut
  • Map: AllTrails
A screenshot of the Empress Falls Walking Track

Empress Falls Walk: Trail Description

In the trail description below, we’ll tell you all about the fantastic walk to the waterfall. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect.

Conservation Hut

Your waterfall-chasing adventure starts at the Conservation Hut. Before you start the walk, we recommend checking out the sensational views from the Valley of the Waters Lookout. Then, we recommend heading down the steps to get to another brilliant lookout – the Queen Victoria Lookout.

Queen Victoria Lookout

The steps down to the Queen Victoria Lookout are fairly steep. But, your descent is only short-lived as you’ll soon arrive at the amazing lookout. Certainly, from the Queen Victoria Lookout, you’ll enjoy some of the best views of the sublime Jamison Valley.

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

Empress Lookout

After enjoying the views from the Queen Victoria Lookout, it’s time to head to yet another lookout called Empress Lookout. But, the views from Empress Lookout are quite different in nature. Instead of far-reaching views over the expanse of a valley, you’ll enjoy views of the relatively closed-in Empress Canyon, where Empress Falls are located.

Despite the nice views, you won’t actually be able to see the waterfall. To see the waterfall, you’ll have to continue to descend the Valley of the Waters Track, taking on some steep stairs with rails.

Lilian’s Bridge

As you climb down into Empress Canyon, you’ll notice the terrain becomes damper and your surroundings even lusher. Soon, you’ll walk by a small waterfall called Isobel Falls. Admittedly, we didn’t take much notice of this waterfall. Then, you’ll arrive at a short wooden bridge known as Lilian’s Bridge. After crossing the bridge, you’ll soon arrive at Empress Falls.

Empress Falls

At around 35 metres, the majestic multi-tier waterfall is the largest waterfall in the Valley of the Waters. It’s an extraordinary cascade, that spreads over a few gradually widening rock platforms. Indeed, it’s a beautiful waterfall and one of the best in the Blue Mountains.

At this stage, it’s up to you whether you want to return to the Conservation Hut or continue along the Valley of the Waters Track to see more waterfalls. At the very least, we recommend checking out Sylvia Falls.

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.

Sylvia Falls

Literally, around the corner, you’ll find Syliva Falls. Sure, Sylvia Falls isn’t as grand as Empress Falls, but it’s just as magical. After heavy rainfall, Beck and I enjoyed seeing a fuller waterfall. Nearly every possible cascading stream seemed present and fanned beautifully over the random assortment of naturally eroded rocks.

After seeing Syliva Falls, it would be reasonable to retrace your steps to complete the walk as you would have seen the best waterfalls in the Valley of the Waters. But, if you’re a waterfall junkie, you’ll want to continue along the Valley of the Waters Track.

A waterfall along the Valley of the Waters Track

Lodore Falls

Near Sylvia Falls, you’ll follow an enchanting series of stepping stones before reaching Lodore Falls. Unfortunately, much of your views of Lodore Falls are impeded by the surrounding foliage. Nevertheless, Lodore Falls is an excellent waterfall to check out.

After seeing Lodore Falls, there are a bunch of other great waterfalls to see along the Valley of the Waters Track. If you’ve come this far, you may as well keep going!

A waterfall along the Valley of the Waters Track

Other Valley of the Waters Waterfalls

Following Lodore Falls, there are another three prominent waterfalls along the Valley of the Waters Track. These include Flat Rock Falls, Britannia Falls and then ​​​​​​Red Rock Falls. Sure, none of these waterfalls are as extraordinary as Empress Falls, but they all have a unique charm and are brilliant in their own right.

Red Rock Falls is the final waterfall to see along the Valley of the Waters Track. So, once you reach Red Rock Falls, you can now retrace your steps, passing Empress Falls once more, to complete the walk.

Of course, if you’re after a longer walk or more waterfalls, you could continue along Wentworth Pass to Wentworth Falls. Otherwise, you could continue along the Vera Falls Track to scope out Vera Falls and Hippocrene Falls. But, please be aware that the Vera Falls Track is off the beaten track. So, unless you’re an experienced hiker, we don’t recommend doing this additional walk.

Red Rock Falls is a small waterfall surrounded by forest
Red Rock Falls

Empress Falls Canyoning (Empress Canyon)

Other than walking to Empress Falls, it’s also possible to abseil down it! By doing an Empress Falls Canyoning Tour, you can really enjoy the waterfall in all its glory. During the Empress Canyon Tour, which is an excellent guided introductory abseiling group tour, you’ll literally abseil down the waterfall. The tour also involves canyoning through other areas of Empress Canyon.

Empress Falls Canyoning Tour

Person canyoning down Empress Falls
  • Small group tour
  • All equipment provided
  • Lunch included

Read about the best tours in the Blue Mountains

Useful Things to Know About Empress Falls

Now you know all about walking and canyoning at Empress Falls, let’s look at some other useful details to help plan your visit. Let’s start by looking at how to get to the Blue Mountains in the first place.

Someone at the top of Empress Falls prepares to abseil down it.

How to Get to Empress Falls

The quickest and easiest way to get to the Blue Mountains is to drive there. If you don’t have a car, we recommend hiring one for the day or for your Blue Mountains trip. To see Empress Falls, a 2WD vehicle will suffice.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

Empress Falls Parking

In terms of Empress Falls directions and parking, simply put the ‘Conservation Hut Cafe‘ into Google Maps. At Conservation Hut, you’ll find a car park, toilet facilities and a cafe. Keep in mind, this car park fills up quickly on the weekend!

Public Transport

Thankfully, it’s also possible to use public transport to get to Empress Falls. You’ll want to get a train to Wentworth Falls Station. From there, it’s a 35 minute walk (2.4km) to Conservation Hut. We recommend using Google Maps and Transport NSW to help plan your journey.

What to Wear and Pack

Here are our hiking gear essentials for the walk to Empress Falls.

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.

Other Waterfalls in the Blue Mountains

Of course, there are loads of awesome waterfalls in the Blue Mountains National Park. Also located in the town of Wentworth Falls, is, well, the famous Wentworth Falls. Who would have thought?

If you’re making the trip to see Empress Falls, you should also definitely visit Wentworth Falls. By doing the Wentworth Pass circular walk, you’ll see Wentworth Falls Waterfall, Weeping Rock and all of the waterfalls along the Valley of the Waters.

Otherwise, there are many equally beautiful but lesser-known waterfalls throughout the Greater Blue Mountains area. For instance, another excellent yet hidden waterfall in the Greater Blue Mountains area is Kanangra Falls in Kanangra-Boyd National Park.


Below, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about Empress Falls.

How Long Is the Empress Falls Walk?

If you only walked to Empress Falls and no other waterfalls along the Valley of the Waters Track, you’d walk 1.4km.

How Tall Is Empress Falls?

It’s around 35 metres tall.

Can You Swim in Empress Falls?

Although there is a fence around the base of the waterfall, swimming in the pool isn’t forbidden. But, you’ll have to be wary of those canyoning down the waterfall. You definitely won’t want to get in their way! Even with the absence of canyoners, the pool at the base of the waterfall isn’t the best for wild swimming as it’s not terribly deep. Certainly, there are much better options for wild swimming in the Blue Mountains such as at Jellybean Pool or Minnehaha Falls.

Can You Swim in Sylvia Falls?

Similar to the answer above, it’s possible as it isn’t forbidden. But, the base of Sylvia Falls has even less depth than the pool at the base of Empress Falls. So, in reality, Sylvia Falls isn’t very swimmable.

Is Empress Falls Open?

The National Pass Walking Track and the Valley of the Waters Walking Track can sometimes close for various reasons. Make sure to check the local alerts for the Blue Mountains area on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services website before visiting to make sure the relevant tracks are open.

Is the Empress Falls Track Suitable For Children?

Yes, it’s a family-friendly track that’s suitable for kids.

Is the Empress Falls Walk Dog Friendly?

No, dogs aren’t allowed in the Blue Mountains National Park.

Is the Empress Walk Suitable For Those Scared of Heights?

This depends on the severity of your fear of heights. Overall, I suspect most people with a fear of heights would tolerate this walk just fine as the tracks are safe and there are no unfenced edges near cliffs to navigate. In fact, most of the walk takes place in the confines of Empress Canyon, so it really should be okay.

Bonus Tips

  • Camping near Empress Falls: the closest campground near the waterfall is Ingar Campground in Wentworth Falls.
  • Other great hiking in the Blue Mountains: make sure to explore more of the stunning Blue Mountains, including the sublime Grand Canyon Walk. Check out our Blue Mountains 3 Day Itinerary for details about some of the best walks in the area.
  • Take a camera and a tripod: to take the best Empress Falls photos, you’ll want to use a tripod and the slow shutter function on your camera.
  • Empress Falls deaths: we don’t want to end on a sad note, but unfortunately a couple of deaths have been reported at the waterfall. Don’t ever attempt to climb up or down the waterfall yourself. If you’re tempted, simply join in on a Guided Empress Falls Canyoning Tour.

Read about the best accommodation in the Blue Mountains.

We acknowledge and respect the First Nations people as the Traditional Custodians of the land/water that we visited and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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