Have you done the famous walk down to the Three Sisters? Don’t stop there! The Blue Mountains is teeming with beautiful hiking trails, just waiting to be explored. On your next trip, pack water, snacks and proper shoes and try one of these nature-fuelled treks. The satisfaction will stay with you as long as the snaps.
For a short but sweet snapshot of the Blue Mountains, opt for the Round Walking Track – a hike that highlights the natural beauty of the national park. The trail takes you through lush rainforest, and starts with wonderful waterfall views at Rieds Plateau. It then goes down into the gorge, where you can expect to see plenty of native greenery as well as rosellas and lorikeets flying overhead. Then, at Vanimans Lookout, you’ll have unparalleled views of the Blue Mountains most iconic sites, The Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls. As if that wasn’t scenic enough, the loop finishes at the whimsically named Juliet’s Balcony, which overlooks the Witches Leap waterfall.
Time: 1 hour
Bring your binoculars, because this track is a wildlife wonder – you’re almost guaranteed to glimpse king parrots, yellow-tailed black cockatoos, and rainbow displays of wildlife. It also follows the cliff edge, making it one of the most exhilarating trails in the Blue Mountains. The path starts at Govetts Leap Lookout, and offers panoramic views over Grose Valley before ending at Evans Lookout (which doubles as a great picnic spot!). It’s dotted with greenery such as oaks, banksias and scrubs, and if you’re a rebel who likes to chase waterfalls, stop at Barrow Lookout.
Time: 3.5 hours
A world away from its US namesake, the Blue Mountains’ Grand Canyon is full of lush greenery, waterfalls, creeks and seriously spectacular views. The track starts at the Evans Lookout (near Blackheath), and its wetness makes it quite challenging, so be sure to wear proper shoes. As you descend about 200 metres down to the canyon floor, you’ll see huge native ferns, wattle and a creek before arriving at a sandy beach called the Rotunda. After that, you’ll enter the canyon, where you’ll be treated to views of sandstone cliffs, flowing falls, and fern forests. If you’re feeling energetic, take the detour to Beauchamp Falls – the path is on the rough side, but the cascading waterfall at the end is worth it.
Time: 3-4 hours
Are you an experienced hiker? On your next trip to the Mountains, try Govetts Leap Lookout, a harder walking track that will reward you with sweeping views of Govetts Leap (fun fact: ‘leap’ is the Scottish word for ‘waterfall’), as well as Grose Valley. The walk down is steep, but the cliff views, hanging swamps, tunnelled rocks and wildflowers are the ultimate distractions. When you reach the bottom of the valley, pause for a picnic, to birdwatch, or just breathe in the fresh mountain air. Then, brace yourself for walk back up – and embrace the droplets falling down on you from the forest above. They’re nature’s way of washing off the sweat!
Time: 2 hours
If you have four or five hours to spare, tackle this hike in Katoomba. It sounds mysterious, but the Ruined Castle is a rock formation, and one of the most recognisable landmarks in the Jamison Valley. Beginning at the Golden Stairway, the walk goes deep down into the valley, where you’ll enter the rainforest. Stop here for a few minutes to scope out the wildlife (like lyrebirds) and a peek into history – this track was a mining route back in the day, and the signs are still there. Then, climb the rock formation all the way to the top, and you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the valley as far as Wentworth Falls.
Time: 4 hours
For a truly adventurous afternoon, commit to National Pass – an epic trail that proves just why the Blue Mountains is a hiker’s heaven. We describe it as ‘epic’ for a few reasons. Firstly: it’s built into the side of a cliff. Yes, really! Secondly, it’s home to the Grand Stairway, a historic feature that was built in the early 1900s. And lastly, it offers awe-inspiring views of the Valley of the Waters, a set of not one, but multiple dramatic waterfalls. Start your journey at the Wentworth Falls picnic area, and set a good chunk of time aside so you can really soak up the scenes.
Time: 2.5-3.5 hours
For a perfectly balanced day in the Blue Mountains, do the Leura Cascades Fern Bower circuit, and pack a picnic lunch and your swimmers. The trail begins at Leura Cascades, a pretty picnic area surrounded by eucalyptus trees, which leads to Bridal Veil Falls and Leura Falls. A few different walks can be accessed from there, but we recommend the Fern Bower, a loop that’ll take you along the cliff line and down to Jamison Valley – two very impressive sights. It’s a lush, green track, with plenty of rock formations and wildlife like catbirds and wompa pigeons. On the way back, stop for a refreshing dip at Leura Falls before finishing where you started with lunch at Leura Cascades.
Time: 3 hours