Castle Head & Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains NSW

Two mostly flat walks that visit a number of vantage points on Narrow Neck Plateau for views over the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains near Katoomba.

Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains

Two reasonably easy going walks here on Narrow Neck Plateau in the Blue Mountains at Katoomba. They both offer sweeping views over the famous landmarks of the Jamison Valley from a different angle than the more famous vantage points, and there’s also views of the Megalong Valley.

Castle Head juts out from Narrow Neck Plateau into the Jamison Valley, providing roughly 270 degree views, and if you’ve ever done the Ruined Castle / Mt Solitary walk then you’ll have seen it from down in the valley (it’s to the right of me in the picture below). There’s attractive heath vegetation on this part of the walk.

Mt Solitary Track, Blue Mountains NP
Me on a section of the Ruined Castle from a couple of years ago, with Castle Head, one of the destinations of this walk, jutting out to the right.

The main body of Narrow Neck Plateau divides the Jamison and Megalong Valleys, and at the narrow part you get good views over both. You can walk all the way to the end of this peninsula, however we stopped at this narrow section and walked back. There’s some attractive sections of forest along the fire trail which adds to the appeal of this walk.

There’s also a viewpoint over the Jamison Valley a few hundred metres from the start. Those views are at the end of my photos because we missed it on the way out and visited it instead on the way back. Definitely worth the very short detour, which is on an indistinct track to the left before you get to the Castle Head turn off. Track notes at the end.

Castle Head & Narrow Neck Plateau: The Scenery

Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
Sophia posing for me at a viewpoint on the way to Castle Head.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
More obvious in real life, but you can see a patchwork of distinct forest types down in the valley, the darker green and dense sections being rainforest.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
Looking over the Jamison Valley.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
Mt Solitary from Castle Head.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
The view from Castle Head. Mt Solitary to the left, and I think the end of Narrow Neck Plateau to the right. Lake Burragorang in the far distance.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
These ants nests were numerous. Clever design, as it seems to protect against flooding.

Back onto the fire trail and we passed through some nice sections of forest, with endangered plants protected by the side of the fire trail in one section.

Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
Sophia entering a forest of Blue Mountains ash (I think).
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
Loved the colours of this fungi contrasted against the burnt log.

Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains

Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
Approaching the narrow part of Narrow Neck Road. The top of the rise is a reasonable place to turn around unless you want to walk to the end.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
The view from the narrow part of Narrow Neck Plateau. Mt Solitary to the right.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
The view from the narrow part of Narrow Neck Plateau.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
This would be a reasonable place on Narrow Neck Road to turn around, unless you want to walk to the end. Megalong Valley is to the right.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
Interesting rock colours and textures.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
Big mushrooms.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains ash (I think).

Views from near the start here…

Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
Interesting rock textures. This is at a viewpoint near the start.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
The view from the lookout near the start. That’s Mt Solitary in the distance.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters viewed from the side. A bit camouflaged from his angle.
Castle Head and Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains
A small bug that hung out on my finger for a while.

Track Notes

We used track notes in Blue Mountains Best Bushwalks, but the tracks are fairly obvious. You could do one or both of these walks; easy if you do just one, but moderate if you do both.

From the locked gate and car park on Glenrafael Drive (an unsealed road with lots of big potholes!) you walk down the fire trail for a few hundred metres until you come across an indistinct track on the left leading off to views of the Jamison Valley (very close). Return to continue along the fire trail: the Castle Head turn off is signposted on the left, and you walk to the end of the track. Returning from Castle Head, keep going down the fire trail until you get to the obvious narrow part for more views. You can continue down the trail if you like, but it’s a long way on a fire trail and I don’t think there are any more views until the end.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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