Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

A circuit walk taking in one of the better and yet less frequented sections of the Federal Pass at Katoomba, and also all of the most touristy areas for some contrast!

The Katoomba Landslide section of the Federal Pass in the Blue Mountains appears not to get that much traffic, and I hadn’t done it before this trip in June 2019. Turns out though it is one of the most spectacular sections of this longish track beneath sandstone cliffs, as a landslide in the early 1930’s has opened up views over a nice corner of the cliff lined Jamison Valley. 

This section of the track isn’t really on the way anywhere, and even though it is close to the Scenic World railway, it appears very few people make the effort to come this far. We did it as part of a circuit including roads and the most touristy areas of Katoomba, and I’d probably avoid these areas if I did it again (especially on a public holiday Monday). You could combine it with a trip to the Ruined Castle, descending the Golden Stairs and walking to each destination in turn (they are in opposite directions). Or if you descend from Scenic World on the railway then it’s a pretty easy walk to this excellent spot.

Track notes at the end.

Katoomba Landslide Circuit: The Scenery

Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Looking towards Mt Solitary from Landslide Lookout.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
The view west (and down) from Landslide Lookout.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters to the right, viewed from a lookout on Cliff Drive.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters viewed from an unnamed viewpoint on Cliff Drive.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Looking towards Scenic World from the Prince Henry Cliff Walk.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters (left) and Mt Solitary.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
A view of the Three Sister from the bottom of the railway at Scenic World. There were lots of people at this spot so I didn’t stick around.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Evidence of a small landslide.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
There’s coal in them there hills! There’s actually a few abandoned mine tunnels in the area.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Part of the landslide section. The cliff fell away in 1931.

Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains

Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Sophia backed by cliffs as we left the landslide section.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
More of the landslide section.

Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains

Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Last look at the landslide as we climbed up the Golden Stairs.

Track Notes

We started at Landslide Lookout on Cliff Drive. The lookout is a short side trip off the road. Returning from the lookout we walked towards Echo point on Cliff Drive, stopping at a couple of lookouts along the way. At Scenic World we joined the busy section of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, then at Echo Point descended the Giant Stairway to the Federal Pass. We then followed the Federal Pass through the lower section of Scenic World, and on to the landslide section for great views. From there we continued maybe 30 minutes and ascended to Glenraphael Drive via the Golden Stairs. The last bit was back to our car along the unsealed Glenraphael Drive and a short section of Cliff Drive.    

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

A unique and atmospheric walk through a narrow, shaded canyon in the Upper Blue Mountains near Blackheath.

The Grand Canyon Circuit offers a fairly unique Blue Mountains experience, passing through the shadowy recesses of a narrow canyon carved out by Greaves Creek, near the town of Blackheath in the upper mountains. There’s lush rainforest vegetation, tall and dark cliffs, as well as more open sections with dryer vegetation. There’s also excellent views from Evans Lookout of the Grose Valley, looking like a smaller, forested version of that other (slightly more famous) Grand Canyon. Evans Lookout is outside of the canyon, but a part of the circuit walk.

The walk is of moderate difficulty on a well marked track. On the day I took these pictures we combined this walk with the longer Rodriguez Pass for a full and varied day-hike.

Track Notes

The NPWS site has information on the walk. You can start on Evans Lookout Road, either at Evans Lookout itself (at the end of the road), or earlier on at the other end of the canyon, or indeed at a car park between these two spots. Either way you walk roughly parallel to the road on a constructed track for a while to complete the circuit.

Grand Canyon Circuit: The Scenery

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Tunnels or caves.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Another tunnel or cave.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
There were some very narrow sections.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Sophia for scale on the left.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
I’m really not sure what to label many of these photos: ‘water ferns rocks’ would do for almost all of them.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Sections of the walk emerge from the canyon.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Looking down through a crack back down to Greaves Creek.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Dusk at Evans Lookout, looking over the Grose Valley.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

This is one of the classic circuit walks in the Blue Mountains, with great valley views, various attractive waterfalls, tall cliffs, rainforest and moody creeks.

You can sample some of the best of the upper Blue Mountains on this harder than average circuit walk near Blackheath. You get the usual grand valley and cliff views, but also numerous waterfalls, rainforest, and creek scenery. And you can combine the Rodriguez Pass with the Grand Canyon Circuit (as we did) to make a full and varied day of it.

Track notes at the end.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit: The Scenery

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
The Grose Valley from Govetts leap Lookout, which is where we started.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Grose Valley panorama from a little below Govetts Leap Lookout, on the Rodriguez Pass.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Govetts Leap to the right.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Govetts Leap

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Govetts Leap (falls) on the right, and further right still, a hanging swamp.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Dropping down the cliff line.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Govetts Leap from below.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A section of rainforest as we dropped down deeper into the Grose Valley.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Sophia in front of one of many small waterfalls along the Rodriguez Pass.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A birds nest fern.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Lots of dark and moody sections of creek.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
On the valley floor by this stage.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Very lush in places.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
At Junction Rock, looking up at cliffs lining the Grose Valley.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A panorama of some cliffs viewed from the valley floor at Junction Rock.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Cliffs lining the Grose Valley.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A cascade as we climbed higher up towards the Grand Canyon.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A cascade on Greaves Creek.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A very atmospheric spot on the Rodriguez Pass.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Maiden hair Ferns I think.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Beauchamp Falls

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A cliff near Beauchamp Falls.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Beauchamp Falls

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
An injured yabby that was not very long for this world, but still photogenic.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
You get up close and personal with cliffs on this walk.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Looking back as we climbed higher up the Rodriguez Pass.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Looking back as we climbed higher up the Rodriguez Pass.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

Track Notes

The NPWS has information on the Rodriguez Pass. Starting at Govetts Leap Lookout on the edge of Blackheath, we dropped steeply down the cliff face into the Grose Valley via the bottom of Govetts Leap itself (apparently the largest single drop waterfall in the Blue Mountains). Continuing on through mostly lush rainforest along Govetts Leap Brook (beware leeches in hot and wet weather!) we eventually reached Junction Rock. From there we set off towards the cliff line again, initially along Govetts Creek, then Greaves Creek, stopping to look at the attractive Beauchamp Falls on the way up (very short side trip – you should hear the falls). About 650 metres ascent and descent.

You can return to Govetts Leap Lookout directly via a small section of the Grand Canyon Circuit to Evans Lookout, then along the Cliff Top Track. But we went the long way around the rest of the Grand Canyon Circuit to make it a full and varied day walk (6-7 hours with lunch and photos). (You can see my pictures of the Grand Canyon Circuit here).

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.

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. Continue reading “Castle Head & Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains NSW”

Devils Hole Track, Katoomba, Blue Mountains NSW

This lesser known short walk in the Blue Mountains passes through a very atmospheric canyon, and can be extended along the bottom of cliffs used by rock climbers.

This was another new walk for me in the Upper Blue Mountains that exceeded expectations. It starts on the edge of town, and passes steeply through a narrow and deep canyon (actually a gap in the cliffs) called the Devils Hole. As you drop down you can take a short side trip to the left for views of the cliffs lining Narrow Neck Plateau. At the bottom of Devils Hole you turn left to view a scenic waterfall, and can then continue on along the bottom of cliffs used by rock climbers. Continue reading “Devils Hole Track, Katoomba, Blue Mountains NSW”

Asgard Swamp & Thor Head Walk, Blue Mountains NSW

A lesser known but nevertheless spectacular walk in the Upper Blue Mountains near Mt Victoria. There are cliffs galore, views up and down the deep Grose Valley, and other features such as patches of treeless grasslands.

This walk near Mt Victoria offers some of the best views of typical Upper Blue Mountains scenery, but is relatively unknown so you’ll be able to enjoy the serenity without the crowds. The tracks visit some excellent vantage points on the edge of rather precipitous cliffs with views over the spectacular Grose Valley, and there’s also a few patches of treeless grassy plains (the swamps I presume) that make for a nice change of scenery in this heavily forested area. Add to this a handful of rocky outcrops along the way, some interesting trees, and a worthy side trip to visit a small historic mine. All this for less than 10km of flattish walking.   Continue reading “Asgard Swamp & Thor Head Walk, Blue Mountains NSW”

Red Hands Cave and Link Tracks, Blue Mountains National Park, NSW

A short to medium walk through a variety of forest vegetation in the Lower Blue Mountains that takes in two significant Indigenous cultural sites.

This walk is conveniently located at the very bottom of the Blue Mountains near Glenbrook. Not all that spectacular, it’s nevertheless unique for the cave at the turnaround point, which contains excellently preserved indigenous hand stencils made with red ochre, hence the name Red Hands Cave. Walking from Glenbrook Causeway near the entrance to the national park, you’ll pass through a variety of forest types, from dry scrubby vegetation to rainforest, and the link track provides a bit of variety making a partial loop. Continue reading “Red Hands Cave and Link Tracks, Blue Mountains National Park, NSW”

Fortress Ridge Track, Blue Mountains NP, NSW

An undulating walk through heath in the Upper Blue Mountains, with spectacular views of the Grose Valley and Lockley’s Pylon at the turnaround point.

There are a number of excellent walks which start on the unsealed (and rough) Mt Hay Road, near the Blue Mountains town of Leura. Over 12 years of regular bushwalking in the area I had often noticed cars parked at the side of the road about half way to the end, and wondered whether there was a track there. Well, Sophia and I finally checked it out and discovered the really excellent Fortress Ridge Track. Better late than never. The track undulates through heath and occasional tree cover to a view point over the Grose Valley and Lockley’s Pylon, which is quite spectacular from this angle.  Continue reading “Fortress Ridge Track, Blue Mountains NP, NSW”

Venus Tor via Mt Hay, Blue Mountains NP, NSW

A little known walk over Mt Hay and down to the rocky outcrop known as Venus Tor. Excellent cliff and valley views for much of the way.

I learned of this excellent walk in the Upper Blue Mountains from a couple I met on the summit of Mt Hay. It’s possible to continue on over Mt Hay to a rocky outcrop called Venus Tor, and there are excellent views over the Grose Valley for most of the way. Plus you’re unlikely to meet many/any other hikers after Mt Hay. The drop down from Mt Hay is very steep, and then passes through mostly heath and scrub to the tor. Easy enough walking.  Continue reading “Venus Tor via Mt Hay, Blue Mountains NP, NSW”

Lockleys Pylon/Du Faur Head Track, Blue Mountains NSW

The Lockleys Pylon Track offers really excellent views of the Grose Valley from the opposite side of the valley to the Blackheath walks, and the mostly heath vegetation means there are wide open views for much of the walk. Continue on a short while from Lockleys Pylon to Du Faur Head for more views.

We’ve done the Lockleys Pylon / Du Faur Head walk many a time. Walking through attractive heath vegetation allows for open views for the most part from start to finish, taking in the shear sided cliffs of the impressive Grose Valley from the opposite side of the valley to walks near Blackheath (such as walking to Pulpit Rock). Definitely a good scenery to effort ratio.  Continue reading “Lockleys Pylon/Du Faur Head Track, Blue Mountains NSW”