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 Lockleys 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 Lockleys 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”

Porters Pass, Blackheath, Blue Mountains NSW

The network of trails on the western side of Blackheath, centreing on Porters Pass, offer an alternative to those on the more famous eastern side. They are a bit less spectacular, but you nevertheless get a typical Upper Blue Mountains experience with a variety of scenery, for not too much effort.

When you’ve done the spectacular routes on the eastern side of Blackheath at the top of the Blue Mountains, try the network of tracks on the western side for an alternative mix of Upper Mountains scenery. The views are a bit less extensive, but you get up close and personal with sheer cliffs frequented by rock climbers, pass through rainforest, dry forest and heath vegetation, and can visit a small but atmospheric canyon along the way. Continue reading “Porters Pass, Blackheath, Blue Mountains NSW”

Mt Solitary & Ruined Castle Track, Blue Mountains NP NSW

This is one of Sydney’s best walks, taking in views of much of the Jamison Valley and surrounding cliffs, from vantage points on the rock formation known as the Ruined Castle, and from the summit of the isolated Mt Solitary.

When Sophia and I first started regular bushwalking we did the first half of this walk as far as the Ruined Castle. This is already a classic Sydney walk, but continuing on to the summit plateau of the stately looking Mt Solitary provides more great views, and the added satisfaction of a big day’s walking in fairly isolated country. Overnight walkers can continue further to traverse the mountain.
Continue reading “Mt Solitary & Ruined Castle Track, Blue Mountains NP NSW”

Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk, Blue Mountains NP, NSW

A classic Blue Mountains circuit walk at Katoomba. There are extensive views, spectacular cliffs, numerous impressive waterfalls, and a variety of vegetation and bird life. Perhaps best done on a weekday to avoid the crowds at popular and accessible spots.

This walk takes in some of the best bits of the Blue Mountains near Katoomba, and is highly recommended. You’ll enjoy views of cliffs, waterfalls and lush forest along much of the route, and definitely visit Bridal Veil Falls and Leura Cascades on your way down to or up from the Federal Pass.  Continue reading “Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk, Blue Mountains NP, NSW”

Shaws Ridge-Blue Gum Swamp-Grose Mountain Circuit, Blue Mountains NP, NSW

Highlights of this walk in the Lower Blue Mountains include impressive forest scenery and good views over distant mountains and the Grose River Gorge.

This walk starts near Winmalee in the Lower Blue Mountains, and summits Grose Mountain via Shaws Ridge and Blue Gum Swamp. Highlights include impressive forest scenery and good views over the Blue Mountains, including the Grose River Gorge. Track notes at the end. Continue reading “Shaws Ridge-Blue Gum Swamp-Grose Mountain Circuit, Blue Mountains NP, NSW”

Martins Lookout Circuit, Springwood, Blue Mountains NSW

This circuit walk near Springwood in the Lower Blue Mountains passes by a number creeks, pools and waterfalls, and an added side trip to Martins Lookout provides views back down into the valley.

This walk in the Lower Blue Mountains is more attractive than my photos suggest; basically it’s more atmospheric than photogenic. It passes through various forest types and takes in numerous pools and waterfalls. The steep side trip (and mini circuit) to Martins Lookout is worth it, and a good spot for lunch. Continue reading “Martins Lookout Circuit, Springwood, Blue Mountains NSW”

Mt Hay Track, Blue Mountains NP, NSW

The short ascent of Mt Hay from the end of Mt Hay Road provides excellent views of the deep Grose Valley and surrounding cliffs in the Upper Blue Mountains. Walk on just a bit from the forested summit to double your views.

It took us a while to do this walk for the first time because the nearby Lockleys Pylon Track is so great that we kept doing that. Ascending Mt Hay is a really excellent walk though, and quite short. It’s a longer drive to the start than Lockleys Pylon, but visiting nearby Butterbox Point is another excellent short walk that can be done in the same outing. You can also continue past Mt Hay to visit the more remote Venus Tor. Views of cliffs and deep valleys on all of these walks. Continue reading “Mt Hay Track, Blue Mountains NP, NSW”