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.

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

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. 

When we did this walk in 2017 I couldn’t quite believe Sophia and I hadn’t done it before in 11 years of regular bushwalking. We had done a couple of sections of it, but had not taken in many of the highlights on the Leura side of the walk, and I don’t think we’d been up Furber Steps either. It may have been because I expected there to be a lot of tourists around, passing through the most visited parts of the Blue Mountains as it does, but that shouldn’t stop you. We did it on a Thursday during a golden six months of my life when I worked only 4 days a week, and there weren’t too many people around except at Echo Point, (where there are always lots of people).

Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
The locals posing for tourists.

Track Notes

You can start anywhere along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk between Scenic World/Furber Steps and the Fern Bower/Leura Cascades area. We walked clockwise, parking on Cliff Drive on the Leura side of Echo Point outside the paid parking zone. I think I took a picture of a map at the Echo Point tourist centre, and followed this and signs to take in Leura Cascades and Bridal Veil Falls on the way down to the Federal Pass, ascending from the Federal Pass up Furber Steps (with a side trip to visit a waterfall), then back along Prince Henry Cliff Walk via the tourist mecca of Echo Point to our car. Probably at the moderate end of hard. You could also return via the Giant Staircase to Echo point and roughly halve the walk.  The tracks are signposted and there are plenty of variations you could do depending on fitness and time.

The Scenery

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

Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Leura Cascades
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Looking down on a waterfall. One cockatoo in shot.

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

Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Mt Solitary in the distance.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Fern Bower I think.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
A panorama of Bridal Veil Falls. It looks a bit weird because it was backlit by the sun.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Bridal Veil Falls
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Bridal Veil Falls again.

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

Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
There were trees growing on rocks.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Big cliffs by the track.

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

Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Down in Leura Forest looking back up at cliffs.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Fungi!
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Turpentine. Very different to the usual eucalypts and other gum trees. This down in the rainforest below the cliffs.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Lots of dead trees in the valley for some reason.

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

Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
The Three Sisters from Furber Steps.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
The Three Sisters (right) viewed from Furber Steps.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Katoomba Falls
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
It’s a short detour off Furber Steps to a point half way up a waterfall.

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

Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Mt Solitary again.

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

Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Trees defying gravity.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
The famous view of the Three Sisters from Echo Point. Taken on a different day.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Blossoms in Leura Village.
Federal Pass & Prince Henry Cliff Walk Circuit, Blue Mountains NP
Blossoms out in Leura Village.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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