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.
Starting at the Golden Stairs just outside of Katoomba, you descend through rainforest and then level out, eventually coming to the turnoff to the Ruined Castle; from the top you get 360 degree views of the area. This can be a turnaround point to make this a moderate walk, however it’s well worth plodding on up onto the summit plateau of Mt Solitary, (the final ascent is very steep), and continue 20 minutes to the bowl like depression called Chinaman’s Gully for more fabulous views (off to the right from a rock ledge). The return walk is a proper workout and will probably take 6+ hours.