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).

Mt Twynam, Little Twynam, Blue Lake & Hedley Tarn, Kosciuszko National Park NSW

Excellent scenery on this walk taking in two of Australia’s highest peaks, and two of its alpine lakes, including the spectacular Blue Lake.

On this walk high up on the Main Range I visited Australia’s third highest peak for the first time, Mt Twynam at 2196m of elevation, it’s sibling Little Twynam (2130m), the spectacular Blue Lake, and nearby Hedley Tarn. There’s excellent alpine scenery the whole way, and with the exception of the justifiably popular Blue Lake, you’ll avoid the worst of the crowds that frequent the southern area of the range near Mt Kosciuszko. Continue reading “Mt Twynam, Little Twynam, Blue Lake & Hedley Tarn, Kosciuszko National Park NSW”

Mt Tate Circuit, Kosciuszko National Park NSW

Excellent and remote feeling alpine scenery on this sometimes off-track circuit walk up to the summit of Mt Tate (2068m), in Kosciuszko National Park near Guthega.

I didn’t really know what to expect on this circuit walk up Mt Tate (2068m) in Kosciuszko National Park, but it turned out to be one of the better walks I’ve done on mainland Australia. The views from the summit of Mt Tate are particularly good, and include looking over the rocky plateau of the Main Range towards some of Australia’s other highest peaks. The route through colourful and varied alpine scenery is unmarked, and for much of the time there’s no track, but navigation is easy in good weather, and you might have the place to yourself, as I did even on Easter Saturday. Continue reading “Mt Tate Circuit, Kosciuszko National Park NSW”

Meander Falls & Split Rock Track, Tasmania

The Meander Falls and Split Rock Tracks are hidden gems offering quintessential Tasmiania scenery without the crowds, and were one of the highlights of my trip to Tasmania in 2019.

This relatively unknown circuit walk to Meander Falls ended up being the highlight of my trip to Tasmania in 2019. Perhaps not quite as spectacular as the walks we did in Cradle Mountain National Park, it nevertheless provided a remote and impressive bushwalking experience that exceeded expectations (which I have now built up for you! 🙂 ) . And despite walking on a weekend, we met just one or two groups along the way, so it remains underappreciated. Lucky for us at least. Expect beautiful forest and rivers, impressive waterfalls, cliffs, and boulders galore. Very Tasmanian. Continue reading “Meander Falls & Split Rock Track, Tasmania”

Walls of Jerusalem to Solomons Throne, Tasmania

The Walls of Jerusalem National Park offers a wilderness experience in a day walk, and the highlight of the park are the cliffs of the same name, including our target for the day, Solomons Throne (1470m).

The Walls of Jerusalem National Park is a favourite for many people, and yet you can only reach the best scenery by walking in, so it’s a lot quieter than nearby Cradle Mountain. Once you have ascended up through eucalypt forest the alpine scenery starts with numerous tarns, Richea Scoparia (past flowering stage when we visited, but still nice), pencil pines, cliffs, and the cutest, fluffiest wallabies you could ever hope to meet. We chose to walk up the peak known as Solomons Throne (1470m), but if you have time you can also ascend The Temple (1446m) and Mount Jerusalem (1459m). Nearby King Davids Peak (1499m) provides some good photo opportunities. It’s all very biblical. Continue reading “Walls of Jerusalem to Solomons Throne, Tasmania”

Cradle Mountain Circuit, Tasmania

Spectacular scenery all the way as you climb Tasmania’s iconic Cradle Mountain (1545m), and return via the Face Track and Twisted Lakes.

Climbing Cradle Mountain (1545m) is one of the best day walks in Australia, and making a circuit of it by returning along the Face Track and by the Twisted Lakes maximises your scenery. There are excellent views pretty much the whole way, including views of the mountain from various angles, of numerous lakes, and there are extensive views from the rocky summit over the northern end of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Continue reading “Cradle Mountain Circuit, Tasmania”

Mt Roland & Mt Vandyke, Northern Tasmania

A great circuit walk up the prominent and rocky Mt Roland, returning via Mt Vandyke for variety. There are fabulous 360 degree views from the summit of Mt Roland, so aim to do this one on a clear day.

The circuit ascending Mt Roland and then descending via Mt Vandyke exceeded my expectations. The excellent 360 degree views from the summit of Mt Roland take in the flat expanse of land to the north and east, and the other peaks in this range to the west. Further west there are distant and famous peaks in Cradle Mountain National Park. It’s an impressively rocky and quite prominent mountain range (from most angles), and the circuit taking in Mt Vandyke is varied: It starts in lush forest and then rises onto an alpine plateau, passes boulder fields, and visits two rocky peaks which both require a bit of a scramble. The return track is very steep but this adds a bit to the sense of adventure.

Continue reading “Mt Roland & Mt Vandyke, Northern Tasmania”

Barn Bluff ascent, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania

Climbing the distinctively rocky and prominent peak of Barn Bluff (1559m) in Cradle Mountain National Park makes for a classic Tasmanian alpine day walk.

The rocky summit of Barn Bluff (1559m) pops up out of an alpine plateau and cuts a striking figure (… although confusingly it’s not the featured image of this post). I first saw it from the summit of Cradle Mountain on a trip to Tasmania in 2008, and although it looks quite remote, it can in fact be climbed on a longish day walk: one of Tasmania’s best. On the day we did it the weather was all over the place, with snow squalls and mist adding to the sense of adventure. Luckily the weather cleared enough to reveal most of the fabulous views the area is famous for.

Continue reading “Barn Bluff ascent, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania”

Mt Bogong ascent, Victorian Alps

A 1500m ascent to the summit of Mt Bogong (1986m) provides excellent alpine views and a pretty decent workout!

Mt Bogong is Victoria’s highest mountain at 1986m of elevation, and is apparently Australia’s highest freestanding mountain. There’s no road to the top, so if you want to summit the mountain and see the excellent views you have to climb it from the bottom, a satisfying 1500m ascent along a well marked track up either the Staircase Spur or Eskdale Spur. Continue reading “Mt Bogong ascent, Victorian Alps”