If you enjoy spectacular sights, rugged treks, and the sense of adventure that comes from hiking through the bush, then you’ll love walking in Australia’s Blue Mountain region.
Replete with magnificent waterfalls and unique rock formations, it’s a place to fall in love with nature.
There is a range of different walking trails available for trekkers in the Blue Mountains. Some are short; others long. All of them are amazing. A few require extreme fitness and good health to complete. Others are suitable for all kinds of walkers.
Getting To The Blue Mountains
An easy day trip from the Australian city of Sydney, the Blue Mountain area is a two-hour train ride from Central Station, or a pleasant 90-minute drive by car.
Although train rides are inexpensive, hiring a car is recommended from Katoomba, a central hub of the Blue Mountains, to make it easier to get to the bush walk trails.
Where To Stay In The Blue Mountains?
A great place to stay in the area is the YHA Blue Mountains, located on Katoomba’s main street. With centrally heated rooms and a convenient location that’s family-friendly, the YHA makes for a great base from which to set off on walks.
Camping In The Blue Mountains
There are several options to rough it in the Blue Mountains, and Perry’s Lookdown Campground is among the best. Rustic, quiet and with fantastic views out to the mountains, it is a popular local favorite camping spot.
The Anvil Lookout nearby offers some stunning views of the skyline of Sydney.
Trekking In The Blue Mountains – A Check List for Walkers
Before getting to the walking trails, here are a few tips for a safe and enjoyable walk.
- Stay away from cliff edges.
- Don’t try to climb over safety fences.
- While walking with children, watch them closely.
- Take along enough drinking water.
- Weather can change suddenly, so bring weather-proof clothing.
- Check weather forecasts and track conditions before setting out.
- Study your walking route carefully.
- Let somebody (a friend or family) know where you’re going, and when to expect you back.
- Wear sensible shoes suitable for walking. Boots aren’t mandatory.
- Wear a hat.
- Protect skin with sunscreen.
- Stick to the tracks and don’t wander into the wild.
- While starting out, it’s wise to take along a personal locator beacon.
- Walk in groups of at least three. In an emergency, or if a walker is injured or sick, one person can stay and another seek help.
- For more information on what to wear hiking, check out our guide here.
Three Sisters Footpath Track, Blue Mountains
A short, family-friendly walk in the Blue Mountains, the Three Sisters is among the most popular with tourists as well as hobbyists in the area. It isn’t a very long walk and the route offers excellent views of the Three Sisters peaks from all sides.
The walk begins at Echo Point Lookout, which is a big attraction at the Blue Mountains National Park. From the viewpoint, gaze upon Mt. Solitary and Jamison Valley. There’s a bridge between two of the Three Sisters peaks that you can cross on this walk.
The distance of this walking tour is 1.1 km in total and should take around 45 minutes at a comfortable pace. It is a moderately easy walk, but does include a few steep stairs.
Ruined Castle Walking Track, Blue Mountains
This track is only for serious walking enthusiasts, and the light-hearted are best advised to give it a miss. The track starts at the Golden Stairs and dips down into Jamison Valley. On the way, you’ll pass through luxuriant rainforest, surrounded by sassafras and coachwood. Forest birds like the lyrebird and wildlife may make an appearance from time to time.
While this is a difficult walk, it offers the chance to climb the Ruined Castle, one of the most easily recognized valley landmarks. It’s a brief but steep climb up some large boulders to reach the highest point. From atop this lovely rock formation, you get fabulous views of the entire Jamison and Cedar Creek valley. On a clear day, you can even see Katoomba and the Wentworth Falls. It’s a lovely spot for a picnic before turning back.
The Ruined Castle walking track passes through what was once a mining area. There are still cuttings, embankments and ruins of miners’ cottages dotting the trail.
A round trip down this track is 6.6 km long and will take an average of 5 hours to complete. It requires a high level of fitness, too.
Wentworth Falls Track, Blue Mountains
Even though this is just a short 1.4 km walk, it is difficult because the track is so steep for most of the distance. It starts from the Wentworth Fall picnic area and follows a level path past Jamison Valley towards the Wentworth lookouts. Be sure to stop and take in the view at each of these spots.
The walk then dips down and you’ll descend 200 steps to reach the edge of a cliff at Fletcher’s lookout. Wentworth waterfall is right here, plunging an impressive 100 meters to the floor of the valley. A few more steps down will take you to the top of the falls, a spot that offers an incredibly beautiful view of Jamison Creek as it cascades into a shallow pool.
On the other side, Jamison Valley opens out in a splendid vista. After gazing upon the majesty of nature’s beauty to your heart’s content, you can turn back to return by the way you came. It’s also possible to combine this walk with another one like the short Weeping Rock circuit, or the longer Undercliff track or Princes Rock lookout route.
The distance to Wentworth Falls and back is 1.4 km and the trek will take a moderately fit hiker around an hour to complete.
Pulpit Walking Track, Blue Mountains
Starting at the breathtaking Govetts Leap lookout, this trek leads avid walkers for a couple of hours through a scenic trail into the Blue Mountains. After grabbing a few photographs from the lookout, walk down steps into the alcove of a little creek laden with strands of black wattles.
A bridge across the creek leads to a continuation of the walking trail that clings to the cliff’s edge. On the way, you’ll pass by many smaller lookouts that offer panoramic views of the distant mountain range and the Grose Valley. For nature lovers who enjoy scenery, this is one of the best Blue Mountain walking trails.
The route is suitable for most people, rated easy to moderate by most reviewers. The round trip distance is 7 km and can be completed comfortably in under three hours.
Charles Darwin Walk
Another family-friendly trail for history buffs, the name itself is a draw for walkers keen to follow in the footsteps of the famous naturalist Charles Darwin who is said to have followed it regularly in the mid-1800s.
The track starts at Wilson Park from where it goes to the boardwalk and then follows a bush track through the forest and swamps. Finally, it connects with the Weeping Rock loop.
By the side of the path are several rock pools and little cascades which are ideal to rest by and cool your feet on a hot summer day. Several local birds like shrub wrens and honeyeaters as well as the noisy black cockatoos are frequently seen here.
The walk is around 2.4 km long and takes an hour at a leisurely pace that’s convenient for almost anybody.
Leura Cascades Circuit
For a moderate workout that takes you through lush greenery and rainforest, a 4.5 km loop called the Leura Cascades is a good choice. Carry along a picnic lunch and a camera. There are plenty of spots to have lunch or tea, and the impressive lookouts offer great opportunities for photography.
From the starting point, this track takes a steep dip into the rainforest. If you listen quietly, you’ll hear the call of catbirds and wompa pigeons. Avid birdwatchers carrying binoculars are a familiar sight on this trail.
The track continues downstream for around 100 meters and then leads to a steep stairway to a halfway ledge that you can follow to a natural amphitheater.
The walk takes around 3 hours to finish and requires a moderate fitness level.
Choose Your Track And Enjoy Your Trek
The Blue Mountains offer a rich choice of walking trails. There’s something for everyone – nature lovers, naturalists, photographers, bird watchers and those who simply enjoy exploring the wild on foot. In fact, there are so many options that it can seem overwhelming to decide what to do on a short visit.
A short stay for a weekend or overnight may help fit in a couple more. But to get the most of Blue Mountain’s natural beauty, you’ll just have to keep coming back regularly for another trek down a different trail.