Hiking the other Grand Canyon in Australias Blue MountainsDuring our weekend back in the Blue Mountains a few weekends ago to enjoy the autumn colours, hiking (as always) was on the agenda.

We have hiked numerous trails around Katoomba, Leura and Wentworth Falls including two of the biggies in the area– Wentworth Pass and Federal Pass. This time around we wanted to tackle the other must-do hike in the Blue Mountains that had so far eluded us: the Grand Canyon.

Autumn colours in the Blue MoutnainsThe Grand Canyon is a narrow slot canyon located on the outskirts of Blackheath, and not an easy hike to get to without a vehicle. As this was the first trip we had been on to the Blue Mountains since buying a car, it was the perfect time to hike it.

After a morning coffee in a sunshine drenched café in Leura village and a browse at the small local market we drove out to Blackheath to get hiking.

Greetings from Leura Morning coffee in LeuraParking up at Neates Glen Carpark, we booted up then set out into the native bush.

Ferns in the Grand CanyonThe initial descent was through dark forest dripping with the rain from the previous evening. Water flowed along sections of the path as we descended the steep stairs cut into the rock, deeper into the valley.

We took our time on the muddy switchbacks, careful not to slip. It would be a long fall to the bottom.

The descent into the Grand Canyon Hiking into the Grand CanyonTall eucalyptus trees with gnarled branches reached into the sky around the path. Tree ferns filled in the gaps to further block out the sun-light on a lower level. The forest was thick with nature.

Reaching the bottom, we finally glimpsed the blue sky above and the steep rock walls rising up on either side of us.

We were in the Grand Canyon.

Green everywhere in the Grand CanyonThe path led us above the creek at first, along a well-worn but narrow trail. A few people passed us coming from the other direction as we made our way under rock overhangs and over small suspension bridges.

Grand Canyon caves Grand Canyon river crossingThe gurgling creeks below us made soothing melodies interspersed with native bird calls. Glossy green ferns fanned out and carpeted the forest floor.

Waterfalls flowed from above and into the river at the bottom of the valley. The path took us through a waterfall that splattered fat drops on our heads as we passed beneath. Water surrounded us.

Waterfall crossing in the Grand Canyon Water everywhere in the Grand CanyonOn the valley floor we crossed the river on mossy stepping stones, pausing to soak in our incredible surroundings. Everything was still.

Grand Canyon stepping stonesDamp pathwaySlowly the path began to rise up from the valley floor. The incline was gentle and it wasn’t long until we were above the canyon lip. Views of the gum tree covered mountains opened up to us below. The world was light again.

Blue skies in the Grand Canyon Blue Mountains viewPine trees and dusty earth replaced the tree ferns and damp earth on the last section of the trail. Sharp rocks jutted out of the trail, acting as obstacles on the last climb.

Evans Lookout came into sight, along with a large number of people that had driven there to see the iconic Blue Mountains view. It was beautiful but crowded.

Blackheath Blue Mountains viewI always feel such a sense of accomplishment knowing I could have driven there but that I would have missed so much. It is the journey that matters, not the viewpoint at the end.

The path continued through the forest parallel to the road and back to Neates Glen carpark. Feeling energised and happy, the flat tyre waiting for us couldn’t even ruin the high. I guess it probably would have if we hadn’t had a spare.

Back on the highway we took a detour to Govetts leap, a spectacular viewpoint that looks over Bridal Veil Falls and sheer sandstone cliffs that drop hundreds of metres into the Grose Valley below.

Bridal Veil Falls Blue MountainsA quieter view than the better-known Echo Point but just as beautiful.

We topped off the morning with lunch in Katoomba at my favourite place to eat, the Yellow Deli. It isn’t a visit to the Blue Mountains without a trip to the Yellow Deli for their wholesome food and hot apple cider.

Yellow Deli KatoombaWith a name like the Grand Canyon I was expecting a lot from this hike. Although it was nothing like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, it was still grand, and very beautiful.

Catching some sunshine in the Grand CanyonThe Nitty-gritty

Getting There: You can reach the Grand Canyon hike by car only. The turn-off is just before Blackheath Village if you are coming from Katoomba off the Great Western Highway. Follow the signs to Evans Lookout.

Parking: There is parking at Evans Lookout, Neates Glen and Grand Canyon Loop Track carparks, any of which are a good place to begin the hike.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Length: 7km loop

10 comments on “Hiking the Other Grand Canyon in Australia’s Blue Mountains”

  1. Whoa! I didn’t know this existed in Australia. It’s so strange seeing a canyon with dense trees instead of just bare rock! The hike through the jungle looks so fun and the Bridal Veils Fall is gorgeous!

  2. Again you took amazing photos.How long did the walk take?Love to see you do a three day hike from the Blue Mountains to Kanangra Boyd National park.Sydney bushwalkers club do a lot of these hikes but go into areas that have no walking tracks .They use compasses.

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