Are you looking for a great way to spend Christmas in the Blue Mountains? While there’s always the option of relaxing in your Mountain Whispers property (and we certainly wouldn’t blame you for doing so), for those looking to get out and about, you can’t go past a walk on the National Pass.
Starting at either Wentworth Falls picnic area or the Conservation Hut, this trail will take you through valleys and past lookouts, along the Grand Stairway and through the Valley of Waters. This 4.5km loop is perfect for spectacular views, and enjoying some of the beautiful waterfalls in the Blue Mountains region.
Our starting point for this walk is the Conservation Hut which is located above the Valley of the Waters. This is a lovely spot to stop for a coffee, breakfast or lunch before or after your walk. From here, it’s about 10 minutes before you hit the first lookout – Queen Victoria Lookout. From the Conservation Hut, follow the Valley of Waters sign until you come to the intersection with the Queen Victoria Lookout track. Turn left, and follow the signs to the lookout.
This lookout gives great views into the valley, and with the roar of the waterfalls below it’s a great place to stop and take in the view. From here, your views will extend to the Jamison Valley, with Kings Tableland on your left and Sublime Point on the right. Empress Falls is just visible, while you’ll also get to see the eastern side of Mount Solitary.
Once you’re ready to move on, retrace your steps to the main track and turn left. Our next stop is Empress Lookout, which is just another 60 metres or so along the track. Below the sandstone overhang that this lookout is located on you’ll find the Valley of the Waters creek. There’s also views down to sections of Empress Falls and into the valley, although they are only partial views due to the trees.
Only another 180 metres down the track you’ll come to the first waterfall – Empress Falls. To get here, you’ll turn right from Empress Lookout with the valley on your left. Turn left at the intersection following the National Pass-Valley of the Waters sign. Cross Isabel Creek, and you’ll soon be in front of Empress Falls. You will need to pass both Isabel Creek and the Valley of the Waters Creek at Empress Falls using stepping stones, so during or after rain, these creeks may not be passable. Empress Falls is just one of the amazing waterfalls on this track. With the water flowing down a series of cliffs to a sandy pool, and is popular with photographers. There’s a small overhang that provides shade for those wanting to just sit and relax by the water.
Good news though – Sylvia Falls and Lodore Falls, the next waterfalls on this track are less than 100 metres along the track. From Empress Falls you’ll find yourself walking downstream with the creek on your left. The track will lead to the base of Sylvia Falls, and you can then continue following the creek downstream, down a staircase to the creek crossing of Lodore Falls. Lodore Falls is a set of two waterfalls, with a staircase on one side, and stepping stones crossing the bottom. Take a peek after the handrail across the creek where the water falls over the cliff into the valley.
The next waterfall, Middle Wentworth Falls is a little bit of a trek away at around 2km along the track. From Lodore Falls follow the track until you come to the next intersection and then follow the National Pass-Wentworth Falls sign. You will pass behind the Den Fenella Creek Waterfall and come to a open ledge with great views into the Valley. Along the track you’ll start to get some great views to Wentworth Falls, crossing another creek.
The National Pass crosses Wentworth Falls halfway down the drop. There are sandstone block bridges to help you cross, and great views into the valley where the water falls. You will find a few side tracks where people have explored the area, and we do urge you to be careful of slippery rock and unfenced ledges if you do decide to explore further. This is a great place to stop on your walk, and cool down on a warm day, or just relax.
From Middle Wentworth Falls, the track starts to head up the steep National Pass and the Grand Stairway. Built in the early 1900’s by hand (with the help of some dynamite), the stairway is thought to be the tallest outdoor staircase in Australia. The path is well maintained, and offers some amazing views into the valley. You soon come across the Queen’s Cascades, and a fenced creek crossing – this is the top of Wentworth Falls.
Queen’s Cascades is a set of falls on the Jamison Creek at the top of Wentworth Falls. With two cascades falling into a sandy pool, this is another favourite with photographers. From the pool, the water flows between the stepping stone crossing, under the fence and down Wentworth Falls. From here, you’ll get some great views of Sublime Point across the valley. From here, it’s just 500 metres or so to Wentworth Falls Lookout.
To get to Wentworth Falls Lookout, follow the path across the creek with the view to your left. At the three-way intersection, follow the Undercliff Track sign, and then the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area sign away from Fletchers Lookout. Continue to follow this track, and at the top of the stairs you’ll come to the Wentworth Falls Lookout. With seats and great views to Wentworth Falls, Mount Solitary across the Jamison Valley, Kings Tableland, Sublime Point and Narrow Neck, this is the perfect place to stop and take in the views.
Jamison Lookout is the last lookout on the walk, and from Wentworth Falls Lookout its just a short walk. Follow the Princes Rock Lookout sign, and then turn right at the intersection, following the Car Park sign. From the top of the stairs keep the valley on the left, past the information sign and you’ll come to Jamison Lookout. You’ll get even more wonderful views of the valley and Mount Solitary.
From here, its just 90 metres to the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area, and then just another 1km back to the Conservation Hut. To get back to the conservation hut, from the picnic area, follow the Short Cut Track sign to the Conservation Hut sign. At the intersection, continue straight following the sign to the Conservation Hut. It won’t be long before you can sit down for a relaxing cup of tea or coffee and lunch or afternoon tea following your walk.
With so many waterfalls and places to stop along this walk, we recommend setting aside a few hours to do this walk – you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Book your Blue Mountains accommodation this Christmas at Mountain Whispers, and enjoy everything the heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park has to offer.
Main photo: National Pass Track. NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service