Fun day hikes in the Blue Mountains, perfect for weekend trips or day trips from Sydney.
The Blue Mountains has become one of my favorite places in Australia.
Every time I visit, I am amazed at the crisp, fresh air and the magnificent, rugged scenery.
For someone living in Sydney, The Blue Mountains are the ultimate escape into nature. You can hike, camp, swim, explore, and just enjoy the serenity.
Hiking is my favorite activity in the Blue Mountains. It allows you to exercise the legs, pass by scenic lookout spots, and immerse yourself in the cool, temperate rainforest.
Here are 5 amazing day hikes in the Blue Mountains! Most of them take around 2-3 hours.
You could just do one on a day trip from Sydney, or combine a few of them into a weekend trip.
At the end of the article, I’ll provide some helpful travel tips for the Blue Mountains. So if you’re wondering how to get there, what to pack, or where to stay overnight, read until the end!
5 Day Hikes in the Blue Mountains
All hikes in the Blue Mountains are very well marked and have lots of maps and signposts. You shouldn’t worry about getting lost!
Also, all these hikes are free! For more detailed descriptions of these hikes and the Blue Mountains area, visit the Official NSW National Parks Website.
1. Grand Canyon Track
This is one of the most popular day hikes in the Blackheath Area of the western Blue Mountains.
Beginning at Evans Lookout, you’ll get to enjoy some gorgeous viewpoints at the start and end of your hike.
After leaving the lookout at the top of the valley, you’ll descend downwards into the cool, moist rainforest. The trail snakes up and down through the canyon, ending with an upward climb back to the top.
You’ll pass freshwater streams and massive ferns while walking through the greenery.
- Distance: 6.3 km loop
- Duration: Around 3 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate. Some steep stairs and some easy, flat sections.
2. Pulpit Walking Track
This day hike in the Blue Mountains is also near Blackheath. The trail begins at Govetts Leap Lookout, which is stunning.
From there, you’ll follow the trail as it curves along the edge of the valley.
Waterfalls, creeks, unique rock formations, and lots of viewpoints will accompany your walk.
Eventually, you’ll reach Pulpit Rock. This giant piece of stone sticks out from the cliff face, giving the illusion that it is floating in the middle of the vast canyon.
You can even climb onto Pulpit Rock and get some incredible photos.
The trail is not a loop, so you’ll have to walk back the way you came. Overall, the trail is pretty easy, mostly flat with a few steep sections here and there.
- Distance: 7 km return
- Duration: 2-3 hours
- Difficulty: Easy if you’re reasonably fit. The trail isn’t very steep but it is quite long.
3. Jenolan River Walk
A 1.5-hour drive southwest of Blackheath lies Jenolan Caves, a favorite among tourists in Sydney. The limestone caves are filled with stalactites and stalagmites that are spectacular.
After exploring the caves, embark on a pleasant bushwalking track known as the Jenolan River Walk.
It’s a leisurely, family-friendly walk through the forest, complete with small waterfalls, streams, and a suspension bridge.
Be sure to stop and admire the bright turquoise waters of the Blue Lake, and make the short climb up to Carlotta Arch at the end of the hike.
- Distance: 2.6 km return
- Duration: 1 hour
- Difficulty: Easy
4. Prince Henry Cliff Walk
The Prince Henry Cliff Walk is easily one of the most popular day hikes in the Blue Mountains.
It covers all the best viewpoints and waterfalls between Leura and Katoomba, two of the main towns in the area.
Highlights include the massive Katoomba Falls, the smaller Katoomba Cascades, Orphan Rock Lookout, the famous Three Sisters lookout, Echo Point, and Leura Cascades.
The track is 7 km one-way, so 14 km in total. It is a full-day hike, but you could easily just focus on smaller sections of the walk.
For example, just exploring Katoomba Falls and the Three Sisters will only take 1-2 hours if you’re short on time.
But if you’re looking for a day hike in the Blue Mountains that hits all the highlights, this is the one to do.
- Distance: 7 km one way
- Duration: 3-4 hours
- Difficulty: Easy/Moderate. The steepest sections are off the main trail, for example if you wanted to hike down to the bottom of Katoomba Falls then it is quite steep.
5. Wentworth Falls Track
Wentworth Falls is one of the nicest waterfalls in the Blue Mountains. Especially after rainfall, the massive waterfall tumbles down the rocky cliffs and tapers off into multiple layers.
The hike starts at Wentworth Falls Picnic Area at the top of the valley.
Then you’ll walk down to the bottom of the waterfall, enjoying plenty of lookouts along the way.
If you have bad knees, I wouldn’t recommend this day hike. You have to climb down lots of stairs to reach the bottom. Then you have to begin the steep climb back up.
But if you’re in good shape, this hike is beautiful! It is very peaceful by the pools at the bottom of the waterfall.
- Distance: 1.4 km return
- Duration: Around 1 hour
- Difficulty: Moderate/Hard. It’s a short hike but it is very steep.
Those are my 5 favorite day hikes in the Blue Mountains!
To help you plan your trip, here are a few extra travel tips for the Blue Mountains.
I’ll discuss how to get there, what to bring and where to stay if you choose to stay overnight.
Blue Mountains Travel Tips: How To Get There
If you have a car, just drive west out of Sydney.
Once you arrive in the mountains, there is one main road that connects to all the towns. Google Maps should be fine for navigating.
All parking is free in the Blue Mountains!
Sydney trains travel right into the heart of the Blue Mountains, stopping at towns like Leura and Katoomba.
Just make sure you have an Opal Card for tapping on and off the trains (You can buy one at any convenience store and top it up on the pay stations at the train platform).
Visit the Transport NSW website for more info on train timetables and prices.
It is very easy to visit the Blue Mountains on your own. However, if you’re a traveler in Sydney with a bit of money to spend, a guided tour can be fun.
If you’re a solo traveler, group tours are also good for meeting people.
Most Blue Mountains day trips from Sydney cost between $100-$200.
My favorite website for finding guided tours is Get Your Guide. They have lots of highly-rated Blue Mountains day trips from Sydney!
Blue Mountains Travel Tips: What To Pack
The main towns of Katoomba and Blackheath are well-equipped with stores if you need to buy anything.
So you don’t really need to worry about packing too much, unless you’re camping and need supplies.
For any of these day hikes, I recommend:
- A comfortable day backpack
- Refillable water bottle
- Good hiking boots (Even if you’re just doing an easy walk, sometimes the paths are rocky and muddy)
Where To Stay In The Blue Mountains
If you choose to stay overnight after one of these day hikes in the Blue Mountains, here are some great accommodation options.
The free campsites are perfect for enjoying some peace and quiet in the Blue Mountains.
Most of them don’t have any facilities, however. So pack all the necessary equipment like water and cooking tools.
If you’re on a backpacker budget, or you’re a solo traveler looking to make friends, stay in a hostel!
There are some lovely hostels in Katoomba with dorm rooms for $20-$30 per night. You can also find cheap private rooms in hostels.
Some of the highest rated ones include:
- Blue Mountains Backpacker Hostel: $35 for dorm room and $69 for private room
- The Flying Fox: $26 for dorm room and $72 for private room
- Blue Mountains YHA: $30 for dorm room and $89 for private room
- No14 Lovel St. Hostel: $29 for dorm room and $75 for private room
Lodge, Guesthouse, or Airbnb: Expensive
For a more upscale experience, stay in a cozy guesthouse or Airbnb.
An Airbnb can cost as low as $90 or as high as $400, depending on what you’re looking for.
Browse on Google for the best options, are there are so many!
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Thanks for reading!
For more travel inspiration around NSW, check out these articles:
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