Here are some of my favorite 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 10 of my favorite day hikes in the Blue Mountains!
These day hikes range from short, 30-minute jaunts to hard, 3-hour treks.
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!
7 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
- Distance: 6.3 km loop
- Duration: Around 3 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate. Some steep stairs and some easy, flat sections.
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.
2. Pulpit Walking Track
- Distance: 7 km return
- Duration: 2-3 hours
- Difficulty: Easy/Moderate. The trail isn’t very steep but it is quite long.
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.
3. Jenolan River Walk
- Distance: 2.6 km return
- Duration: 1 hour
- Difficulty: Easy
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.
4. Prince Henry Cliff Walk
- 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.
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.
Read next: 21 Non Touristy Things To Do In Sydney
5. Wentworth Falls Track
- Distance: 1.4 km return
- Duration: Around 1 hour
- Difficulty: Moderate/Hard. It’s a short hike but it is very steep.
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.
6. South Lawson Waterfall Circuit
- Distance: 2.5 km circuit (closer to 4km if you follow side trails as well)
- Duration: Around 1 .5 hours including chill time at each waterfall
- Difficulty: Easy, but it can be slippery and muddy in rainy weather
This is one of the best day hikes in the Blue Mountains for a rainy day!
The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit is relatively short and easy, so it’s suitable for all ages. With a winding forest trail that passes 4 major waterfalls and more smaller, unnamed waterfalls, it’s incredibly peaceful and serene.
The waterfalls aren’t huge, but they are truly stunning!
Because this trail is entirely in the forest, and the waterfalls are the main attraction, this is one of the best things to do in the Blue Mountains if it’s raining. Just be careful not to slip and check yourself for leeches afterward!
Check out my list of 23 amazing waterfalls near Sydney for more fun ideas!
7. Burgess Falls Walking Track
- Distance: 1km one-way to Horseshoe Falls, 2.4km one-way to Oakland Falls, 2.8 km one way to Burgess Falls
- Duration: 1 hour to Horseshoe Falls, 1.5 hours to Oakland Falls, 2 hours to Burgess Falls
- Difficulty: Easy
Another waterfall hike!
Located in the small mountain town of Hazelbrook, this walking track is a scenic forest trail that passes 3 beautiful waterfalls.
So you can complete the full hike to Burgess Falls, which takes around 2 hours, or you can just do a smaller section of the trail.
The first waterfall is Horseshoe Falls, which has a cool cave right behind the cascade. Next is Oakland Falls, and last is Burgess Falls.
Because the Burgess Falls Walking Track is a bit further off the Blue Mountains tourist trail, it’s very tranquil and uncrowded!
8. Hanging Rock Trail (Burramoko Ridge Fire Trail)
- Distance: 10km return
- Duration: 2.5 hours, give or take a bit depending how long you hang out at the lookouts
- Difficulty: Easy/Moderate. It’s flat but long and there are some sketchy, steep sections near the lookouts
This is easily one of the best day hikes in the Blue Mountains!
It has one of the most jaw-dropping viewpoints, and the trail to get there is very easy and flat.
You’ll start at the Baltzer Lookout Trail Start, which shows up in Google Maps. It’s about a 10-minute drive from Blackheath.
The trail you take to Hanging Rock is called the Burramoko Ridge Fire Trail. It’s clearly marked and is mostly flat and straight the entire way.
As you near the end of the trail, you’ll emerge onto jagged rock platforms that jut out from the cliffside. There are no fences or railings, so definitely stay away from the edge and don’t drop any belongings – it’s a sheer drop into the deep valley below!
But the views are surreal. The first lookout is Baltzer Lookout, and from there you can descend the steep trail to Hanging Rock.
Hanging Rock is literally a massive rock that is dangling off the cliff ledge. It makes for crazy photos, but again, there are no safety measures in place.
You have to jump a small crack in the cliffs to get onto Hanging Rock – do so at your own risk!
9. Coachwood Glen Nature Trail
- Distance: 600m loop
- Duration: 20 minutes
- Difficulty: Easy
This is the perfect peaceful stroll for people of all ages!
The Coachwood Glen Nature Trail is located on Megalong Road, a winding and scenic road that links the high mountain town of Blackheath with the low Megalong Valley.
Megalong Road snakes through the forest, so drive slowly and make sure you don’t miss the turn off!
Just next to the road there is a small parking area with a sign for the Coachwood Glen Nature Trail.
Spend the next 20 minutes walking through the lush forest! Cross peaceful streams, walk under thick green ferns, and admire the giant vines and moss-covered tree roots that surround the trail.
10. Perrys Lookdown to Acacia Flat Campground
- Distance: 6km return
- Duration: 2-3 hours depending how long you spend at the bottom
- Difficulty: Hard
Perrys Lookdown is an epic scenic vista near Blackheath.
The steep trail that leads from Perrys Lookdown to Acacia Flat Campground is one of the best and hardest day hikes in the Blue Mountains!
This trail takes you from the top of the mountains, down the steep cliff faces, and into the dense and tranquil forest below.
You literally just walk down super steep steps. It’s challenging but the towering gum trees, serene bird songs, and earthy scents of nature are gorgeous.
Most people hike from Perrys Lookdown to Blue Gum Forest, which is just a sign at the bottom of the hike.
I recommend continuing another 10 minutes through the forest to Acacia Flat Campground. There is a small stream where you can go for a dip in the freezing cold water and have some snacks in the sun before you embark on the grueling hike back up to the top.
Those are my 10 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:
- Katoomba Mountain Lodge: $38 for dorm room and $69 for private room
- Blue Mountains YHA: $38 for dorm room and $135 for private room
- No14 Lovel St. Hostel: $39 for dorm room and $100 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 my guide to day hikes in the Blue Mountains!
For more travel inspiration around NSW, check out these articles:
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