**UPDATE: The Grand Canyon Loop track is closed from October 2015 to mid-June 2016. Click here for more information and alternative tracks.**
This is without question one of the most beautiful walks in the Blue Mountains and, some would say, Australia. Tracing a ledge above Blackheath’s Grand Canyon it takes hikers though lush rainforest gullies, past stunning rock overhangs, through a sandstone tunnel and underneath trickling waterfalls before lowering to the canyon floor. It concludes with a substantial stair-climb up to Evans Lookout and, if that alone doesn’t get your heart pumping then its views of the Grose and Govetts Creek Valleys certainly will.
Where to start
It’s a loop track, which means you conveniently only need one car. To get to the start of the track, park at the Grand Canyon Loop Track car park* on Evans Lookout Road and walk back along the trail beside the road to Neates Glen car park, then continue on the track as it turns left down the mountain.
From there the track is well signed or marked clearly with stepping stones as it weaves back and forth across the creek. The only crossroads you encounter is at the Neates Glen/Evans Lookout intersection – follow the sign to Evans Lookout to complete the loop.
The stair-climb out is about half an hour; more with stops. When you reach the top, take in the view before following the track up to the left alongside the road, back to the car park. There are also toilets at Evans Lookout.
Find more detailed track notes here.
Keep an eye out for…
When walking in the Blue Mountains I always find my instinct is to keep an eye on my feet, but on this track, be sure to look up – at the towering sandstone walls and waterfalls and beautiful bushland – and breathe it all in!
But you should also look down…
About halfway along the track you will walk through a narrow tunnel (watch your step!) and cross under a small waterfall, then soon after this you’ll be able to look over the ledge to your left at the canyon below.
While this track is well shaded, making it particularly good to do in summer, there are numerous sunny spots along the way to stop for a rest.
If you’re feeling adventurous…
For a little taste of what it’s like to go canyoning you can take a side trip a short way into Grand Canyon. Turn left at the Neates Glen/Evans Lookout intersection, picking your own path up the rocky creek. After 200m you’ll hit water, at which point you can either turn back or take a dip. If you want to do the canyon for real, there are plenty of adventure groups in the Blue Mountains offering guided canyoning trips.
Another adventurous option is to do part of the track at night, when the canyon and track walls light up like a starry sky, twinkling with glow worms. I’d suggest you do this on a summer’s night, starting at Evan’s Lookout. While it’s still light follow the track a fair way down – to the bottom of the canyon if you like – and have a picnic dinner as the sun fully sets. Then, when it’s dark, make your way back up to the lookout/car park, admiring the sparkles on either side as you ascend. Note: If attempting this, you must be over-prepared with torches and safety supplies. Read more about bushwalking safety at Think Before You Trek.
Download a map of Grand Canyon Loop Track.
Did you enjoy this walk? What did you think of the side trip? Let me know in the comments!
- Time: 3–4 hours
- Distance: 7km
- Climb: 240m of uphill
- Getting there: From the Great Western Highway, turn down Evans Lookout Road. The Grand Canyon Loop Track car park is on the right hand side of the road, 3.6km along the road.
- Style: Loop
- Parking: * The authorities prefer you to park at the designated Grand Canyon car park to relieve pressure on the other larger car parks either side of it, but it’s really up to you to decide at which car park to park your car.
Image of Grose Valley: By Adam.J.W.C. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons