Grand Canyon Loop
When people think of the Grand Canyon it usually evokes images of the Grand Canyon in the USA, a massive open gorge many kilometres wide and hundreds of kilometres long. The narrow slot canyons of the Blue Mountains are quite different. They are deep, dark and twisting. The spectacular Grand Canyon track follows an impressive halfway ledge above much of the canyon, before descending to the canyon floor lower down. It is one of the best walks in the upper Blue Mountains, and is good in summer, as much of the walk is in the shade, protected by the massive sandstone walls.
The track starts at the Grand Canyon Loop Track car park. There are also car parks at Evans Lookout, near the bottom of the canyon, and Neates Glen, near the top of the canyon. However, if you plan to do the loop, please use the Grand Canyon Loop Track car park to relieve pressure on the other two car parks.
To get to the car park, take the signposted turn off to Evans Lookout off the Great Western Hwy, about 1.7km before the traffic lights at Blackheath, when you are coming from Katoomba. The car park is on the right hand side of the road, 3.6km down the road.
From 29 Aug 2004, last checked 02 Nov 2008
From the car park, follow the track alongside the road that leads back towards Neates Glen. At the Neates Glen car park turn left and follow the track that leads down in to Neates Glen. After several switchbacks, the track descends very steeply into the top of the beautiful rainforest gully, crossing the creek high up. There are a few steep slippery sections before the track flattens out and cross back on a small bridge, so care needs to be taken. The track continues down the creek until it reaches the a larger creek, Greaves Creek.
Cross over Greaves Creek on the stepping stones, and turn left on the far side. The track winds along the right hand bank of the creek as it starts to form a shallow canyon. After about 500m it descends a short but steep pinch to a large sandy area next to a large sandstone overhang. This is the Rotunda, and is a great spot for a short break.
Continue along the track, passing through a narrow tunnel in the dark and under a small waterfall. You will shortly see the main canyon dropping away to your left. The creek is now about 20m below you down the narrow slot that you can see. The track continues along a narrow ledge above the slot for the next 600m before rounding a nose and descending down behind in a small gully. There are numerous spots along the track where you can stop and look down into the depths of the canyon, the best on a bridge across a side creek. Please do not drop anything into the canyon as there are often people canyoning below.
At the bottom of the gully, there are signs to Neates Glen and to Evans Lookout. If you are feeling adventurous, you can walk up the canyon from the bottom for about 200m to a swim, though you may get wet feet getting there. Otherwise, take the track towards Evans Lookout. It criss-crosses the creek a number of times on boulders and stepping stones over the next 300m until it reaches another signposted intersection.
Take the left hand track to Evans Lookout. This heads up a gorge, climbing out a narrow cleft into a gully with magnificent eucalypts. Continue up to Evans Lookout, where there are excellent views of Govetts and Greaves Creeks.
Head back on the track that follows the road to the car park where you parked your car.
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