Mt Solitary return
Please note that while the maps on this web site are useful and generally contain more, and more accurate, information on trails, the relevant topographic maps should be carried on most walks. These are available from the Lands Information Centre, map shops, and most outdoor stores.
Mt Solitary is an isolated sandstone plateau easily visible from Echo Point that stands alone in the Jamison Valley below Katoomba. From its flat top there are excellent views of Narrow Neck and the Jamison Valley, as well as south to Lake Burragorang. The day walk to its summit is a reasonable challenge, with a 320m climb from the low point at Cedar Gap.
The Mt Solitary walk as described below starts at the Golden Stairs car park on Narrow Neck. It is also possible to start from the Scenic Railway, either by catching the railway down, or descending the Furber Steps, and then walking along the Federal Pass track past the Landslide to the foot of the Golden Stairs. This adds an approximately 3km of walking each way.
Alternatively, it is a 4km walk from Katoomba Station to the Golden Stairs. There are also buses from Katoomba station to the Scenic Railway.
From 26 Aug 2001, last checked 30 Jul 2005
From the Golden Stairs car park, the Golden Stairs descend steeply and quickly to the Federal Pass walking track below. Turn right at the track junction and head along the track towards the Ruined Castle. The track to the Ruined Castle follows the line of an old shale railway, which used to haul shale from mines out near the Ruined Castle. You can also see coal on the ground at various points from other old mining operations in the area. The track passes into deep rainforest in the shadow of the cliffs, with giant tree ferns and coachwood abounding. After some distance the forest opens out with large eucalypts.
About 2.5km along the trail you reach a junction, with a sign to the right to the Ruined Castle, and another noting that the track is in very poor condition. Head up this track. It climbs quickly up to a saddle, and then left to the top of the ridge, where it continues relatively gently to a large collection of rocky boulders. This is the Ruined Castle, and a good spot to climb up to for morning tea break.
Continue along the track down the other side of the Ruined Castle ridge to where it rejoins the main track not far from the saddle at Cedar Gap. From there the path heads up, and some easy scrambles are required as you climb Koorowall Knife-edge. Keep to the middle of the ridge as much as possible to avoid false tracks that drop off the sides. About 1.5km of climbing gets you to the first summit, topped by a grove of casuarinas.
This is as far as most parties would go.
After a break for lunch return back the way you came. The Ruined Castle can be bypassed on the return trip by continuing along the main track.
Time: 8 hrs; Distance: 14km; Fitness: M; Skill: MH; Ascent: 540m
A challenging descent of one of the more difficult passes of Narrow Neck
Time: 2 hrs; Distance: 6km; Fitness: E; Skill: EM; Ascent: 60m
Excellent panoramic views from this easy-to-visit lookout off Narrow Neck Peninsula
Time: 4 hrs; Distance: 8km; Fitness: E; Skill: E; Ascent: 220m
360 degree views from the top of the Ruined Castle, one of the best easy day walks in the Blue Mountains.
Time: 2 days; Distance: 20km; Fitness: M; Skill: EM; Ascent: 1120m
An excellent overnight walk with good views of Lake Burragorang and beyond, and options for camp cave camping.