Knights Deck is a spectacular lookout in the Wild Dog Mountains, with views up and down the Breakfast Creek and Coxs River valleys. There are a variety of routes that will take you there. This one goes via Cattle Dog Ridge, which is another excellent lookout. This walk features two fairly long, steep ascents and descents. There is some easy off track walking up Cattle Dog Ridge.
The walk can be done at any time of year, but is better in the cooler months due to the challenging climbs.
The walk starts and finishes at Carlons Farm (Green Gully). To get there, drive to Blackheath, and take the left turn (coming from Katoomba) across the railway line at the traffic lights in town. Turn left again immediately, and then take the first right. After about 700m take a left turn, following the sign to Megalong Valley. The road is windy for the next few kilometres. About 13km after the turnoff you cross Megalong Creek at the Old Ford Reserve bridge. Continue along the (now unsealed) road for about 7km, through a couple of gates to reach the old farmhouse of Green Gully. Cross the bridge and head up the hill on the other side. At the T-junction at the top, turn left, and the parking area is at the top of the next hill.
From 13 Jun 2009, last checked 13 Jun 2009
To start, walk back down the hill you just drove up, and turn left over the stile at the top of Carlons Creek. Follow a fire trail down the hill, looking for a fainter fire trail off to the right after about 400m. This heads down into Carlons Creek itself. Follow the track down the creek, which crosses back and forth. Carlons Creek is usually dry, although being south facing, the vegetation is usually fairly wet. Carlons Creek is famed for its profusion of nettles, and you would be well advised to wear long pants in this section of the walk, unless you are particularly bloody-minded or masochistic. Gaiters will give you some protection.
After about 45 minutes (3km) you reach Breakfast Creek, which is usually flowing but can occasionally dry up. Head right (downstream) on a track.
Just after passing through an old gate, the track down Breakfast Creek climbs up a hill over a ridge. At the high point, leave the track and head up on to Cattle Dog Ridge. Typical of the north-facing ridges in the area, the forest on Cattle Dog Ridge is open with little undergrowth. The climb as a result is steep but fairly straightforward, the 430m ascent being covered in just over a kilometre of horizontal.
At the top of the ridge a large conglomerate cliffline awaits. This can be passed on either side, though the left side is quicker and easier. Follow the base of the cliff until an obvious gully allows you to easily get up on top. Head out to the end of the cliffs, where there is an excellent lookout, usually at a convenient time for morning tea.
After a break, follow the ridge south and south-east through the scrub for 1km until you reach Blue Dog Ridge. A cairn, anthill and reflector mark the junction of Cattle Dog and Blue Dog Ridges. Turn right and follow a faint track along Blue Dog Ridge. The track climbs over three knolls before coming to a large cairn on a fourth knoll at the junction with the Knights Deck Lookout track. Head right, out to Knights Deck, another great lookout atop a conglomerate cliff. Lunch can be enjoyed here, though it may be better to press on to the Coxs River.
From Knights Deck, return to the main track and continue along the ridge, which begins to descend first moderately, then more steeply towards the river. The lower half of Blue Dog Ridge is particularly steep, and the track tends to switchback. After a knee-jarring descent you reach the junction of Breakfast Creek and the Coxs River. There are some grassy camping areas on both the north (small) and south side (larger) of Breakfast Creek if you were doing this as an overnight walk.
Locate the start of the track up Ironmonger Hill, which begins at the small camping area on the north side of Breakfast Creek. It is steep and consistent, and you gain height very quickly. There are only a couple of really steep bits. One right at the start to climb out of Breakfast Creek, and the second just before the top of the hill. Once on Ironmonger Hill, the going is much easier, and the track heads north past some large conglomerate boulders to a T-intersection with another track. Turn right (unless you have plenty of time and want to head down to Goolara Peak).
The top of Ironpot Mountain has some sections with excellent views to the north. Keep an eye out for the aboriginal sharpening grooves and the "pots" on top of the mountain. As the conglomerate ends, look for a ramp on the left that takes you down. At the end of the mountain the track drops off to the left and there is a very short scramble down a cleft, where a short steep track leads down to the fire trail. Turn right on the fire trail and follow it over a couple of stiles back to the main trail, which leads back to the car park.
Time: 3 days; Distance: 36km; Fitness: M; Skill: M; Ascent: 1380m
A variant on one of the classic Blue Mountains walks - finishing at Carlon's Farm below Blackheath, rather than at Katoomba
Time: 5 hrs; Distance: 13km; Fitness: M; Skill: M; Ascent: 600m
A good introduction to the Wild Dog Mountains. Some creek hopping and ridge walking add variety to some spectacular scenery.
Time: 5 hrs; Distance: 16km; Fitness: M; Skill: MH; Ascent: 500m
A challenging walk visiting two of the climbing passes of Narrow Neck
Time: 3 days; Distance: 45km; Fitness: MH; Skill: M; Ascent: 1350m
An excellent crossing of the southern Blue Mountains with a variety of scenery
Time: 2 days; Distance: 24km; Fitness: EM; Skill: M; Ascent: 640m
A walk with lots of variety, visiting a famous lookout and home of the Bushwalkers War Memorial
13/06/2009 - Cattle Dog Ridge and Knights Deck: Green Gully - Carlon Creek - Breakfast Creek - Cattle Dog Ridge - Blue Dog Ridge - Knights Deck - Blue Dog Spur - Coxs River - Ironmonger Hill - Ironpot Mountain - Green Gully [Bush Club] (photos)