Dargans Creek Canyon is a very good canyon in the Clarence area which can be done without abseiling. It is quite long and dark and has an interesting exit up spikes in a tree.


Driving west along Bells Line of Road, turn left just before the road goes over the railway bridge between Bell and Clarence, at MGA435928. Follow the sealed road right then left, and then drive along the road alongside the railway until you reach a usually locked gate after about 300m. Turn left on to a fire trail, and then right after about 100m. Follow this road for another 1.1km, avoiding several turnoffs to the left, to a large clearing with a fence. Most vehicles won't get more than about 100m further, so park here.

Follow the fire trail E through a gate for 150m, then left (NE) for 150m over and down the hill to the bottom car park. Turn right (SE) on a rutted out 4wd track down to the lower dam.

Scramble down into the dry creek bed below the dam and follow it through the climbing area to the right.


Follow the creek downstream for about 1km. The creek slowly takes on a canyoniferous look. The walking is slow but mostly straightforward in the creek. There may be a track under the western cliffline.

The first section of canyon starts at MGA444911 (Lithgow), with an awkward drop of about 2m, probably with a handline for assistance. This is followed by a short swim.

The main canyon starts not much further on, with a scramble, and a little further on, a climb down a waterfall, probably again with a handline. There are a few short swims. Wetsuits may be useful. Keep an eye out for a waterfall coming in from the right - this is the exit gully. There should be a rope hanging down to climb up. The canyon opens out about 100m past this.


The exit first goes up the waterfall. There is usually a handline hanging down or a log that can be climbed. If there is neither then you may need to find a log and get someone up to the top. A handline is then useful to get the rest up. On top of the waterfall there is a tree with spikes that leads up to the next ledge, to the west of the side creek. The ledge is somewhat exposed, although there are usually ropes to hang on to. A track continues above the side creek, until the creek is regained. Continue up the creek for about 80m until you can climb out to the east, and up to the top via some small clifflines. Once at the very top, pick up the 4wd track which leads back to a junction after 600m. Turn left for 150m back to your car.

If you have beginners in the group you may want to belay them up the waterfall or spiked tree. The results of a fall, particularly from the tree or the ledge that it leads to, can be nasty.

It is also possible to reverse the canyon, or to continue down the main creek. The latter option needs a long car shuffle.


Dargans Creek is an excellent introductory canyon as it has a reasonably sustained constriction, although it is not especially deep, nor is the whole canyon very long. The exit can be a little tricky. There are two dams, the lower of which is very popular with locals for swimming. If it is a hot day you will probably find that most of the traffic in the car park is for swimming, not canyoning. The wall on the far side of the dam makes interesting climbing, and the results of a fall are generally just a loud splash.