With an area covering over 11,000 kms square, the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney is a marvelous expanse to explore. According to the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service, the National Park contains over 140km of walking tracks of ranging difficulty, offering views of epic sandstone cliffs, native wildlife and the stunning Australian bushland. Some of the best bushwalks in the Blue Mountains also offer tumbling waterfalls, much to the delight of photographers! Lets face it, who doesn’t love a good waterfall!
Here’s how and where to find some of my favourites! Bear in mind that the waterfalls will always be pretty spectacular after periods of rain, and as such some may not look the same as pictured in drier periods.
I’ll be updating this post as I explore further and find more waterfalls in the Blue Mountains worth the visit!
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If you are planning on bushwalking in the Blue Mountains, the guide to the Blue Mountains Best Bushwalks is a worthy investment!
Waterfalls in the Blue Mountains; the easy ones
Now Leura Cascades seems to get all the hype, but I actually think Katoomba Cascades is even better, and there’s the chance to catch a couple of other waterfalls on the way if there’s been some rain.
Where to find it: Start at Katoomba Falls Park on Cliff Drive and follow the signs to Katoomba Cascades. You can also take a small detour off to the right to see Witches Leap Falls, although this is quite small if there hasn’t been a good rainfall.
Difficulty: Easy. This one is almost all paved and boardwalk paths and descents are gentle. This one is the perfect walk with kids.
Things to know: This path also offers a great vantage point of the iconic Three Sisters, which is generally less crowded than Echo Point.
Follow the signs and take a stroll down the boardwalks and you’ll come to the cascades. This does tend to be a little crowded, including people ignoring the danger to climb all through it, but if you are a little patient you will get your chance for the money shot.
But the beauty of the Katoomba Cascades is that they are so big, it’s easy to get a great shot of only part of them. Great when there happens to be a bunch of people there!
*Bonus* Witches Leap Falls
A small detour off to the right at the start of the path will take you to Witches Leap Falls.
*Bonus* Katoomba Falls
On the path to the cascades you will pass a lookout over the Kedumba River as it spills into the Jamison Valley below at Katoomba Falls.
And here’s your sneaky view of the Three Sisters.
Govetts Leap or Bridal Veil Falls
They don’t come much easier than this one. You’ll only need to park your car at one of the most spectacular lookouts in the mountains and walk about 20 metres to the fence to see the falls over Taylors Wall.
Where to find it: Turn off the highway at Blackheath onto Govetts Leap Road and follow it to the end.
Difficulty: Easier than easy!
Things to know: Govetts Leap faces east, and is one of the best spots in the Blue Mountains to catch a sunrise. This part of the Blue Mountains was impacted by the 2019/2020 Black Summer Bushfires, the fire burning up the cliff face, and the burnt out bush is still visible from the lookout.
Where to find it: Gordon Falls Reserve at the end of Lone Pine Avenue in Leura. Parking is available.
Difficulty: I’m going to put this in the easy basket. The track from the reserve down to Gordon Falls Lookout is mostly stairs but they aren’t overly steep and it isn’t far, and it’s one of the best lookouts in the Blue Mountains with a clear view across the valley to Mt Solitary and the other side of the Three Sisters. This is another fall that is one to visit after a good rainfall but is really just a bonus if you happen to be visiting the Pool of Siloam.
Wentworth Falls (the easy way)
There are degrees of difficulty when it comes to the spectacular Wentworth Falls. The 187m high waterfall that spills over a cliff and into the Jamison Valley is a major tourist attraction and it is an amazing sight when there has been a good rainfall.
Suburb: Wentworth Falls
Where to find it: There are a few lookouts that offer a vantage point of the falls, but my recommendation is to head to Princes Rock Lookout for the best view as it looks almost straight on rather than from the side. Starting from the picnic area at the end of Falls Road it is a short walk which includes some well spaced steps.
Difficulty: Some stairs, but they are big and the descent is gentle so this isn’t too hard.
This path also offers you the opportunity for a spectacular view of the Jamison Valley and Mount Solitary from Jamison Lookout.
From here you can also choose to carry on and follow the aptly named Undercliff track, which will eventually take you down to the cliff where Jamison Creek becomes the falls. There are a couple of nice little waterfalls here as a bonus.
Waterfalls in the Blue Mountains; the little bit harder ones
I figured I couldn’t say Katoomba Cascades is better than Leura without including Leura!
Where to find it: You can either do this as part of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, or walk from the picnic area which can be found on Cliff drive. It has recently reopened after an extended closure due to dangerous conditions after the fires and subsequent flooding in early 2020.
Difficulty: This is only a short walk but it does involve descent and stairs, although it’s not too steep.
I haven’t been able to get back here to take updated photos yet.
A really lovely waterfall spilling over natural rock formed to give a terrace effect, this one can be difficult to get a photo angle for the full effect, since a good water flow means walking over slippery rocks at the bottom to get to get a centred front shot.
Where to find it: Park your vehicle on Valley Road Hazelbrook, at what resembles a triangular roundabout in the road. A short distance away is the beginning of the fire trail, from which the walking track runs. There are two possible entry points, the first will take you past other pools and waterfalls to finish at Terrace Falls. If you continue down the fire trail you will reach the second, which takes you down a short set of steps directly to Terrace Falls.
Difficulty: While this does offer quick access to the falls via the fire trail, it is still inclined and uneven. The full loop is approximately 5kms and about 2 hours duration. It descends and ascends 140 metres. It sits pretty safely in the medium difficulty.
Things to know: This is one of the dog friendly walks in the Blue Mountains and features a couple of spots they’ll be delighted to jump in for a swim.
I was just learning long exposures on a new camera when I took these shots. I’d love to take them again, but when I have been back there hasn’t been anything like this amount of water!
Here is a good look at the terrace effect of the rocks without the volume of water
You can check out my video of the walk direct to Terrace Falls below;
*Bonus* Willawong Pool
If you walk the full loop you will also come across the charming little falls of Willawong Pool.
It is also worth the short detour from the main track to check out Bedford pool, a lovely picnic spot and swimming hole in the summer and a good stretch of beach.
One of my absolute favourite tracks in the mountains, featuring five lovely little waterfalls.
Where to find it: Entry to the track is off Oaklands Road. Its on a bend, so you are best off turning in Brook Road in order to park safely in the clearing beside the entry.
Difficulty: Most of this track actually isn’t that difficult, but each of the waterfalls is a scramble off the track which makes it a bit more challenging.
You can also read my dedicated post on Horseshoe Falls, which features additional photos.
Naming of the first two falls is a little confusing, as I have seen them both referred to as Horseshoe Falls and there is no sign at the first. I am fairly confident that the next falls along is actually Horseshoe Falls however given its distinctive shape. I’ve been informed by another local walker that this fall is referred to as Fairy Falls.
One kilometre from the Oaklands Road entry to the walking track you will come to the left turn down to Horseshoe Falls. The sign at the bottom seems to refer to it as both Horseshoe Falls and Glow Worm Nook Falls, but Glow Worm Nook Falls is actually a scramble uphill from the other side of the clearing.
The cavern behind offers great position for photographs through the falls.
Glow Worm Nook falls is found by continuing through the cavern and out the other side.
The track down to Oakland Falls is on the left just over two kilometres from Oaklands Road. This is my favourite one along the track and involves some climbing down rocks so two adults might be needed to pass the kids down.
This is another fall you can walk behind, and it tends to have a little more flow than the first.
The final fall along this track is Burgess Falls, a little short of three kilometres from Oaklands Road. It is the most difficult of the main falls to access, or at least was the day I went, and is more exposed than the others so if you want to take a long exposure you’ll need to hit this one early.
You can check out the video below for footage of the walk.
Lawson Waterfall Circuit
While definitely not as dramatic as some of the other falls on this list, this easy walk offers five for the price of one!
Where to find it: Honour Avenue in the small town of Lawson. There are two entry points to the trail with a small amount of parking available at each.
Difficulty: I’m rating this a medium only due to the 125m descent and ascent involved at either end. The walk itself isn’t particularly difficult or challenging and will take approximately 90 minutes to do the full 3km loop. The best of the waterfalls are at each of the ends though so if you don’t want to do the full walk you can just walk to them.
Things to know: This is technically not in the National Park, so this is another one of the dog friendly walks in the Blue Mountains. It is common to see walkers with their dogs in the warmer months playing in the pools at the base of the falls.
The highly venomous Blue Mountains Funnel Web spider resides in this region and I am aware of some in trees and stumps along this track. It is wise not to carelessly put your hand on trees or sit on fallen ones.
If you start from the first carpark, at the base of the initial descent and off to the right of the main path you will find Adeline Falls. I unfortunately forgot to turn down my ISO on this shot so the highlights are still too high.
It’s worth it to return to the trail and keep going to my favourite, Junction Falls.
Junction Falls part 2
Just around the corner is the second and smaller part of Junction Falls.
Next along the path is the sandy bottomed Federal Falls.
At the base of the ascent back up is the bottom of the final falls, Cataract Falls. Dogs enjoy splashing in the pool at the bottom but the best vantage point is from halfway up the ascent.
Beside this spot is an overhang where there are apparently glowworms visible at night.
North Lawson Park
This large area of bush on the North side of the Highway has a number of trails which include waterfalls, which are on my list to visit!
One such trail will lead you to this charming little oasis complete with a small swimming hole. Unfortunately what beach there is likely disappears after a period of rain. What is striking about this spot is that despite it’s proximity to, and at times distant sound of, the highway, there is a plethora of bird song accompanying your footsteps.
Where to find it: The most direct way is to park at the end of Hughes avenue and join the trail from there.
Difficulty: This route isn’t terribly difficult but does include a fire trail which can be steep and uneven in parts. Frederica Falls are also part of a larger route which incorporates Empire Pass. This route will take approximately one hour, returning by the same track.
Things to know: Until you reach the fire trail this is not National Park, so you may see dogs and even horses.
At the other end of the North Lawson Park is a lovely little fall at Dante’s Glen.
Where to find it: It will eventually connect with Frederica Falls via Empire Pass, but you can head straight there from St Bernard’s Drive. Simply head to Lawson Pool and keep driving until the road runs out which is the beginning of the track.
Difficulty: This is a well maintained track so isn’t too hard, but there are a lot of stairs that make this more challenging.
*Bonus* Fairy Falls
This is a short little detour off to the right before you start descending down into Dantes Glen. It’s reasonably flat so is popular with families with small children.
Minni Ha Ha Falls
I would rate this as up there with Empress Falls for the most spectacular in the mountains I have found so far. It also features a stellar swimming hole which is commonly described as bottomless, although it is surrounded by boulders and rocks and there is limited space. Though as my best friend said, the water is so cold it would be a rotten climb out on a day hot enough to swim there!
This one has been closed for a while to repair safety issues with the track, much of which still has temporary fencing along the top of the cliff. It will most likely be a popular spot in summer!
This spot is historically significant to the local Aboriginal people.
Where to find it: Park at the Minni Ha Ha Falls Reserve, at the end of Minni Ha Ha Road.
Difficulty: I’m putting this one in the medium category because, although it is quite short at 1.2km, it does include a climb and grated stairs to get down to the falls. Until this point it is quite an easy walk. If you’re not game to do the climb down you can still get a great vantage point to ogle the falls from the top.
But the view from the bottom is very worth the effort!
Waterfalls in the Blue Mountains; the tough ones
So far, I rate this as the toughest one I have done. Definitely not one for the heat of summer, though there is a lovely swimming hole at the bottom.
Suburb: Mount Victoria
Where to find it: The track starts from the end of Victoria Falls Road, which is on the right just before the township of Mount Victoria if you are coming from the Sydney side. There is no turning lane for it and the Highway is single lanes there so I recommend taking the next right turn and going back.
Difficulty: This one is short at only 4 kilometres , but make no mistake it’s tough! Essentially its 2 kilometres weaving down the cliff, but then you have to get back up it too.
Pool of Siloam
This one was a pretty recent discovery for me, but it is definitely one of my favourites on this list.
Where to find it: Start at Gordon Falls Reserve in Leura. The track commences from the bottom of the picnic area. It’s not overly long, but be prepared for a lot of stairs.
Difficulty: This depends on how you do it, it’s a hefty climb down to the pool so if you go down and then turn around and come back again it probably deserves the hard rating. However, there is also the option to continue along the trail to Lyrebird Dell which is a gentler and more gradual climb, and a shorter and easier climb back to the road at the end, and it only extends the walk by about 1km for a total loop of less than 2kms.
Things to know: If you take the easier option of continuing to Lyrebird Dell, keep an eye out for a couple of natural cave structures once used by local indigenous people. You’ll also get a bonus waterfall!
This is another nice little swimming hole, so if you want to visit to admire the scenery perhaps this is one to plan for cooler months!
*Bonus* Lyrebird Dell
A short distance back up the stairs from the Pool of Siloam is another track branching off to go above the falls, signposted for Lyrebird Dell. There are a few up and down spots, but its definitely easier than climbing back out the way you came.
You’ll also come across this little waterfall and pass a large Aboriginal shelter.
The Valley of the Waters
A popular location for canyoning in the Blue Mountains, Empress Falls takes the title for the most spectacular on this list.
Suburb: Wentworth Falls
Where to find it: Start from the Conservation Hut in Wentworth Falls. From there just follow the signs or check out the display in the foyer to see where you are going.
Difficulty: Getting there isn’t too bad, it’s getting out again that’s tough! There is a hefty climb up hill and a lot of stairs, be prepared for a leg workout on this one!
Suburb: Wentworth Falls
Where to find it: Keep on going past Empress Falls and you’ll find the beautiful Sylvia Falls. Less dramatic than Empress perhaps, but beautiful. Sylvia Falls is another of my favourites!
Difficulty: If you’ve already committed to getting as far as Empress, you honestly may as well keep going. It’s another 600 or so metres climb down beyond Empress.
Suburb: Wentworth Falls
Where to find it: Continue past Sylvia Falls, the path crosses the creek between the upper and lower Ladore Falls, but it is challenging to get them both in a shot. The lower falls are larger.
Difficulty: You’ll be continuing the climb down, which is the easy part. It doesn’t add a significant amount to the overall distance.
Flat Rock Falls
Suburb: Wentworth Falls
Where to find it: On the same track as Empress and Sylvia Falls, carry on down the track until the creek crossing.
Difficulty: Again, if you’ve come this far…
At this point you can carry on across the creek and further into the Valley of the Waters, eventually emerging elsewhere in Wentworth Falls. However there are currently a number of track closures so it is worth checking that the track is open. Alternatively you can climb back up to the Conservation Hut. Allow about an hour if you need to stop frequently.
Blue Mountains Bush safety
When you’re out exploring the bush in the Blue Mountains there are definitely some things you should take and also keep in mind. Check out my safety tips and essentials for Blue Mountains bushwalking.
My Photography Equipment
If you are interested in what photography equipment I use and recommend, check out some of the results in my Photography Equipment List.
Where to stay in the Blue Mountains
Looking for accommodation for your visit to the Blue Mountains? Take a look at some of the options in the area below.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of some of the waterfalls the Blue Mountains has to offer. This list is going to grow, I’m out hunting for them constantly. If you know one I should visit leave me a comment below!
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