National Pass - Blue Mountains - Australia

Empress Lookout

The National Pass trail now brings us to a grove of mature lillypillies which shade the track and carpet it with soft brown leaves.

This stretch of the trail – from here up to the Conservation Hut – is shared with another path, an interpretive bushwalk called the Nature Track.

Nature Track sign

But the Nature Track, which explores the head of the Valley of the Waters, is again a journey for another day.

I cannot pretend that the final ladder climbs are easy. Best take them at your own pace, admire their safety and remember they give walkers a lot of 'uphill' in a short time.

BottlebrushWith a distinct feeling of elation we look back into the abyss we've successfully ascended and I know everyone who has walked this track has similar feelings of personal achievement.

We pause a while at Empress Lookout to catch our breath and look down into the rainforest where Valley of the Waters Creek plummets out of Empress Canyon.

Building the National Pass

The National Pass hiking track was built with picks, shovels, crowbars and dynamite between 1906 and 1907. It involved cutting a zig-zag staircase into a cliff face and became a very popular walking trail.   Learn more

Restoring the Trail

After 95 years service, the track had to be closed in 2002. Bushfires, rain storms and landslides played havoc with fencing and wooden bridges. The $1.5 million restoration project won a National Trust award.   Learn more

Bushwalking Tips

Walking this historic trail will be more enjoyable if you prepare well. Bring a camera and binoculars if you can. Make sure you have adequate clothing should the weather change. Carry water and snacks. Don't stray off the trail.