National Pass - Blue Mountains - Australia

Rock Galleries

After crossing the stepping stones at the head of the falls, we find the trail changes in character – it sheds its tranquillity and becomes truly dramatic.

Passing by the turnoff to Rocket Point on our left, we recall local tales of how early bushwalking 'explorers' such as Lieutenant Fitzgerald would fire rockets into the air each evening to give a consistent point of reference to other early bushwalkers exploring the wonders of the Kedumba and Jamison Valleys and silent Mount Solitary.

StairsWe're about to start our descent into the valley via the hand-hewn sandstone staircase built in 1908.

First we go down a recently rebuilt flight of timber steps onto that rocky ledge we saw from Wentworth Falls Lookout.

The ledge is wider that it appeared from the lookout, but it always has me thinking how arduous it must have been to carve this pathway from the sandstone cliff with only picks and shovels - and an occasional plug of dynamite.

Opposite us, on the far side of the falls, we can see the National Pass trail, clinging to a leafy ledge half way up the massive cliff face.

It winds away behind distant waterfalls and finally curls around the far edge of the precipice - still half way up the cliff face.

Here our path seems to be suspended in mid air over the valley far below, and we are fascinated by historic links left by the trail's original builders.

Visitors Book ShelterWe pass a hand carved shelter in the cliff face that probably housed a visitors book in years gone by. At the end of this rock ledge, we pass the remains of a derrick the builders used to descend to the trail and to lower supplies.

Remains of Old Derrick

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.