Start: Neates Glen Car Park
End: Evans Look Out (with a short walk beside road back to Neates Glen Car Park)
Time taken: 3-4 hours
USP: Views of Grose Valley, impressive canyon, creek side track
Distance: 7km (steep climb down and back up)
Blackheath is one of our favourite spots in the Blue Mountains National Park. The back streets are lined with beautiful, single story homes with white picket fences and wrap around verandas. In Spring and Summer the roads are lined with huge broad leaved trees and in Autumn it’s a blaze of colour as the leaves start to fall.
And Autumn is the best time in the mountains. The crowds start to thin out, the air is cooler and the smell of open fires drifts on the westerly breeze.
Autumn is our hiking season.
With Kat’s parents visiting from the UK for a month, we wanted to give them a taste of where we live and what we get up to at the weekends, so a long weekend in Blackheath ticked all the boxes. We also wanted to walk a trail we hadn’t done ourselves and eventually settled on the Grand Canyon Loop. 7km with a good mix of ups, downs, fire trail and single track, as well as showing off a range of Blue Mountains habitat all in one small area.
The walk starts from Neates Glen Car Park on a trail clearly sign posted ‘Grand Canyon Loop’. It immediately heads downhill via purpose built steps and railings. In fact they are a feature of the whole loop, which is very well sign posted and well maintained. You won’t be scrambling over boulders and wishing you had ropes on this walk, but do be prepared for A LOT of steps!
As you drop towards the canyon the surroundings change from dry, Eucalypts forest to wet, fern dominated ‘rainforest’. The sound of water is ever present as the trail winds along the banks of Greaves Creek. At some points you can see the creek clearly, complete with bright red Sydney Crayfish, or ‘Yabbies’, but at others the creek vanishes into deep, steep sided gullies, overgrown with ferns and lined with moss.
The only time we got slightly lost was after descending the final stair case from Neates Glen car park we were faced with a sandstone cliff in front and a path leading left and right. Take the right!
There are several great spots along the way to stop for lunch. We picked one of the many shady sandstone overhangs, etched out by hundreds of thousands of years of flowing water. After getting back on the trail we reached a boulder strewn creek crossing where we took another break and snapped a few photos. We then left Greaves Creek to continue it’s journey into the Grose Valley as we started the climb up towards Evans Look Out.
Again the route is well marked and stone steps make the going easy. As we headed up we came across a Lyre Bird scraping through the leaf litter for bugs and stopped to admire it for a while, before continuing out of the gloomy canyon and back into the bright forest above.
Reaching Evans Look Out we rewarded ourselves with our final few snacks, grabbed some photos of the amazing view across the Grose Valley and planned the best route back to our Air BnB. It might have been a short walk in kilometres, but it makes up for it with stunning scenery and enough ‘up’ to get the legs shaking!
Blackheath has a great range of walks, from short half day hikes, to whole day hikes and some incredible overnight epics. Book in a long weekend and get exploring.