While much of the Blue Mountains is a national park where dogs are not allowed, there are a bunch of fantastic walks and lookouts that are dog friendly! Kate explored them all on a recent trip with her pooch.

How To Make Sure These Walks Stay Dog Friendly:

1. Bushrangers Cave
2. Sunset Lookout & Boars Head Abseiling Point
3. Minnehaha Falls
4. Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit Walk
5. Burgess Falls Walking Track
6. South Lawson Falls
7. Centennial Glen Canyon

 

We acknowledge that this adventure is located on Darkinjung, Dharawal, Dharug, Gundungurra, Wonnarua and Wiradjuri Nations, the traditional Countries of the Darkinjung, Dharawal, Dharug, Gundungurra, Wonnarua and Wiradjuri people who have occupied and cared for this land and water for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

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The Blue Mountains are known for their sheer cliff faces, unique rock formations, endless bushland and, of course, that blue haze on the horizon. But did you know that all of this can be enjoyed with your furry friend by your side?

Whilst dogs are not allowed in the Blue Mountains National Park, there are plenty of hikes and lookouts in the Blueys where they are welcome, including reserves, natural areas and state forests. It may not always be easy to find these dog friendly walks, so I’ve put together a list with just some of the dog friendly hikes in the Blue Mountains that we tried on a recent trip. 

Read more: Where’s The Best Dog Friendly Camping in NSW?

 

How To Make Sure These Walks Stay Dog Friendly

It may come as a surprise, but not everyone loves dogs as much as you and I, so it’s important to keep your pup on a lead on all tracks.

We did find it easier for Bowie to climb down without the lead on rocky sections, so we ensured that no one was around that he could make uncomfortable, and kept him walking between the two of us. If your pup is going to bolt as soon as you unclip their collar this might not be an option for you.

Bowie’s harness was an absolute must for us on staircases and ladders to help us lift him, however smaller dogs can simply be carried.

Finally, remember to pick up and carry out your dog’s poop to leave the trail in tip top condition, for all to enjoy. Just because it’s a natural area doesn’t mean it’s ok to leave.

 

1. Bushrangers Cave

Nearest Town: Mount Victoria
Distance: 6.8km return
Time: Half day

With two starting options, the trip to Bushrangers Cave can be a short one hour walk from Pulpit Rock or a half day walk from Mount Piddington. We chose the longer route.

Note: This is the Pulpit Rock on the western side of Mt Victoria, at the end of Kanimbla Valley Road, not the one east of Blackheath that’s part of the national park.

Leaving from Mount Piddington carpark, we followed signs to Witches Glen that descended straight into the forest. At Witches Glen we were greeted with unexpected views of the valley behind the overhanging cave camp, making for the perfect lunch stop. 

Continuing past the Ross Cave turn-off and following signs up to Pulpit Rock, we were led astray once or twice by the footpads to climbing spots.

With so many incredible highlights, we almost forgot about the main event, Bushrangers Cave! 

Descending down a couple of switchbacks, a sign led us along a huge rock face and around to the mouth of the cave. A word of warning, this last section requires a little rock scramble and a ladder to enter, so be sure your dog is confident with heights and light enough to carry.

 

2. Sunset Lookout & Boars Head Abseiling Point

Nearest town: Katoomba
Distance: A few hundred metres
Time: 15 minutes

Whilst not much of a hike, these are two gorgeous dog friendly lookouts that are only a couple of hundred metres apart; perfect for a sunset stroll. Funnily enough, to see the Boars Head rock feature in its entirety, Sunset Lookout is the place to be. 

Undertaking a complete revamp a few years back, Sunset Lookout is now a fully-paved and fenced walkway. With a number of viewing platforms, you can hopefully nab a possie all to yourself to watch the main event. 

 

 

Boars Head Abseiling Point on the other hand is a little more rugged, with a dirt footpath leading down to the drop off directly in front of the Boars Head, with stellar views over the Narrow Neck. 

Be sure to keep your dog on the lead here, as the sudden cliff drops on either side of the track and this is the last place you want to lose dear Fiddo.

 

3. Minnehaha Falls

Nearest town: Katoomba
Distance: 1.5km return
Time: 1 hour

Nestled right in the suburbs of Katoomba, Minnehaha Falls took us by surprise. We had a little difficulty finding the trailhead as Google Maps led us astray, but if you stick to Minni Ha Ha Road, it will take you directly to the carpark in Minnehaha Reserve (surely they could have stuck to one spelling here?).

Following along a fairly wide path beside the creek, there are a number of little waterfalls to get you excited. Suddenly, the trail turns into rocky steps, and opens out into a massive amphitheatre, at the top of Minnehaha Falls. 

Descending a number of steep metal stairs, we used Bowie’s harness to support him down, however some dogs may need to be carried. Reaching the pool at the bottom of the falls, sit back and take in the sheer size of the multi-levelled falls or go for a rock-hop downstream to find some hidden swimming holes.

 

4. Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit Walk

Nearest town: Katoomba
Distance: 1.3km
Time: 20 minutes

The Katoomba Falls Reserve walk isn’t very long, but it makes up for it with big views (so I’m told).  The 1.3km dog friendly walk is entirely lit with floodlights and path lights from dusk until 10.30pm. 

Starting from Katoomba Falls Kiosk, detour via the ‘Witches Leap Falls Lookout’ loop then continue through the forest to Katoomba Cascades. The trail can be walked with your pooch all the way to the ‘Cliff View Lookout’, where clear signage indicates the start of the Blue Mountains National Park, and the end of the dog friendly area.

 

5. Burgess Falls Walking Track

Nearest town: Hazlebrook
Distance: 1-2 hours
Time: A few kilometres, depending on how many side trips you take!

We piled on our wet weather gear and took on this trail in the pouring rain. It paid off; the countless waterfalls on this track were absolutely gushing. Parking just on the side of Oaklands Road, we instantly felt like it was a wander through a magical forest, with tiny little painted doors on trees along the entire track. 

 

 

The Burgess Falls trail was perfect for dogs of all sizes, most of it a pretty easy path for Bowie to navigate, with only a few rocky sections. 

Visiting countless waterfalls, with tracks running behind each one, it was hard to pick a favourite. Whilst Horseshoe Falls seems like the most well-known, the side trip to Glow-Worm Nook Falls was well worth it.

 

6. South Lawson Falls

Nearest town: Lawson
Distance: 2.5km loop
Time: An hour and a half

After three days of relentless rain, it was the perfect time to visit South Lawson Falls. Usually this waterfalls is just a trickle through the rocks, but the waterfalls on this track were in full force after some rain.

Starting from either carpark on Baths Road, this trail is a loop that will take you past four named waterfalls, and many other little side streams to explore. The trail was a muddy path in the rain, but simple enough for Bowie to make his way through, it was a gorgeous hike for dogs and people of all ages.

Read more: 7 Tips For Rainy Day Hiking

 

 

7. Centennial Glen Canyon

Nearest town: Blackheath
Distance: 3km
Time: 2 hours (you’ll want to spend time exploring!)

Finishing off a week of adventures in the Blue Mountains, we saved the best hike for last! Whilst Centennial Glen Canyon is a section of the larger Porters Pass circuit, it can be visited directly from the parking lot at the end of Centennial Glen Road. 

We headed down the hill, soon arriving at a rocky lookout on the cliff’s edge. In the fog and mist we could just see the cliff faces around, and the water course of our destination, directly below. There wasn’t much signage specifically for the canyon, but we continued in the general direction downhill until we reached the creek coming out of the canyon. 

Heading right first, a narrow path under an overhanging rock led us to a waterfall at the end of the track. On a warm day this would be a beautiful spot for a swim, but for us, the water was roaring! So much so, that when we continued back to the junction at the creek and followed the track to the left, the trail was completely underwater. Not just a puddle here and there, but the staircase had become an entire waterfall. We committed to the wet feet and explored the trail downstream for a little before heading back the same way.

Dogs Are Allowed (and Welcome) in the Blue Mountains

It’s super important to respect national parks and not take your dog into them, but it’s a common misconception that any bushland in the Blue Mountains is part of the national park. That being said, when walking dog friendly trails in the Blue Mountains it’s still important to minimise your dog’s impact, leave no trace and keep them under control. Now go on, fetch that view!

Read more: 13 Fantastic Dog Friendly Walks Near Sydney