The Grand Canyon Track is known as one of the best hiking trails in the Blue Mountains, and for good reason. The 6.5-kilometre walking trail is a treat by itself, but — if you look closely — you’ll find a secret world of green that hardly anyone else gets to see.

 

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Highlights:

  • Plenty of sparkling waterfalls
  • A well-shaded track that shows off stunning landscapes of the Blueys
  • A fern-filled paradise that would make Jurassic Park jealous

The Grand Canyon Track will leave your jaw on the floor as you stroll through luscious native vegetation, ever-present waterfalls, and more ‘holy shit’ moments than you know what to do with.

In this article, we give you the low down on this intimate and adventurous track, and our Explorer Rachel Diamond shares a story of high heels and high adventure that will take you off the well-known tourist trail and into the canyon itself. Enjoy!

 

Photo thanks to Destination NSW

Where Does the Grand Canyon Track Start?

The well-shaded track meanders through some stunning landscapes and is basically one giant loop, with three parking spots available which we’ve mentioned above. Wherever you start the hike, the duration will be the same, so it’s all down to personal preference.

Here at We Are Explorers, we like to start at the Grand Canyon Car Park. That way, you end the hike with the OMG views from Evans Lookout and into the Grose Valley (one of the most epic views in the Blue Mountains) before a short road walk back to the car.

Grand Canyon Track Notes

The Grand Canyon walk in the Blue Mountains is about 6.5 kilometres long, and packs in a lotta punch for such a short walk. The walking paths along the track are well-maintained by NSW National Parks and utterly beautiful; think lush rainforests, small waterfalls, and towering sandstone walls.

Wherever you start the Grand Canyon Hike, you can expect a steep descent, which gets greener with every metre you drop. Abundant native plants line the canyon wall and the lower you go, the more lush the iconic green ferns seem to get. Think Jurassic Park meets an explosion of green paint from the Bunning’s home decor section and you won’t be far off.

 

Photo thanks to Destination NSW

 

Don’t let the short distance fool you though; the total elevation change is over 400m. Once you’re at the bottom, the track continues along undulating terrain for a little while. When you climb back out of the canyon floor you’re gonna need a decent set of lungs to make it to the top without at least working up a little bit of a sweat.

There are also creek crossings that you’ll traverse via stepping stones. These can get more than a little bit wet after rain. In fact, a sincere high five to anyone that can make the full hike with dry feet.

The Best Time To Walk the Grand Canyon Track?

The Blue Mountain’s Grand Canyon Walk is a classic walk and is good all year round as long as you’re prepared for the weather. The walk is well known though so can get busy. If you’re hiking at the weekend, or during school holidays, start early (maybe even watch sunrise over Evans lookout first?).

Or, better yet, try a weekday and you may even get the place to yourself. You’ll need to check the fire danger rating too. If it’s a high fire danger rating, it’s recommended to head to the beach instead of the bush. Safety first, people!

Read more: How To Explore Safely In Bushfire Season

 

Photo thanks to Destination NSW

The Grand Canyon by Night: Walking Through a World of Glow Worms

If you really want the place to yourself, grab a head torch and wait until nightfall, because the Grand Canyon track has more than one secret surprise. There are plenty of places to see glow worms in the Blue Mountains, but the rock overhangs of the Grand Canyon are one of the best.

That’s right, at night, it comes alive with thousands and thousands of glow worms. Remember, if you do go at night don’t shine your torch directly at the glow worms as it can kill them.

Whether it’s day or night, one thing is for sure — the Grand Canyon is a pretty damn good walk and one of the finest in this World Heritage Listed landscape. If you want a little sneak preview, try this virtual tour via Google street view trekker. We’re not lying when we say it truly is one of the best walks in the Blue Mountains.

The Hidden Secret of the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon Track itself is a Blue Mountains must-do at least once, but if you really want to experience the canyon in all its glory, it’s time to venture a little bit further to one of the Blue Mountain’s true hidden gems; Greaves Creek. Trust us, this side trip is well worth it.

Here, We Are Explorer’s Rachel Diamond shares the hidden secrets of the Grand Canyon track, that most adventurers never find.

WARNING: We recommend NOT wearing high heels. Well, unless you really want to. Who are we to judge?

Off To The Grand Canyon

Pack water, food, camera and high-heeled sandals, just your standard packing list for a walk in the Blue Mountains, right?

We left Sydney in the wee hours of the morning due to the popularity of the walk and the fact that it was a weekend. A cheeky sunrise followed by a quick loop of one of the premier hikes in the Blue Mountains; we were buzzing at the idea.

The last time I ventured to the Grand Canyon the track was under development with ugly rubber wire fences and doors littering the track, so I was keen to see what NSW parks had done with the place. Although you can just do the Grand Canyon Track itself as a fairly easy hike, I planned to hike up into the canyon itself for the first time and make things a bit more interesting.

Rumour has it that the Grand Canyon is the most beautiful, easily accessible slot canyon out.

As it turned out, the hike was even more interesting than I’d bargained for…

 

An Unfortunate Mistake

‘Raaaaach! I messed up.’ I hear as I reverse my car into a park at Evans Lookout.
‘Oh god, what is it?’
I shit you not, she held up a pair of high-heeled sandals. ‘This is all I brought.’
‘What! Why?’ I laughed uncontrollably. ‘I told you to bring shoes suitable for walking in that you didn’t mind getting wet!’
‘Yeah, I messed up.’

There was nothing for it, she slipped on her sandals (and socks) and off we walked.

 

A Secret World Of Green // Grand Canyon Track (NSW), Rachel Dimond, high-heeled sandals, pink leggings, laughing, funny

 

I have always preferred to walk the Grand Canyon Track in an anti-clockwise direction, so we set off back up the road toward Blackheath and turned left onto the trailhead. Before even getting to the bottom of the gully the scenery is quite stunning and the vegetation changes rapidly as you descend. You go from being surrounded by dry scrub and gum trees to lush ferns and mosses, not to mention the arresting sandstone cliffs. It’s the Blue Mountains at its finest.

A Peek Of Things To Come

Once at the bottom of the gully you hike along a path cut out of the sandstone walls, and if you’re brave (and safely behind the railing) you can sneak a peek down into the canyon. It’s deep and dark and narrow and I guarantee it will make you want to take up canyoning when you come across the canyoners entrance. In many places the walls are so thick with ferns you can’t see the bottom. I was getting jazzed about seeing it from below.

 

A Secret World Of Green // Grand Canyon Track (NSW), Rachel Dimond, fallen logs, ferns, damp mysterious

 

We passed a few groups of people and exchanged some friendly hellos, but mostly we got sideways glances and muffled laughs, (the sandals) — we laughed it off. Around about halfway through the walk we came to Greaves Creek and instead of following the track to Evans Lookout we took a hard left up along the creek — this is where the fun begins.

There is a faint track and hashed out steps in a few places but essentially you follow the creek up the canyon as far as you like.

We passed a rather large group coming out of the canyon who had also walked up for a squiz and they seemed pretty psyched on it. They looked at us (again, the shoes) and asked if we had taken a wrong turn. We said no but five minutes later we heard yelling from the main track. One of the group we had passed appeared.

‘Just checking you guys know you are going into the canyon, this is not the track to Evans.’

After much giggling and gasping we managed to explain that despite appearances we were quite competent outdoorswomen and we knew where we were going and what we were doing.

The next kilometre or so was slow going, partly because I couldn’t rock hop with my neck craned skyward and partly because high heeled sandals are not appropriate for rock hopping. It was the most impressive display of poise and grace I’ve ever seen, wouldn’t recommend it though.

 

A Secret World Of Green // Grand Canyon Track (NSW), Rachel Dimond, ferns, overhang, walls, cliffs, hiker, small

 

We spent about an hour gazing up through the slots, watching the light beams permeate the canyon and admiring the lush ferns but then it was time to go. No matter how many photos I took it could never do this place justice. Once we turned around the walk back to the car didn’t take long, although I think hindsight is making the steep ascent out of the gully seem shorter than it was.

Safety Info: Don’t enter the canyon after, or with the forecast of, heavy rain as flash flooding can occur and there will be a lot more slip hazards etc. The canyon part of the hike is much trickier than the Grand Canyon Track itself and you’ll need to be comfortable scrambling over very uneven ground and getting soggy feet. Helmets are also recommended for canyon environments.

 

Essential Gear

The awesome Grand Canyon track is the perfect adventure no matter what time of the year it is — but, remember, the weather in the Blue Mountains can be a bit unpredictable. Always check the weather before you head out and come prepared in case it changes (which it probably will).

For the Grand Canyon walk, it’s recommended to bring:

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

How To Get There

To get to the Grand Canyon Walking Track you’ll need to turn off the Great Western Highway and onto Evans Lookout Road. The road is suitable for two-wheel-drive vehicles, but there are a few potholes so take your time and be careful — especially after heavy rain.

Follow Evans Lookout Road to the end and you’ll find Evans lookout carpark. You can also park at the Grand Canyon car park before Evans lookout, or at Neates Glen car park. There are bathroom facilities and toilets at Evans Lookout picnic area and the Grand Canyon car parks.

 

Photo thanks to Destination NSW

Skill Level

Intermediate

The Grand Canyon walk is not that long, but it is steep. The Blue Mountains is famous for its steep tracks, and this adventurous track is no different

Distance / Duration / Elevation Gained

6.5 km / 2-4 hours / 425m

This historic loop track takes around two to four hours, but it all depends on speed, fitness, and how much you stop for photos and extra exploring. We reckon give yourself around four hours, so you’ve got time to venture into the secret world of green.

 

Feature photo thanks to Destination NSW