What Goes Down, Must Come Up // Leura Cascades to the Giant’s Stairway (NSW)

How low do you want to go? The surprises around each corner will keep you wanting to descend further into Leura Forest, but don’t forget you have to climb back up again! This can either be a fairly easy but incredibly rewarding Blue Mountains hike, or much more challenging if you choose to emerge at the top of the Three Sisters.


Highlights

  •  Walking alongside Leura Cascades — a series of cascades that flow and jump over slick black stone
  • The enormous and unexpected rockface of Bridal Veil Falls
  • Dozens of waterfalls of all different shapes, sizes and flows
  • The sound of water accompanying you for the whole hike down
  • Not knowing what’s around the next corner

What Goes Down, Must Come Up // Leura Cascades to the Giant's Stairway (NSW), Lachy Firmstone, water, splash, ferns, forest

Leura Cascades To The Giant’s Stairway

One overcast and freezing Blue Mountains morning, after a strong coffee and hot pie, we set out for Leura from our B&B in Katoomba. After parking the car it was a matter of moments before we could hear the sound of running water!

It’s an easy walk down the Leura Cascades, and maybe a 10 minute walk alongside the cascades until you reach the focal point of the falls.

The first part of the walk is easy and so rewarding for the amount of effort required! There’s not much better than thick clean air and the sound of continuous falling water.

From here, the descent gets a bit more difficult. There are some steep metal staircases to navigate, which are a bit slippery after wet weather but still easy enough to walk down if you take your time.

What Goes Down, Must Come Up // Leura Cascades to the Giant's Stairway (NSW), Lachy Firmstone, waterfall, wedding cake rock, layers, woods, trees

After maybe 20 minutes more, you emerge from the forest to look out into the valley, which provides a view over kilometres of bush and mountains. Walking up for 10 minutes you find yourself looking down on Bridal Veil Falls, which you will eventually find yourself looking up at if you continue the trail. This is highly recommended because the rock face that the falls snake their way down and around is awesome. Layered like a wedding cake, it’s one of the more impressive falls I’ve seen in NSW.

From here on the walk down to Leura Forest will give you a near-endless trail of waterfalls — hours worth. It’s worth noting though that the further down you hike, the further up you will have to climb to return. We took the track to Leura Forest and then up to the Giants Stairway, which eventually leads you up to the Three Sisters. That was the hardest and steepest climb I’ve done since I hiked Landmannalaugar in Iceland the previous year. It’s approaching a vertical climb, but when you get to the top, the view is incredible, the wind is powerful and the sense of accomplishment is a terrific high.

Essential Gear

    • Durable shoes
    • Lots of water
    • Light backpack
    • Raincoat in wetter weather

How To Get There

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Picnics (in Leura Forest there’s a nice little picnic/lunch area with tables and chairs, surrounded by trees and mossy rocks!)

Skill Level

Beginner skill level to Bridal Veil Falls & Leura Forest. Intermediate — Expert up the Giants Stairway

Distance Covered / Elevation

6km walk from Leura Cascades to the Three Sisters, 200-300m elevation

 


Wander amongst more waterfalls…

7 Best Waterfall Hikes Near Brisbane

8 Ridiculously Beautiful Victorian Waterfalls To Chase This Summer

Waterfalls of Warrie Circuit // Springbrook NP (QLD)

Ebor Falls and Waterfall Way // Dorrigo National Park (NSW)

Top 5 Tasmanian Waterfalls You Need To Visit