Looking for a secluded spot to watch the sunrise in the Blue Mountains? The 5km hike from Narrow Neck to Castle Head is a good bet for getting the joint to yourself.
- Tackle a lesser known and quieter hiking trail in the Blue Mountains
- Carpe diem with a sunrise hike!
- Sip your morning coffee while peering across the valley
Sunrise in The Blue Mountains (Without The Crowds)
According to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, the Blue Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in Australia. No surprises there! The Bluies are just a stone’s throw away from Sydney, plus the mountains are downright breathtaking. So how can you take in the views and avoid the crowds? Visiting for sunrise should do the trick!
But even heading to any one of the popular lookouts for sunrise can still get a decent turn out on the weekend. You’ll need to dig a little deeper and invest some time in a sunrise hike. Easy enough! So there’s many to choose from! But we reckon the hike from Narrow Neck to Castle Head is a goer! Given it’s a far lesser known hiking trail, you may even have this sunrise to yourself!
The Traditional Owners of the Blue Mountains are the Darug and Gundungurra people and it’s a real privilege to be able to enjoy a sunrise on this remarkable land with such a historical and spiritual importance to the First Nations people.
Narrow Neck to Castle Head
The hike starts off simply enough on a wide fire trail, and after only 500 metres or so, there’s a disorderly trail to the left. This first turnoff leads to some closeby viewpoints of the Jamison Valley. Assuming you’re here for sunrise, you may want to check these out on the way back once there’s a bit more daylight!
After another 100 metres, there’ll be another trail to the left. This is a shortcut to Castle Head but is quite overgrown so you may prefer the official trail! It’s only about 100 metres up the road on your left and is signposted.
From here, you’ll begin to slowly ascend and traverse your way to Castle Head. Keep in mind that you’re following an uneven trail on a plateau in the dark, so care must be taken. Stick to the trail! Before you know it, you’ll have arrived at Castle Head. What awaits you is an epic sunrise, stunning views of Mount Solitary, the Ruined Castle, and hopefully some gorgeous misty valleys.
- GPS navigation in the dark
- Hiking boots
- Day pack
- Waterproof/windproof &/or fleece jackets in winter
- Brekky and kit to make coffee!
How To Get There
You’ll need a car, certainly if you’re sold on this sunrise idea! Keep in mind that ‘Narrowneck Car Park & Gate’ on Google Maps is not the correct car park or gate. But at least it’s close!
Continue right until the end of Glenraphael Drive in Katoomba. Once you reach the locked gate, you’ll have arrived at the unofficial car park. This is where the hike begins.
These coordinates -33.740103, 150.280094 on Google Maps should do the trick!
Glenraphael Drive is an unsealed dirt road with many a pothole! But it’s classified as 2WD accessible. Thankfully, our 2WD survived and left unscathed.
It’s an easy enough hike, but you’ll want some experience with good old-fashioned daytime hiking before tackling one in the dark!
Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration
Approximately 5km / 230m / 2-3 hours
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