You may have heard of the iconic Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains, but did you know you can do it in two days inn-to-inn style?
- Stay in cozy bunk style accommodation each night
- Hike with a light pack (no tent or sleeping bag)
- Visit a local vineyard and taste locally produced wines
- Variety of scenery including rainforest, heath and woodlands
- Take in the spectacular vistas including Norths Lookout at Nellies Glen
- Cross the landmark Bowtell Swing Bridge
Multi-day Hiking Without the Weight
Introducing the magic of ‘inn-to-inn’ or ‘hut-to-hut’ style hiking – something that’s pretty common in other countries, particularly Europe, but rarely seen in Australia unless travelling with a private company.
Walk only with the essentials and finish the day in a cozy inn-style accommodation whilst supporting local operators and accommodation providers.
As much as I appreciate full-pack hiking (I’m a sucker for type 2 fun) there’s something so nice about finishing a long day of hiking with a warm hearty meal, glass of red, hot fire, and a mattress to sleep on without having to lift a finger.
From Katoomba to Jenolan Caves
The 44km historic Six Foot Track from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves follows an 1884 historic horse track through the Megalong Valley, winding its way through rainforest, heath, woodlands and heritage sites.
It can be done as a 2-3 day hike and camping trip (or in one day for trail running enthusiasts). I turned it into an inn-to-inn style adventure and completed it over 2 days!
Stop by a couple of vineyards on day one, take a refreshing dip in the Coxs River, then stay in the rustic Six Foot Track Eco Lodge, where you can tuck into a tasty meal.
Finish your adventure at Jenolan Caves House where you take a cave tour and explore the incredible stalactite-lined limestone chasms.
Please note! Due to COVID cave tours have temporarily closed, but the situation is being monitored. Check the Jenolan Cave site for the latest updates.
Day 1 – Explorers Tree to Six Foot Track Eco Lodge
Distance: 15 km
Time: 5-6 hour
Start at Explorers Tree, 2.5km north of Katoomba, where you’ll leave your car for the weekend. Start the walk by descending through the tranquil rainforest of Nellies Glen.
Stop by Norths Lookout for sweeping valley views before following a winding path down the Blue Mountain escarpment.
Stop at Dryridge Estate (11km) to taste wine and fill up on cheese, (you can either pack lunch or have it there) then cross the Bowtell Swing Bridge. Take a refreshing dip in the pristine Coxs River and spend the night at the Six Foot Track Eco Lodge.
Accommodation – Six Foot Track Eco Lodge
The Six Foot Track Eco Lodge is two cozy wooden cabins with bunk-style beds, nestled amongst the trees beside the Coxs River. There’s a fully equipped kitchen where you can cook meals, or you can pre-order breakfast, lunch or dinner (note: over summer 2020 they won’t be providing meals for a period).
They aim to operate in the most sustainable way possible, with solar energy, rainwater for drinking and washing, composting toilets and recycling.
The Six Foot Track Eco Lodge books out well in advance, so make sure you plan ahead! Visit their website to make a booking.
Day 2 – Eco Lodge to Jenolan Caves
Time: 8-9 hour
It’s very important to leave early on day two! It’s a long day ahead with lots of uphill walking to ensure you get to Jenolan Caves in time for dinner (book ahead for this).
This challenging day starts with 3km of steep track climbing over 400 metres up to the ridge of Black Range. But don’t forget to look around and take in the views – you may even spot wallabies and kangaroos hopping around.
You’ll spend most of today walking along a 4WD trail (compared to day one which is along a narrower walking track).
Continue down a steep fire trail at the end of the day and pass Carlotta Arch before reaching Jenolan Caves.
Accommodation – Gatehouse at Jenolan Caves House
An icon of Blue Mountains accommodation, Caves House was built in 1897 by NSW Government Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon.
Today it’s on the NSW State Heritage Register and has a range of accommodation, from bunks to hotel rooms (if you’re keen for a little post-hike luxury).
Food can be ordered from Chisolm’s restaurant which serves modern Australian cuisine, or you can cook for yourself using the kitchens at Gatehouse.
Head to the website for bookings.
Day 3 – Jenolan Caves
Sleep in or get up early. This day can be used to explore some of the surrounding trails or book for a cave tour. It’s approximately a 1.5hr bus trip back to Katoomba where you’ll pick up your car or have lunch.
Check out our overnight hike packing list!
- Map and compass – the trail is well marked but you should always bring a map. Find track details here.
- Hiking pack
- Hiking poles – will be handy for the steep downhill towards Jenolan Cave on day two
- Comfortable hiking boots and socks – you’ll be covering a lot of distance on day two so be sure these are well worn in!
- Blister prevention – strapping tape, sock liners etc
- PLB – can be hired from Katoomba police station
- Lightweight travel towel (the lodge doesn’t provide them) – if you only want to shower only at Jenolan they can provide towels for $10
- Drink bottle/water bladder – at least 3 litres
- First aid kit (including snake bandage)
- Rubbish bag – always remember to take your rubbish with you and Leave No Trace.
How To Get There
You can do the Six Foot Track in both directions with transport options from either end. These details are for the Katoomba to Jenolan direction but can be reversed. You might consider staying in Katoomba overnight before the walk to hit the trails early, particularly in summer when it can get very hot.
Start: Getting to Katoomba (Explorers Tree) from Sydney (roughly 2-3 hours)
Train – If you catch the train to Katoomba Station you’ll need to walk an extra 2.5km up the highway to start the walk at Explorers Tree.
Drive – There’s parking at Explorers Tree where you can leave your car for the weekend and be dropped back to your car at the end.
Finish: Jenolan to Katoomba
Bus – CDC Tours offers bus transfers from Jenolan to Katoomba both ways. You’ll need to book your ticket in advance to ensure it lines up with your planned itinerary.
Times: Katoomba to Jenolan (10:35am daily), Jenolan to Katoomba (3:30pm daily)
Private mini bus – Get in touch with a local Blue Mountains adventure company (e.g Blue Mountains Adventure Company or Detour Adventures). If you have a larger group they may be able to offer a driver and a mini bus to pick you up at the end. This can work out to be a similar cost to the bus, and you get to choose what time you leave.
Getting from Jenolan Caves back to Katoomba at the end can be a little tricky, so some opt to carpool and leave a car at either end, but this does add a lot of driving!
- Wine tasting
- Wildlife spotting and bird watching
- Cave tours at Jenolan Caves
Intermediate (with good fitness)
While this is an inn-to-inn hike and doesn’t require complex navigation, day two is a very long day so a good level of fitness and determination is required!
Distance Covered / Duration
44km walk / 2-3 days
Acknowledging the Gundungurra People
We acknowledge the Gundungurra people who have inhabited the Megalong Valley and areas surrounding the Six Foot Track for over 20,000 years.
Archaeological evidence shows that the Six Foot Track was built on routes used by the Gundungurra people. There are also Aboriginal sites along the track that are not publicly promoted in order to protect them. Please respect the land you walk on.