Making Tracks: Trail Running in the Blue Mountains
If you prefer your scenery flying by, and your vest is more about hydration than fashion, then this is an article for you.
Scenic World has a strong connection to trail running, and is a proud sponsor of the Ultra Trail Australia , which typically takes place in autumn here in Katoomba. Many of our staff members are keen trail runners and UTA participants themselves, and we've asked them to detail some of their favourite local routes.
Be sure to always check the NSW National Parks website for track closures and repair info before hitting the trails.
Lockley's Pylon, return | 7.1kms | 176m elevation gain
Accessed via Mount Hay Rd (which is usually passable for 2wd vehicles, though 4wd is recommended) the track to Lockley's Pylon is relatively flat, though narrow and pretty rough in places. The last quarter of the run out is absolutely spectacular as the eucalypts give way to a waist-high mountain heath ecosystem, allowing for 180° views out across the Grose Valley. A clamber up Lockley's Pylon provides one of the best selfie spots for your Strava profile in the Mountains ;)
Six Foot Track (Explorers Tree to suspension bridge), return | 28.3kms | 1051m elevation gain
There's lots of different ways to enjoy the Six Foot Track, the entirety of which joins Katoomba to Jenolan Caves, clocking in at 47kms, one-way. However, this route from Katoomba to the Cox River Suspension bridge gives a great taste of the variety of terrain—from rainforest to open pasture and the magnificent granite boulders and She-Oaks of the riparian corridor. There's also *ahem* two wineries in the Megalong Valley for a pit stop about 10 minutes run from Megalong Rd.
Scenic World - Furber to Giant stairs, back to SW loop | 6.5kms | 393m elevation gain
Looking for a short-ish run, with lots of elevation? Starting at Scenic World, head down the Furber Stairs, and take a left away from the Scenic Railway. You'll be able to see Katoomba Falls from the bottom, cross bridges and run through some magnificent forest. Come up the Giant Staircase, high-five Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo and pop out at Echo Point. From here, head along the Prince Henry Clifftop walk, and try not to ruin your km splits by stopping to gawk at the incredible views. End up back at Scenic World, where you can acces the Terrace Café with no ticket required for a cold drink, coffee or meal.
Kedumba campsite, return | 19.2kms | 945m elevation gain
What goes down, must come up (and up, and up and up)! From Kedumba Pass, descend down the smooth, broad fire-trail. As you're not needing to constantly look at your feet, you can soak up some great views. At the bottom, you'll be able to cool your feet in Kedumba River (and pitch a tent if you're equipped at the campground) whilst you enjoy some incredible views of the magnificent surrounding escarpment (spoiler alert, doesn't feel so magnificent when you're battling back up to the top). Follow your footsteps back up the trail, a gruelling 945m in elevation over 9-ish kms.
Lawson waterfall loop | 10kms | 343m elevation gain
A little closer to Sydney, this is one for the waterfall fans. Two distinct loops, connected by a fire trail means that this route has a little sumptin' for everyone. Though the track may be bit muddier after rain, the waterfalls and creeks more than make up for having to wash your sneakers when you get home.
Burramoko Fire Trail, return | 11.1km | 262m elevation gain
A dreamy trail for those looking for amazing views, a smooth surface and a trail wide enough to run shoulder-to-shoulder and chat with friends. Out-and-back clocks in at just over 11kms, with views off both sides of the ridge into the Grose valley, from Bald Head (lol) across the Blue Gum Forest towards Mount Tomah (see below).
Scenic World to Ruined Castle, return | 17.2km | 940m elevation gain
Want to play capture the castle in real life? Head down the Furber Stairs, and this time take a right to run along a small section of the Scenic Walkway (no ticket necessary). Shortly after passing the bronze sculpture of a miner and pit pony (you'll know it when you see it), follow the signs back onto Federal Pass. A few technical parts of the track around the landslide might slow you down a little, but it's mostly a flat, easy run out to Ruined Castle. Scamper up the top for a view looking out into the wilderness beyond Mount Solitary. Come back the same way you went out and enjoy a beer at the Terrace Café overlooking many of your trail running adventures...