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Home arrow Hiking near Sydney arrow Blue Mountains (Katoomba) arrow Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle     

Bushwalking track notes, photographs, maps and more for Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle are found in each of the tabs below
Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle
Time: 8 hrs 45 mins Walking time
Includes the time for the return leg
Please allow extra time to rest and to explore
4.2 km SSW of Katoomba
Length: 11.7 km Walk Length
As this is a return style walk, the 11.7 km includes the return leg of this walk (ie back to the start)
Blue Mountains National Park
Climb: 1048 m Total Climbing
This walk has a total cumulative climb of 1048 m, this is the total of the elevation gains made in each of the walks uphill sections
There is car access and parking near the start and end of this walk
Style: Return
Route: Hard

With quite significant hills, this is a great walk is for the day-walker looking for something more challenging than the average Katoomba cliff top walk. With fantastic views at Botting's Lookout, from the top of the Ruined Castle, and especially good views from Mt Solitary, this walk is well worth the time invested. (open in app)

This walk passes through a remote area and sections have no visible track. At least one person in your group should have training and experience in off track walking and navigation. Even with these notes and a GPS these extra skills and equipment are required.
There are Closed areas in Blue Mountains National Park
Today's Fire rating
LOW MODERATE (No fire ban)
  Bushwalking track notes photographs, maps and camping spots for Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle

Map of Walk

Location

                Sponsor of Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle bushwalking tracknotes
Map of Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle
Problem loading PDF Try here
Map Controls - Show Contours | Hide Path | Hide Distances | Hide Names
Map Scale 1 km
Golden Stairs Track carpark
Bottings Lookout
Bottom of Golden Staircase
Miners Campsite
Northern Ruined Castle campsite
Ruined Castle mine campsite
Northern Ruined Castle campsite
Ruined Castle
Intersection South of Ruined Castle
Bottom of Korrowall Knife-edge
Starting point for this hiking track: Golden Stairs Track carpark

Base maps are used under licence and is © Department of lands   Panorama Avenue Bathurst 2795   www.lands.nsw.gov.au

Maps that cover the walk area (please always carry maps of the area)

Print a map and track notes here
 Six Foot Track 1:50 000 Map Series NSW-six-foot-track 
 Jamison 1:25 000 Map Series NSW-89302N 
 Katoomba 1:25 000 Map Series NSW-89301S 
 Katoomba 1:100 000 Map Series 8930 

Photo Gallery

 
The Golden Staircase Carpark
 
The Golden Staircase Carpark +
 
Katoomba Cliffs from Botting's Lookout
 
Katoomba Cliffs from Botting's Lookout +
 
From Mt Solitary
 
From Mt Solitary +

 
Going down the Golden Staircase
 
Going down the Golden Staircase +
 
Going through the fern environment in the valley
 
Going through the fern environment in the valley +
 
The Ruined Castle
 
The Ruined Castle +

 
The view from the top of Mt Solitary
 
The view from the top of Mt Solitary +
 
Going up Mt Solitary
 
Going up Mt Solitary +
 
The campsite at the top of Mt Solitary
 
The campsite at the top of Mt Solitary +

Terrain


Please note: This is a 'return' style walk and therefore these graphs only show the terrain for the first half of the walk (until the turn around point.)

Cross sectional view of the Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle bushwalking track

Cross Section of the Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle bushwalking track



Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle bushwalking track

Summary of the gradients over the the lenght of the Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle bushwalking track

Overview of this walks Grading - Based on the AS 2156.1 - 2001
These details are new. This new feature still requires more testing and refining. Please use the 'Walker Feedback' for report specific issues. Please e-mail Matt if you have any general comments. Hope you find it helpful.

Under this standard, a walk is graded based on the most difficult section of the walk.
Length 12km
Time 8 hrs 45 mins
.


Grade 5/6

Route: Hard
AS 2156.1 Gradient Very steep and difficult scrambles (5/6)
Quality of track Rough unclear track (5/6)
Signs No directional signs (5/6)
Experience Required High level of bushwalking experience recommended (5/6)
Weather Forecast, unforecast storms and severe weather may impact on navigation and safety (4/6)
Infrastructure No facilities provided (5/6)
*This summary of grading information is new and still in testing

Some more detail of this walks Grading
Here is a bit more details explaining the grading looking at sections of the walk.
Gradient
2.6km of this walk has gentle hills with occasional steps and another 2.5km is very steep. Whilst another 590m is very steep with difficult rock scrambles and the remaining 210m has short steep hills.

Quality of track
3.2km of this walk follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles and another 2.1km follows a rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely. The remaining (590m) follows a rough unclear track.

Signs
3km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection and another 2.4km has minimal directional signs. Whilst another 210m is clearly signposted and the remaining 200m Has no directional signs.

Experience Required
3km of this walk requires some bushwalking experience and another 2.4km requires a leader a with moderate level of bushwalking experience. Whilst another 210m requires no previous bushwalking experience and the remaining 200m requires a leader with a high level of bushwalking experience.

Weather
3.2km of this walk is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation) and another 1.7km is affected by storms that may impact your navigation and safety. The remaining (930m) is affected by forecast, unforecast storms and severe weather events that may impact on navigation and safety.

Infrastructure
3.7km of this walk has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced) and another 1.7km has limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged). Whilst another 210m is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats) and the remaining 200m has no facilities provided.

Track Notes


Since this is a 'return' style walk once you have had enough of the walk, turn around and retrace your steps back to the start.
Drive to Golden Stairs Track carpark
You can drive or ride to this start of this Bushwalk There is free parking available.
You can drive or ride to the start of this walk
Use these links to plan your trip to the start of this walk.
Plan your trip from --> Castle Hill|Chatswood|Dural|Epping|Gosford|Hornsby|Katoomba|Manly|Parramatta|Penrith|Strathfield|Sutherland|Sydney|

(0 km) Golden Stairs Track carpark to Bottings Lookout
Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 209 m Time = 8 mins
Climb = 9 m Descent = -80 m
From the Golden Stairs car park and information sign on Glenraphael Dr[1], the walk follows the 'Golden Stairs / To Federal Pass' sign[2] along the narrow track. The track leads gently downhill[3] past the black and yellow 'Warning - Sections of the Golden Stairs are unfenced and can be slippery when wet' sign[4], with the occasional glimpse out to Malaita Point and towards the Three Sisters[5][6]. The walk soon heads down a few steep eroded sections of track[7] and passes through a couple of switchbacks. The track then leads to a fenced rock platform[8] signposted as 'Botting's L.O.'[9].

Botting's Lookout Alt = 878 m
Botting's Lookout[10] offers great views over the Jamison Valley and the cliff line, including the Landslide, Malaita Point and the Golden Stairs. A plaque at the lookout states that the lookout was named after Walter Botting (1887-1985)[11], a pioneer trail-maker of the Katoomba District. More info

(0.21 km) Bottings Lookout to Bottom of Golden Staircase
Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 429 m Time = 19 mins
Climb = 41 m Descent = -177 m
Turn right: From the lower side of Botting's Lookout[12], this walk heads downhill along the eroded track[13]. The walk follows the steps through a narrow gully[14] then turns right to flatten out[15] and head under a small overhang between the cliff and fence (passing a 'Caution Rockfall Hazard' sign[16]). After about 100m of fence, the track turns right to cross a wide gully[17]. On the other side of the gully, this walk climbs down a series of metal[18] and stone[19] staircases. The walk flattens again before heading down another series of stairs. Finally, the track winds down the wide spur[20] to meet the signposted T-intersection with 'Federal Pass'[21].

(0.64 km) Bottom of Golden Staircase to Miners Campsite
Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 2.26 km Time = 51 mins
Climb = 104 m Descent = -129 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Federal Pass - Ruined Castle' sign[22] along the flat wide track, keeping the valley to your left. This track follows the old horse-drawn coal tram route. The track leads through a tall rainforest filled with fern trees[23] and vines[24], with the occasional lyrebird. After about 1.3km the forest opens up[25], letting in more light and exposing some distant filtered views. After wandering through the more open forest[26] for about 250m, the track passes a small campsite[27] (on the right). This walk continues for another 700m along the main track through the bracken fern forest[28] to find a larger campsite[29] (just up to the right) with a short stone wall on one side[30]).

Miners Campsite Alt = 726 m
This flat campsite beside the Federal Pass walking track about 2.2km south of the intersection at the bottom of the Golden Stairs. There is short constructed stone wall[31] left over from when there area was habited by miners. The campsite is surrounded by a tall forest, bracken ferns and some nice fern trees. There is no water or facilities.

(2.9 km) Miners Campsite to Northern Ruined Castle campsite
Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 300 m Time = 7 mins
Climb = 16 m Descent = -11 m
Continue straight: From the miners campsite[32], this walk follows the clear track south-west, keeping the valley to your left. The mostly flat track narrows a bit as it leads past a large flat area (on your right) after about 140m[33], then past a smaller campsite[34] a short distance later. The track then winds through the forest for another 100m to come to a clearing and signposted three-way intersection[35], where there is a 'Federal Pass - Katoomba' sign[36] pointing back along the track. (There is a campsite a few metres further on and to the the left[37].)

Northern Ruined Castle campsite Alt = 726 m
A short distance south east of the intersection[38] with the Federal Pass and the northern access track to the Ruined Castle, is a fairly large basic campsite. There are two main flat areas for camping, both with fire scares[39]. The area is surround with tall trees and ferns[40][41][42][43]. There is no water nor any other facilities.

(3.2 km) Northern Ruined Castle campsite to Intersection South of Ruined Castle
Alternate Route: Track: Moderate - bushtrack ( Show detail)
Length = 933 m Time = 23 mins
Climb = 22 m Descent = -77 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Mount Solitary' sign[44] past the campsite (on your left) and past the 'Warning - Remote area indistinct route steep terrain - Exposed climbing loose surfaces - No reliable water Carry plenty Sterilise any water found on route' sign[45]. This walk continues along the mostly flat track, passing through a tall turpentine forest[46] for about 450m where you come into view of a campsite[47] (down to your left). The walk continues a short distance further, coming to an intersection[48] where there is a fair amount of coal on the ground[49], a campsite down to your left[50] and the entrance to an old small coal mine[51] (behind a rock) on your right.
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follow the main track south-east, initially keeping the campsite and valley to your left. The track initially heads down a short rocky section[52] then flattens out to pass a large square boulder[53] after about 100m. The track continues through ferny forest for just over 200m, then passes another campsite[54] (down a steep hill to your left), and about 30m further on, comes to a signposted intersection where a 'Katoomba' arrow[55][56] points back along the track.
Continue straight to rejoin the main walk, following the notes from 4.32km 'Intersection South of Ruined Castle'.

(3.2 km) Northern Ruined Castle campsite to Ruined Castle
Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 727 m Time = 20 mins
Climb = 82 m Descent = -17 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Ruined Castle'[57] sign uphill along the eroded track and soon passes the yellow 'Warning - Remote area indistinct route steep terrain - Exposed climbing loose surfaces - No reliable water Carry plenty Sterilise any water found on route' sign[58]. The track winds up the wide valley getting steeper as it goes, climbing up onto the main ridgeline. Here the walk turns left (away from the view of Castle Head[59]) and follows the rocky track more gently uphill for about 220m to pass under the side of a large boulder[60]. The track continues along the narrow ridge for about 280m, with some filtered views past another large boulder to the base of the tall Ruined Castle summit[61]. Here the walk heads gently down a bit (keeping the rock wall to your left), past a crevice[62], then follows the main track to the other (southern) side of the summit. The track then heads up again to find a number of rocky pinnacles[63].

(3.93 km) Ruined Castle to Intersection South of Ruined Castle
Route: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 389 m Time = 12 mins
Climb = 1 m Descent = -123 m
Continue straight: From near the summit of Ruined Castle[64], this walk heads south-east along the main ridgeline, initially keeping the rock wall to your left[65]. The track follows the rocky ridgeline gently downhill[66] and after about 70m the track starts to become much steeper[67]. The track winds down, flattening out for a short time[68] before continuing steeply down to a sign posted three-way intersection[69] just beyond the 'Ruined Castle to Mount Solitary' map[70]. There is a 'Ruined Castle' arrow[71] here, pointing back up the hill.

(4.32 km) Intersection South of Ruined Castle to Bottom of Korrowall Knife-edge
Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 1.33 km Time = 35 mins
Climb = 132 m Descent = -38 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Mount Solitary' sign[72] gently downhill along the fairly narrow track[73], keeping the main valley to your left. After about 300m, the more eroded and rocky track[74] begins to climb the ridge and after climbing for just shy of 300m, the track flattens out and passes a couple of small clearings[75][76] - the second clearing is just past where the track leads downhill. Just after the second clearing (used as a campsite[77]), the track begins to climb up the ridge again[78]. This track climbs up a few rocky eroded section and soon comes to the base of a tall series of rockwalls - the Korrowall Knife-edge[79].

(5.65 km) Bottom of Korrowall Knife-edge to Top of Korrowall Knife-edge
Route: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 204 m Time = 12 mins
Climb = 86 m Descent = -2 m
Continue straight: From the base of the rocks[80], this walk starts the arduous climb up the Korrowall Knife-edge. Ascending the Korrowall Knife-edge is a hard climb, vertical in places and much of the climbing will involve both hands - some people use ropes to help lift heavy packs. This walk initially heads around to the left of the first boulder to head up through the eroded steep valley[81] between the rocks. The walk continues to scramble up the side of the rocks[82], then climbs vertically up a crack in the rock[83] to a small flat area[84], offering the first distant view[85] for this climb. The walk continues by climbing up a 3m rock wall[86], then up the eroded track[87] before climbing up through the obvious gap[88] in the next rock wall. At the top of this climb is another great view[89] and a short distance further up, this faint track passes a rock with a hole/cave[90] (on your right). From here, the walk follows the worn track up through a couple more rock gullies[91], still generally keeping the rock wall to your right (and passing a couple of arrows[92]). This brings the walk to an exposed flat area, with red dirt and fantastic views[93]. The walk continues by climbing up through the next eroded gully[94] to the top of the Korrowall Knife-edge, where there is a large rock wall on your left[95].

Drive from Golden Stairs Track carpark
You can drive or ride from this end of this Bushwalk There is free parking available.
You can drive or ride from the end of this walk
Use these links to plan your trip from the end of this walk.
Plan your trip to --> Castle Hill|Chatswood|Dural|Epping|Gosford|Hornsby|Katoomba|Manly|Parramatta|Penrith|Strathfield|Sutherland|Sydney|

Getting there

Plan your trip to the start of the walk and back from the end of the walk

Public Transport links currently not working, sorry

Driving Directions
To the start of the walk

Drive from:
From the end of the walk

Drive to:


Near by


Campsites in the park
Acacia Flat
Burralow Creek camping ground
Coxs River Camping Area
Euroka campground - Appletree Flat campervan and camper trailer area
Euroka campground
Ingar campground
Mount Werong campground
Murphys Glen campground
Perrys Lookdown campground
Euroka Campground - Darug
Euroka Campground - Red Gum
Euroka Campground - Nioka
Euroka Campground - Bennetts Ridge


Nearest know Outdoor Stores near the start of this walk
Store Address Phone Distance (straight line)
Paddy Pallin 166 Katoomba St , Katoomba (02) 4782 4466 3.3 km
Summit Gear 80- Bathurst Rd , Katoomba (02) 4782 3018 3.6 km
Summit Gear 11 Ross St , Glenbrook (02) 4739 4373 31.6 km
Simdra Pet & Hobby Mart 45 Main St , Lithgow (02) 6352 4422 30.4 km
Lithgow 4WD Centre 281 Main St , Lithgow (02) 6353 1899 30.6 km


A list of the nearest UHF CB repeaters I found to Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle.
Channel Call sign
(more info)
Site Distance and dir from Golden Staircase to Mt Solitary via Ruined Castle
Click to re-center search
5 BIN05 Fire Tower MT BINDO
Emergency use only
26 km (to the WNW)
7 VMC7 Fire Tower MT BINDO 26 km (to the WNW)
6 LGW06 Lithgow Council Site HASSANS WALLS 29 km (to the NNW)
4 RIV04 Fire Service Rusden Road MT RIVERVIEW 32 km (to the E)
2 KUR02 Miles Comms Site 1 1 246 Burralow Road KURRAJONG HEIGHTS 37 km (to the NE)

Weather and Park info

Fire Danger
This walk passes Greater Sydney Region fire area which currently has a LOW MODERATE rating and No fire ban in place.
(Tomorrow the Fire Danger Rating is LOW MODERATE, No fire ban.) (Downloaded 3 years ago)
Please Note: Each park may have its own fire ban, this rating is only valid for today and is based on information from the RFS Please check the RFS Website for more information.

Weather and Climate
Weather and Climate summary detailed weather and climate information here
°C (feels like °)
km/h from the
% humidity     (as at )
Wed      27°Showers. Likely storm developing.
Thu16°|26°Shower or two.
Fri15°|28°Mostly sunny.
Sat12°|22°Possible late shower.
A graph displaying the average daily temperature range for the year

Blue Mountains National Park Link to official closures and fire bans page
Attracting over 3 million visitors annually, Blue Mountains National Park holds some of Australia's most spectacular and diverse wilderness areas. Explore the Grose Valley, with its sheer sandstone cliffs, waterfalls and scenic walking, or enjoy the famous views of the Three Sisters. Easy access makes a day trips very worthwhile, but with such diversity it would be great to stay in one of the many B&B's and spend a few days soaking up the region.
Region: Sydney & Surrounds
Park fees Camping Facilities
Current Park Closure information for Blue Mountains National Park
Closure information last downloaded Sunday 27th of September 2015 07:00 AM
Closed areas: Grand Canyon walking track
The Grand Canyon walking track will be closed from Wednesday 14 October 2015 to mid-June 2016. The closure is necessary to allow work to continue on improving the walking track. Access for canyoners will be on weekends only. Access from Evans Lookout via Beauchamp Falls to the Grose Valley will remain open. Evans Lookout carpark, Loop carpark, and Neates Glen carpark will remain open. Penalties apply for non-compliance. For more information, please contact NPWS Blue Mountains Heritage Centre on (02) 47878877 or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines.

Closed areas: Waratah Native Gardens
Waratah Native Gardens picnic area is closed for maintenance. This includes the Gorge Walking track. No access to the area is permitted.Penalties apply for non-compliance. For more information, please contact NPWS Hawkesbury area office on (02) 4588 2400 or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines.

Closed areas: Prince Henry cliff walk, Leura
Blue Mountains City Council wishes to advise that Prince Henry cliff walk between Majestic lookout and the junction with the Leura Cascades walk is currently closed due to a landslip. Detours will be in place and clearly signposted around the affected area. Access from the Leura picnic area to the cascades is unaffected. For more information, please contact Blue Mountains City Tourism on 1300 653 408 or Blue Mountains Heritage Centre on (02) 4787 8877, or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines.

Closed areas: Butterbox Swamp track
The traditional access to Butterbox Canyon via the endangered swamp is now closed and rehabilitated. No access permitted. Canyoners should use the new track provided. Temporary signage is in place.
Penalties apply for non-compliance. For more information, please contact Blue Mountains Heritage Centre on (02) 4787 8877 or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines.

Closed areas: Claustral canyon access change
Access to Claustral canyon via the previous route across private land at Mount Tomah is no longer possible due to landholders denying access. Canyoners should respect the rights of Mount Tomah residents and avoid using private land. Alternative access from the west side of Mount Bell has been identified. For more information, please contact the Blue Moauntains Heritage Centre on (02) 4787 8877, open seven days 9am to 4.30pm, or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines.

Closed areas: Cahills lookout - Katoomba
As a result of a recent bushfire, Cahills lookout remains closed until further notice. For more information, please contact Blue Mountains City Council on (02) 4780 5000.

Closed areas: Waratah Native Gardens
Waratah Native Gardens Some areas of this park are closed due to a major landslip event occurring across The Gorge Walking Track. Closed areas include The Gorge Walking Track in the Blue Mountains National Park. A full assessment is underway to determine the extent of damage and to ensure the area is made safe. The Gorge Walking Track is closed at the entry trackhead however the Waratah Native Gardens Day Use and Picnic Area located off Valley Ridges Road Berambing (west of Bilpin) has now been reopened. This closure may be extended and any extension will be posted as soon as possible. For more information, please contact NPWS Heritage Centre on (02) 4787 8877, open seven days 9am to 4.30pm, or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines


Walker Feedback

Comments
Add NewSearch
Australia Surival - Excellent Walk IP:58.165.219.xxx | 2009-07-16 11:13:13
This is a excellent walk, great views, worth doing. :D
David Mapletoft IP:203.32.142.xxx | 2009-10-14 01:51:11
The 'Golden Staircase' could be aptly named the :( 'Grubby Staircase' at present. :(

It must be one of the most dangerous :!: , unkempt staircases in the entire Blue Mountains. Worn, at times to the point of NO STAIRS, it is seriously dangerous, especially after rain.

Be prepared for this, the rest of the walk to the Ruined Castle is worth the dangerous descent.
Barney - Track Info needed... IP:115.128.57.xxx | 2009-10-28 09:40:36
Does anyone know or can give details about the camping spot on Mt Solitary? Are there any other campsites near the Ruined Castle? Thanks! Would appreciate some feedback!
admin - re: Track Info needed... Super Administrator | 2009-10-30 07:44:11
Barney wrote:
Does anyone know or can give details about the camping spot on Mt Solitary? Are there any other campsites near the Ruined Castle?

Hi Barney,
There are a few campsites along the main track near the base of the Ruined Castle (mentioned in passing in the notes). There is also several ontop of Mt SOlitary the main one in Chinaman's Gully see http://www.wildwalks.com/bushwalking-and-hiking-in-nsw/blue-mountains-katoomba/katoomba-to-wentworth-falls-via-the-jamison-valley.html for more info. Sorry for the info not been as clear as our other notes. I hope to get in there and update these notes soon. Please carry plenty of water, the springs are not reliable.
Matt :)
Paul Harmon - Golden Staircase - Dangerous IP:123.243.11.xxx | 2009-11-07 07:10:48
We just did the walk. The Golden staircase was in my opinion the most dangerous leg of the trip. At times we found ourselves on very steep slippery worn and muddy stairs with full exposure to a cliff fall. This should not be attempted with young kids and only for the fit and sure of foot. Be careful.
Dave - Mt Solitary youtube video IP:115.64.62.xxx | 2010-05-03 12:51:02
www.youtube.com/parryguitarz
Andrew - Best Short Walk in the Blue Mo IP:117.120.16.xxx | 2010-10-15 04:50:17
I have done ths walk at least once per year for the last 10 year, camping overnight at Chinaman's creek and returning the next day. The Golden Stairs do need care when wet, but there are handrails or wire attached to the rocks in the more exposed sections.

I have taken inexperienced walkers to Solitary and they negotiated the stairs without drama, although a reasonable level of fitnes is required as it is a bit of a climb to the top of Solitary and back up the stairs when returning

The campsite at Chinamans Creek is superb with reliable clean water available if you know where to look. There is a rocky overhang to bed down in as an alternative in rainy weather.

The views south at the Chinamans Creek lookout are close to be the best in the Blue Mountains.
admin - re: Best Short Walk in the Blu Super Administrator | 2010-10-17 21:54:35
Andrew wrote:
reliable clean water available if you know where to look.

Hi Andrew, Sounds like you really like this walk, it is a good one. Just to make it clear to other people finding water on Mount Solitary is much less reliable then it once was. The creeks and springs now dry up much quicker than they did just 10 years ago. Please be prepared with enough water.
Matt :)
simon IP:121.209.174.xxx | 2011-09-04 08:37:57
I had wanted to get to the top of Mt Solitary for some time now.

After an intended overnight camping trip had to be aborted
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W27syNYIT0o

A clear day and a there and back walk was planned for yesterday.

The Golden Stairs have had the work done that was being prepared when I was last there, and they are looking great. The work the goes into making sure a safe walk is possible is just amazing around the Blue Mountains, a real credit to those who do it.

2.5 hours each way it took us, that is to the first camp site on top.

After looking forward to the walk for so long and looking at the pictures of the knife edge, I think I had myself a little worked up about it. The climbs up the two steeper sections did give me faster heart rate for a few moments; we then took what I was lead to believe the more gentle route just before the top which when around to the right. Whilst sill steep this way was not as exposed as the edge sections.

We walked on (extra time) to Chinamans Gully and out to both sides of the Mt to check out the view.

Back to the casuarinas grove (and the nicer of the camp spots for my money) to hang our hammocks and grab a bite to eat.

The trip back down the knife edge was easier than I thought it would have been, possibly on the back of some confidence having now been up there.

Gee I love the Golden Stairs, but I was cursing them by the time I was nearing the top of them on the return walk.

An overnighter next time for sure, I have heard many people refer to Mt Solitary as “A special place” now I know what the mean.

Thanks for the great notes and walks available on Wildwalks Matt.

Happy Walking…
Simon
admin - re: Super Administrator | 2011-09-04 22:02:56
simon wrote:
casuarinas grove (and the nicer of the camp spots for my money) to hang our hammocks and grab a bite to eat.

Hi Simon, sounds like a great day out. That casuarina grove is a great place hey, esp great if you have a few people in hammocks. You saw Chinamans Gully it has some good potential spots for the hammock. Singa-Jingawell Creek Campsite further along the ridge is a very nice campsite to, similar Hammock options to Chinamans Gully, but has rock platform and great view a very short walk from the main camping area. Not as perfect for hammocks but great all the same.
Glad the notes where helpful.
Matt :)
evan - lost IP:121.210.17.xxx | 2011-10-02 09:24:13
from golden stairs do we take the federal pass track ???....... if we do then does it lead to ruined castle??
admin - re: lost Super Administrator | 2011-10-03 22:30:29
evan wrote:
from golden stairs do we take the federal pass track ???....... if we do then does it lead to ruined castle??

Hi Evan
At the bottom of the Golden Stairs, you will come to the signposted Federal Pass track. Turn right and walk along it. Later there is a side track that leads up to Ruined Castle.
I am sorry this is not clear enough in the notes for you, can you make some suggestion (it seems to read fine to me).
Thanks
Matt :)
oli IP:58.168.124.xxx | 2012-04-02 11:02:03
Great walk and spectacular views from the top of Mt Solitary.

Excellent track notes and the walk is pretty self explanatory, someone has marked the track up the knife edge and on top with pink paint, some cans may have done but it helped us nonetheless.
There's a little bit of exposure going up the first bit of the knife edge as previously mentioned but there are plenty of handholds so you can steady yourself.
Great workout heading up the later steeper sections.

We were lucky that it's been raining so much, the creek near Chinaman's cave was running and the northern lookout made a good collection point and dinner spot. A group had nabbed the spot close to the northern lookout nearby so we spent the night under the cover of the cave.

My friends were relatively unfit and really struggled up the stairs back to the car but they had a hard time going up to the Ruined Castle and Mt Solitary the day before. Plenty of rests did the trick and there are enough flats in between each high point to make it really enjoyable.

Got talking to another walker who stayed up in the Casuarina Grove and he said that the sunrise from there was pretty spectacular. I caught it from the ledge nearby and was blown away, if only it was the Saturday morning where fog was filling the valley.

Definitely agree with the 'Special Place' comment, my first overnighter in the mountains and I'll be dragging my wife up for the next one!

As a side note, the walker we spoke to was from the States and pulled out the Wildwalks tracknotes.
Great work guys, he was really impressed!
admin - re: Super Administrator | 2012-04-03 02:01:33
oli wrote:
Great walk and spectacular views from the top of Mt Solitary.

Hi Oli
Thanks for the detailed feedback. Sounds like a fun way to spend a couple of days. Great to hear of water up in the gully. And great to hear the notes where useful for you and the guy you ran into.
Happy walking
Matt :)
Andrew - Awesome views (with a few leec IP:121.44.22.xxx | 2012-04-09 04:35:20
Great walk! We camped at the river and there were 10s of leeches so be warned and bring leech repellent
Dirk Groth - Mr IP:149.135.146.xxx | 2013-03-03 21:16:47
Hi I want to walk this weekend what condition is the track these days because there has been no feedback for a year
admin - Conditions Super Administrator | 2013-03-03 21:56:05
Hi Dirk - I understand that until last week it was in good conditions. There has been a LOT of rain in the Blue Mountains of the past week and several small landslides reported. It would be worth calling NPWS office in the next couple of days. There are currently closures between golden stairs and the scenic railway (not effecting this walk). Golden Stairs are reported as open and the walk is mostly on ridges so good chance it will be fine.

Matt :)
nabs - 3rd march IP:122.108.151.xxx | 2013-03-05 10:47:06
me and two friends did mt solitary via ruined castle. it was raining, but not enough to quell our motivation to do this hike. ive wanted to do this for quite a while.

it took us 5hrs 15mins to mt solitary and back up golden staircase including a half hour break on the top of solitary.

some maintenance is required along the track, with some large trees have fallen across the path lately . (im assuming this is because of the wild weather we have had in the last week or so).

None of this is bad enough to make it too difficult to make your way around.
Tom - No Title. Still waiting for Au IP:211.30.220.xxx | 2013-03-24 01:10:23
My wife doesn't like climbing steep ladders but she is OK on cliff edges. She freaked out on the ladders on Pigeon House.Could someone please give me an accurate description of the steps/ladders on the Golden Staircase.
admin - re: No Title. Still waiting fo Super Administrator | 2013-03-24 22:00:55
Tom wrote:
My wife doesn't like climbing steep ladders but she is OK on cliff edges. She freaked out on the ladders on Pigeon House.Could someone please give me an accurate description of the steps/ladders on the Golden Staircase.

Hi Tom -- The Golden Staircase is a set of steep stairs not as crazy as the ladders on Pigeon House. Here is an example.
Posted image
Some stairs are stone, there is also a fenced traverse. The most exposed section of this walk is the climb up Ruined Castle -- it is a series of short rock scrambles to the unfenced view.
You can see a lot more photos here
http://wildwalks.com/bushwalking/general/public-gallery.html?walkid=nsw-bmnp-gstmsvrc&min_dist=50&pageno=1
Hope that helps.
Happy walking.
Matt :)
Mark IP:110.174.11.xxx | 2013-06-01 06:58:12
Hi I would like to do this walk with 4 others soon . Is the knife edge hard to climb and where would be the best campsite at the top to be able to wake up and watch the sunrise . ? Many thanks . Also are there springs for drinking water at the town?
admin - camping Super Administrator | 2013-06-02 08:33:48
Hi Mark
The knifeedge is a series of short rock scrambles and a couple of three meter climbs. Most people walking here would do it without any ropes - but people may pass packs.
It is a challenge but in good weather and no rushing it can be an enjoyable challenge.
Katoomba is a large town with a shopping center - so yes you can fill water bottles before setting off. You could do it at the police station when picking up your free PLB for the walk. Don't plan on finding water on the walk -- there may be some but it is not reliable.

Here are the tracknotes that cover the walk over the Mt Solitary
http://www.wildwalks.com/bushwalking-and-hiking-in-nsw/blue-mountains-katoomba/mt-solitary-and-kedumba-valley-circuit.html
I think Sing-jingawell campsite has the best view closes to the campsite -- it looks north. Chinaman's gully has two views a short walking from the campsite with view both north or south.
Enjoy
Matt :)
Luke - First time IP:202.171.176.xxx | 2014-02-05 23:38:02
Giving this walk a go on Sunday! Eventually will give the 3 day version a go :)
Will post up my experience next week
Luke
Perry - re: First time IP:121.44.32.xxx | 2014-02-13 07:25:51
Luke wrote:
Giving this walk a go on Sunday! Eventually will give the 3 day version a go :)
Will post up my experience next week
Luke


How was it Luke? We're wondering about the amount of water in Chinaman's?
Pat - Today's walk IP:110.33.243.xxx | 2015-02-16 06:23:21
I did the Mt. Solitary via Golden Stair Case walk today. Started out at 8:30am. The dirt road leading to the start point was heavily cratered for the last approximately 250 meters from the start point. There was a huge crater the width of the road at about 15 meters from the start point. It was full of water from the previous night's rain. If you are going there, then park your 2wd sedan in the small clearing before reaching the crater zone and hoof it to the start point. Only proper 4wd's should attempt it for now. There was a sign posted advising of works beginning in mid Feb and ending late March. Hopefully it is to repair the road. My Jeep Wrangler had no trouble barging its way and wading its way through :)

Since it had rained the day before, the rocks on the way down the stair case were very slippery in places, and as posted by Parks and Wildlife, some areas have no hand rails, so extreme caution is advised. Whether it is wet or dry, I very much recommend you grab a natural walking stick (a branch) before you set down the stairs. Some people are kind enough to leave their walking stick leaning up against the tourist sign/map at the top of the stairs, so grab one. To avoid disappointment, I recommend buying a light-weight hiking pole. I have a carbon fibre/aluminium one which wweighs under 200 grams. I found the pole to be crucial to the successful decent of the stairs. The good quality light-weight poles are about $32, which is significantly cheaper than having your leg or arm set in plaster.

Reaching the flat section at the base of the stairs, the ground was soggy in stages, which was to be expected. I saw some leeches on the ground, and one almost got me before I flicked it off from my sock. Be on the lookout for leeches in this area, especially after a good downpour. Know how to remove them by using a cigarette lighter or match to heat up a blade and hold the hot blade against the leech. It will let go of you, and you won't be bleeding afterwards. You can also apply the lighter flame or match flame to the leech. It is critical that you DON'T pull the leech off you while it is feeding. Leeches secrete an anti-coagulant which allows it to suck your blood. If you pull it off you while it's feeding, then your blood won't coagulate and you'll keep bleeding for a long time, and it doesn't matter how many band-aids you put on it. You MUST allow the leech to detach from you using heat.

I was amazed by the "moss valley", which is a shaded area of rocks covered with thick green moss. It looks other-worldly. Very beautiful. You could write a novel using that scenery.
Further along, near the Ruined Castles intersection, I saw a Wallaby in the scrub to my right, about 8 meters from me. It stared at me and I stopped in my tracks to take a photo. We stood there staring at each other for about 2 minutes. I wasn't going to be out stared by a marsupial, so I went into bat for team Human. The Wallaby blinked first, and looked down to stat munching away on some grasses. It figured out that I wasn't a threat, so it went about having a snack.

I hadn't been down this track for 20 years, and it has changed since the last century. The last time I was there was to do the Ruined Castles walk. There are now shaded camping areas with benches, rain water capture tanks, and toilets. On the return leg of the trip, I layed down on the bench for 20 minutes to stretch out my back, and it was great!

I haven't been to Mt. Solitary before, so I only had the track notes from this site to give me an indication. The ascent is sign-posted "Experienced". There are no manufactured steps: nature took care of that in the form of the tree roots creating steps for us. Very obliging! I grade the ascent "hard", until you get the the foot of the rock climb, where i would rate it "for the adventurous". If you are skittish at climbing rocks without safety assists, or get nervous with heights, then I recommend you have a think before you attempt the climb. The views are fantastic from the base, and the views from the top of the rocks is better, but it's not worth it if you are not 100% comfortable with your abilities to scale rocks.
I went up the the 2nd last layer from the very top, and was happy to get that far. My arthritic knees didn't want to do any more, so I had to bail on the final ascent. I left my backpack one level down, and just took my PLB and phone with me.
The track notes on this site mentioned using a rope to pull up your back pack after climbing the rocks, and that advice was spot on. I will carry a nylon rope in my back pack from now on, just in case, so thanks for posting that very valuable information!

After spending about 20 minutes rehydrating and refueling, I lowered the back pack to the base using the rope, and began the trek back to the Golden Stair Case.
On the way back, I had a wonderful and funny experience. On the track ahead of me, I came across a sun-baking Goanna, which was about 2 meters long. I named it Joanna. As I approached her, she started shuffling along the track. She didn't head for the scrub: she started to walk the track in front of me like a guide, sometimes turning its head to check where I was. I kept 2 paces behind her, and she was my walking partner for about 80 meters before she scurried into the bush. I think she was either soaking up the sun (reptiles being cold blooded and don't move well or at all until they have sun-baked to warm up enough), or she just liked my company. A group of three young tourists caught up with us and one commented they Joanna was my pet! That was a funny experience for a bloke from the city.

The Golden Star Case ascent was not as tough as I remember it from 20 years ago, probably due to my much improved fitness. I reiterate: a walking stick or hiking pole is very useful for the ascent, as weel as the descent. Arriving at the car park at the top of the stair case, abosultely soaked from head to toe with sweat, I was pleased I did that walk, irrespective of my aching knees and the leeches.
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