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.
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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.
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
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on 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.
8 hrs 45 mins
Very steep and difficult scrambles (5/6)
Quality of track
Rough unclear track (5/6)
No directional signs (5/6)
High level of bushwalking experience recommended (5/6)
Forecast, unforecast storms and severe weather may impact on navigation and safety (4/6)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Golden Stairs Track carpark
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, the walk follows the 'Golden Stairs / To Federal Pass' sign along the narrow track. The track leads gently downhill past the black and yellow 'Warning - Sections of the Golden Stairs are unfenced and can be slippery when wet' sign, with the occasional glimpse out to Malaita Point and towards the Three Sisters. The walk soon heads down a few steep eroded sections of track and passes through a couple of switchbacks. The track then leads to a fenced rock platform signposted as 'Botting's L.O.'.
Alt = 878 m
Botting's Lookout 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), a pioneer trail-maker of the Katoomba District. More info
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, this walk heads downhill along the eroded track. The walk follows the steps through a narrow gully then turns right to flatten out and head under a small overhang between the cliff and fence (passing a 'Caution Rockfall Hazard' sign). After about 100m of fence, the track turns right to cross a wide gully. On the other side of the gully, this walk climbs down a series of metal and stone staircases. The walk flattens again before heading down another series of stairs. Finally, the track winds down the wide spur to meet the signposted T-intersection with 'Federal Pass'.
Bottom of Golden Staircase
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 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 and vines, with the occasional lyrebird. After about 1.3km the forest opens up, letting in more light and exposing some distant filtered views. After wandering through the more open forest for about 250m, the track passes a small campsite (on the right). This walk continues for another 700m along the main track through the bracken fern forest to find a larger campsite (just up to the right) with a short stone wall on one side).
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 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.
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, 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, then past a smaller campsite a short distance later. The track then winds through the forest for another 100m to come to a clearing and signposted three-way intersection, where there is a 'Federal Pass - Katoomba' sign pointing back along the track. (There is a campsite a few metres further on and to the the left.)
Northern Ruined Castle campsite
Alt = 726 m
A short distance south east of the intersection 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. The area is surround with tall trees and ferns. There is no water nor any other facilities.
Northern Ruined Castle campsite
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 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. This walk continues along the mostly flat track, passing through a tall turpentine forest for about 450m where you come into view of a campsite (down to your left). The walk continues a short distance further, coming to an intersection where there is a fair amount of coal on the ground, a campsite down to your left and the entrance to an old small coal mine (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 then flattens out to pass a large square boulder after about 100m. The track continues through ferny forest for just over 200m, then passes another campsite (down a steep hill to your left), and about 30m further on, comes to a signposted intersection where a 'Katoomba' arrow points back along the track. Continue straight to rejoin the main walk, following the notes from 4.32km 'Intersection South of Ruined Castle'.
Northern Ruined Castle campsite
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' 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. 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) and follows the rocky track more gently uphill for about 220m to pass under the side of a large boulder. 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. Here the walk heads gently down a bit (keeping the rock wall to your left), past a crevice, 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.
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, this walk heads south-east along the main ridgeline, initially keeping the rock wall to your left. The track follows the rocky ridgeline gently downhill and after about 70m the track starts to become much steeper. The track winds down, flattening out for a short time before continuing steeply down to a sign posted three-way intersection just beyond the 'Ruined Castle to Mount Solitary' map. There is a 'Ruined Castle' arrow here, pointing back up the hill.
Intersection South of Ruined Castle
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 gently downhill along the fairly narrow track, keeping the main valley to your left. After about 300m, the more eroded and rocky track begins to climb the ridge and after climbing for just shy of 300m, the track flattens out and passes a couple of small clearings - the second clearing is just past where the track leads downhill. Just after the second clearing (used as a campsite), the track begins to climb up the ridge again. 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.
Bottom of Korrowall Knife-edge
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, 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 between the rocks. The walk continues to scramble up the side of the rocks, then climbs vertically up a crack in the rock to a small flat area, offering the first distant view for this climb. The walk continues by climbing up a 3m rock wall, then up the eroded track before climbing up through the obvious gap in the next rock wall. At the top of this climb is another great view and a short distance further up, this faint track passes a rock with a hole/cave (on your right). From here, the walk follows the worn track up through a couple more rock gullies, still generally keeping the rock wall to your right (and passing a couple of arrows). This brings the walk to an exposed flat area, with red dirt and fantastic views. The walk continues by climbing up through the next eroded gully to the top of the Korrowall Knife-edge, where there is a large rock wall on your left.
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 5 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.
Blue Mountains National ParkLink 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 feesCampingFacilities 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