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Bushwalking track notes, photographs, maps and more for Ruined Castle Walk are found in each of the tabs below
Ruined Castle Walk
Time: 5 hrs 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: 7.9 km Walk Length
As this is a return style walk, the 7.9 km includes the return leg of this walk (ie back to the start)
Blue Mountains National Park
Climb: 666 m Total Climbing
This walk has a total cumulative climb of 666 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
Track: Hard

Entering into the Jamison Valley via the popular Golden Staircase, this walk climbs one of the most recognisable landmarks in the Jamison Valley - The Ruined Castle. A beautiful rock formation that offers great views over the valley as far as Wentworth Falls and Katoomba. Explore some of the history of the coal mining in this part of the Jamison Valley. (open in app)

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 Ruined Castle Walk

Map of Walk


                Sponsor of Ruined Castle Walk bushwalking tracknotes
Map of Ruined Castle Walk
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Map Scale 1 km
Golden Stairs Track carpark
Bottings Lookout
Bottom of Golden Staircase
Miners Campsite
Northern Ruined Castle campsite
Ruined Castle
Intersection South of Ruined Castle
Ruined Castle mine campsite
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

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

Info sign at Golden stairs car park
Info sign at Golden stairs car park +
Botting's lookout
Botting's lookout +
Going under the cliffs along the Golden Staircase
Going under the cliffs along the Golden Staircase +

Heading around the hill
Heading around the hill +
Going through the fern environment in the valley
Going through the fern environment in the valley +
The sign at the Ruined Castle (Nth) Intersection
The sign at the Ruined Castle (Nth) Intersection +

Going up to the Ruined Castle
Going up to the Ruined Castle +
The Ruined Castle
The Ruined Castle +
Along the alternate route
Along the alternate route +


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 Ruined Castle Walk bushwalking track

Cross Section of the Ruined Castle Walk bushwalking track

Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Ruined Castle Walk bushwalking track

Summary of the gradients over the the lenght of the Ruined Castle Walk 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 8km
Time 5 hrs

Grade 4/6

Track: Hard
AS 2156.1 Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Quality of track Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Signs Minimal directional signs (4/6)
Experience Required Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Weather Forecast, unforecast storms and severe weather may impact on navigation and safety (4/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
*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.
2.6km of this walk has gentle hills with occasional steps and another 1.2km is very steep. The remaining (210m) has short steep hills.

Quality of track
Around 3.2km of this walk follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles, whilst the remaining 730m follows a rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely.

3km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection and another 730m has minimal directional signs. The remaining (210m) is clearly signposted.

Experience Required
3km of this walk requires some bushwalking experience and another 730m requires a leader a with moderate level of bushwalking experience. The remaining (210m) requires no previous bushwalking experience.

Around 3.2km of this walk is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation), whilst the remaining 730m is affected by forecast, unforecast storms and severe weather events that may impact on navigation and safety.

Around 3.7km of this walk has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced), whilst the remaining 210m is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats).

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 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'[44] 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[45]. 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[46]) and follows the rocky track more gently uphill for about 220m to pass under the side of a large boulder[47]. 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[48]. Here the walk heads gently down a bit (keeping the rock wall to your left), past a crevice[49], 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[50].

(3.93 km) Ruined Castle to Northern Ruined Castle campsite
Alternate Route: Route: Hard - bushtrack ( Show detail)
Length = 1.32 km Time = 35 mins
Climb = 78 m Descent = -145 m
Continue straight: From near the summit of Ruined Castle[51], this walk heads south-east along the main ridgeline, initially keeping the rock wall to your left[52]. The track follows the rocky ridgeline gently downhill[53] and after about 70m the track starts to become much steeper[54]. The track winds down, flattening out for a short time[55] before continuing steeply down to a sign posted three-way intersection[56] just beyond the 'Ruined Castle to Mount Solitary' map[57]. There is a 'Ruined Castle' arrow[58] here, pointing back up the hill.
Turn left : From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Katoomba' sign[59][60] along the mostly flat and clear track[61], keeping the main valley to your right. The track almost immediately passes a campsite[62] (down a steep track on your right) and continues along the flat through the ferny forest[63]. A little over 200m later, the track passes a large square boulder[64], then about 100m further, this walk comes to an intersection[65], where there is a fair amount of coal on the ground[66], a campsite down to your right[67] and the entrance to an old small coal mine[68] (behind a rock) on your left.
Continue straight: From the intersection[69], this walk heads along the main track[70] initially keeping the campsite[71] down to your right. The clear track is mostly flat and passes through a tall turpentine forest[72] for about 500m before passing another campsite[73] (on your right). Then, just a few metres further on, this walk comes to a signposted three-way intersection[74] where a sign points back along the track to 'Mount Solitary'[75].
Turn left to rejoin the main walk, following the notes from 3.2km 'Northern Ruined Castle campsite'.

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 Ruined Castle Walk.
Channel Call sign
(more info)
Site Distance and dir from Ruined Castle Walk
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 7 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

Add NewSearch
Ryan - PhD's and This Walk ROCK! | 2009-01-22 10:26:40
Wow, what a great walk :roll: I recommend it to anyone with two legs! The castle is beautiful and would not look out of place anywhere in the manicured grounds of a British garden. Go on the hottest day you can and avoid any shade! Yeah - I'm excited about this walk!
Peter Begg - Ruined Castle | 2009-03-08 08:28:51
I thought the walk was fun with my friend Kitanni. We are both 8 years old. My mum had fun sliding down on her bottom. :lol: The track up and down is very steep and slippery.
Darren Brisbane - Ruined Castle | 2010-12-22 07:42:08
I did this walk today with two other friends. This site and the signs along the trail estimate a 6 hour return walk - we managed it (including lunch) in just over four, but we are by no means complaining!

This track is very well signed and marked and is easy enough to follow. Twice we came across trees which had fallen across the path, but this only caused a moment's confusion.

There is a small clearing at the bottom of the Golden Staircase that is also very well marked - from there the path up to the Ruined Castle is suddenly very steep! I am not the fittest of people and found this sudden incline rather intense - but not too difficult, and the results were well worth it when we reached the top a few minutes later!

It's rather peaceful up by the Ruined Castle and if you sit quietly as we did while we were having lunch you will be treated to wonderful views, various types of insects wandering by, the varying calls of different types of birds that my good friend was very excited to see (worked as a bush ranger for awhile) including a Lyre Bird!

The path back down was easy, however returning back to where our car was parked took us longer than we had anticipated due to the sheer number of steps... haha!

I highly recommend this walk to anyone looking for a decent track that is not too difficult provided you are reasonably fit!
Simon Leplaw - Great walk this one | 2011-03-18 10:18:17
This is a really nice walk. Parking at the top of the stairs was a little tight so I parked a little along the road. Th stairs were in better condition than I had read about. The walk to the ruined Castle is very nice, very flat and a easy walk. I got to the ruined castle in 1 hour from the car and had the place to myself for about 30 mins before many people started comming through (abot 9:30am) the retun walk was great aswell. I even found a couple from overseas with the "waldwalks" track notes print out in hand which was great to see.
Juniper_Maei - Ms | 2012-03-19 05:24:19
There has been significant work done on the Golden Staircase and Ruined Castle walk since this article was written. New signs have been put in, new steps and hand rails for the Golden Staircase making it less dangerous. For a good walker, it's an easy 4-5hour return walk. watch out for leeches in and after wet weather tho :D
Jim - alternate route | 2013-04-29 05:37:51
We walked to the ruined castle last Friday and decided to return via the alternate route as shown on the notes. A lot of care must be taken on the way down as it is extremely steep and slipery - the return is definately for the experienced walkers. Overall an excellent walk.
Ben - Great walk, awesome views | 2014-09-20 06:20:14
climbing up the top of the castle the view was well worth the walk! the alternate route is quite steep but can be done if your careful. got the whole thing done in around 3.5-4hours with a lunch stop.
Richard - The Birds | 2015-08-01 09:22:45
Did this walk at the end of June 2015. Started and finished at the Furber Steps.
The views were great as were the rocks at Ruined Castle. But the highlight was the bird-life, especially the lyrebirds.
I saw 5 and heard them for most of my time out there. Will definitely be doing this hike again during the winter.
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