This classic trail follows along the base of the cliffs from Leura to the Golden Stairs, passing many of the more popular sights of the Katoomba region. Travelling through beautiful forest environments, this is one of the longer walks in the area. Leura Forest and Kedumba Falls are both great places to sit and take a break along the journey.
(open in app)
Cross sectional view of the Federal Pass Walking Track bushwalking track
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Federal Pass Walking Track 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.
Very steep (4/6)
Quality of track
Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Directional signs along the way (3/6)
Some bushwalking experience recommended (3/6)
Weather generally has little impact on safety (1/6)
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. Gradient
6km of this walk has short steep hills and another 1.2km has gentle hills with occasional steps. Whilst another 620m is very steep and the remaining 190m is flat with no steps.
Quality of track
4km of this walk follows a clear and well formed track or trail and another 3.4km follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles. Whilst another 410m follows a rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely and the remaining 220m follows a smooth and hardened path.
Around 4km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection, whilst the remaining 4km is clearly signposted.
Around 6km of this walk requires no previous bushwalking experience, whilst the remaining 1.6km requires some bushwalking experience.
This whole walk, 8km is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation).
Around 4.7km of this walk is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats), whilst the remaining 3.3km has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced).
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Carrington Park is a medium-sized park on a traffic island, at the junction of Cliff Road and Merriwa St, Katoomba. The park is partially fenced and has a picnic shelter, picnic tables, garbage bins and children's play equipment.
Int of Federal Pass and Jamieson Lookout Tracks Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 225 m
Time = 5 mins
Climb = 5 m
Descent = -22 m
From Carrington Park, the walk crosses Cliff Drive and goes down the stairs and past the sign for 'Blue Mountains National Park'. The walk continues down the stairs until reaching an intersection signposted with the way to 'Echo Point' or 'Leura Cascades'. Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Leura Cascades 1km' sign down the wooden steps and along the bush track, winding through the forest until coming to the signposted intersection of the 'Leura Forest' Track. Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Leura Forest' sign along the bush track, winding down the hill for a short while before dropping down a set of wooden steps, to the signposted intersection with the 'Jamieson Lookout' track.
Int of Federal Pass and Jamieson Lookout Tracks
Jamieson Lookout Optional sidetrip: Walk: Easy - bushtrack
Length = 19 m
Time = 1 mins
Climb = 0 m
Descent = -6 m
Turn sharp left: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Jamieson Lookout' sign along the short bush track to the rock shelf at the Jamieson Lookout. (Retrace your steps back to the main track, then veer left to continue along this walk.)
Alt = 922 m
Jamieson Lookout is a fenced lookout at the east end of the Federal Pass track, and just off Prince Henry Cliff Walk. The lookout has a bench seat and provides great views up the Jamison Valley, along Kings Tableland escarpment and past Mount Solitary. The lookout is perched up on a large rock buttress, giving views unobscured by trees.
Int of Federal Pass and Jamieson Lookout Tracks
Fern Bower Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 93 m
Time = 3 mins
Climb = 0 m
Descent = -36 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the dirt path, heading down the long set of wooden and rocky steps. The walk winds down past a picnic chair under a cliff overhang, and continues down the steps into the valley and through the forest to the Fern Bower information sign.
Alt = 892 m
Fern Bower is an especially pleasant part of the Blue Mountains National Park, protected from heat and providing a great environment for fern trees, bracken ferns and moss to thrive. Fern Bower is a signposted area along the Federal Pass walking track, just below Jamieson Lookout and next to Linda Creek. This is a nice place to stop, rest and enjoy the bird noises.
Int of Federal Pass and the Amphitheatre track Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 320 m
Time = 13 mins
Climb = 10 m
Descent = -150 m
Continue straight: From the information sign, the walk follows the track down the steps, passing a 'Rich History' information sign before coming down to the signposted intersection with the Amphitheatre track, at the top of a metal staircase.
Int of Federal Pass and the Amphitheatre track
Lila falls crossing Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 23 m
Time = 1 mins
Climb = 0 m
Descent = -18 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Federal Pass Leura Forest' sign down the long metal staircase, to cross the bridge over Linda Creek in front of Lila Falls.
Alt = 736 m
Lila Falls is a thin waterfall on Linda Creek. The Federal Pass crosses the creek (on a bridge) in front of these falls, just below the intersection with the amphitheatre. The waterfall is not the most spectacular one in this valley, but it is a nice cool spot to catch your breath.
Lila Falls crossing
Marguerite Cascades Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 175 m
Time = 11 mins
Climb = 37 m
Descent = -90 m
Continue straight: From the Lila Falls, this walk follows the track heading down the hill, winding down a wooden walkway keeping the creek to the left. The track hugs the rock wall and passes under a shallow overhang. The walk continues down a staircase, then turns back down into the gully where it come to the taller and slender Linda Falls.
After passing Linda Falls the walk follows the wooden steps down through the gulley, crossing the creek again before heading down to the Marguerite Cascades.
Alt = 684 m
Marguerite Cascades are a series of small cascades finishing with a taller waterfall of a few metres height, dropping into a shallow sandy pool. The cascades are on Linda Creek and a small bridge crosses the creek at the base of the falls as part of the Federal Pass walking track. The cascades are a nice place to sit and listen to the water running and the local birds in this cool shady area.
Leura Forest Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 321 m
Time = 11 mins
Climb = 50 m
Descent = -14 m
Continue straight: From the 'Marguerite Cascades', this walk follows the timber steps downhill, winding steeply for a short while until coming to an intersection with a faint track, marked with a timber 'Federal Pass' sign, just beside a foot bridge. Veer right: From the intersection, this walk crosses Linda Creek just below a pleasant cascade using the foot bridge with a handrail. This walk then continues along the bush track that winds along the valley floor, to the signposted 'Leura Forest'. From here, the walk continues along the wide bush track, passing a few picnic tables, and winding through the forest to an open area with a large gazebo and an information sign at the intersection of the Federal Pass and the Dardenelles tracks.
Alt = 721 m
Leura Forest is a great picnic area in the Jamison Valley at the junction of the Federal Pass and Dardenelles Tracks. This place was home to a popular tea house (also known as 'Lady Carrington Dining Hall') from the late 1800's. Today walkers can still enjoy the historic rotunda and the foundations of the original tea house. The picnic area provides a great rest spot under the shade of the lilli pilli and coachwood forest.
Leura Forest (Int of Federal Pass and Dardenelles Tracks)
Int of Federal Pass, Scenic Railway and Dardenelles Tracks Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 1.29 km
Time = 36 mins
Climb = 117 m
Descent = -99 m
Continue straight: From Leura Forest, the walk follows the 'Federal Pass' sign towards 'Scenic Railway'. Shortly after crossing a small creek using a little bridge, the track begins to steadily go downhill then flatten out. The environment surrounding the bush track at this point is quite dense and, while very pretty, it is difficult to see views of the surrounding area, although there are occasional glimpses of Sublime Point Service Trail on the left. After a while, the track begins to steadily climb to a signposted intersection with 'Dardenelles Pass'. There are several signposts and a bench seat.
Int of Federal Pass, Scenic Railway and Dardenelles Tracks
Scenic Railway (Bottom Platform) Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 2.06 km
Time = 1 hr 1 mins
Climb = 210 m
Descent = -196 m
Veer left: From the intersection, the walk follows the 'Federal Pass' sign towards 'Scenic Railway', keeping the main cliffs on the right. Not long after the intersection, the track passes 'under the sisters' rock formation (signposted). From here, the track turns and continues along a relatively stretch and, at several points, passes some notable rock formations and caves embedded in the cliffs. There are occasional good views that are not shrouded by the trees. The walk continues until coming to the base of Katoomba Falls, crossing these using a metal bridge know as 'Cooks Crossing'. (Just across the bridge, there is a picnic table.) Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk heads south-west away from Katoomba Falls along the bush track, soon passing the signposted 'Turpentine Tree'. Shortly after this tree, the track comes to an intersection with another bush track and set of stairs (on the right, signposted as 'Furber Steps'). Continue straight: From the bottom of Furber Steps, this walk follows the 'To base of scenic railway' sign keeping the handrail on the left, and following the flat bush track. This track passes through a small gate over a metal bridge at the bottom of the Scenic Railway.
Scenic Railway (Bottom Platform)
Landslide Track: Moderate - duckboard,bushtrack
Length = 1.34 km
Time = 46 mins
Climb = 175 m
Descent = -178 m
Continue straight: From the bridge over the bottom of the Scenic Railway, this walk follows the signs to 'scenic walkway', passing a replica of a mining cart, as well as an old mine. Just past this, the walk comes to a pipeline that runs down the hill collecting fresh water, signposted as drinkable. Continuing past the old mine shafts along the boardwalk, this walk comes to an intersection with a bush track going slightly off to the right. This is signposted as the way to the Landslide. Continue straight: From the intersection, the walk follows the wide track and signposts towards the 'landslide' (keeping the cliffs on the right). The walk winds along a bush track with small boulders strewn along it. There are a number of old mine shafts just off the track and some interesting historical items. The track continues under Malaita Point before breaking out of the vegetation to a worthy view of the valley, just before the landslide. As the track comes to the old landslide site, it become rougher with plenty of boulders over the track. There are also excellent views of the cliffs above and the landslide as the vegetation is quite sparse here.
Alt = 742 m
'The Landslide' is a large rockfall going into the valley approximately 100m. There is a good vantage point for the landslide from under the cliffs to the east, and a great but more distant view from Narrow Neck lookout. The landslide occurred in 1931 after a few days of rumbling. There has been much debate as to whether this event was helped along by erosion and coal mining in the area at the time.
Bottom of Golden Staircase Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 1.55 km
Time = 42 mins
Climb = 128 m
Descent = -123 m
Continue straight: From the eastern side of the Landslide, the walk heads across the face of the landslide (keeping the cliff on the right). At this point, the track is quite rough, with frequent boulders making it a slight scramble. On the other side of the landslide, the track narrows and becomes a flat bush track that follows the base of the cliffs. The surrounding trees become quite dense again, adding quite an ambiance to the area. The walk heads along the bottom of the Narrow Neck escarpment, until coming to an intersection with a set of stairs off to the right, signposted as the 'Golden Staircase'.
Bottom of Golden Staircase
Bottings Lookout Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 429 m
Time = 19 mins
Climb = 177 m
Descent = -41 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Golden Stairs car park' sign uphill past the termite mound then past the 'Warning - Sections of the Golden Stairs are unfenced and can be slippery when wet' sign. The walk heads up the broad spur along a narrow track, and before long, starts to climbs the first set of rock and metal stairs. After this climb, the track is relatively flat for a little while before another climb up similar stairs. Then the walk makes its way around a gully to the base of a cliff. From here the track is flat for a while, heading between the cliff and the fence for about 100m, (passing a 'Caution Rockfall Hazard' sign) before another, smaller climb, up through a gap in the rock to the fenced and signposted '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
Golden Stairs Track carpark Track: Moderate - bushtrack
Length = 209 m
Time = 8 mins
Climb = 80 m
Descent = -9 m
Turn left: From Botting's Lookout, the walk heads up the hill where the track then turns left. The walk continues, steeply in a couple of places, up some eroded sections of track and through a couple of switchbacks. Soon the narrow track mostly flattens out. leading to the signposted 'Golden Stairs' car park on Glenraphael Dr.
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 4 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