The Grand Canyon Track is a scenic journey that takes you through a diverse landscape, with lush rainforests, a waterfall you can walk behind, rugged rock ledges and dramatic overhangs, and fern-lined creeks with moss covered stepping stones. The trail also takes you to a viewpoint at the top of the canyon walls with a stunning panoramic vista. So, you get a little bit of everything with this hike. No wonder it is one of the Blue Mountains’ most highly rated hikes.
If you are visiting the Blue Mountains, then the Grand Canyon Track is a hike not to be missed. It is more interesting than walking around the canyon floor at Scenic World, a more touristy section of the Blue Mountains.
The Grand Canyon Track is a relatively short hike, clocking in at around 6 km (less than 4 miles). The ascent out of the canyon, assisted by stair steps, can be strenuous. But overall, we rate this as a moderate hike that most people can handle, even kids. If you have knee issues and/or balance issues then carefully consider if this hike is right for you as the trail in and out of the canyon can be steep, and the wet rock surfaces can be slippery.
Trailheads for the Grand Canyon Track
The Grand Canyon Track is located in the Blackheath section of the Blue Mountains, which is about a 15-minute drive from Katoomba or about a 20-minute drive from Scenic World. So, it is located outside the main visitor area of the Blue Mountains.
From Katoomba, take A32 (Great Western Hwy) towards Blackheath and turn right onto Evans Lookout Road. As you travel along Evans Lookout Road you will come to three different parking areas for this hike, in the following order: Neates Glen Parking Area, Grand Canyon Carpark, and Evans Lookout Parking Area. The Evans Lookout Parking Area is located at the very end of Evans Lookout Road.
All three parking areas are considered trailheads for the Grand Canyon Track.
The Grand Canyon Track makes a loop. A portion of the loop consists of the 1.4 km (0.9 mile) section of Evans Lookout Road that connects all three of these parking areas. You must walk along the road between Evans Lookout Parking Area and Neates Glen Parking Area in order to complete the full loop.
Each of the trailheads (parking areas) for the Grand Canyon Track have their own advantage as to why you might start the hike there. The advantages I outline here are based on hiking the loop track in a counterclockwise direction, which I explain the benefits of later in this article.
Grand Canyon Track map labeled with the three parking areas.
Neates Glen Parking Area: This is the first parking area you reach as you drive along Evans Lookout Road. If you start the hike here, then you will save the 1.4 km (0.9 mile) relatively flat portion of the trail along the road until the end of the hike. This is the best trailhead to park at if you want to descend down into the canyon and back out as early into the hike as possible, when your legs are fresher. This is also the best trailhead to park at if you start the hike late in the day, so you get in and out of the canyon before you lose sunlight.
Grand Canyon Carpark: This is the second parking area you reach as you drive along Evans Lookout Road. If you start the hike here then you will break up the road portion of the trail into two sections: some at the beginning of the hike and some at the end of the hike. This is the best trailhead to park at in order to split up the boring walk along the road.
Evans Lookout Parking Area: This is the third parking area you reach as you drive along Evans Lookout Road. This parking area is located at the end of the road. This is the best trailhead to park at if you want to enjoy the gorgeous panoramic vista at Evans Lookout twice, once before you start the hike and again at the end of the hike. Plus, you get the boring road portion of the hike over with right away.
Grand Canyon Track Hiking Stats
The following GPS data and the elevation profile are based on starting and ending at Neates Glen Parking Area and hiking the loop in the counterclockwise direction.
Distance: 5.8 km (3.6 miles) Roundtrip (Loop)
Total Ascent: 340 meters (1,115 feet)
Lowest Elevation: 778 meters (2,553 feet)
Highest Elevation: 1,013 meters (3,322 feet)
Time: 2 to 3 hours
The National Parks & Wildlife Service recommends 3 to 4 hours to complete the loop. But from what I’ve seen in the reviews for this track, fast hikers complete it in about 2 hours and families stopping to take short breaks take about 3 hours.
Grand Canyon Track Elevation Profile
Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.
Clockwise vs. Counterclockwise
Since the Grand Canyon Track is a loop, it can be hiked in the clockwise or counterclockwise direction. I hiked it in the counterclockwise direction and definitely recommend that you hike it in that same direction for several reasons.
There are a lot of stairs on both ends of the canyon portion of the trail. The stair steps on the Neates Glen Parking Area side of the trail are narrower and more closed in, especially through the lush rainforest section. The landscape around the steps on the Evans Lookout side of the trail are more open and conducive for stopping to take breaks. So, I recommend hiking down into the canyon from Neates Glen Parking Area and hiking back up to Evans Lookout.
After putting in the effort to hike up to Evans Lookout, you will be rewarded with a gorgeous vista. You can also find a place to sit here if you want to rest and enjoy the view longer.
In addition, by going in the counterclockwise direction, the views through the canyon will continually get better. You will see beautiful scenery, turn the corner, and see something even more fun and beautiful. This happens again and again as you hike in the counterclockwise direction. The canyon just keeps getting better.
If you descend into the canyon at the Neates Glen Parking Area then you are hiking in the counterclockwise direction, regardless of where you parked.
Grand Canyon Track
Step-By-Step Trail Guide
This trail description has been written by starting and ending at the Neates Glen Parking Area and hiking the Grand Canyon Track loop in the counterclockwise direction.
At the Neates Glen Parking Area look for the trailhead sign. You immediately descend steps through a forest which will turn into a lush rainforest as you keep descending. The old stone and mossy steps lined with ferns make you feel like you are hiking down into another world.
Looking back up a set of stone mossy steps through the lush vegetation
Looking back at the trail that descends into the canyon
Along the Valley Floor
Once you reach the valley floor the trail follows along Greaves Creek and the tall sandstone walls of the canyon remind you of how far you have descended.
Canyon walls from the canyon floor
The trail then becomes more interesting as you walk alongside a sandstone wall with overhangs and staircases.
The trail passes under sandstone overhangs
Next, the trail takes you along a rock ledge that passes behind a waterfall.
The trail goes behind the waterfall
The stone ledges, overhangs, and staircases continue, too many times to highlight each one here. As the stone ledges get narrower and higher off the valley floor, fences are added to keep you on the trail.
The trail then takes you through a lush rainforest section again with ferns and moss lining the trail.
Just when you think the trail can’t get any better you enter the most dramatic section of the hike. Complete with steppingstones across the creek, a mossy landscape with ferns, boulders, and vertical canyon walls towering next to you.
Steppingstones across the creek
The Ascent Out of the Canyon
As you start the ascent out of the canyon you hike through a forest of ferns.
Once you are above the ferns, the rest of the climb up to Evans Lookout isn’t as interesting. The climb up can be challenging but the hike through the canyon makes it worth it.
Once you reach the top of the canyon you are rewarded with an incredible panoramic view at Evans Lookout.
It is then a 1.4 km (0.9 mile) mostly flat hike along Evans Lookout Road back to the Neates Glen Parking Area.
About My Experience
Under normal circumstances I would have parked at the Evans Lookout Parking Area. I would have parked there so I could enjoy the views and photograph Evans Lookout before and after the hike. But we didn’t get to this hike until late in the day and I was running short on daylight, so I needed to complete the canyon portion of the hike first. That forced me to start at the Neates Glen Parking Area in order to hike in the recommended counterclockwise direction.
Hiking the Grand Canyon Track in the counterclockwise direction is definitely the way to go, as the trail keeps getting better and better as you travel through the canyon. I had heard about how great this trail was, but I didn’t fully know what to expect. And the trail kept surprising me with even more fun and beautiful scenery the further I went through the canyon.
And the wow factor of the Evans Lookout view made any discomfort from the ascent out of the canyon disappear.
Overall, it is a beautifully designed trail that is easy to follow and keeps things interesting by taking you through a variety of landscape features such as: lush vegetation, waterfalls, rock ledges and overhangs, steppingstone creek crossings, and even a wide-open panoramic vista of Grose Valley.
How to Get to the Grand Canyon Track
If you are driving, then parking is available at each of the three trailheads as described above.
If you are relying on public transportation, then take a train to either the Katoomba Station or the Blackheath Station. Check the NSW Transport website for train schedules. You then take Bus 698 to ‘Evans Lookout Rd at James Rd’. Use the Trip Planner found here for schedules and exact bus stop locations as there might be a short walk between the rail station and the bus stop. It is also important to know that the bus may drop you off before reaching James Road and thus increasing your walk down Evans Lookout Road to get to the first trailhead.
Alternatively, consider taking a taxi or Uber from the Katoomba Station or Blackheath Station. Be sure to schedule a pickup location and time with the taxi or Uber driver since you may not have cellular service near the trailheads.
The Blue Mountains Explorer Bus (hop on hop off) does not service this area.
What to Bring
You can end up walking on wet rocky surfaces that can be slippery, so hiking shoes with a good grip are recommended. Waterproof hiking shoes would be even better in case it rains or has recently rained as the trail can develop puddles and get muddy in spots.
I also recommend dressing in layers as the hike up and out of the canyon will likely make you sweat.
Be sure to bring food and water. You can level up your experience by enjoying a picnic lunch or snack in a scenic spot along the canyon floor.
And don’t forget sunscreen and your sunglasses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Grand Canyon Track located?
The Grand Canyon Track is located in the Blackheath section of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.
How to get to the Grand Canyon Track?
If you are driving then there are three parking areas (trailheads) located along Evans Lookout Road. If you are relying on public transportation then take a train to Katoomba Station or Blackheath Station and then bus 698 as far as it will go down Evans Lookout Road. Check train and bus schedules on the NSW Transit website.
Is hiking the Grand Canyon Track worth it?
Yes! The Grand Canyon Track is one of the most highly rated hikes in the Blue Mountains. It takes you through varying scenery including lush vegetation, waterfalls, rock ledges and overhangs, steppingstone creek crossings, and even a wide-open panoramic vista of Grose Valley.
When is the best time to hike the Grand Canyon Track?
The Grand Canyon Track is open all year but it is best enjoyed during the summer months.
Can I hike the Grand Canyon Track with a dog?
Pets, including dogs, are not permitted on the Grand Canyon Track unless they are a certified assistance animal.
If you have any questions about hiking the Grand Canyon Track, or if you want to share your experience, you can do so in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Australia
SYDNEY: Get started with our Sydney Bucket List, which contains 40 of the best things to do in Sydney. We also have a guide to 20 great restaurants and bars in Sydney, the best beaches in Sydney, the Sydney Bridge Climb, the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk, and the best viewpoints and photography locations in Sydney.
ULURU: In our Guide to Uluru and Kata-Tjuta, learn how to get here, what to do, and how to plan your time. We also have information on a great hike in Kings Canyon and a recap of our experience in the Red Centre of Australia.
MORE GREAT HIKES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: For a list of great hiking trails from around the world, check out our 20 Best Day Hikes in the World article. We also have a guide to the Best Hikes in Europe and 20 Great Day Hikes in the US National Parks. For a bigger list of hikes, check out our Hiking Page.
Read all of our articles about Australia in our Australia Travel Guide.
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