The Greater Blue Mountains are all about stunning viewpoint and lookouts. There are entire trails that travel along clifftops and could be considered multi-kilometre-long lookouts, like the Clifftop walks in Katoomba and Blackheath. If you have done some of these walks and visited a few lookouts, many of the viewpoints start to look like more of the same thing.
So, to get the most out of your time in the Blue Mountains it’s best to visit a few different kinds of lookouts. There are the popular lookouts that are usually fenced off, crowded but offer stunning views. Then there are the wilder lookouts, those that are not as well-known, have no protective railing and retain the wilderness feeling. Some lookouts give you sweeping 180-degree views of deep valleys, while others bring you close to the towering cliffs or give you a view through dramatic openings in the rocks.
Another way of getting a mix of different views is to visit the lookouts that overlook different valleys. Most of the lookouts in the Blue Mountains National Park look out onto one of the three valleys: Jamison Valley (from Wentworth Falls to Katoomba), Megalong Valley (Katoomba to Meadlow Bath) and Grose Valley (between Great Western Hwy and Bells Line of Road).
Here are some of my favourite epic lookouts in the Blue Mountains that reveal different sides of this stunning World Heritage-listed landscape.
The Three Sisters – Jamison Valley, Katoomba
Walking time – none. Location on the map.
The Three Sisters lookout at Echo Point in Katoomba is the most popular of all the Blue Mountains lookouts, and for a good reason. Not only does it offer you a sweeping view over the Jamison Valley fringed by Mt Solitary, but it also reveals a rock formation dramatic enough for the Aboriginal custodians of the land to have a legend about its formation. The three weathered sandstone towers known as the Three Sisters are the most recognizable landmark in the Blue Mountains.
The downside to Three Sisters’ popularity is that it is the single most crowded spot in the mountains. Echo Point, where the lookout is located, is the tourist hub of the Blue Mountains outfitted with a visitor center, a mall, and a car park big enough to accommodate the steady flow of tourist buses.
The only time I found Echo Point virtually deserted was on a stormy day during the covid pandemic. It had been raining since morning, so no Sydneysiders travelled to the mountains that weekend. Watching a rainstorm move in over the mountains is one of the most dramatic sights you can get in the Blue Mountains. So if you find yourself in the area on a rainy day, take a trip to Echo Point and enjoy having the Three Sisters lookout to yourself.
Fletcher’s Lookout – Jamison Valley, Wentworth Falls
Walking time – 45 min-1hr (1.6 km return). Location on the map
Just a short walk from Wentworth Falls picnic area, Fletcher’s lookout makes you feel like you are looking into Jurassic Park. It is a narrower view over Jamison Valley, bookended by two cliffs. To the right, an enormous sandstone wall towers over the valley. It’s somewhat concave shape and thick cover of lush green forest give it an unusual primeval appearance. To the left, one of the Blue Mountains’ most epic waterfalls – Wentworth Falls flows over a 187-meter cliff.
The bonus of visiting Fletcher’s lookout is that you get 3 views in one spot. A 5-minute walk downhill brings you to the picturesque Weeping Rock Falls formed by Jamison Creek just before it tumbles over the edge of a cliff. Another 5-minute walk takes you to the top of Wentworth Falls where you find another cascade on the creek and a set of stepping stones to walk over the top of the big waterfall.
Princes Rock Lookout – Waterfall View, Wentworth Falls
Walking time – 30-45 min (746m return). Location on the map.
To see the entire first drop of Wentworth Falls, head to Princess Rock lookout via Hippocrene Falls walking track from Wentworth Falls picnic area. This popular lookout is set further from the falls and gives a wider view of the concave sandstone wall from which Wentworth Falls drop 187 meters to the valley below.
To the right of the falls, the sweeping view of Jamison Valley lets you appreciate the incredible vastness of the surrounding landscape. This is a good lookout to visit after the rain to watch thick layers of mist rise from the valley to the clifftops lending a mystical feeling to the scene.
Hassans Walls – Hartley Vale, Lithgow
Walking time -3 min (700 meters). Location on the map.
One of my most favourite Blue Mountains lookouts is Hassans Walls Lookout in Lithgow. It extends quite far from the cliff-line and gives a mesmerizing view of Hartley Vale all the way to Mount Wilson, Mount York, Mount Tarana and Mount Blaxland. At 1,100 meters above sea level, it is also one of the highest lookouts in the Blue Mountains, so the view is truly panoramic.
What makes Hassans Walls Lookout even more amazing is that it offers a variety of different viewpoints. There is a little cave just to the right of the main lookout that offerers a different perspective as you look down into the valley through the mouth of the cave. The path from the carpark to the lookout also reveals different viewpoints. I quite like the view of the Great Western Highway as it circles Hartley Vale at the foot of the towering cliffs.
The best time to visit Hassans Walls is in the late afternoon when the sun casts a golden glow over the valley and the cliffs.
Cahill’s Lookout – Megalong Valley, Katoomba
Walking time – 2 min (500 meters). Location on the map.
Until a few years ago, Cahill’s lookout was more of a secret spot than a mainstream destination. Today there is a sealed path, a picnic area and 4 different lookouts here. But the lookout still doesn’t get busy. It is tucked away at the end of Cliff Drive, away from the main tourist hubs in Katoomba.
The magnificent 180-view from the main lookout takes in the Narrow Neck Peninsula that separates Jameson Valley from Megalong Valley, the Megalong Valley itself, Boar’s Head Rock and the Six Foot Track that leads all the way to Jenolan Caves.
The two smaller lookouts underneath the main viewing platform get you a little closer to the weathered cliffs on which the lookout sits. And the Boar’s Head Lookout that lies about halfway along the path is perfectly positioned for checking out the unusual rock formation that supposedly looks like a boar’s head.
Boar’s Head Climing Area – Megalong Valley, Katoomba
Walking time – 2 min (130 meters). Location on the map.
Boar’s Head Climbing Area is a very atmospheric and fun lookout that not many people know about. Not to be confused with Boar’s Head Lookout that is part of Cahill’s lookout, Boar’s Head Climbing Area is located on Boar’s Head itself, or rather across a crevice from it – Boar’s Head is a free-standing rock.
To reach the climbing area, walk 150 meters from Cahill’s Lookout along Cliff Drive towards Bear’s Head Rock (you can see it from the lookout). You will see a trail running into the bushes on your right. The Boar’s Head Climbing Area is at the end of this short trail.
Please note that this is not a designated lookout, it is unfenced and sits right on the edge of the cliff. In other words, not suitable for unsupervised children.
Because this lookout is unfenced and full of unusual rock formations, it feels very wild. There is a decent relatively flat area to walk around and to find interesting viewpoints for photographing the Narrow Neck Peninsular with ornate rocks in the foreground.
Walls Lookout – Grose Valley, Bilpin
Walking time – 1 hr (2.6 km return). Location on the map
The Walls Lookout is a stunning and aptly-named spot and one of my favourite lookouts in the Blue Mountains. It overlooks a narrower section of Grose Valley and the rugged walls of the escarpment on the other side of the valley. The lookout is sprawled over a small hill that’s bookended by sheer sandstone walls rising from the valley. So whichever way you look, you are surrounded by monolithic walls. There are no fences, no signs on the lookout itself or on the 1.3km trail leading to it. Just the rugged beauty of nature.
The Walls lookout is incredibly picturesque in any weather. I returned here to take some images for this post and found the lookout shrouded in thick mist after the rain. The valley and the opposite wall of the escarpment were lost from view beyond the white blanket of mist. The walls on the sides of the lookout kept appearing and disappearing as the mist swirled around them. It was an incredibly mystical and atmospheric sight. Two waterfalls formed by the accumulated rain water and were running down the cliffs on each side. And the only reason we could see anything at all was because the rock walls stand so close to the lookout. The other lookouts we visited that day had zero visibility.
This lookout doesn’t get crowded either. It is further away from the main tourist areas in the mountains, it can’t be reached by public transport, it takes a 1.3 km walk to get here and it’s big enough to find your own perch even when there are other people around.
Evans Lookout – Grose Valley, Blackheath
Walking time – none. Location on the map
Lying at the start of the popular Grand Canyon Track, Evans Lookout overlooks the wider section of Grose Valley, taking in the undulating valley floor cut by the meandering line of Govetts Creek, and the trademark sheer sandstone cliffs towering above the valley. It is one of the most expansive views in the Blue Mountains and a popular spot with bushwalkers.
The fenced lookout area is very spacious, and even on a busy day, there’s plenty of space. To get a slightly different view, walk over to the neighbouring Valley View Lookout.
In winter, Evans lookout is a popular spot at sunrise, especially with photographers. It is a magical sight when the valley is shrouded in mist and low-hanging clouds after a cold night and as the sun rises, you get a view from above the clouds.
Lincoln’s Rock Lookout – Jamison Valley, Wentworth Falls
Walking time – none. Location on the map
Lincoln’s Rock is one of the most popular lookouts in the Blue Mountains, so it’s likely to be quite busy. The lookout is a flat cliff top with wide-open views over Jamison Valley. The main attraction of this lookout is a protruding rock ledge that people like to sit on and have their photo taken. On a photograph, it looks like they are sitting on the pointy edge of a cliff. In reality, there is a natural safety ledge below that would catch you if you were to fall.
Personally, I am not too comfortable with extreme cliff edges, and prefer to sit slightly away from the edge and enjoy the sunset over the valley. But whether you like living on the edge or not, the view of undulating tree-covered hills from Lincoln’s Lookout is one of the best in the Blue Mountains. And the lack of fences and any kind of man-made structures makes Lincoln’s rock appear wilder than some of the other lookouts.
Govett’s Leap Lookout – Grose Valley, Blackheath
Walking time – none. Location on the map.
This is one of the most famous lookouts in the Blue Mountains and for a good reason – it has the best of all worlds: sweeping views of Grose Valley, sheer cliff walls, dramatically-folded landscape and Blue Mountain’s tallest single-drop waterfall. Govetts Leap falls drops 180 meters from the top of the cliff to the forested valley below. It is particularly impressive after a couple of days of decent rain. And like Evans Lookout, you can drive right up to Govetts Leap Lookout.
Despite being famous, Govetts Leap doesn’t get crowded because it’s not part of major tourist itineraries. Most people that visit it are either chasing stunning views or equally stunning bushwalks.
Govett’s Leap is even more popular for sunrise photography in winter than Evans Lookout. But it’s one of those lookouts that looks good in most weather conditions. Once, I caught it in the late afternoon of a rainy day and its moody atmosphere was very photogenic.
Wolgan Valley Lookout – Wolgan Valley, Lithgow
Walking time – none. Location on the map.
Wolgan Valley is one of the Blue Mountains most picturesque secrets. Home to the Emirate’s luxurious One & Only, Wolgan Valley is nestled along Wolgan River in the Lithgow Region. And unlike most of the lookouts on this list, you can enjoy Wolgan Valley Lookout from your car’s window (although, I would suggest stepping out and soaking in the view). It is located on Wolgan Road, where it descends from the escarpment to the valley. The lookout is not signposted, so use the map pin to locate it. Coming from Lithgow, it is 300 meters further along from Wolgan Gap.
If you find yourself in the area in the afternoon, follow the road down to the valley – it is a very scenic drive along a sealed road up to the One & Only. And then return to the lookout for sunset when the tops of the escarpment start to glow in rich golden color.
Another good viewpoint of Wolgan Valley is located along the Glow Worm Tunnel track. If you are keen to do a bushwalk in the area, check my guide to the Glow Worm Tunnel track.
Carlotta Arch – Jenolan Valley & Blue Lake, Jenolan Caves
Walking time – 30 min (828 meters return). Location on the map.
Carlotta Arch is a different kind of lookout. Instead of the sweeping 180-degree valley views, it offers the view of the vividly-coloured Blue Lake through a dramatic remnant of a cave. And once you step through the arch, you’ll get the views of the Jenolan Valley.
Unlike most of the Blue Mountains lookouts that are characterized by the sheer sandstone cliffs, the area around Jenolan Caves is dominated by limestone. That’s why you get so many crystal formations in Jenolan Caves. And you can see some small stalactites hanging from the roof of Carlotta Arch.
The walk to the arch from Jenolan Caves House is steep but it’s not long. And the charming view of the Victorian-era hotel perched on the side of a forest-covered mountain keeps you distracted from the climb. If you are keen to visit one of the caves at Jenolan (and you absolutely should), check out my guide to the Orient Cave, arguably the most beautiful cave in the complex.
Honeymoon Bridge – Rock Pillars and Jamison Valley
Walking time – 1 hour (800 meters return). Location on the map.
Honeymoon Bridge is one of the most unusual viewpoints in the Blue Mountains – it is located on a bridge between the escarpment and the first of the Three Sisters. To really appreciate it, you should first see the Three Sisters from Echo Point Lookout and then follow the 400-meter walk to the Three Sisters from the archway next to the Visitor Center.
It is an easy walk to the first sister followed by a steep stairway to Honeymoon Bridge. The bridge is quite narrow and it can cat quite busy, so try to visit in the morning before the tour groups arrive or in the late afternoon. The view from the bridge is expansive, but it is the immediate proximity to the mammoth rock formations that makes Honeymoon Bridge so special. This is also the start of the Giant Stairway if you feel like a challenging walk.
View of Orphan Rock
Walking time – none. Location on the map.
Also in the category of unusual lookouts is the view of Orphan Rock from Scenic Skyway. Technically, it is not a lookout – the only way to see this view is from Scenic Skyway cable car as it travels above Jamison Valley from Scenic World.
Orphan Rock is an impressive pillar that towers over Jamison Valley, separated from the escarpment. In the early days of tourism in the Blue Mountains (1890s), it was even more popular than the Three Sisters. Ladders and stairs were hewn into the rock to create a trail to the top. However, in 1974, a landslide damaged the trail and access to the Rock was never re-opened in fears that the structure was too unstable.
Today, the rock can still be accessed via the 70-year old ladders, but it is obviously unsafe and shouldn’t be attempted independently. National Parks closed access to the start of the trail. But you can get an amazing view of Orphan Rock from Scenic Skyway, not to mention the striking views of Jamison Valley and Katoomba Falls.
Tunnel view Lookout – Fairlight Gorge
Walking time – 30 mins (420 meters return). Location on the map.
Tunnel View Lookout in Glenbrook is one of the prettiest lookouts in the Lower Blue Mountains. The views here are different from the vast valleys of the Upper Blue Mountains, not as grand, not as sweeping, but impressive in their own way.
The view from Tunnel View Lookout stretches on forever, over the deep Fairlight Gorge with the Nepean River running across the bottom. On the far side of the gorge, you can just see the hill through which the train tunnel has been constructed. The hill, however, is not very prominent, and if I was naming this lookout, I’d call it ‘gorge view’ or ‘river view’.
Best places to stay in the Blue Mountains
While the Blue Mountains can be easily visited on a day trip from Sydney, you may want to make a weekned out of it, especially if you would like to catch the sunset (or sunrise) in the mountains or do one of the longer and more challenging trails. The best areas to stay in the mountains are between Wentworth Falls and Blackheath and Bilpin, if you are heading further out. Below are some accommodation suggestions for each of the villages.
- If you are planning to explore Wentworth Falls, visit Fletchers and Princess Rock lookouts, or maybe even do the challenging Wentworth Falls track, check out this spacious secluded cozy bungalow with all the creature comforts.
- For a smaller place, close to the Conservation Hut and the Valley of the Waters, have a look at the Shed on Central.
Katoomba – Jamison Valley
- Here is your chance to be truly in the thick of things – Cloud 9 apartment next door to the Three Sisters Lookout with stunning views from the balcony.
- For something different, check out this rustic cottage that has its own glasshouse.
- Or if you are travelling as a family, the 4-bedroom Black Cockatoo cottage has plenty of room and privacy.
Leura – Jamison Valley
- If you are looking to stay at the cutest village of the Blue Mountains – Leura, have a look at this spacious and stunning 3-bedroom cottage.
- Or for a smaller place, check out this gorgeous 1-bedroom cottage minutes away from the center of Leura
Meadlow Bath – Megalong Valley
- For the stunning views of Megalong Valley from your own backyard, check out this beautiful heritage studio next door to the iconic Hydro Majestic Hotel.
- Another stunning light-filled cottage – Seven Sisters at Meadlow Bath with jaw-dropping views of Megalong Valley. This is a bigger place with two bedrooms – great for families or groups of friends.
Blackheath – Grose Valley
- For exploring Grose Valley, Blackheath is the perfect place to stay, especially if you are planning to visit Evans or Govetts Leap lookouts for sunrise or sunset photography. This cozy 1930’s cottage with a large garden is one of the loveliest properties in the Blackheath area.
- Or if you feel like a splurge, you can have an entire farm to yourself with jaw-dropping views of Grose Valley. This stunning property is one of the top 3 wish-listed Airbnbs in Australia.
Bilpin – Grose Valley
- Heading further out, the apple-growing area of Bilpin is a charming area to stay in the Blue Mountains. It is the perfect base for exploring Grose Valley, Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens, Mt Wilson and the surrounding mountains.
- Fancy a spa among the treetops? For the unique mix of luxury, romance and adventure check out Bilpin Treehouse. It is by far one of the most unique properties in the Blue Mountains.
- For farm stay in Bilpin, Nungaroo Cottage is hard to beat. Surrounded by the lush forest, this wooden cottage is your perfect cabin in the woods getaway.
- Or for a more affordable option, check out this cozy cottage in the heart of Bilpin next to the cafes and Bilpin’s famous cideries.