Blue mountains are chock-a-block full of spectacular walking trails, but the ones I love the most are those that take you to the waterfalls. Whether it’s the epic streams of water tumbling down an exposed cliff face or the silky veils cascading along sandstone shelves, Blue Mountains waterfalls are among the most beautiful waterfalls around Sydney.
Most trails in the Blue Mountains feature some kind of waterfalls even if it’s a gentle trickle of a stream making its way from the top of the escarpment to the forested valley below. Wikipedia lists a whopping 48 waterfalls in the Blue Mountains. Mind you, these are only the ones accessible via the park’s extensive trail network. I can only imagine all the hidden falls that lie deep within the mountains.
READ MORE: How to explore the Blue Mountains by train
And even among the 48, there are a few waterfalls that stand out. Here are some of my favourite waterfalls in the Blue Mountains. This list will probably grow as I discover more hidden gems.
Tip: Make sure to check for local alerts and trail closures on the National Parks website before heading out on your walk. Many plans have gone awry because the trails were unexpectedly closed due to flooding, landslides or fire damage.
Walking time – 10 min. Location on the map.
Wentworth Falls are the biggest and the best known of all Blue Mountains waterfalls. Fed by the Jamison Creek, Wentworth Falls drop 187 meters in two spectacular drops, the upper and the lower falls respectively.
The easiest way to see Wentworth Falls is from Fletchers Lookout. It is an easy and well signposted 10-minute walk from Wentworth Park Picnic area along the main Wentworth Falls walking track. From this lookout, you get a close-up view of the top of Wentworth Falls and a panoramic view of Jamison Valley.
Another fantastic vantage point is from the stepping stones across Jamison Creek just as it drops over the cliff edge. Watch gallons of water rush underneath your feet to fall 180 meters to the valley below. You can also view the beautiful Queens cascades formed by the creek just before it approaches the edge of the escarpment.
The best way to see the falls, however, involves a steep descent down the cliff face and a hike across the valley along Wentworth Pass that starts at the bottom of the first drop of the falls. Looking back from Wentworth Pass you get to see Wentworth Falls in their entirety. Plus, the descent down the stone steps brings you so close to the falls that you even feel the spray on your face. You can read my guide to walking Wentworth Pass Look Track here.
Walking time – 15 min. Location on the map.
Katoomba Falls is one of the most scenic Blue Mountains waterfalls. They are fed by the Kedumba River that plunges about 150 meters from the top of the cliff to the forested Jamison valley below.
The easiest way to see Katoomba falls is from Katoomba Falls Lookout that can be reached by a 15-minute walk from Scenic World along Prince Henry Cliff Walk. You can read my guide to Prince Henry Cliff Walk here. If you would like to see the entire waterfall, take the Katoomba Falls Round Walk from Scenic World. It is a hard 1.5 km track that takes about 1.5hrs to complete.
Alternatively, you could take a scenic ride over Jamison Valley at Scenic World and see Katoomba Falls from above.
Govetts Leap Falls
Walking time – none. Location on the map
Staying with the category of record-setting waterfalls, the 180-meter-high Govetts Leap Falls, also known as Bridal Veil Falls (not to be confused with Bridal Veil Falls in Leura) is the tallest single-drop waterfall in the Blue Mountains. The word leap is an old Scottish word for waterfall, so there is a little colonial history to the waterfall’s name.
The easiest way to see Govetts Leap Falls is from Govetts Leap Lookout. To your right, the view from the lookout sweeps over sheer cliff walls and deep canyons of the Grose Valley. To your left, Govetts Leap Falls drop from the top of the escarpment 180 meters to the bottom of the valley. This is as vast a landscape as Blue Mountains get.
Walking time – 1.30 min (1.5km return) for the entire trail. Location on the map.
The next five waterfalls are located next to each other in the magical setting of the Valley of the Waters. Empress Falls is the biggest of the five waterfalls. It is particularly popular with canyoning tours – these tours conclude with abseiling down Empress Falls.
Because Empress Falls are so popular, it is best to visit them in the first half of the day, the earlier the better. Luckily it is the first waterfall you reach on the Valley of the Waters trail from Conservation Hut at Wentworth Falls.
If Empress Falls happen to be busy with a group of abseilers when you arrive, you can while the time exploring all the other tiny little falls that flow down the rocks around the falls.
Next down the trails is Sylvia Falls – one of the most photographed Blue Mountains waterfalls. It is a beautiful waterfall with water flowing across eroded sandstone shelves on the side of a forested cliff. Like most waterfalls, Sylvia Falls are best after the rain when running water covers most of the rock face.
Another 5-min walk brings you to Lodore falls – my favourite falls in the Valley of the Water. With large rocks at the bottom of the falls, they have a wild look to them, as if water just happened to run down the mountain here and you happened to be in the right place at the right time to see it.
Flat Rock Falls
Flat Rock Falls look exactly like their name suggests – they flow down a relatively flat rock. They are not as full as the other waterfalls in the Valley of the Waters, but they are lovely in thier difference.
The beautiful thing about the Valley of the Waters falls is that you can approach all of them along the trail and even dip your toes into the brown-tinged water at their bases.
It is also very quiet and tranquil in the valley, the crowds don’t make it here. So you can take your time admiring and photographing the waterfalls. No one will mind your tripod. In fact, most people I come across in the Valley of the Waters are waterfall photographers.
Red Rock Falls
Red Rock Falls is a stunning waterfall – the last in the line of five falls in the Valley of the Waters. It flows alongside the trail and you’ll have to get onto the rocks at its base to get a proper look, and especially to photograph it. Red Rock Falls is the most concealed waterfall in the valley and you could walk past it unless you know its there. You can read my guide to Valley of the Waters track here.
Bridal Veil Falls (Leura)
Walking time – 30 min. Location on the map
Note: This area is currently closed due to fire and flood damage.
Here we go with the confusing Bridal Veil Falls again. These Bridal Veil Falls are located in Leura (not to be confused with Govetts Leap Falls) downstream of Leura Cascades (see below for the details fo Leura Cascades). It is a cascade waterfall, fed by the Leura Falls Creek, the same creek that feeds Leura Cascades. It can be reached by a 30-minute walking track from Leura Cascades.
Walking time – 10 min. Location on the map.
Leura cascades is a set of lovely waterfalls where Leura Falls creek cascades down sandstone shelves. It is a very picturesque forested setting with a few bridges across the creek. It is sheltered from the sun, which means its quite cool here in summer.
The cascades are reached by a 10-minute walk from Leura Cascades Picnic Area via a boardwalk. It is one of the shortest walks in the area, so you could easily combine it with a walk to Bridal Veil Falls (see above). You can read my guide to Leura Cascades to Gordon Falls walk here.
If you are interested in a full-day adventure, you could take Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Echo Point (3.2 km) or all the to the Scenic World (5.3 km). You can read my guide to Prince Henry Cliff Walk here.
Walking time – 5 min. Location on the map.
Katoomba Cascades are located within a 5-minute walk from Katoomba Kiosk, along Prince Henry Cliff Walk. You can walk right up to the cascades or admire them from a little bridge that had been constructed over the creek.
They get quite popular with walkers so you may have to wait a while for an unobstructed view. If you are keen to photograph the cascades, visit in the second half of the day when the sun moves behind the tree crowns. Earlier in the day, the cascades are bathed in the dappled light that creates too much contrast for photography.
Weeping Rock Falls
Walking time – 20 min. Location on the map.
Weeping Rock Falls is located just above Wentworth Falls and can be accessed via a circuit walk that starts at Wentworth Falls picnic area and includes the magnificent Fletchers Lookout. Fed by Jamison Creek, Weeping Rock Falls cascade over sandstone ledge to the rocky terrace below. It is a great waterfall to wade in, to cool off your feet on a hot summer day.
The falls and cascades described above are some of the best-known locations in the Blue Mountains. Most of them are easy to get to and enjoy. There are however plenty more waterfalls in the mountains, some of which are no more than a picturesque trickle amid the lush vegetation and moss-covered rocks. The benefit of visiting the less-known waterfalls is the lack of crowds on the trails and at the waterfalls themselves.
Horseshoe Falls, Hazelbrook
Walking time – 10 min. Location on the map.
Horseshoe Falls in Hazelbrook is a very special waterfall. It is actually one of five waterfalls on Horseshoe Falls walking track, but is my favourite of the five. First of all, you can walk behind Horseshoe Falls and look at the world around you through the veil of the falling water. There is a huge cave behind the waterfall and the trail runs right through it.
But there is another secret to Horseshoe Falls – at night it turns into a glow worm wonderland. There are hundreds if not thousands of glow worms living in the cave, and if you stay at the falls after sunset you will see the cave light up like the starry sky. It is an absolutely magical sight. Check my guide for details on visiting Horseshoe Falls in Hazelbrook.
Burgess Falls, Hazelbrook
Walking time – 1hr 30min (2.8km return).
Burgess Falls is an idyllic waterfall at the end of the Horseshoe Falls walking track in Hazelbroom, about a kilometer away from Horseshoe Falls (see above). It is a very pretty setting and the wall behind the waterfall is covered with ferns.
You could either view Burgess Falls from the large rock at the end of the trail, or you could scramble over the boulders in the creek (nothing too serious) and get to the sandy bank that surrounds the little pool at the bottom of the falls.
Burgess Falls are not marked on Google maps. Have a look at my guide to Horseshoe Falls walking trail for details about this walk.
Pool of Siloam, Leura
Walking time – 20-30 min (450 meters). Location on the map.
The Pool of Siloam is an unexpected oasis deep within a sandstone gorge. As Gordon Creek cascades over a rocky outcrop it flows into a scenic pool at its base that’s framed by sandy banks and fern-covered cliff faces.
It takes a bit of effort to descend from Gordon Falls Reserve at the top of the escarpment to the pool along a steep trail, and the tranquil beauty of the Pool of Siloam is all the more welcome after the trek. The walk from Gordon Falls Reserve, while steep is not very long – it’s only 450 meters. You can read my guide to Gordon Falls to Pool of Siloam walk here.
Lyrebird Dell Waterfall, Leura
Walking time -15 min (500 meters). Location on the map.
This lovely waterfall on Gordon Creek is so much a hidden gem that it doesn’t even have a name. Those who know about it refer to it as Lyrebird Dell waterfall since it’s located in the lovely Lyrebird Dell. The waterfall is not much more than a trickle (although it flows all year round), but its setting is so scenic that it became one of my favourite spots in the Blue Mountains.
It is located at the end, or the start, of Lyrebird Dell walking track (depending on which direction you walk the trail). The waterfall and the scenic pool at its base are not visible from the trail until you are right in front of them, so there is some sense of discovery to finding Lyrebird Dell waterfall.
Or for a shorter walk, you can reach Lyrebird Dell by a 500-meter walk via Lone Pine Track from Gordon Falls Reserve.
There is a feeling of a secret oasis to this waterfall and since this trail doesn’t get busy even on the weekends, there is a good chance that you’ll have the waterfall to yourself. You can read my guide to walking the Lyrebird Dell trail here.
South Lawson Waterfalls, Lawson
Walking time – 1hr 30min (2.8km loop). Location on the map.
The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk is another less-known walk in the Blue Mountains. This short (2.8km circuit) walk takes you past 5 different waterfalls (in order) Adelina, Junction, Federal, Unnamed and Cataract Falls. These are not the biggest waterfalls in the Blue Mountains, but they are very scenic. You can read my guide to the South Lawson waterfalls circuit walk here.
The most picturesque of the five waterfalls is probably Junction Falls. They cascade in multiple streams over a set of sandstone terraces creating a natural watery amphitheatre. But the most interesting falls on this trail is Cataract Falls. It is another waterfall with a small cave behind it. It’s not as big a cave as at Horseshoe Falls – you can’t stand in it to your full height. But if you are happy to crouch down and make your way to the cave, you can sit on the rocks and look at the forest through the veil of falling water.
Linda Falls, Katoomba
Walking time – 3hrs (4.8km return). Location on the map.
Linda Falls is an atmospheric little waterfall hidden away along the Dardenelles Pass trail. As Linda Creek makes its way down from the top of the escarpment it flows as Linda Falls and then as Marguerite Cascades down the trail. The Dardenelles Pass is quite a steep trail and the falls provide the perfect opportunity to have a break in a tranquil setting. Check my guide to the Giant Stairway and Dardenelles Pass trail here for details on visiting Linda Falls.
Marguerite Cascades, Katoomba
Also fed by Linda Creek, Marguerite Cascades are located downstream from Linda Falls along the Dardenelles Pass trail. Thanks to the runoff from the clifftops, the creek never really dries up, even during the hot and dry summer months. The cascades flow over sandstone shelves into a shallow pool fringed by the ancient-looking ferns. Check my guide to the Giant Stairway and Dardenelles Pass trail here.