Submitted By: Jacqui Hickson
Date Updated: 08/12/2021 at 11:06 am
Title: Leura Ridges above the Grose Valley
Location: Blue Mountains National Park off Mt Hay Rd Leura
Grade: Grade 4
Suitable for Membership qualifications: Yes
Creek Crossings: Yes
Walk Length: 13.5 (in km)
Ascent: 622 / Descent: 634 (in meters)
Exposure: Low Walk off-track: Yes Public Transport: Yes Car Shuffle: Yes
Walk starting point is on Mount Hay Road (which can be a little rough) and requires a car shuffle leaving cars at the Lockley Pylon track, which will be the end point. Alternatively, you can walk back along the road to the start point (see detail later). You can leave extra cars near the roundabout at the corner of Britain St and Mt Hay Rd. The walk can be easily timed to pick up train passengers at Leura.
The walk is mainly on clear tracks, with a bit of fire-trail and two steep scrambly offtrack ascents of 100 – 150m. Starting at Fortress Ridge trackhead, the first leg veers left from the main track to a view over Govetts Creek, Rodriguez Pass and Carne Walls, before backtracking slightly and descending to a watercourse leading towards Darks Cave. From the cave there is a short walk beyond the water supply drip/pool to another view overlooking the lower part of Arethusa Falls. This is a good place for an extended morning tea.
A short backtrack leads to the first of the scrambly ascents, following a faint pad before reaching the main Fortress Ridge track. From here there’s an easy walk to Fortress Hill and a short descent to a series of rocky platform overlooking the Grose Valley and the exit track for Fortress Canyon. Great lunch spot but no shade.
Return along Fortress Ridge to the turnoff to the well-used second canyoners’ entry track. (The first of these is off the section of the Fortress track that we bypassed.) Cross Fortress Creek and find a route via a slippery gully to a ridge which leads up to the Lockley Pylon Track. From here you can return to the cars which had been left at the Lockley Pylon Trackhead.
You can add another 3km to the walk by going out to Lockley Pylon and return (not included on this route) for amazing views of the Grose to the east, north and west. As mentioned all the cars could easily be left together rather than shuffle between the trackheads. From the Lockley TH to Fortress Ridge TH is roughly 1.5km with 30m ascent.
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