Grose Valley (NSW)


Overview

Located deep within Blue Mountains National Park, the Grose Valley is one of the major bushwalking destinations of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Accessible from a number of entry points, the extended walk through the valley from Mt Victoria to Blackheath via the Blue Gum Forest and Rodriguez Pass is known by many names (Grose Valley, Mt Victoria to Blackheath via Blue Gum Forest and the clumsy Mt Victoria-Burra Korain Blue Gum-Rodriguez Pass-Cliff Top Walk Tracks amongst others) but whatever the preferred name, this is a classic walk of the region. 



Starting at Mt Victoria, the walk follows a steep descent into the valley via the impressive Victoria Falls and then spends most of its first day exploring following the Grose River to the famous Blue Gum Forest for an overnight at Acacia Flats. 


The next day, the w
alk leaves the valley via the arduous Rodriguez Pass as it joins onto the Grand Canyon and then follows the Cliff Top Walk to Govetts Leap. All up, it provides an incredibly scenic mix of valley views from almost every angle that provides a more immersive experience than the popular tourist-centric locations like the Three Sisters and Scenic World. 



Compared to the world class Great/Iconic Walk-style infrastructure on the Royal Coast Track, the Grose Valley provides a far wilder overnight experience for a walk close to Sydney. While the track is generally clear enough to follow, the trail is rough, slightly overgrown and makes it way though rivers with little concessions to those who prefer the comfort of walking in dry shoes. Signage only appears at major intersections, and walkers will need to be experienced with navigation.


The climb out of the valley along the Rodriguez Pass is also relentless as it features a 500 metres vertical gain in less than 2 kilometres and a section that requires holding onto a cable to get through a section of sheer cliff where the track has eroded away. 




All this challenge is made up for by Blue Mountains rainforest scenery that will please anyone who has done the Grand Canyon Walk in Blackheath but are looking for something wilder and with much fewer tourists. 



Our Grose Valley Adventure (2019)

Alissa and I did the classic Grose Valley walk in July 2019, starting the walk the day after completing the Royal Coast Track and finishing on July 10th. Our route and itinerary were taken from John Chapman and Monica Chapman's Bushwalking in Australia - the same guide previously used for the Wilsons Promontory Southern Circuit. While online track notes exist and Bushwalking in Australia has not been updated since 2003(!), this still is an indispensable guidebook that offers excellent value for money given it provides notes for this walk, Wilsons Prom, the Overland Track and the Thorsborne Trail amongst many others. 

It should be noted that this is wild walk that is for the most part far away from the main tourist attractions; before the trail joins onto the Grand Canyon, Alissa and I would have encountered less than 10 people all up in the valley!  Due to the steepness of Rodriguez Pass and the isolated nature of the area, the Grose Valley is best for self-sufficient and experienced hikers who enjoy a bit of a challenge. Walkers with less experience living in the Sydney area would be better off cutting their teeth on a easier walk like the Royal Coast Track before attempting the Grose Valley. 

While there are a number of formal and informal campsites throughout the valley, Acacia Flats is the recommended site as it features toilets, beautiful Blue Gum forests and plenty of grassy flats that are perfect for setting up a tent. The overall standard of Acacia Flats was superior to the North Era campground on the Royal Coast Track - amazing considering the remoteness of Acacia Flats and the fact it is free while North Era required payment!

Unlike overnight major trails in Western Australia (Bibbulmun Track, Cape to Cape Track), Acacia Flats does not have a water tank and walkers will need to either carry water in or source it from the creeks. As we did the hike in Winter, water was fairly reliable and we were able to fill up at Hordern Creek - John Chapman's recommend water collection point. If filling up from the river itself, walkers should be extra careful and definitely treat the water (we would advise water treatment all the time as a safety precaution).

As with the Royal Coast Track, each end of the Grose Valley Walk is reachable by public transport via the Blue Mountains line, although road walking is required from the train stations. From Mt Victoria Station, this is a boring 6 kilometre walk along the road to the start of the trail and as such we opted for a taxi right to the trailhead. At Govetts Leap, it is possible to time your visit with the bus that stops at the Blue Mountains Visitor Centre back into town, however the walk is not overly long and is at least rewarded by good food in Blackheath. 


Overall, the Grose Valley was a lovely walk with a great wilderness feel. The trail's many waterfalls, the river and creeks and the forests made for a scenic and enjoyable hike. The Rodriguez Pass section of the walk was arguably the most stunning and challenging part of the entire journey, and as a result left a memorable impression. While its challenge and more spartan facilities makes this a harder trail to recommend to just anyone, we would definitely recommend this walk to experienced hikers who are up for the challenge. 


The Sections

Grose Valley (NSW) - Mt Victoria to Acacia Flats

Day One of the classic Grose Valley overnight hike in the Blue Mountains, this day of hiking takes walkers from Mt Victoria to the campsite at Acacia Flats. Descending steeply into the valley, the walk passes by a series of spectacular waterfalls culminating in the epic Victoria Falls and then follows the stunning Grose River to the beautiful Blue Gum Forest. Finishing in the serene surrounds of Acacia Flats, this is an excellent first day ...

Grose Valley (NSW) - Acacia Flats to Blackheath


Day Two of the classic Grose Valley overnight hike in the Blue Mountains, this day of hiking takes walkers from Acacia Flats out of the valley to Blackheath. Leaving the Grose River to follow Govetts Creek, the track leads to Junction Rock before ascending the gruelling but beautiful Rodriguez Pass track to the Grand Canyon. Ascending out of the canyon and following the cliff tops, this is an epic and memorable day in the Blue Mountains...

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