Hiking Narrow Neck Plateau

12.4 Miles Round Trip - Out-and-Back Trail

Glenraphael Drive - Search Nearby - Added by Kate Ausburn

Hiking the length of the Narrow Neck Plateau offers the chance to experience epic views across the Megalong Valley and Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains National Park. This is an exhilarating day hike — and if you time it right, when you've hiked out you can settle in at a nearby look-out to watch the sunset over the escarpment you just spent the day traversing.

Where to start hiking Narrow Neck Plateau

Narrow Neck Plateau is at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. If you're driving, you'll head along Glenraphael Drive and park at the locked gate to begin your walk — from here, your walk will be about 20km return.

If you're coming via train, you can make Katoomba train station your starting point. The train journey from Central Sydney to Katoomba is about 2 hours. Once at Katoomba station you'll walk through Katoomba to Glenraphael Drive (~5km). Take care and look out for cars along Glenraphael Drive — it's open to vehicle access for the first couple of kilometres, after which you'll reach a locked gate. From the gate, it's just mountain bike riders and fellow walkers (and some keen trail runners). The walk from Katoomba train station is about 30km return.

The track

This track follows the length of a plateau ridge line between the Megalong Valley and Jamison Valley at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. The track is wide and easy to follow. It's not a loop track, so once you reach the end of the plateau, you'll be turning around and hiking back out the way you came.

While this track is straightforward, it is long and undulating. Remember, this is the mountains, so even though you're walking along an escarpment, it has some sharp climbs and descents — the best hint about the type of terrain on this walk is probably in the fact that NSW Parks designates this as a cycling route (rather than a hiking track). Don't let this deter you, with reasonable fitness this is a rewarding and achievable day hike.

The views

Walking along Narrow Neck will give you views of both the Megalong Valley (west) and the Jamison Valley (east) — these two valleys are part of the Blue Mountains National Park. Along the trail, you'll see Mount Solitary, rising from the Jamison Valley.

At the end of the plateau, you'll have sweeping views of the Blue Mountains and a glimpse of Lake Burragorang — a man-made reservoir that is part of Sydney's drinking water supply.

Facilities

The place to get food and water is in Katoomba itself. Once you reach Glenraphael Drive you'll have access to a couple of car parks. On the track itself, there is a toilet at the Fire Tower. At the end of the plateau, there's a picnic table — this is a great spot to enjoy lunch before walking back to Katoomba.

What to take

Be sure to take sufficient water — this walk is along a peninsula between two valleys and there is no water source along the way to refill your bottles. This is a long day hike so you'll want lunch and snacks to keep you going. There are many sections of the track that are exposed so you'll want to ensure you've got sun protection (sunblock, wide brim hat, sunglasses, etc). That said, be sure to check the forecast before you head out, the weather is quite changeable in the mountains and you'll be well served having some layers in your pack in case of rain, wind, or a quick drop in temperature.

When it comes to safety, mobile phone reception is patchy along the track so make sure someone knows about your trip — it's also a good idea to carry a PLB (you can hire one free at Katoomba police station).

Finally, you're rewarded with some sensational views of the Blue Mountains on this hike. Bring your camera or a battery pack to keep your phone charged so you can take pictures of your journey.

Where to view sunset, post-hike

For a truly breathtaking view of the plateau you just walked, head off Glenraphael Drive, around Cliff Drive and up to Cahill's Lookout. It's a 2km walk from Glenraphael Drive, and the view makes it well worth the additional kilometres. From Cahill's Lookout you get a view of the entire length of Narrow Neck Plateau, a view over the Megalong Valley, and glimpses across to the Jamison Valley on the other side of Narrow Neck. This lookout is a really fantastic sunset vantage point.

Alternative shorter walk on Narrow Neck plateau

If this track appeals to you, but the length is holding you back, you might like to consider the Castle Head track. It's a side-trail that comes off Narrow Neck, not too far past the locked gates. From Katoomba train station you hike to Glenraphael Drive, along the start of Narrow Neck track, looking out for the signposted left turn onto the Castle Head Track. This hike is around 16km return (with the train station as your starting point — it's shorter still if you drive in and park at one of the car parks on Glenraphael Drive).

Tags

Photography
Mountain Biking
Hiking
Scenic

Details

12.4 Miles
Out-and-Back Trail

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