Hike to Hanging Rock
Hanging Rock (no not that one) is so-called for the way it 'hangs' off the ridge line overlooking the Grose Valley wilderness at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains.
To get to the tip of Hanging Rock you need to jump the metre or so gap between the main cliff and the great chunk of rock 'hanging' from the cliff. Now, a metre or so might ordinarily not seem far at all, but if you don't land this particular leap... well, it's a long way down.
This scenic spot attracts all sorts — bushwalkers, bike riders, photographers, tourists, campers, thrill-seekers (rock climbing and abseiling is permitted, but base jumping, rope swinging, and slack lining is prohibited — but you don't need to tangle yourself up in ropes swinging from the cliff edge to get a kick out of this incredible place).
Day Hike to Hanging Rock
Hanging Rock is accessed via the Burramoko Ride trail. The walk from Blackheath out along Burramoko Ridge trail to Baltzer Lookout (which overlooks Hanging Rock) is pleasant — offering wildflowers, birds, and valley glimpses from the tree-lined rocky plateau — but this is one of those times when it actually is about the destination, not the journey. The showstopper scene on this Blue Mountain's hike is the awe-inspiring Hanging Rock at the trail's end.
Burramoko Ridge Trail
Walking Burramoko Ridge trail can easily be done in half a day or less. From Blackheath Station, you make your way along the Great Western Highway before turning into Ridgewell Rd, which becomes the Burramoko Ridge trail.
Burramoko trail is a management and cycle route which makes for quite a straightforward walk. You won't lose the trail, it's well marked, and wide.
Baltzer Lookout and Hanging Rock
Once you reach Baltzer Lookout there’s a little bit of rocky scrambling down the track to score a view of Hanging Rock, but provided you're reasonably fit and don't have bad knees or similar injuries to contend with, it's manageable.
Because this trail is recommended by NSW National Parks Service as a cycle trail, you'll want to keep an eye out and stick to the side of the track if you're walking in, to give space to cyclists as they zip by.
All up you're looking at a return distance of 14km if you walk from Blackheath train station along the Burramoko Ridge trail to Baltzer Lookout and Hanging Rock. If you drive, you can knock a few kilometres off that distance by heading down Ridgewell Rd, parking at the locked gate, and walking in from there. Keep in mind that once you set out, there's no water or other facilities on this route so you'll want to get yourself sorted before leaving Blackheath town centre.
The day I did Hanging Rock, I arrived into Blackheath on one of the first trains from the city. After grabbing a quick breakfast at Anonymous Cafe, I set off on the trail. On my walk in I saw quite a few people cycling, but once I got to Baltzer Lookout and Hanging Rock I had the spot all to myself for the hour or so that I was there. Soaking up the quiet magnificence of the valley, the fresh mountain air, and the awe-inspiring views the Blue Mountains are known for made the 5am alarm on a Saturday well worth the effort.