Prince Henry Cliff Walk from Katoomba

There are times when a long, challenging hike is precisely what you’re up for… and there are other times when what you’re craving is a more low-key day of sunshine, lyre bird song, and fresh mountain air. One of the great joys of the Blue Mountains (and there are many) is that you don’t need always need to commit to a long, sweaty hike to get to spots with views like this…

View from Elysian Rock on the Prince Henry Cliff walk in the Blue Mountains.

View from Elysian Rock on the Prince Henry Cliff walk in the Blue Mountains.

The Prince Henry Cliff walk is the ~7km track along the edge of the valley between Katoomba and Leura. While there’s some gentle ascents and a few steps (this is the mountains) it’s a relatively easy and straight-forward walk.

The views across the Jamison Valley can be taken in along the majority of the track and at any of the approximately 20 lookouts along the way. You can walk the entire track in about 3 hours, or wander along a shorter stretch of it — there are plenty of opportunities to enter or leave the track, which runs mostly parrallel to Cliff Drive.

Bridal Veil Lookout, one of the many lookouts dotted along the cliff walk between Katoomba and Leura.

Bridal Veil Lookout, one of the many lookouts dotted along the cliff walk between Katoomba and Leura.

For more than 80 years now people have made their way along this track, which was constructed in the 1930s.

This municipally funded attempt to establish a track, comfortable walking for pedestrians of all ages and conditions, linking many of the cardinal attractions of the Jamison Valley escarpment at Leura and Katoomba, is a significant historic token of the efforts to repair the Mountains economy and to serve a public need after the worst of the Depression of the early 1930s. The long track has considerable historic significance at the local level.
— NSW Environment & Heritage

The idea for the walk came in 1926 with an approach from some landholders to the local Council for the resumption of sections of cliff frontage to be “reserved in perpetuity for the people” (The Katoomba Daily, Sat 16 May 1936, via Trove).

When the Council realised it didn’t have sufficient funds to buy the land, it approached the state government for assistance. A plan was made for the Council to resume “just sufficient land for the walk, leaving the balance to the owners, who would have access to the frontages” (The Katoomba Daily, Sat 16 May 1936, via Trove).

The track was officially opened in 1934. The Katoomba Daily shared news of its opening under the headline “Another splendid achievement in scenic development”.

The district which is embraced within this municipality is a heritage — a bequest which Katoomba holds in trust for the whole of Australia ... A district which belongs to all who may have the good fortune to see and marvel at its beauties...
— Hon. E. S. Spooner, Minister for Local Government

The track is named after Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, a son of King George V (Blue Mountains Geographical Encyclopaedia, p. 406). “Katoomba will have its permanent memory of the visit to New South Wales of the Duke of Gloucester, in the construction of what is claimed to be the longest cliff walk in the State, said the local news in reporting the track’s opening in 1934.

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The Prince Henry Cliff walk offers easy access to sweeping views of the Jamison Valley.

The Prince Henry Cliff walk offers easy access to sweeping views of the Jamison Valley.

You can spend time at more than 20 lookouts along the track between Katoomba and Leura.

You can spend time at more than 20 lookouts along the track between Katoomba and Leura.

The Prince Henry Cliff walk is a 7km track in the Blue Mountains.

The Prince Henry Cliff walk is a 7km track in the Blue Mountains.

You’ll spot these unique rock formations along the walk between Katoomba and Leura.

You’ll spot these unique rock formations along the walk between Katoomba and Leura.

Get ready to get excited about rocks.

Get ready to get excited about rocks.

En route to Gordon Falls (stand strong, battered sign!).

En route to Gordon Falls (stand strong, battered sign!).

Elysian Rock looks out over the valley near Leura.

Elysian Rock looks out over the valley near Leura.

One of the Blue Mountains many excellent sunset vantage points: Elysian Rock.

One of the Blue Mountains many excellent sunset vantage points: Elysian Rock.

Pack a picnic and pull up a pew and enjoy this view of the Blue Mountains near Leura.

Pack a picnic and pull up a pew and enjoy this view of the Blue Mountains near Leura.

At the Leura end of this track you’ll find a number of lookouts that are especially wonderful in the golden glow of late afternoon light. Olympian Rock, Elysian Rock, and Gordon Falls lookout — pack a picnic and time your walk to end at sunset: you’ll be rewarded at any of these spots. The return walk to Leura train station from here is about 25 minutes via Leura Mall.