America Bay walking track

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Overview

America Bay walking track offers a moderately difficult walk and a great day trip from Sydney with waterfalls, picnicking and Aboriginal engravings in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Where
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Distance
1.8km return
Time suggested
1 - 2hrs
Grade
Grade 3
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch.

A great walk through iconic Australian bushland in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, America Bay walking track is a lovely spot for a remote picnic and you won’t believe you’re only an hour from Sydney city. The track follows a sandstone ridgeline from West Head Road down to America Bay, near the mouth of the Hawkesbury River.

Not far from the beginning of this moderate track, a short detour reveals some fascinating Aboriginal rock engravings on a sandstone shelf. Back on the main track, you’ll descend gradually though woodlands of scribbly gum and bloodwood to a tinkering creek. Follow the stream to a rock platform overlooking scenic America Bay with views across Cowan Water. Here, a small picturesque waterfall cascades over the escarpment. Roll out the picnic blanket in your own private bushland setting. 

Take a virtual tour of America Bay walking track captured with Google Street View Trekker.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/america-bay-walking-track/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about America Bay walking track.

Track grading

Grade 3

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    1 - 2hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    1.8km return

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

America Bay walking track is in the West Head and Basin precincts of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. To get there, follow West Head Road off McCarrs Creek Road.

Parking

Parking is available at along West Head Road.

Best times to visit

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park offers an exceptional visit all year round. You're sure to find a walk, tour, activity or attraction to appeal, regardless of the season.

Spring

If you're interested in wildflower displays, set aside a day in August or September to stroll through the park's blooming heathlands.

Summer

Bring your fishing gear and go camping at The Basin.

Winter

Barrenjoey Head (on the other side of Pittwater, but still in the park) is an excellent spot for whale watching. Take the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk between May and August or celebrate International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend in August.

Facilities

Toilets and picnic facilities are located at Resolute picnic area in West Head

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

Prohibited

Gathering firewood

Gathering firewood and the use of heat beads is not permitted.

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the OEH pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Visitor centre

Learn more

America Bay walking track is in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A great location to run, row or ride

West Head lookout, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is situated within the Sydney Metropolitan Area, 20km north of the Sydney CBD. The park runs from St Ives to the shores of the Hawkesbury River at Brooklyn. The 14,882ha park also includes the stunning Barrenjoey Head, 1km across Pittwater at Palm Beach. Multiple entry points offer easy access – one of the many reasons this park is so popular with locals. With everything from jogging tracks to picnic areas and great places to whalewatch, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is excellent for outdoor activity. Hire paddle boats from Bobbin Inn, walk the Gibberagong track, horse ride the Perimeter trail or cycle from Mt Colah to Pymble station.

  • Akuna Bay Boating enthusiasts love Akuna Bay. Use the public barbecue and enjoy a picnic at Akuna Bay Marina. It's the ideal spot to recharge after you've been out sailing.
  • Bobbin Head Visit Bobbin Head picnic area in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and enjoy a barbecue or a spot of fishing. Go canoeing or hire a paddle boat for a great daytrip from Sydney.

A rich Aboriginal heritage

Aboriginal engravings in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

The Guringai Aboriginal people originally inhabited the area, and the park showcases their rich cultural heritage. More than 350 Aboriginal sites have been recorded in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. They include rock engravings, burial sites, axe grinding grooves and places that show evidence of Aboriginal occupation. For many visitors, these sites and other relics are the most visible reminders of the area's rich, living Aboriginal culture.

  • Aboriginal Heritage walk Take the fascinating Aboriginal Heritage walk highlighting rock art and engravings of the Guringai people of West Head in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
  • The Basin track and Mackerel track The Basin track and Mackerel track offer stunning ocean views, as well as one of Sydney's best Aboriginal Art sites. You can also enjoy a picnic and swim, or catch a ferry to other scenic spots on Pittwater.

Brilliant for birdwatchers

Wildflowers in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

Over 160 bird species have been recorded in the park so bring those binoculars to see wood ducks, crimson rosellas, wedge-tailed eagles and pelicans. The Basin campground is home to some confident kookaburras, so keep a tight hold on your lunch.

  • Waratah walking track The long, yet gentle, Waratah walking track takes in wildflowers and scenic water views over Akuna and Yeomens Bay in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
  • WilderQuest keep your cool Don't mind getting wet these school holidays? Head to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to join this WilderQuest adventure, and discover the tricks of wildlife for staying cool in summer.

Wonderful waterways

Views from Barrenjoey headland, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

Protecting a major part of northern Sydney’s waterways, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is the ideal place to make a splash. The park includes much of the Hawkesbury River, Pittwater and Cowan Water, plus numerous creeks and coves. You’ll find good facilities at Empire Marina, amazing sea views at Barrenjoey Head and several good spots for a waterfront picnic.

  • Gibberagong track mangrove and woodland walk Set out on this 1hr walk along Gibberagong track in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. You'll follow a boardwalk through mangroves and woodlands that overlook a scenic waterhole. 
  • The Basin track and Mackerel track The Basin track and Mackerel track offer stunning ocean views, as well as one of Sydney's best Aboriginal Art sites. You can also enjoy a picnic and swim, or catch a ferry to other scenic spots on Pittwater.
  • West Head lookout Enjoy incredible views from West Head lookout, regarded as one of Sydney's best in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photograph Pittwater and Barrenjoey Head, or take a short walk from here.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Long-nosed bandicoot, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: Narelle King

    Long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta)

    A nocturnal marsupial and one of the smaller Australian native animals, the long-nosed bandicoot is found across eastern Australia. Populations in the Sydney region have dwindled since European settlement, leaving only endangered colonies in inner western Sydney and at North Head, near Manly. The long-nosed bandicoot has grey-brown fur and a pointed snout which it uses to forage for worms and insects.

  • White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: John Turbill

    White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

    White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed.

Plants

  • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

    Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

  • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

    An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

  • Scribbly gum. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Scribbly gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma)

    Easily identifiable Australian native plants, scribbly gum trees are found throughout NSW coastal plains and hills in the Sydney region. The most distinctive features of this eucalypt are the ‘scribbles’ made by moth larva as it tunnels between the layers of bark.

  • Grey mangrove. Photo: Shane Rumming

    Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina)

    Grey mangrove is the most common and widespread mangrove found within intertidal zones across Australia, and throughout the world. Growing to a height of 3-10m, they thrive best in estuaries with a mix of fresh and salt water. They excrete excess salt through their long thick leaves, and absorb oxygen through their aerial root system.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

America Bay track, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Photo: NSW Government