Jenolan River walking track

Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve

Overview

Jenolan River walking track is all about scenic water views. Also called Working Waters walk, this is an easy bushwalk great for bird watching or swimming at Jenolan Caves.

Where
Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve
Distance
2.1km return
Time suggested
30min - 1hr
Grade
Grade 3
Price
Free
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen, suitable clothing
Please note
  • The weather in this area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit.
  • The section of road into Jenolan Valley is one-way from 11.45am to 1.15pm every day to allow coaches to enter Jenolan safely. Take Oberon Road if you’re leaving Jenolan between these times.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go bird watching

It’s hard not to feel energised by the abundant and pristine beauty that surrounds you on this gorgeous, easy walk at Jenolan Caves.

Suitable for almost everyone, and at any time of year, Jenolan River walking track is all about scenic water views. Beginning and ending from the eastern side of Grand Arch, the track rewards you with beautiful views of the river, lake, waterfalls and suspension bridge. You can even bring your gear to enjoy a dip in one of the swimming holes.

To make the most of this walk, why not pack some lunch to enjoy at the nearby waterfront picnic area? See if you can spot the trout ladder adjacent to the hydro hut or glimpse the Blue Lake’s resident platypus.

Birdwatchers are in for a treat with bellbirds, rock warblers and lyrebirds often spotted amongst the area’s diverse plant life, while kangaroos, wallabies and eastern water dragons are also never far away.

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 https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/jenolan-river-walking-track/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Jenolan River walking track.

Track grading

Grade 3

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

    30min - 1hr

  • Quality of markings

    Sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    2.1km return

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Jenolan River walking track is in Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve. To get there from Sydney:

    • Take M4 Motorway, then Great Western Highway over Blue Mountains to Hartley.
    • Turn off at Hartley onto Jenolan Caves Road
    • It’s approximately 45 minutes from here to the caves

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available at any of the 3 main carparks at Jenolan Caves. Designated disabled parking spots can be found adjacent to the Guides Office and behind Caves House. Bus parking is also available. It can be a busy place on the weekend, so parking might be limited.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.

    Autumn

    Treat your mum to a lavish Mother's Day Lunch in the award-winning Chisholm's Restaurant, add in an underground concert or guided tour for a double treat.

    Spring

    It's a great time of year to tackle the Six Foot track; you can camp overnight before finishing up at Jenolan Caves. Caves House is a great spot to enjoy a cuppa.

    Summer

    Escape the heat to the undergrond world of the caves on a guided tour and finish the day wit a picnicin one of the scenic spots around the reserve.

    Winter

    Experience Yulefest, an annual Blue Mountains tradition when Caves House offers Christmas-style festivities.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    14°C and 26°C

    Highest recorded

    37.5°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    0°C and 10°C

    Lowest recorded

    -5.6°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    January

    Driest month

    May

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    153.2mm

    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

    Pets

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

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Jenolan Caves (18 km)

    Scientists from the CSIRO (Commonwealth Science and Industrial Resource Organisation) estimate that the limestone at the Jenolan Caves dates back at least 340 million years.

    Katoomba (26 km)

    Katoomba is at the heart of most of the stunning natural attractions that make up the Blue Mountains National Park. You can admire deep valleys, sandstone plateaus, waterfalls and native animals from the many walking trails and lookouts near Katoomba.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Lithgow (30 km)

    Hassans Walls Lookout, near Lithgow, is the highest in the Blue Mountains. Admire Mt Wilson, Mt York, Mt Tarana and Mt Blaxland as well as the pretty Hartley Valley below. To the south are the Kanimbla and Megalong valley and Mt Bindo. While there, go for a walk or ride around the lookout.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Jenolan River walking track is in Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Binomil

    Stalagmites in Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve. Photo: Jenolan Caves Trust

    The beautiful and mysterious Jenolan Caves holds special significance to the Gundungurra people who knew it as 'Binoomea' meaning 'dark places'. According to Gundungurra Elder, Old Jimmy Lynch, Aboriginal people knew the caves, carrying sick people as far as the subterranean water which they believed to have great curative powers. The Dreamtime myth of Gurrangatch relates to the forming of Wombeyan and Jenolan Caves. The caves are said to have been formed during a contest between Gurrangatch, a mythical being that was part fish and part reptile, and Mirragan, a legendary tiger cat.

    Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

    Blue Lake track, Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve. Photo: Jenolan Caves Trust

    It is truly amazing to think that a city the size of Sydney has a large World Heritage Area on its doorstep. The World Heritage listing recognises the geographic, botanic and cultural values of the area. The forests of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area have been described as a natural laboratory for the evolution of eucalypts; and more than 90 different eucalypt species occur here, some 13 per cent of all eucalypt species in the world. They grow in a great variety of communities, from tall closed forests, through open forests and woodlands, to the stunted mallee shrublands on the plateaus.

    • Carlotta Arch walking track Also called Shaping Waters walk, Carlotta Arch walking track at Jenolan Caves offers a bird's-eye view of beautiful Blue Lake and is great for bird watching.

    Historic tourism

    Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve. Photo: David Hill

    Jenolan Caves is one of Australia's first tourist attractions; with land having first been set aside for public recreation and enjoyment in 1866. In the years following this, a number of buildings were constructed, the most notable being Caves House; an excellent example of early Victorian architecture and comfortable heritage accommodation. Innovations in engineering and cave lighting are evident - particularly in Chifley Cave. There are more than 300 caves within the Reserve, all containing a range of geological features and formations, like stalactites and stalagmites, plus rarer helictites and stromatolites The best way to find out about the caves is on a guided or self-guided tour. There are eleven caves to choose from.

    • McKeown Valley walking track Take McKeown Valley walking track, or Healing Waters walk, to experience the Jenolan Caves area and surface karst features within Blue Mountains.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Eastern bentwing bat. Photo: Ken Stepnell

      Eastern bentwing-bat (Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis)

      In colonies numbering up to 150,000, eastern bentwing-bats congregate in caves across the east and north-west coasts of Australia. These small Australian animals weigh around 13-17g and can reach speeds of up to 50km per hour. Eastern bentwing-bats use both sight and echolocation to catch small insects mid-air.

    • Platypus climbing on to a submerged tree branch. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

      Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

      One of the most fascinating and unusual Australian animals, the duck-billed platypus, along with the echidna, are the only known monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, in existence. The platypus is generally found in permanent river systems and lakes in southern and eastern NSW and east and west of the Great Dividing Range.

    • Brush tail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

      Common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

      One of the most widespread of Australian tree-dwelling marsupials, the common brushtail possum is found across most of NSW in woodlands, rainforests and urban areas. With strong claws, a prehensile tail and opposable digits, these native Australian animals are well-adapted for life amongst the trees.

    • Common wombat. Photo: Ingo Oeland

      Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

      A large, squat marsupial, the Australian common wombat is a burrowing mammal found in coastal forests and mountain ranges across NSW and Victoria. The only other remaining species of wombat in NSW, the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat, was considered extinct until relatively recently.

    • Short-beaked echidna in Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

      Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

      One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    Jenolan River walking track, Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve. Photo: Jenolan Caves Trust