Mount Banks Summit walk

Mount Wilson area in Blue Mountains National Park

Open, check current alerts 

Overview

For some of the best scenic views in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, try the steep Mount Banks Summit walk from the picnic area, near Mount Wilson.

Where
Mount Wilson area in Blue Mountains National Park
Distance
2.4km return
Time suggested
2 - 3hrs
Grade
Grade 3
Trip Intention Form

It's a good idea to let someone know where you're going. Fill in a trip intention form to send important details about your trip to your emergency contact.

If you're planning to loan a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) from one of these locations, wait and fill out your trip intention form in person.

Price
Free
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen, compass, gps, personal locator beacon, topographic map
Please note
  • The summit is unfenced so please take care and supervise children at all times.
  • For a longer 4.7km walk, loop back to the picnic area by connecting with Mount Banks Road cycle route 

For some of the most spectacular scenic views across Blue Mountains National Park, grab your camera and head for Mount Banks Summit walk, near Mount Wilson. The distinctive double hump of Mount Banks is visible for miles and this challenging walking track gives adventurous walkers the opportunity to explore it at close range.

From Mount Banks picnic area, you’ll ascend steeply and it’s not just the windswept dramatic landscape you’ll want to photograph. Near the unfenced summit you’ll discover a fascinating new world. The unique basalt cap is home to a tall forest of monkey gums, so named by early explorers who mistook resident greater gliders for monkeys.

Enjoy a well-earned break while taking in the magnificent panoramic views over the Grose Wilderness. From here you can truly appreciate the staggering diversity and immense beauty of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

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/mount-banks-summit-walk/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Mount Banks Summit walk.

Track grading

Grade 3

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

    2 - 3hrs

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Short steep hills

  • Distance

    2.4km return

  • Steps

    Many steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    Some bushwalking experience recommended

Getting there and parking

Mount Banks Summit walk is in the Mount Wilson area of Blue Mountains National Park. To get there:

  • From Richmond, drive west on the Bells Line of Road.
  • About 10km past Mount Tomah, take the signposted turnoff to Mount Banks picnic area.
  • Follow the unsealed road for 1km to the parking area, where the walk starts.

Road quality

  • Mixture of sealed and unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Mount Banks picnic area. It can be a busy place on weekends, so parking might be limited.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

  • Keep well back from cliff edges at all times, especially when taking photos.
  • There are no fences in this area so please take care and stay on marked tracks.
  • Weather in the Mount Banks area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit.

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).

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

Blackheath (51 km)

The magnificent Govetts Leap waterfall drops a whopping 180m to the base of the cliff. The 'ozone-laden' air of the Blue Mountains was promoted as a health tonic since the early 1800s, and when you get there, you'll realise why.

www.visitnsw.com

Katoomba (55 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 (56 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

Mount Banks Summit walk is in Mount Wilson area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A haven for plants and animals

Yellow flower of the drumstick shrub, Mount Banks summit walk, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: E Sheargold/OEH.

As you’d expect of an area named after famous botanist Sir Joseph Banks, Mount Banks has rich plant and animal life. Around 1,000 types of flowering plants call the park’s diverse environments home, including the NSW floral emblem—the waratah. Watch the vegetation change from open woodland to low-growing heath and bare rock as you walk to Mount Banks summit. At the summit, fertile basalt soil allows tall trees like monkey gums to grow. The trees were named by early European explorers who mistook the resident gliders for monkeys. On ridge tops you may see hanging swamps or the rare Blue Mountains cliff mallee tree, found only in the upper mountains on exposed cliff edges.

  • Mount Banks Summit walk For some of the best scenic views in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, try the steep Mount Banks Summit walk from the picnic area, near Mount Wilson.

Ancient landscapes

View of Mount Banks from Perrys Lookdown, in Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Steve Alton © Steve Alton and DPIE

The distinctive double hump of Mount Banks was formed by lava 12 to17 million years ago, during volcanic eruptions. While softer sandstone eroded over years to carve out the Grose Valley and rocky escarpments, thick basalt layers atop Mount Banks, Mount Tomah and Mount Wilson protected the sandstone underneath. The sheer Banks Wall, an exposed cliff face 510m high, provides a window into the geology of this area. It’s best viewed from Perrys Lookdown in the Blackheath area of the park.

  • Blue Mountains wilderness navigation training This exciting guided weekend in Blue Mountains National Park with MountainSphere Adventures and Education challenges you to boost your ability to navigate with a map and compass.
  • Mount Banks Road cycle route With scenic wilderness views, wildflowers and birdwatching, Mount Banks Road is a great mountain bike ride and walking track, near Mount Tomah, in Blue Mountains National Park.
  • Mount Banks Summit walk For some of the best scenic views in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, try the steep Mount Banks Summit walk from the picnic area, near Mount Wilson.

World-class wilderness

Du Faurs Rocks lookout views of Wollangambe wilderness, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: E Sheargold/OEH.

The Grose Wilderness is the only declared wilderness area in Blue Mountains National Park. The walks and cycle route at Mount Banks are some of the easiest ways to explore this protected area. At the heart of the Grose Wilderness is the magnificent Blue Gum Forest. This closed forest of tall blue gum trees is one of the most secluded areas in the Blue Mountains. It also played an important role in the beginnings of the park and conservation movement in NSW. In 1932, the forest was saved from the axe when a group of bushwalkers pooled their money to buy out the lease. Almost 100 years later, intrepid hikers can hike into this natural wonder via Pierces Pass, off Bells Line of Road. Near Mount Wilson, Du Faurs Rocks lookout offers views north into the Wollangambe and Wollemi wilderness areas.

  • Blue Mountains wilderness navigation training This exciting guided weekend in Blue Mountains National Park with MountainSphere Adventures and Education challenges you to boost your ability to navigate with a map and compass.
  • Mount Banks Road cycle route With scenic wilderness views, wildflowers and birdwatching, Mount Banks Road is a great mountain bike ride and walking track, near Mount Tomah, in Blue Mountains National Park.

Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

Grose Valley seen from Mount Banks Road trail, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: E Sheargold/OEH

Blue Mountains National Park is 1 of 8 national parks and reserves that make up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (GBMWHA). In 2000, UNESCO recognised the area's outstanding geology, biodiversity, and Aboriginal significance. The GBMWHA lies within the Country of the Darug, Gundungurra, Wiradjuri, Darkinjung, Wanaruah and Dharawal People. With 1 million hectares of rugged plateaux, sheer cliffs, deep gorges, it protects unique ecosystems teeming with rare plants and animals. Over 95 species of eucalypt trees have evolved here over millions of years, making it the most diverse eucalypt forest in the world. Greater Blue Mountains driving route is a great way to see this ancient wilderness right on Sydney doorstep.

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Sugar glider. Photo: Jeff Betteridge

    Sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps)

    The sugar glider is a tree-dwelling Australian native marsupial, found in tall eucalypt forests and woodlands along eastern NSW. The nocturnal sugar glider feeds on insects and birds, and satisfies its sweet tooth with nectar and pollens.

  • 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.

  • Yellow-tailed black cockatoo. Photo: Peter Sherratt

    Yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus)

    The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is one of the largest species of parrot. With dusty-black plumage, they have a yellow tail and cheek patch. They’re easily spotted while bird watching, as they feed on seeds in native forests and pine plantations.

  • Superb fairy wren. Photo: Ingo Oeland

    Superb fairy wren (Malurus cyaneus)

    The striking blue and black plumage of the adult male superb fairy wren makes for colourful bird watching across south-eastern Australia. The sociable superb fairy wrens, or blue wrens, are Australian birds living in groups consisting of a dominant male, mouse-brown female ‘jenny wrens’ and several tawny-brown juveniles.

  •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

    With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

  • Swamp wallaby in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

    The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

  • Wedge-tailed eagle. Photo: Kelly Nowak

    Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)

    With a wingspan of up to 2.5m, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km. If you’re bird watching, look out for the distinctive diamond-shaped tail of the eagle.

  • 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.

Plants

  • Blueberry ash. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)

    The blueberry ash is a rainforest shrub which produces blue olive-shaped berries and spectacular bell-shaped flowers, which often appear on the plant together. It is a tall slender shrub or small tree found in rainforest, tall eucalypt forest and coastal bushland in eastern NSW, south-east Queensland and Victoria.

  • Flannel flowers in Wollemi National Park. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    Flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi)

    The delicate flannel flower is so named because of the soft woolly feel of the plant. Growing in the NSW south coast region, extending to Narrabri in the Central West and up to south-east Queensland, its white or pink flowers bloom all year long, with an extra burst of colour in the spring.

  • 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.

  • Close up photo of a waratah flower, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Simone Cottrell/OEH.

    Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)

    The beautiful waratah is not only the NSW floral emblem, it's also one of the best-known Australian native plants. This iconic Australian bush flower can be found on sandstone ridges around Sydney, in nearby mountain ranges and on the NSW South Coast. The waratah has a vibrant crimson flowerhead, measuring up to 15cm across, and blossoms in spring.

  • 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.

  • Smooth-barked apple. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata)

    Smooth-barked apple gums, also known as Sydney red gum or rusty gum trees, are Australian native plants found along the NSW coast, and in the Sydney basin and parts of Queensland. Growing to heights of 15-30m, the russet-coloured angophoras shed their bark in spring to reveal spectacular new salmon-coloured bark.

Environments in this area

View of Grose Valley from Mount Banks carpark, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Steve Alton/OEH