Ruined Castle Walk
Dharug & Gundungurra Country

3 h 30 min to 5 h

7.9 km
return

↑ 701 m
↓ -701 m

Hard track
Entering into the Jamison Valley via the popular Golden Staircase, this walk climbs one of the most recognisable landmarks in the Jamison Valley - The Ruined Castle. A beautiful rock formation that offers great views over the valley as far as Wentworth Falls and Katoomba. Explore some of the history of the coal mining in this part of the Jamison Valley. Let us begin by acknowledging the Dharug & Gundungurra people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. 
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Info sign at Golden stairs car park. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Botting's lookout. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Going under the cliffs along the Golden Staircase. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Heading around the hill. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
Going through the fern environment in the valley. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2008.
The sign at the Ruined Castle (Nth) Intersection. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2007.
Going up to the Ruined Castle. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2007.
The Ruined Castle. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2007.
Along the alternate route. | Photo by Matt McClelland (wildwalks), 2007.
Downloads GPX PDF

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Safer Bushwalks
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
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Getting There
Transport options and directions
Start At the intersection of Golden Stairs & Glenraphael Drive (-33.7344207,150.2823585)
Mode Car (There is free parking available.)
DirectionsFrom Cliff Drive, BMD
  • Turn on to Glenraphael Drive then drive for 1.9 km
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the Golden Stairs car park and information sign on Glenraphael Dr, the walk follows the 'Golden Stairs / To Federal Pass' sign along the narrow track. The track leads gently downhill past the black and yellow 'Warning - Sections of the Golden Stairs are unfenced and can be slippery when wet' sign, with the occasional glimpse out to Malaita Point and towards the Three Sisters. The walk soon heads down a few steep eroded sections of track and passes through a couple of switchbacks. The track then leads to a fenced rock platform signposted as 'Botting's L.O.'.....
Turn map Directions & comments
At the intersection of Golden Stairs & Glenraphael Drive Start heading along Golden Stairs (a walking track).
Find the Golden Stairs Car Park at the start.
After 35 m pass the sign (5 m on your left).
After another 80 m pass the car park (20 m on your right).
After another 70 m find the "Botting's Lookout" (5 m on your left).
Botting's Lookout
Botting's Lookout

Botting's Lookout offers great views over the Jamison Valley and the cliff line, including the Landslide, Malaita Point and the Golden Stairs. A plaque at the lookout states that the lookout was named after Walter Botting (1887-1985), a pioneer trail-maker of the Katoomba District.
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Botting's Lookout offers great views over the Jamison Valley and the cliff line, including the Landslide, Malaita Point and the Golden Stairs. A plaque at the lookout states that the lookout was named after Walter Botting (1887-1985), a pioneer trail-maker of the Katoomba District.

After another 500 m (at the intersection of Federal Pass & Golden Stairs) turn sharp right, to head along Federal Pass.
After another 25 m pass the sign (on your right).
After another 1.7 km come to the camp site (10 m on your right).
Open fires are not allowed.
After another 660 m find the "Miners Campsite" (10 m on your right).
Miners Campsite
Miners Campsite

This flat campsite beside the Federal Pass walking track about 2.2km south of the intersection at the bottom of the Golden Stairs. There is short constructed stone wall left over from when there area was habited by miners. The campsite is surrounded by a tall forest, bracken ferns and some nice fern trees. There is no water or facilities.
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This flat campsite beside the Federal Pass walking track about 2.2km south of the intersection at the bottom of the Golden Stairs. There is short constructed stone wall left over from when there area was habited by miners. The campsite is surrounded by a tall forest, bracken ferns and some nice fern trees. There is no water or facilities.

The alternate route finishes here. Turn left to rejoin the main route at the 3.2 km waypoint. Details below.
After another 155 m (at the intersection of Ruined Castle Track & Federal Pass) veer right, to head along Ruined Castle Track.
After another 115 m pass the toilet (25 m on your left).
After another 60 m pass the sign (on your left).
Then find the "Northern Ruined Castle campsite" (10 m on your left).
Northern Ruined Castle campsite
Northern Ruined Castle campsite

A short distance south east of the intersection with the Federal Pass and the northern access track to the Ruined Castle, is a fairly large basic campsite. There are two main flat areas for camping, both with fire scares. The area is surround with tall trees and ferns. There is no water nor any other facilities.
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A short distance south east of the intersection with the Federal Pass and the northern access track to the Ruined Castle, is a fairly large basic campsite. There are two main flat areas for camping, both with fire scares. The area is surround with tall trees and ferns. There is no water nor any other facilities.

After another 95 m come to the camp site (on your right).
The starting point of an alternate route. An alternative route linking Ruined Castle to Northern Ruined Castle campsite. To take the alternate route continue straight here. Details below.
Continue another 440 m to find the end. Then turn around here and retrace the main route for 3.9 km to get back to the start.
About 15 m past the end is "The Ruined Castle".
The Ruined Castle
The Ruined Castle

A formation jutting out of the Jamison Valley, the Ruined Castle has great views of the Jamison Valley from Katoomba to Leura. It is also possible to see Mt Solitary to the south-east.
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A formation jutting out of the Jamison Valley, the Ruined Castle has great views of the Jamison Valley from Katoomba to Leura. It is also possible to see Mt Solitary to the south-east.

"The Ruined Castle".

An alternative route linking Ruined Castle to Northern Ruined Castle campsite.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start heading along Ruined Castle Track.
After another 360 m (at the intersection of Mount Solitary Walking Track & Ruined Castle Track) turn left, to head along Mount Solitary Walking Track.
After another 25 m pass the sign (on your left).
After another 420 m find the "Ruined Castle mine campsite" (10 m on your right).
Ruined Castle mine campsite
Ruined Castle mine campsite

This campsite is almost due east of Ruined Castle, just off the track that leads around the base of hill. The campsite is down a short but steep bank near the site of an old mine. The are a few campsites scattered along the flat area, mostly surrounded by some tall stringy barks. There are a few fire scars and some filtered valley views. A pleasant spot to stay. There was once a water spring nearby, but this is no longer reliable, you will need to carry in your own water.
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This campsite is almost due east of Ruined Castle, just off the track that leads around the base of hill. The campsite is down a short but steep bank near the site of an old mine. The are a few campsites scattered along the flat area, mostly surrounded by some tall stringy barks. There are a few fire scars and some filtered valley views. A pleasant spot to stay. There was once a water spring nearby, but this is no longer reliable, you will need to carry in your own water.

Then pass the toilet (10 m on your left).
Then pass the shelter (20 m on your right).
After another 30 m pass the picnic table (15 m on your right).
After another 35 m pass the "Ruined Castle campsite" (10 m on your right).
After another 440 m come to a toilet.
The end.
"Northern Ruined Castle campsite".
Northern Ruined Castle campsite
Northern Ruined Castle campsite

A short distance south east of the intersection with the Federal Pass and the northern access track to the Ruined Castle, is a fairly large basic campsite. There are two main flat areas for camping, both with fire scares. The area is surround with tall trees and ferns. There is no water nor any other facilities.
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A short distance south east of the intersection with the Federal Pass and the northern access track to the Ruined Castle, is a fairly large basic campsite. There are two main flat areas for camping, both with fire scares. The area is surround with tall trees and ferns. There is no water nor any other facilities.

A sign.
At the end of this alternate route, rejoin the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Ruined Castle Walk


Grading
Class 4/6
Hard track
Length 7.9 km
Time 3 h 30 min to 5 h
Quality of track Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Gradient Very steep (4/6)
Signage Minimal directional signs (4/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities, not all cliffs are fenced (3/6)
Experience Required Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Weather Foretasted & unexpected storms and severe weather may impact on navigation and safety (4/6)

Some facilities on route
Campsite: There are 5 on route, on average they are 1.6 km apart with the largest gap of 4.8 km.

Shelter: There is one 3.9 km (plus an extra 800 m along side route) from the start.

Toilet: There are 2 on route, on average they are 3.2 km apart with the largest gap of 4.8 km.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Camp site
2.4 km[camp site]
Campsite
3.1 kmMiners Campsite
Toilet
3.4 km[toilet]
Campsite
3.4 kmNorthern Ruined Castle campsite
Camp site
3.5 km[camp site]
Campsite
3.9 kmRuined Castle mine campsite
Toilet
3.9 km[toilet]
Shelter
3.9 km[shelter]
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