We are excited to welcome Brendan Davies as our newest brand ambassador. The four time Male Ultra Runner of the Year has been putting our gear to the test on the trails as he prepares for this year’s Ultra Trail Australia in May.
Brendan has put together his list of top 10 trail runs in the stunning Blue Mountains.
The City of the Blue Mountains is unique in that it lies entirely within a World Heritage Listed National Park. This affords us a multitude of recreational possibilities, many within close proximity to the villages and road networks.
Living smack bang in the middle at Woodford, I’ve had the opportunity over the years to explore and discover many of the beautiful trails, ranging from the very easy to very challenging.
One thing remains common, if the run doesn’t, the views and the scenery will certainly leave you breathless.
These are my top trail runs, from the bottom of the mountains right to the top:
1. Glenbrook: Campfire Creek to Red Hands Cave return via Link Track
A really sweet, flowing piece of single trail takes runners past the cool and subtropical environment of Campfire Creek, leading up to the significant indigenous site of Red Hands Cave. Once at Red Hands Cave carpark, return via the Link Track for a change of scenery before hooking back onto Campfire Creek for the return to the start for 8km.
2. Winmalee: Blue Gum Swamp/Shaws Ridge Trail Loop
Starting at the end of White Cross Rd at Winmalee, this pleasant 8km loop takes you through old growth Blue Gum forests on mostly single track. If done in the preferred clockwise direction, at the 4km point there is an option to add the challenging Bees Nest Hill out and back to your plans. Take a short right at the top of the hill to Grose Head South Lookout for a superb view through the lower Grose Valley. Continue around the loop, which eventually turns into Shaws Ridge Firetrail and back to the start.
3. Springwood: Sassafras Gully and Magdala Track Loop
Starting at the end of Sassafras Gully Rd, this lovely loop of approximately 9km meanders along and over a number of small creeks to the Perch Ponds junction. Look out for places to have a dip! The track then travels past Martins and Magdala Fallls which while small, are typically beautiful. The loop ends on the Magdala Track which takes you to Springwood Ave before a small road run back to the start.
4. Faulconbridge Ridge Trail to Fauconbridge Point return
A classic Blue Mountains firetrail run. This is a 13.5km out and back course on reasonably flat firetrail; the reward at the turnaround is an eye popping view of the Grose Valley to the West, North and East to the Hawkesbury. For those more adventurous souls, take the small side track 1km from the turnaround for a drop down to the Grose River. Just be aware that what goes down must come back up!
5. Woodford: Oaks Fire Trail
A favourite of Mountain bikers and trail runners alike, this is another classic firetrail course, starting at Woodford Station and travelling downhill to Glenbrook Station, 27km away. While it is possible to run this in reverse, I highly recommend starting at Woodford to get the most gravity assistance you can get! Make sure you recover over a coffee and some top food at Café 2773 in Glenbrook where the owner is a keen trail runner too.
6: Hazlebrook/Lawson: Terrace Falls and Four Waterfalls Loop
A joining up of a number of different trails, this can be done as per the map for 9km or if you’re after a shorter run, can be broken up into two parts. While this route is only 9km in total, don’t underestimate it with the majority of it on tricky singletrack. The waterfalls are abundant on this route and will leave you feeling reenergised in mind and spirit.
7: Wentworth Falls: Charles Darwin Walk, National Pass and Nature Track Loop
A 12km loop that can be both shortened or extended according to taste. Start at Wilson Park on the Charles Darwin Track and follow Jamison Creek to Wentworth Falls. On the way look for crayfish and turtles in the creek. Once you’ve taken your photos at Wentworth Falls, hook onto the National Pass, which is in my opinion the most beautiful and breathtakingly stunning trail in the Blue Mountains. For an extension, take the Nature Track back around to Conservation Hut before returning via the Short Cut Track back to Charles Darwin Walk.
8. Leura: Lockley Pylon Loop
Drive on Mt Hay Rd to the Trail Head for this relatively short but stunning 7km return trail. This trail takes you past the unusual Pinnacles rock formations and out to the flat topped Lockley Pylon, affording you the most magnificent views of the Grose Valley. This run can be extended for the more experienced and adventurous by descending down from the Pylon via Daufur Head into the Grose Valley.
9: Katoomba: 6 Foot Track
The classic 45km route, steeped in history, leads runners from the Explorers Tree in Katoomba to the world-renowned Jenolan Caves. Along the way you’ll cross cow paddocks, raging rivers and climb some mighty hills.
10: Blackheath: Grand Canyon via Rodriguez Pass and Cliff Top Track Loop
An absolutely stunning walk or run that will leave you thinking you’ve been into another world. Wild, wet and steep, this is a route you will remember forever. This route can be shortened by not taking Rodrigues Pass and the arduous Govetts Leap climb. The real hero is the Grand Canyon section, it’s spectacular in every way.