10 Top Dog-Friendly Walks in the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is a popular hiking destination close to Sydney. And just because you have a dog, doesn’t meant you have to miss out. While some of the most famous hikes in the region are out of bounds inside national parks, there’s still plenty of dog-friendly walks in the Blue Mountains.

Take your pick from these dog-friendly walks located throughout the Blue Mountains, from adventurous hikes to some spectacular waterfalls, through to easy paved paths that are mud-free even after rain.

Dog-Friendly Walks Blue Mountains

#1 South Lawson Waterfall Loop, Lawson

Distance: 2.7km loop
Difficulty: Easy-Medium (Unsealed with a chance of mud, some stairs)

One of the most popular dog-friendly walks in the Blue Mountains is the South Lawson Waterfall Loop Track. Despite being only a short 2.7km hike, this walk features not just one but four waterfalls, a delightful taste of the stunning scenery the Mountains are renown for.

Dog-friendly day trips Sydney
Cataract Falls is just one of the waterfalls along this walk

I recommend starting from the point marked as the “Five Waterfall Walk Southern Carpark” on Google. From here, you can complete a short 600m return walk to Cataract Falls, or the full 2.5.km loop visiting four beautiful waterfalls.

South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Walk
Setting out on the Waterfall Loop Walk

While mainly an easy walk, there are some tricky sections with steps, where smaller dogs might appreciate being carried. Also, there’s a metal mesh bridge near the souther carpark that some dogs will dislike, although there’s the option to detour via the creek.

This walking track is great any time of year. During the warmer months, there’s plenty of spots for dogs to have a splash in the creek. However, it might be best to skip after heavy rain, when it is likely to be muddy. Dogs should be kept on a leash, but many walkers allow dogs off-leash when no-one else is around.

Federal Falls
The stunning Federal Falls

NOTE: Since March 2022, a short section of the track after Federal Falls has been technically closed due to a rockfall. While I haven’t walked the track since then, many visitors report that it is easy to still continue pass this section.

#2 Katoomba Falls Night-Lit Walk, Katoomba

Distance: 1.3km loop
Difficulty: Easy (Fully paved, but some steps)

It can be difficult to work out which lookouts and walking tracks around Katoomba are in or not in the Blue Mountains National Park. While much of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk is in the national park, the section around Katoomba Falls in between the old Katoomba Falls Kiosk and the Cliff View Lookout is outside the national park, with dogs on a leash allowed.

Dog at Orphan Rock Lookout
Taking in the view from the Orphan Rock Lookout late afternoon

If you visit during the day, you’ll be treated to multiple lookouts, particularly on the western end of the walk. Take in views of Orphan Walk, the massive Jamison Valley below and of course Katoomba Falls. However, for a different experience, return when its getting dark, with the walkway lit up as the Katoomba Falls Night-Lit Walk.

Katoomba Falls Night-Lit Walk with Dog
The walkway is lit up from dusk

The lights switch on at dusk and stay on until 10:30pm, with leashed dogs still welcome to join you. The highlight of our visit after dark was Katoomba Cascades, which was prettily lit up with spotlights. Standing at Cliff View Lookout and gazing at the dark expanse of the valley below, without a single light, was also pretty awe-inspiring.

Katoomba Cascades Area Lit Up
The pretty area surrounding the Katoomba Cascades
Dog at Flood Lit Katoomba Cascades
The floodlit Katoomba Cascades after dark

The easiest spot to park is at the Katoomba Falls Reserve, with free parking next to the unmarked off-leash area on the partially fenced oval. The track is fully paved, except for one lookout, although there are some steps on the western path. Take note of the signs indicating the edge of the national park at the top of Furber Steps and after Cliff View Lookout.

#3 Minnehaha Falls Track, Katoomba

Distance: 2.6km return
Difficulty: Medium-hard (Unsealed, steep metal steps to the base of the falls)

The on-leash hike to Minnahaha Falls on the northern edge of Katoomba is becoming increasing popular with dog owners. But before attempting this hike with your dog, carefully consider whether this walk is suitable for you and your pup.

The first 900m of the walking track starting from the Minnehaha Reserve Carpark is fairly flat, although there are an increasing number of steps towards the end. After rain it can be quite wet underfoot, although it’s sandy rather than muddy soil. There are two side tracks to picnic spots along the creek, ideal for paddling on summer days.

Minnehaha Falls Track
The walking track to Minnehaha Falls starts relatively flat

At the 900m mark there is meant to be a lookout, but it is currently fenced off due to some serious erosion of the cliff face underneath the lookout. It’s still possible to take in views of the Falls from slightly further along the track.

Minnehaha Falls Lookout with Dog
Views of Minnehaha Falls from near the old lookout

However, after this point, the track descends sharply. There are a number of steep metal staircases, that are quite tricky to navigate. If you have a small dog like us, I recommend carrying your dog down the stairs, although be careful to grip onto the railing.

For larger dogs, consider whether your dog is agile enough to handle the stairs, otherwise, skip descending to the base. In either case, take your time and let other hikers pass you by.

Dog at Bottom of Minnehaha Falls
At the base of Minnehaha Falls

Your reward if you reach the bottom of the falls are stunning views of the falls and a popular swimming waterhole. Also be careful with your pup around the base of the falls, with some boulders to negotiate in the creek and sections of mud. Allow about 90 minutes for the complete hike.

#4 Sublime Point Lookout Walk, Leura

Distance: 350m return
Difficulty: Easy (Paved, but some steps)

One of the best dog-friendly lookouts in the Blue Mountains other than the ones at Katoomba is the Sublime Point Lookout. Jutting out into the Jamison Valley from the village of Leura, there are almost 360 degree views from this lookout.

Sublime Point with Dog
Views all around from Sublime Point

The lookout is reached by a short walkway, just the thing if you want a short stroll to stretch your legs. It’s mainly flat (but sloped), although there are some steps just before the actual lookout, accessed across a bridge.

It’s about a 5 minute walk from the carpark to the lookout, and there are even a few scenic picnic tables close to the tip of the point if you want to relax for awhile. Make sure you keep your dog on a leash, especially near cliff edges.

Sublime Lookout with Dog
The dog-friendly path to Sublime Point

#5 Knapsack Viaduct via Lapstone Zig Zag Trail, Glenbrook

Distance: 2.6km return
Difficulty: Medium (Unsealed, steps)

The town of Glenbrook is located in the lower Blue Mountains, not far past Penrith and just a 50 minute drive from the centre of Sydney. While the popular Jellybean Pool and Red Hands Cave are located within the Blue Mountains National Park, on the northern edge of the town is the dog-friendly Knapsack Reserve, with dogs on a leash allowed.

One of the most popular walks in the Knapsack Reserve is the Knapsack Viaduct via Lapstone Zig Zag Trail. This walking track starts at the end of Knapsack Street in Glenbrook, where there’s a small number of car parking spots. (Park further back up the street if it is parked out.)

Lapstone Zig-Zag Walking Track Sign
The start of the Lapstone Zig Zag Trail in Glenbrook

The trail is initially flat, before passing through an old railway siding and past the now fenced off Siding Lookout. It then begins to descend down towards the Knapsack Viaduct. This impressive heritage-listed sandstone bridge opened in 1867 was once part of the original train line over the Blue Mountains.

Knapstone Viaduct with Dog
Views of the Knapsack Viaduct from below

Follow the walking track down into the gully below the bridge, taking care to pick the right track (there’s multiple options at this point), then descend back up to the other side of the bridge. You can cross back over the bridge before taking a few steps back down to rejoin the Lapstone Zig Zag Trail to your starting point.

#6 Lennox Bridge Off-Leash Loop, Glenbrook

Distance: 1.0km
Difficulty: Easy (Unsealed, but mainly flat)

The Knapsack Viaduct isn’t the only famous bridge in the Knapsack Reserve. On the other side of the reserve is the Lennox Bridge. This sandstone bridge that was completed in 1832 is the oldest surviving stone arch bridge on mainland Australia, and was part of the Mitchells Pass route up into the Blue Mountains.

Lennox Bridge
The historic Lennox Bridge in Knapsack Reserve

Not as tall as the Viaduct, it’s still an interesting spot to visit. Note that you need to access the bridge and its carpark from the western side, with the narrow road to the east being one-way only, down to Emu Plains.

Of course, the interesting thing about visiting this spot with a dog is the adjacent walking track. A 1km-long loop on either side of the creek, this track is a rare off-leash walking track. Note that there is only a sign indicating the off-leash area on the western side of the bridge, the standard sign next to the carpark indicates dogs should be on a leash, which can be ignored.

Lennox Bridge Walk with Dog
Ignore the leash, this is an off-leash walking track!

The 24-hour off-leash area continues all the way down to Olivet Street in Blaxland. You can also access the walking track from this end, otherwise if starting from the carpark next to the bridge look out for the turn to your right near the bike jumps.

#7 Horseshoe Falls Walking Track, Hazelbrook

Distance: 1.4km to 3.4km return
Difficulty: Medium (Unsealed, with a high chance of mud)

When I recently visited the Blue Mountains with my dog, I ran out of time to check out the walking track to Horseshoe Falls. Which was probably just as well, as it had recently rained, and this walking track has a reputation for being very muddy, which I could see just from the start of it.

This walking track is located in the Horseshoe Falls Reserve in Hazelbrook, starting on Oaklands Road. Search for “Horseshoe Falls walking track”, with cars commonly parking on the grassy corner just past the start of the track. Dogs are required to be leashed.

Horseshoe Falls Reserve Sign
The start of the track to Horseshoe Falls

It’s about a 700m walk to Horseshoe Falls (longer than the 500m signposted). You’ll firstly pass Fairy Falls, before arriving at the taller Horseshoe Falls, which it’s possible to walk behind. Allow about 30 minutes for the return walk to these falls.

However, there are some more gorgeous waterfalls close by, so consider extending your walk to Oaklands Falls and Burgess Falls. Both of these falls are best seen after rain, otherwise they slow to a trickle. So if you brave the mud you’ll be rewarded with waterfalls!

It’s about a 3.4km return walk to Burgess Falls and back. Be aware there are some side tracks, including a different route to return from Horseshoe Falls, via the Glow Worm Nook Falls. (The glow worms are only visible after dark.)

#8 Wentworth Falls Lake Park, Wentworth Falls

Distance: 3.7km
Difficulty: Easy (Partially paved, mainly flat)

For a flat and easy walk in the Blue Mountains, without much chance of mud, head to Wentworth Falls Lake. This pretty dam is located north of the highway, on the other side of town from the famous Falls in the national park that are off-limits to dogs.

There’s plenty of parking alongside Sinclair Crescent, where there is a park with a playground and picnic area. For a short stroll with your pup, walk along the paved shared path through the park on this side of the lake, checking out the sculptures inspired by native plants along the way.

Wentworth Falls Lake Walking with Dog
The flat paved path passing the picnic ground

For a longer walk, complete the sizeable 3.7km loop walk around the lake. Just note that parts of the walk on the far side of the lake are along Banksia Road. There are plans to create a new loop walk that is fully within the reserve and avoids the road, plus it will include new accessible boardwalks, including one creating a shorter loop.

Dogs are welcome to enjoy a paddle within the waters of Wentworth Falls Lake. Just make sure you keep your dog on a leash, and away from waterbirds.

Dog at Wentworth Falls Lake
Dogs can enjoy a paddle in Wentworth Falls Lake

#9 South Lawson Park Long Walk, Lawson

Distance: 2.1km
Difficulty: Easy (Fully paved, wheelchair accessible)

Another great flat and easy dog-friendly walk in the Blue Mountains is at South Lawson Park. Once a former golf course, this large park in Lawson has been wonderfully redeveloped in recent years, with the addition of accessible sealed walking paths and a large fenced dog park in its centre.

The Long Walk is clearly signposted and loops all the way around the park, forming a 2.1km long loop walk. It’s possible to take a shortcut in the middle of the park, basically looping around the fenced dog park, for a 1.1km loop.

South Lawson Park Walking Track
Signposts for the Long Walk at South Lawson Park

Naturally, if you visit the park with a dog, you should spend some time in the fenced area, where dogs are allowed off-leash. (Dogs need to be leashed in the rest of the park.) There’s a mix of sealed and dirt paths inside, one with stepping stones, along with multiple gates. Perhaps cut through the park they continue along the Long Walk track with your dog.

South Lawson Park Dog Park Stepping Stones
Stepping stones inside the fenced dog park

#10 Hartley Historic Site Walk, Hartley

Distance: 1.8km
Difficulty: Easy-medium (Mainly paved, some slopes)

The historic village of Hartley on the far side of the Blue Mountains was once a major stopping point on the road to Bathurst. These days it’s looked after as an historic site by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, with dogs on a leash welcome to join you.

Hartley Courhouse with Dog
The rear of the historic courthouse
Hartley Historic Village Walking Track Signs
There’s multiple short walks around Hartley Historic Village

Around the village are a number of short walking tracks. Head up the short, sealed Heritage Track to Kew-Y-Ahn Bell Rock, a granite outcrop, for views over the village plus signs about the local history. I also particularly recommend the Rowsons River Walk, which includes a 200m long river boardwalk. The river walk is particularly pretty during early spring when the wattle is blooming.

Hartley Rowsons River Walk
Don’t miss the pretty River Boardwalk

This mapped walking route combines both of these two walking tracks, plus a walk around the small village and its historic buildings. It’s also possible to add on the short Sculpture Walk and the Great Western Road Walk up to the former Royal Hotel. The walks are well signposted, plus there’s maps onsite.

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

2 thoughts on “10 Top Dog-Friendly Walks in the Blue Mountains”

  1. Lovely posts. I really enjoyed the quaint shots of Schnitzel as I thumbed through your article. I’m excited to try a few of these out with Peanut, my 3.5kilo silky terrier. Ta~


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