A small peak overlooking Govett’s Gorge, Lockleys Pylon was named after J.G “Redgum” Lockley, a gardening columnist and conservationist who supported the efforts to protect the Blue Gum Forest. It’s also one of the access points for the Blue Gum Forest, 600 metres below in the Grose Valley.
This is my second walk out to Lockleys Pylon; the first time (almost exactly two years ago) I took the steep path down to Blue Gum Forest and this time I’m with my 9-year old daughter, so we only go as far as the “pylon”.
The condition of the Mount Hay Road is far worse than I remember it a couple of years ago, and I’m very happy to reach the “carpark” (it’s not really a car-park; there is space for 4-5 cars just off the road near the sign-posted track-head). Setting off down the relatively flat trail, we walk though fairly typical low forest and heath. After 2.5km the trees finish, and are replaced by low grasses. It feels as if we’ve suddenly been transported from the Blue Mountains to the alpine landscape of the Snowy Mountains.
Although we’re only just over half-way to Lockleys Pylon, it’s now visible in the distance, and we can now also see the Explorers Wall on the far side of the Grose Valley.
As we get closer to Lockleys Pylon, there’s a great view of the Fortress Creek Falls, and the Grose Gorge just beyond.
From the top of Lockleys Pylon, there are views in all directions, from Fortress Hill and Fortress Creek Falls, and in front of us to the north the track continuing down to Du Faur Head. The Grose Valley stretches out into the distance. Up to here, it’s a 3.5km hike with minimal elevation change (Lockleys Pylon is really a very gentle hill).
It’s a pretty impressive view… but it’s worth continuing a little further, as the views get even more dramatic. Another kilometre brings you to Du Faur Head, a rocky outcrop on the edge of the escarpment, named after Eccleston Du Faur (who played a major role in establishing Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park). From here you are looking directly down the Grose Valley, one of the most accessible wilderness areas for bushwalking.
Returning from here would make it a 9km round-trip.
The track now continues to the Blue Gum Forest, and is very steep, descending 500m down Shortridge Pass in just under two kilometres. The start of the steep track down is marked by a cairn, just before Du Faur Head (I missed it the first time and walked too far, before backtracking 50m and seeing the small cairn – at first glance it seems as if the track just drops vertically though a gap in the rocks!).
The track crosses Govetts Creek at the bottom, and meets the Junction Rock to Blue Gum walking track about 50m further. The Grose River is about 100m north-east and the Acacia Flat camping ground is less than a kilometre away.
From here you could continue straight ahead and up to Perrys Lookdown on the Perrys Track to finish at Blackheath (the shortest way out). Or you could extend the walk by returning via Pierces Pass, Rodriguez Pass or even the Grand Canyon – all of these would require a car-shuffle (or a self-driving car**). ** I’m future-proofing-my blog. 🙂
I head back the same way I came. The walk up is a lot harder than the walk down 🙂 In total the walk is just over 13km; on the way back there is a path that skirts around the western side of Lockleys Pylon.
To give you a different perspective, have a look at the video below – thanks to Josh Lorschy for the contribution! (https://youtu.be/NFdRkzrr_iU)
Side trip: Very close to the start of the Lockleys Pylon track (a few hundred metres along Mt Hay Road heading back toward Leura) is a short track up to Flat Top lookout. Although it’s only 500m (each way), after the hike to Lockleys Pylon it’s a little underwhelming…