Carrol Trig to The Cascades

A wonderful loop walk that takes advantage of two “unofficial” tracks to descend to Middle Harbour Creek, with the majority of the walk along the Middle Harbour Creek Track between the Stepping Stones and The Cascades.

Two weeks ago I did a short bushwalk here in search of the Carrol Trig Station, which is easily spotted next to the fire trail. I also discovered a couple of trails, one of which was not on any of my maps, that seemed to enable an interesting loop walk down to Middle Harbour Creek. I’m back today to see if this loop is viable. Starting from Sir Thomas Mitchell Drive in Davidson, I head up the Carrol Fire Trail again. There’s a huge flock of white cockatoos that are feasting noisily on bird seed that’s covering the trail, and a bit further on a nice view of the city skyline.

I continue along the fire trail, past the Carrol Trig Station, to a large clearing where the trail is supposed to end. As I discovered last time I was here, an unofficial but very distinct track continues to descend through the forest.

It’s a nice walk, and the track is as good any “official” bushwalking trail. There’s occasional glimpses of the city skyline in the distance, and from time to time a view of houses in Davidson as the track passes near the end of Mathews Street.

I soon reach a large, rounded rock with a view across the valley, which is as far as I got to last time. The track descends steeply next to this rock.

There’s a couple of junctions; take the right-hand fork each time. (You can’t really go wrong as long as you keep heading down the hill, but it helps to have a GPS-enabled map as none of the tracks are sign-posted, other than occasional blue tape that seems to mark the route I’m taking.) I can hear the sounds of water not too far away, and soon the track crosses an unnamed creek.

After passing a few more boulders, the track crosses the stream again as it flows over a rock platform.

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Just before reaching the Middle Harbour Creek Track at the bottom of the valley, there’s another nice spot where the creek I’ve been following cascades over moss-covered rocks and into a shallow pool.

Reaching what must be the Middle Harbour Creek Track, I turn left to have a quick lool at some cascades that are marked on my map. (The track I’ve taken down from Carrol Trig joins the Middle Harbour Creek Track about 200m upstream of the Stepping Stones.)

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From here it’s fairly easy and very pleasant walking along Middle Harbour Creek, with the sandy track following the water fairly closely. The sun occasionally pokes through the tall canopy of Coachwood trees.

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A couple of hundred metres along the track is the first of a few sandy beaches along Middle Harbour Creek; although the water quality isn’t great (especially after heavy rain), it would make a nice swimming spot on a hot day.

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The track continues along the creek, past a few rock overhangs and through some larger boulders, which provide a brief change of scenery from the green ferns that line the path.

With the track never far from the creek, there’s many small cascades along the way; after about 800m there’s a particularly nice mini-waterfall afer the water flows over a rock platform and through a narrow channel.

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About half-way along the Middle Harbour Creek Track, there are some impressive overhangs and caves, one of them looking like an informal campsite.

There’s another small cascade next to the track…

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…and another pleasant, natural pool with a nice sandy beach.

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The valley is now getting wider as we near The Cascades, and the forest a bit less dense as the Middle Harbour Creek Track traverses a long, rocky ledge above the creek.

The track suddenly emerges from the forest onto a huge rock platform, ovelooking the equally huge “Cascades” formed by the confluence of Middle Harbour Creek and Frenchs Creek.

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It’s a great spot, with sandstone rock formations, multiple cascades and swimming holes. Many years ago this was a popular campground and swimming hole, and on weekends it’s still a popular destination that is easily reached on foot or by mountain bike via the Cascades Track.

Today I only see two people here, before I head back up the hill, using another “unofficial” walking track that’s easy to find.

It may not be an official track, but what is marked on my map as “Double B” (and clearly intended for mountain bike use) is a well-constructed trail. It ascends fairly directly up the ridge, steeply in a few spots as it traverses some boulders, before meeting the Carrol Trig Firetrail about 400m before the trailhead.

It’s been a great bushwalk; a varied route that covers most of the Middle Harbour Creek Track from the Stepping Stones to The Cascades. Even better, it’s the only loop walk that traverses one of the best sections of Middle Harbour Creek.

Location Next to 97 Sir Thomas Mitchell Drive, Davidson
Distance 6.3km loop (2-3 hours)
Grade Moderate. 235m total elevation gain.
Season/s All year.
Map/s Interactive topographical map [AllTrails]
9130-4S Hornsby (1:25K)  Buy / Download
GPS Route Gaia GPS map with option to download GPX / KML file

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