This is my first foray down to Erskine Creek in the lower Blue Mountains – and it won’t be my last. I’m exploring a small section of Erskine Creek, between the rough Tierney Track down from Pisgah Rock to the established Jack Evans Track back up. As the day is forecast to get pretty warm, I leave my car at the Jack Evans trailhead and walk back along the Nepean Lookout Firetrail to the Pisgah Rock trailhead. The firetrail passes the overgrown Pisgah Ridge Fire Trail, and the trail to Machins Crater (an amphitheatre formation created by a volcanic diatreme 200 million years ago).
Down to Erskine Creek via Pisgah Rock
I’m soon at the signposted trail to Pisgah Rock, a fairly level and easy walk to a lookout at the edge of the ridge.
The unfenced Pisgah Rock lookout provides a great view up the middle of Erskine Creek Gorge. It’s likely that the name is derived from the summit of the biblical Mount Nebo, from which Moses first saw the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34:1–4). It’s the first time I’ve seen Erskine Creek, and with the day warming up I’m keen to reach the promised land for a swim…
My first challenge is to find the Tierney Track, which is the name of the informal track from here. After a bit of scouting around I realise the way down is through a cleft between two large boulders, directly below the lookout.
The track descends quite steeply, and near the top is one slightly tricky scramble that needs to be negotiated. A bit further down I reach a small drop next to a cave that looks a little too sketchy. I backtrack a short distance, and soon find a safer route route down.
There are more overhangs as I continue to descend, and some more near-vertical sections, but nothing particularly challenging.
Nevertheless, I’m glad when I reach the bottom – although I’ve veered a little too far west, and ended on Monkey Ropes Creek, a tributary of Erskine Creek. I follow this minor creek downstream, and notice there is a faint track on the opposite side marked by the occasional blue ribbon.
It’s slow going (but very pleasant) walking down the picturesque creek, which is filled with ferns and moss-covered rocks.
Monkey Ropes Creek flows into Lincoln Creek, which has a much greater flow of water, just above Erskine Creek.
Along Erskine Creek
I reach Eskine Creek at an enormous swimming hole, replete with small cascades and sandy beaches. I’ll call this the Pisgah Rock Swimming Hole, but it doesn’t have a official name. I waste no time is jumping into one of the many deep pools, enjoying both the cool water and the complete seclusion – there isn’t a single other person around.
Before continuing downstream, I venture a short distance upstream. There are some more deep pools, before a set of small cascades. A bit over a kilometre further upstream is the Dadder Cave, but I’m not sure how long the rest of my walk will take, so turn around near these first cascades.
As I head downstream from Pisgah Rock Swimming Hole, there are more idyllic natural pools and sandy beaches along the creek.
So far it’s been easy walking along the edge of the creek, surrounded by beautiful scenery.
The deep pools are replaced by a section of small cascades.
From here there’s a bit more rock-hopping and a section where I need to find a route above the creek, to avoid large rocks and debris. (The size and volume of the fallen trees and logs well above the water indicate the force of the creek during a flood.)
I’m soon back at creek level, as I continue following Erskine Creek downstream – with a couple more swims along the way.
Where the Jack Evans Track meets Erskine Creek is another spectacular swimming hole – and is the first time I’ve seen anyone else – with two people enjoying the shade of a large rock on the opposite side of the creek.
Before heading back up, I continue a little further downstream, along multiple large pools along the creek.
I’m keen to follow Erskine Creek down to where it meets the Nepean River – bit that’s a trip for another day! I enjoy a last swim and reluctantly head back up to the Jack Evans Track, which is my exit point for today.
Up the Jack Evans Track
Compared to the descent, the trail up is an easy stroll… it’s a constant but gentle ascent, with a few sets of well-constructed steps.
The track passes some interesting overhangs and rock formations.
There are three informal lookouts, all providing views over Erskine Creek. The first one is just off the track.
The second lookout provides a less obstructed view of the creek.
From the lookout point it feels like you’re almost directly above the creek… and I’m certainly wishing I was back at the bottom, and having another swim!
The last vantage point is the least spectacular in terms of the view… but follow the edge of the cliff a short distance, and there’s an interesting rock formation that’s been sculpted by the wind.
It’s a couple of hundred metres left to reach the end of the Jack Evans Track and the carpark. The signage at the top states this is “a well made track” (which it is) and then suggests allowing four hours return for the journey to the creek, which is a little odd as it will take about 45min down and back if you’re reasonably fit. Perhaps an hour with a few breaks.
I’m back at the top of the Jack Evans Track by 3pm, so I head down the wide firetrail to have a quick look at Nepean Lookout. There’s a great view from the end of the ridge over the Nepean River. Peering over the vertical cliffs, it seems unlikely there’s a way down from here – but I later find out that it’s possible to reach Erskine Creek from here without any climbing.
All up I’ve walked just under 12km, with the Pisgah Rock (Tierney Track) to Jack Evans Track along Erskine Creek and back via the firetrail being about an 8km loop without any side trips. I’m happy that I’ve walked in an anti-clockwise direction, meaning a really easy walk out via the Jack Evans Track on a warm
0.0km Jack Evans trailhead 1.8km Pisgah Rock track 2.6km Pisgah Rock 3.8km Erskine Creek (near camping area) Side-trip: Dadder Cave +3.4km return 7.0km Bottom of Jack Evans Track 8.4km Jack Evans trailhead Optional: Nepean Lookout +1.4km return
Getting to the Erskine Creek (Pisgah Rock to Jack Evans Track) Loop
The bushwalking loop can be started at either the Pisgah Rock or Jack Evans Track trailheads, both of which are on the Nepean Lookout Firetrail, which is off the Oaks Firetrail. It’s about a 30min (13km) drive from Glenbrook, on a mostly unsealed road – suitable for all cars unless the road has been damaged by floods. Note that there is a gate on te firetrail which is open:
- First Sunday in October to first Sunday in April 8.30am to 7pm
- Rest of year 8.30am to 6pm
- Cyclists and walkers have 24hr access
The access road also crosses a causeway which may be inaccessible if the river level is high… but this is not a bushwalk you should be doing after heavy rain or if there’s flooding.
- National Parks (NPWS) – Jack Evans walking track
- Bushwalking NSW – Erskine Creek