The bushwalk down Glenbrook Creek from Glenbrook to Lapstone is another one I’ve had ready for a warm day, offering many opportunities for a swim, and plenty of places with shade along the way… it follows a similar walk I did a few weeks prior along Erskine Creek from Pisgah Rock to the Jack Evans Track, but access to Glenbook Creek is much easier.
Down to Glenbrook Creek via Station Street Firetrail
Parking at the end of Cox Street (which is a short walk frmo Glenbrook station; you could also do this walk by train), I head down the Station Street Firetrail, which descends gently down the broad ridge.
After about 0.5km, an informal bushwalking trail continues down the end of the ridge; it’s fairly easy to follow – just make sure you’re on the right one… There are a few tracks off the firetrail, and some of them soon “fizzle out”. The main track is marked by the occasional ribbon and cairn, as it passes through a few tight squeezes and rock overhahngs.
Glenbrook Creek soon comes into view, just before a last scramble down to the creek.
The track meets the creek at the Glenbrook Creek Sandbar, a beautiful swimming hole along the creek, which has an enormous, sandy beach on one side.
Along Glenbrook Creek
From here, it’s easier to cross the creek at the bottom of the pool, and then follow the right (or southern) bank, mostly staying fairly close to the water. There’s a few more deep pools, and another small sandy beach.
As I get closer to the Blue Pool, I spot a few people who have swum up the creek. There’s another deep swimming hole, with a rope swing.
The route stays a short distance above the creek, following the top of some large boulders, and crossing another nice sandy beach before reaching the popular Blue Hole. (While the Glenbrook to Lapstone route via Glenbrook Creek is not an overly popular or busy walk, you’ll encounter a lot of people along this easily-accessible section of the creek.)
Continuing along the creek, there’s a few people around along this more popular section, and an informal but obvious trail, which crosses the creek a couple of times.
The trail crosses the creek along the causeway, and passes the junction with the Campfire Creek Track up to Red Hands Cave – this is used for the longer Glenbrook – Kanuka Brook Circuit.
As I get closer to the Jellybean Pool, I start seeing more people again, with the trail again on the left (south) side of Glenbrook Creek.
I don’t stop or swim at the Jellybean Pool – there’s way too many people enjoying this beautiful spot for my liking (perhaps the only real downside of the Glenbrook to Lapstone bushwalk via this route is you can’t avoid the crowds at the two popular swimming holes).
I’m glad to soon be on my own again, as I continue down Glenbrook Creek. I don’t see anyone else for a while, as I pass a series of deep pools and tall sandstone overhangs.
I haven’t found much of a trail Jellybean Pool – although it’s pretty easy walking, with the route sometimes climbing up a little to avoid large boulders on the edge of the creek. So I’m surprised to suddenly encounter a couple of bushwalkers descending a very well-made track. It’s the Glenbrook Gorge track, which descends from the Glenbrook NPWS Information Centre doen to the creek.
There’s a few people around who have probably come down this track to enjoy a swim in the creek – there are some beautiful rockpools along this section.
It’s also the start of Glenbrook Gorge, where the cliffs rise high above the creek on both sides.
There’s a series of rockpools and rapids along this picturesque section of Glenbrook Creek.
Up to Mount Portal Lookout
Just before Glenbrook Creek reaches the Nepean River, a track goes up to Mount Portal Lookout at the top of the cliffs; it provides an alternate exit from the creek, but with a fair amount of firetrail-walking if you return this way. It takes me a couple of attempts to find the start of the track, which is not obvious. Once you’re on the trail, it’s pretty obvious, with a arrows and ribbons marking any sections where the track is less obvious – a few sections are a bit over-grown.
The track climbs fairly steeply, as it makes its way to the base of the steep cliffs of Mount Portal.
The very last section up the cliff gets a little… interesting… First there’s a three metre scramble, with the aid of a rope and a fallen log…
…then after a short, steep section of rock there’s a ladder – which ends directly underneath a large boulder, requiring some advanced yoga moves to get onto the top of the flat boulder.
A last scramble up a sloping chute between two rocks takes you to the top of Mount Portal Lookout, which offers a great view over Glenbrook Creek and the Nepean River. (You can also reach the lookout and Portal Trig by car.)
Along the Nepean River to Lapstone
Once back down at Glenbrook Creek (I return the same way from the lookout), I’m pretty much at the end of the creek where it flows into the Nepean River. There’s a few people fishing here, with the large, sandy beach at the mouth of the creek accessible by boat (or jet ski).
I initially try and follow the edge of the Nepean River, but some large boulders soon force me to climb higher up.
I find the trail that follows the edge of Nepean River – it’s easy walking, except for the occasional fallen trees and debris that show how high the river rises during floods.
The trail ends in the suburb of Lapstone, with a firetrail conveniently ending at Lapstone railway station (I’m heading back to Glenbrook to pick up my car).
Overall, it’s been a really enjoyable bushwalk for a very warm day – while I prefer the seclusion of the Erskine Creek Loop, Glenbrook to Lapstone via Glenbrook Creek offers some equally spectacular scenery and a choice of many nice swimming holes.
Getting from Glenbrook to Lapstone via Glenbrook Creek
You can do this track in either direction, both involving a climb up from the creek. At the Glenbrook end, you can start from Station St / Cox St and walk down to the Glenbrook Creek Sandbar. The easiest and shortest access to the creek is from the end of Bruce Road, via the Blue Pool or Jellybean Pool. (I chose to walk from Glenbrook to Lapstone, as the track back up to Lapstone station at the end of the day is shorter and easier than the track down to the Glenbrook Creek Sandbar.)
Where Glenbrook Creek meets the Nepean River, a track goes along the river and up to Lapstone Station (or Lapstone Place if you’re doing a car shuffle).
Laptsone and Glenbrook are at the foot of the Blue Mountains, about 62km (55min drive) from Sydney or 10km (12min) from Penrith.
- National Parks (NPWS) – Glenbrook Gorge Track