Summary: A firetrail along Faulconbridge Ridge finishes at the Grose River Lookout, which has some sweeping views. It also provides access to the Grose River via an interesting bushwalking track down to a nice swimming hole.

The bushwalk along Faulconbridge Ridge is one of the least interesting Blue Mountains walks I’ve done in a long time – but it does lead to a pretty cool track down to the Grose River. And also to the Faulconbridge Point Lookout, if you prefer a view of the river, rather than a swimming hole. The Faulconbridge Ridge Firetrail starts at the end of Grose Road, a short drive from the Great Western Highway at Faulconbridge.

There’s quite a few people on the trail, with some joggers and many mountain bikers – and even someone on a motorised skateboard. There’s not a lot to see along the 7km (one-way) trail, so riding a bike is not a bad way to reach the lookout at the end. (A few months later, and there would be more wildflowers along the firetrail.)

Towards the end of the Faulconbridge Ridge Firetrail (just under 6km from the start) is an obvious but unmarked bushwalking track on the right, which unlike the firetrail turns out to be a pretty interesting walk. The trail heads roughly north-east as it descends, gently at first, through tall forest.

As the trail descends, it passes through a zone of wet sclerophyll forest. There’s a carpet of ferns across the valley and a constant and rather pleasant sound of bellbirds in the background.

The vegetation gets more rainforest-like and the canopy more dense, so even on a hot day the walk down to the Grose River would be fairly shaded.

Near the bottom of the valley, the trail crosses a creek a couple of time, before levelling out a little.

Where the trail gets really most interesting is the very end: the map suggests a gentle descent, but the reality is very different. It’s an almost vertical drop to the river: ropes assist with the descent of one boulder, and then a steel ladder provides safe passage down the last rock ledge.

The trail finishes at the Grose River near a wide and deep pool, which would be a great swimming spot on a warmer day. With more time, you could continue upstream, or downstream to another swimming hole.

Being a relatively short winter’s day, I don’t spend too long by the river, before retracing my steps to the Faulconbridge Ridge Firetrail. Once back on the firetrail, it’s only another kilometre to the end of the ridge.

The Faulconbridge Point Lookout (also called the Grose River Lookout) is at the edge of the cliff, overlooking the Grose River to the north…

…while to the east you can see the Cumberland Plain, beyond the Blue Mountains.

As the sun begins to set, I traipse back along the firetrail. There’s no-one left on the trail. Except for a motorised skateboard rider who I see for a moment or two, before he speeds past me into the distance…

Although the Grose River Lookout has some nice views, it’s worth the side-trip down to the river. Compared to the firetrail, it’s a far more interesting trail, with the opportunity to explore this section of the river if time permits. Allow an extra couple of hours, as the trail is only 1.6km each-way, but adds about 400m of elevation gain/loss.

Getting Faulconbridge Ridge Firetrail

The firetrail starts at the end of Grose Road, which is off the Great Western Highway at Faulconbridge. You can drive a few hundres metres along the unsealed Faulconbridge Ridge firetrail, before reaching the locked gate, and there are a number of places you can park along the firetrail. (You could also walk from Faulconbridge railway station, but that would add 4.8km each way.)

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